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The Sunday Best (11/17/2019)

Sunday Best

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


I’m currently a man south of the border, and he’s the Man Overseas. We had a nice chat from opposite sides of the world (a 12-hour difference) about many aspects of FIRE, slow travel, and more. I Don’t Want No Scrubs: Why You Should Live on 50% of Your Income with Physician on FIRE. Clever title!


Fritz Gilbert from Retirement Manifesto has been traveling a lot, too, but he opted to hit the road and stay in the USA, hitting 18 states on a 10,000 mile route. Taking An RV Trip Across America … (with 4 dogs!)


Craig had the wanderlust long before he pondered how to Retire Before Dad. He scratched the hell out of that travel itch and learned a lot in the process. Traveling to 45 Countries Taught Me These 8 Things About Money.


Apparently 45 is the number of the day. Educator FI laments My 4.5 Big Financial Mistakes (Reflecting at 45). Personally, I’m still one year and one day from 45, but I’ll probably make at least 4.5 big mistakes between now and then (like the credit card mistake above and two more detailed below).


You’re familiar with the Trinity Study that established 4% as a safe withdrawal rate, right? It’s not 45-year old data, but it is now 21 and probably hungover on a Sunday morning. The Poor Swiss has done a massive update using similar methods, recently publishing the Updated Trinity Study Results for 2019 – More Withdrawal Rates! How does 4% look now?



Having enough money is one thing, figuring out how and when to access it is another. Fred Leamnson discusses how to go about it on The Money Mix. What You Need to Know About Retirement Income Planning.


Doc G of DiverseFI & The What’s Up Next podcast isn’t worried about whether or not he’s got enough money (he does). He’s concerned that he needs more than money, and he’s losing two important cogs in the wheel that is his life. Why Money isn’t Enough.


Maybe he needs to travel more (the good doctor is not a fan of travel). If you travel like Michelle from Frugality and Freedom does it, you don’t even need much money. Although to do so, you Must Love Dogs. Everything You Wanted to Know About Housesitting.


Based on the pictures and descriptions from Passive Income MD, I missed one heck of a party in L.A. the other week. Oysters and caviar? Maybe next fall (pair it with FinCon in September!) Recap: Financial Freedom Through Real Estate Conference 2019.


If you’re a physician, you’ve probably ordered these tests thousands of times. As a patient, you’ve likely had them drawn at least a time or two. But do you have any idea what they cost? Max Out of Pocket does.


Have you lined up your healthcare coverage for next year? Since I no longer have coverage via an employer, I picke a plan from the exchange. Mike Magruder did the same, and he details his total healthcare costs from 2019 with a projection for 2020. The True Cost of Healthcare in Early Retirement: A Guide to Open Enrollment.


Do you know the true cost of paying back your student loans? The answer depends, and there’s a service that can help you determine the lowest cost out of pocket to you. Student Loan Planner Reviews: Honest Opinions from Three Former Clients.


Do you know the ideal time to invest in a real estate fund? No? Me neither. Passive Income MD breaks down the pros and cons of investing at different stages. Is It Better to Invest Early or Late in Real Estate Funds?


Better Late Than Never: Ecuador Bound


As this post goes live at 0255 Central time, I’m somewhere over Central America or the Pacific Ocean. I was supposed to land in Quito, Ecuador five weeks ago, but the protesting Indigenous had other plans for me.

The day we were scheduled to arrive turned out to be the climax of the unrest, and our flight, along with most flights into Quito that day, were canceled. That evening, the president promised to reinstate the fuel subsidy that was the crux of the unrest, and things promptly returned to relative normalcy.

We’ve been loving life in Mexico, but I’m looking forward to my first Chautauqua experience with a small group of about 20 FI-minded folks in the mountains. I get to hang out with fun people like Steve & Courtney Adcock, Paula Pant, and more than a dozen soon-to-be new friends.

It will be odd not being around my family, since I’ve been with them most of the day pretty much every day for the last couple of months. It wasn’t long ago, though, that my job kept me in another state, and we wouldn’t see each other for a week or two at a time throughout the summers. So I’m used to the separation, just not in recent weeks.

