The Sunday Best (10/13/2019)

The Sunday Best is a collection of articles I’ve curated from the furthest reaches of the internet for your reading pleasure.

Every week, I scan hundreds of headlines, read dozens of posts, and bring you the best of the best to save you time and mental energy.

Financial Independence (FI) is a primary focus, but it’s an awfully broad topic. I tend to approach FI and early retirement from a fatFIRE perspective and through the lens of a physician, so expect to see those biases in the selected articles.

Related topics that have become recurrent themes include early retirement, selective frugality, tax issues, travel, physician issues, and of course, investing.

For more great articles, take a peek at The Sunday Best Archives. Now let’s get to the best… The Sunday Best!



Sunday Best


The Sunday Best


A man who retired at 43 says he made 2 important money decisions before leaving work. In this Business Insider piece from Tanza Loudenback, I’m joined by my wife and kids in the apple orchard in a lovely family photo taken by my mother.


But what are you going to do if you retire early? The Burnt Doc aks, and answers, an important question. I thought I’d go to Ecuador, but those plans have been thwarted for now — we were scheduled to leave for Quito this morning!


Crispy Doc might be a first cousin once removed from Burnt Doc. He discusses the interrelationship between spending and sanity and the balance he and his family have found. What’s Your Safe Withdrawal Rate For Sanity?


J.D. Roth of Get Rich Slowly features a reader’s conundrum. Should I stay or should I go? Wrestling with the decision to quit a career. As a high school wrestler and recent career dropout, I can totally identify.



John Greaney retired at age 38 a mere 25 years ago. While he occasionally posts updates on his Retire Early Homepage, I think the site’s overall look and theme was last updated a mere 25 years ago. But it’s the content that matters. 25th Anniversary Edition — Five Surprising Things I Learned in Early Retirement.


Frugalwheels compares and contrasts the hippies of the sixties and the FIRE devotees of today. Turn on, tune in, and drop out while contemplating this question with a bud: Is FIRE the new counterculture movement?


At the other end of the spectrum, we have people with “old money” who don’t have financial independence handed to them on a shiny silver platter. Is there anything we can learn from the way they carry on? ESI Money sees some benefits to Living Like Old Money, whether yours is old or new.


Rather than channeling the Gettys and the Rothschilds, perhaps you should consider managing your money like a Kung Fu master, says Passive Income MD. Apply Bruce Lee Principles To Your Financial Education.


Do you have money laying around in an old account from an employer you’ve moved on from? The Physician in Numbers did, and she realized just leaving it there would cost her thousands of dollars. Mind those fees because Fees Always Matter.


You know what else always matters with your investments? Total return, which is a combination of the increase in net asset value of the investment (capital appreciation) and the dividends distributed from the investment. Why anyone would prefer a stock with a much lower total return if it pays a good dividend is beyond me, but that’s the opinion Mr. Free at 33 expresses. Dividends Versus Capital Gains: Has AT&T Been a Better Investment Than Visa? [My answer: Clearly not — I did leave a rational comment, but it must be awaiting moderation (or has already been moderated away)]



I wish I’d written this post before we booked our flights to Quito. If I had, I would have known to use a Chase card to book the fares. Travel Insurance & Benefits: Evacuation Coverage & Credit Card Perks You Didn’t Know You Had.


Are you doing the backdoor Roth annually? If not, are you really missing out? The Backdoor Roth Point / Counterpoint: A Must-Do or Meh?


I dropped a few dollars yesterday, taking my family to Hamilton in Chicago. It was a tremendous experience that made everyone very happy. The White Coat Investor approves. Spend Money On What Makes You Happy.



Have Luggage, Will Travel


We left our home on Friday with four carry-on size rolling bags, four backpacks, and no idea where we were heading.

For many months, we were planning on spending the fall in Ecuador. About a week ago, we heard about some protesting in the capital city of Quito, the mountainous metropolis where we planned to spend our first month.

No biggie, I figured. Protests are not uncommon, especially in Latin America.

This turned out to be different. Police have been taken captive, tens of thousands of indigenous people have blocked roads throughout the country. The air is filled with tear gas and the smoke from fires and makeshift mortars.

It’s been a week and a half now, and the situation has only gotten uglier over that timeframe.

I pray for a rapid and peaceful resolution, but at the moment, it’s not a safe place for my family and me to be. Airbnb was gracious enough to allow us to cancel our first month’s stay on short notice. We’re working with them on month two.

As of now, the Ecuador Chautauquas are a tentative go, so I may end up visiting next month, but a lot will have to change between now and then. I will continue to keep a close eye on the situation there.

In the meantime, we booked one-way flights yesterday to return to one of our favorite places in Mexico. With a similar climate, the clothes we packed should be adequate for the trip, and we may venture out from there. It’s great to have this open slate.


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Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

13 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (10/13/2019)”

  1. I click on all the posts that look interesting and keep the tabs open until I have time to get to them. I finally got to the end today and I read the Dividend post. It was so counter to everything I typically read I figured I must have clicked on a link from somewhere else. Then I cam back here and read your comments.

    It gave me agitation just reading that post. It would not take much to throw that whole plan off kilter and ruin his FI. It is somewhat hard to screw up now since we have had a nice bull run but when the tide goes out we will see who has been swimming naked.

    I hope your comment comes through on his blog.

    Anyways another great collection!

    • Thanks for your comment — I’m glad somebody noticed!

      It was an unusual choice for the Sunday “Best,” but I felt the post did a great job of proving the point I frequently make about the irrationality of many investors who focus on dividends rather than total return. I do like the guy — he’s got a great story — but I can’t wrap my head around that line of thinking.

      It did give me an idea for a new blog post to write, though. It will be a parable, and fun to write.


    • Looks like my comment was moderated away. Given the absurdity of the conclusion and the lack of contrarian comments underneath, I have a feeling mine was not the only comment that did not make the cut. Makes it look as though most people agree with him, when I would hope 99 out of 100 investors would not.

      I know another blogger with the word “dividend” in the site name turned off comments because he was tired of people talking common sense back at him.

      We do what we can.


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  3. Yikes! Here’s hoping the situation in Ecuador stabilizes in the near future. As for pivoting, I can think of few places we enjoy more as a family than Mexico for food, culture and diversity of options (cosmopolitan, rural, indigenous, sleepy fishing villages). I look forward to hearing about how you turned lemons into lemonade.

    Thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to Burnt Doc and your wonderful salon of reading suggestions. Thanks for the generous share.



    • Things have stabilized, at least for now. The president reinstated the generous fuel subsidy and the riots ceased immediately. Now they have to figure out what to do with the $4.2 Billion IMF loan that was apparently contingent upon ending the subsidy. That will be a delicate political situation, but I would be surprised to see anarchy and martial law return as they work their way through this.

      We are safe and happy in Mexico, and I have booked a ticket from here to Ecuador for the week of the Chautauqua.


  4. Great Sunday Best as always POF! I especially liked the “Bruce Lee Principals” post. So many people have different paths — we really have to find the path that works for us individually.

    Sorry to hear your Quito trip needed to be canceled. Have fun in Mexico!

    • THanks, Mr. Tako!

      Do you have a moratorium on reading blog posts on weekends? It seems you’re often commenting first thing Monday morning.

      I would also be very curious to hear your take on the AT&T vs. Visa post. I found the conclusion to be baffling.


      • Yup, I dedicate my weekends to the family, so I don’t actually get to them until late Sunday Night.

        To be honest, I was a little baffled by that post too. It’s like comparing an apple and a avocado, with no discussion as to why returns were so different between the two. That, in my opinion, is the important part to understand.


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