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The Sunday Best (10/14/2018)

The Sunday Best

The Sunday Best
The Sunday Best is a collection of articles I’ve curated for your reading pleasure.

Expect most of the writing to be from recent weeks and consistent with the themes presented on this website: investing & taxes, financial independence, early retirement, and physician issues.


Presenting, this week’s Sunday Best:


Early retirement and real estate are featured together by Katy McLaughlin in the Wall Street Journal. With shoutouts to me, Mr. Money Mustache, ChooseFI, and Financial Samurai, How to Thrive in Early Retirement. [If you’re stuck behind the WSJ paywall, try this link for a stripped-down version]


It’s important to stay fit to truly thrive in retirement. Miguel, the lawyer known as the Rich Miser understands this, and he’s not afraid to invest in his physical fitness. 20 Reasons Why I Spent Over $10,000 on a Home Gym.


That’s a decent sum to spend on a home gym, but most millionaires with financial advisors spend more annually on investment fees. The Wall Street Physician thinks this could change. Will The Cost Of Financial Advising Drop Like Other Fees In The Financial Services Industry?

  • [Pro Tip: This site’s vetted Recommended Financial Advisors already charge considerably less than the typical FA, particularly at higher net worths.]


If you’re spending unnecessarily on high AUM fees and have a similarly overpriced home and stable of automobiles, you may be a High Earner, but Not Rich Yet. Yes, the HENRYs are everywhere — The Minimalist in the City is surrounded by them in Singapore. Meet the HENRYs.


Why are some high earners not yet rich after earning millions of dollars over the years? Some believe they are expected to have or deserve to have all the trappings and trimmings of an upper class lifestyle. I would call this a limiting belief. The Guy on FIRE has found success by Overcoming the Power of Limiting Beliefs which run rampant in our society.


Pessimism is the first ingredient in many limiting beliefs. You know, the glass half-empty phenomenon. But it’s not just the fullness of the glass that matters. Size matters. Side Hustle Scrubs asks, How Big is Your Glass?

  • Bonus: Size also matters when it comes to benefits, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a package as impressive as SHS’s. How Big is Your Package?


However big yours is, it’s nothing compared to the size of the Ponzi scheme Bernie Madoff almost made off with. XRAYVSN thinks he’s identified an even bigger scam. Is Uncle Sam Worse than Bernie Madoff?


Madoff’s victims believed they could get outsized returns without much risk. There’s a misconception that such a thing has to exist, but there is no free lunch. There are also mistaken assumptions about the FIRE movement and Cody at Fly to FI has been busy Dispelling the FIRE Movement Misconceptions.


Why the recent pushback against these myths and misconceptions about the FIRE movement? Oh, yeah… that whole Suze Orman thing. I’m not going to devote most of the page to it (like I did last week), but there are some follow-ups worth noting:


Well, that was cathartic. I promise not to mention Ms. Orman the rest of the month. Let’s pick on a different public figure in the personal finance space. For all the hate directed at Matt, the lawyer who writes at Optimize Your Life, I’d say he actually went pretty easy on Dave and his followers in Loan Forgiveness (or Why Dave Ramsey Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About).


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Playing With FIRE: The Documentary


At FinCon17, there was a film crew following a number of my FIRE blogging friends around. A year later, they were back at FinCon with footage from that event and a whole bunch more. The trailer for the documentary film, which you can see below, debuted at FinCon18. The three-minute trailer sent chills up my spine, and I can’t wait to see the finished product early next year.


YouTube video


I won’t be appearing in the film, but I will get a mention in the credits thanks to the Kickstarter campaign, to which I gladly kicked in $100. I had the pleasure of chatting with both Scott Rieckens, who stars in the film, and his co-executive producer Travis “William” Shakespeare at an Orlando brewery meetup organized by our friends at ChooseFI. They’re great guys and I hope their film spreads the message of financial independence to an even wider audience.

I missed the panel session at FinCon where a number of the people featured in the trailer above gathered to discuss the film, but I plan to watch it now that videos of all the sessions are now available.

On a semi-related note, I had the displeasure of watching my alma mater lose a football game to Scott’s alma mater last weekend, a game on which I foolishly placed a bet with him. A care package with some of Minnesota’s finest (along with a North Dakotan Scottish Ale for his upcoming Scottish houseguests) are en route to Oregon.

I still hold on to a 2014 memory of rushing the field after a 51-14 victory over the Hawkeyes, putting my arm around head coach Jerry Kill, and hitting the power button instead of the shutter button on my camera in a failed attempt at a selfie.



Minnesota Beers
a few of minnesota’s finest beers (and one from nd)


If you’re looking for new blogs and podcasts to follow, check out this year’s Plutus Award Finalists and Winners, many of which have been featured here in The Sunday Best or a Christopher Guest post.



Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

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18 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (10/14/2018)”

  1. Thanks for the share! I remember hearing about the Playing with FIRE documentary when it was introduced on the ChooseFI podcast. It sounds amazing and hopefully it will be on streaming services like Amazon Prime or Netflix when it is released.

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. I find it hard to entirely dismiss someone who went from a waitress to a 30 millionaire that wasn’t a lotto winner. Also she clearly has access to some super smart and successful financial types and insiders. Clearly she’s very entrepreneurial and successful, but I can’t ever make heads or tails out of what she says. She speaks with near impenetrable density, but I did get her concern is risk and I also got her concern is to see people don’t get burned. Some button she pushed has screwed with a lot of FIRE insecurity and understanding that insecurity is worth exploring because the reaction is so strong. Her perspective doesn’t affect me so I’m not threatened by her in the least BUT I am curious to learn what she knows about FIRE failure. She claimed to have thousands of failure letters and in my opinion that’s like gold. I never read about FIRE failure except for one guy who lost in real estate and was courageous enough to tell his story. Many of those letters may be not relevant, but if some are, the way you assure success is to understand modes of failure. I don’t get Ramsey either, but then I never did stupid things with debt.

  4. Re: the Social Security Post. The libertarian in me says, give me back my money since I’ll do better on my own. The humanitarian in me says that there needs to be a safety net. I think anything with a defined benefit (i.e. pensions) is prone to falling like a house of cards. One thing I’m curious about is what are the political leanings of the financially “woke”. It seems like many of the financial gurus seem to lean right (i.e. do it your self, no govmt help). but I’m curious.

    I see everyone is still ranting about the Suze Orman interview. Its funny since a few weeks earlier I was having a discussion with my in laws (both MDs) about planning for the future. I made a comment that I should have 2 million by x time in the next few years. and they said exactly that, “2 million is nothing”.

    In the end I think it’s about your risk tolerance. I was thinking about this earlier this week when the Dow tumbled some 700 points. I’m probably a little heavier on stock allocation that I should and as a result lost the equivalent of a few new cars in a few day span. I’m willing to stomach that risk since I still have the time to make it back but I’m not sure I’d ever be able to stop working totally until I was at least 60 or so since I feel like if I stopped working I wouldn’t be able to rev up and get the income should I need it.

    With all these financial gurus you have to take the good with the bad. Dave and Suze are both inflexible, like to pontificate, and take a “my way or go on your own dumb highway” approach to advice. Hell, Dave Ramsey actually blocked WCI. That being said I think in the end while they may bring agita to the FI community for many out there they have helped. i.e. if the choice is listen to PoF, WCI, etc, etc or Dave/Suze I’d go with the former. However, if it’s Dave/Suze vs the average American who is living hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck. You’re probably better off with them as your guru.

    • PICU MD, Interesting question about the way people lean politically. You are probably right. “If I can do it everyone else can?” But not everyone thinks about or handles money the same way and neither is smarter than the other. This, however, would be a very interesting stastistic. 🙂

    • $2M is either “nothing” or “unattainable” depending on the crowd you run with, but I do believe it’s enough money to sustain a comfortable middle class lifestyle for a number of decades. Expensive tastes and habits will require more money (and yes, we have more).

      Dave and Suze are good for a kick in the pants for those who need one. And most people do — but not many people reading this site, WCI, PIMD, or the FIRE blogs.


  5. Thanks so much for the mention. I’m honored by the call out. Like you said maybe Suze did what she did for the publicity, but it helped us too. I had to respond like so many others and I think it really helps get our message out there about living a life of freedom.

    So sorry to hear you hit the power button, ug (but I did laugh a little sorry)

    Can I make a bet with you? That care package looks great! 🙂

    • I was so upset with myself after that. I did get a couple shots of the 100-pound bronze pig being hoisted up and I gave Max Williams (now a TE with the Baltimore Ravens) a big high five as he was running for the bacon.

      If you root for South Dakota State or Georgia Southern, I’d be happy to make a wager in 2019.


  6. I hate to agree, Suze Orman is on target. All of you advocates of FIRE suggesting retiring on 2M at an early age need to re-examine your assumptions.

    I think most docs especially those accustomed to living up to the life they and the family have become accustomed to need to either save a LOT more earlier on, or work longer. Kinda negates the whole RE part.
    From WCI all the way down the list of the FIRE community, you are selling a pipe dream especially if any unfortunate medical issue pops up or other catastrophe in the family that requires cash to correct.
    Still a fan and personally on target for FI but I’m not going to RE in the true sense of leaving surgical practice completely anytime soon.

    • I think it’s great to hit FI and not RE — if you are content and fulfilled in your current job, you help people and continue to grow your net worth, that’s awesome. I hit FI several years ago with a little under $2 Million and our net worth has nearly doubled since then.

      I’m curious as to whether or not you listened to the two Afford Anything podcasts and have read the rebuttals. There’s actually a lot of common ground. The big disagreement came from the many inaccurate assertions Suze had regarding the FIRE community and our supposed naivete — as if we had never considered the need to carry insurance or the possibility that nothing bad will ever befall us or our loved ones.

      I’m not sure who your beef is with, but I’ve been a proponent of going beyond FI to Financial Freedom (which I calculated at 36x anticipated expenses) and fatFIRE (which I chose to define as a six-figure retirement budget). I also believe in remaining flexible and my retirement from medicine won’t be exactly a true retirement. I’ll be retired not retired.

      All that being said, if you anticipate annual expenses of $70,000 or less, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to leave your job with $2 Million. Most retirees will never see a balance a quarter that large.


  7. Thanks for including me with all these awesome bloggers. I’m sure you have a perfectly adequate package. More importantly, you’ve achieved a level of wealth where it doesn’t even matter if you have a package at all. That is something we are all envious of.

  8. Thank you so much Physician on FIRE for sharing my post about Uncle Sam and Bernie Madoff.

    It truly is amazing how much increase traffic to my blog happens when I get a mention from you and I’m super grateful for it.

    This was one of my favorite posts and I actually wrote it in the period between buying a domain and launching my blog in April and couldn’t wait for it to go live. Glad you gave your seal of approval.

    Have a great rest of the weekend. You made mine once again.

    • I found the comparison to be intriguing. One difference between Mr. Ponzi’s scheme and the U.S. Government’s is that the U.S. can mandate new participants and more from them. I’m not arguing against Social Security as a program, but I do see the parallels.


  9. Hitting the power button instead of the picture button … That’s hilarious, Man. And sad. Don’t feel too bad about your losses. We’ve gotten drummed by over 40 points by a top five team this year. It was embarrassing.

    P s. Completely agree with helping fund that Kickstarter. Getting this message out to the mainstream would be great. The more money they get, the more likely that is to happen! Hopefully they drop “the” in my name and I’ll be right next to you in the credits. Unless you went all legal name on me.


    • These things happen. I did get a picture with both Floyd of Rosedale and the Little Brown Jug at a fundraiser later on — it’s not often we hold both at the same time.

      See you in the credits!

  10. I've got my 2 acres of non-leveraged, crop-producing, cashflowing farmland via AcreTrader. Get yours.
  11. Thanks for another awesome Sunday list. I had not seen many of those articles and will enjoy digging into those gems.

    Congrats on the WSJ notice, the FinCon conference, and all the other amazing successes. You deserve them all. It is great to see one of the “good guys” grow and win.

    “Dave” and “Suze” are well-known and have big footprints largely because of their marketing prowess. They know how to get the attention of millions of people. Facts are a small, minor obstacle on that path at times. We can look to them to learn about a successful business model or marketing plan or for emotional motivation. We just can’t expect them to be up on all details or to expect financial genius. I think Suze’s comments and timing (at the time of a new book launch) were very strategic. She got dozens of bloggers writing about her at a time when she needed marketing for her comeback. And it was all free to her. She seems uninformed, but I’m not sure she is. I think she played us. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.

    • Yeah, we may have been Punk’d. But the hullabaloo has given us an opportunity to better explain ourselves and our mission to those who don’t understand it at all. Suze may or may not be one of them, but there are plenty of people out there who are quick to dismiss the FIRE movement as unattainable or irrelevant, or worse, dangerous.



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