When I return, we’ve got about three more weeks in Mexico that we plan to split between two cities that will be new to us, and larger than Guanajuato. We’ll miss this town. There’s always a fiesta of some kind — the streets were lined with Mezcal and cerveza vendors on Friday, but we look forward to new adventures!


Stupid Me


For a guy who’s reasonably book-smart, I do some really dumb things. I present two examples from this week alone.

The first night we slept in our Airbnb, I had a tough time. The mattress was really firm, and I could feel the individual coils. It reminded me of the mattress we had two years ago when we visited this town, and I figured they just sleep on extra-firm mattresses.

I’ve slept on thin mats on hardwood and dirt floors before. I can manage.

In the apartment, I found a 1-inch thick foam eggshell pad made for a twin bed. The “bed” that my wife and I are sharing is actually two twin beds pushed together. Although I wanted the pad for my side, I was feeling chivalrous, so I placed the pad lengthwise across both in a way that our shoulders and hips would get some extra padding.

It wasn’t ideal, but it worked well enough. My ankles could still feel the mattress coils and if I migrated up, my shoulder was on the rock-hard part, but I got by for four weeks with this setup.

Then I noticed something.

On a rare occasion that I was making the bed the other day, I saw that the bottom of my mattress appeared to have a pillow-top. But my wife’s mattress didn’t have that pad on the underside of hers.

The situation was reversed on the top side. Me: no pillowtop. She: a comfortable pillowtop to sleep on.

I slept with an upside down mattress for four weeks!

You’ll be happy know I’ve slept better these last three days, just in time to leave this place.


Stupid Camera


Or, I should say, stupid me. But I’ve already used that heading.

On Wednesday this week, we took an Uber to the Bicentennial Park, a sort of miniature EPCOT that has a number of high-quality exhibits including a large collection King Tut replica relics. Entrance to the grounds and museums was free on Wednesday, so we took advantage.

This free outing cost me hundreds of dollars.

There was a chill in the air as we left late morning, so I dressed in layers. I had a backpack, some snacks, and my trusty Olympus E-M10 Mark II mirrorless camera body with a 20mm fixed lens attached.

After taking a bunch of pictures of our kids playing amongst the busloads of Mexican children, I was getting a bit warm and hungry.

I set the camera down, took off a layer, busted out some cookies to dole out, and packed up to check out the history of automobiles.

Within 20 minutes, I realized my camera was not around my neck or in the bag. I hurried back to the spot where we had snacked and the camera was long gone. I checked with the information and security desks, but no camera had been turned in by the end of the day.

The good news is I like to travel with two camera bodies and a selection of lenses, so I’ve still got one body and four lenses to capture my time in Ecuador and continued adventures in Mexico.


La Bufa Cross


That is, assuming I don’t leave them somewhere, as well. I once left the whole bag with two bodies and four or five lenses on a plane. Never saw those again, either.

So, yeah. Nobody’s perfect, especially me. I’ll be camera shopping again when Black Friday rolls around.


A Recommended Financial Advisor


For those of you who would rather not DIY, I maintain a list of recommended financial advisors. Among the good guys and gals who work frequently with physicians, only the lowest cost, fee-only fiduciary advisors were invited to be on this short list. Among them is  Ryan Kelly of RFK Capital.

RFK Capital Management

RFK Capital Management – Application for Financial Advisory Listing

RFK Capital Management specializes in supporting DIY investors with their financial and investment planning. Led by a CFP Professional with more than 10 years of experience in investment management, we are a fee-only, advice-only firm.

We believe most investors can manage their own investment portfolios using index funds if they receive and follow good advice. Our main service offering is our DIY Investing Service. You will receive a personalized financial plan, an investment policy statement, a review of your insurance policies, and support and guidance in becoming an effective investor using low-cost index funds.


DIY Investing Service:       Onetime fee of $1,400
Hourly Charge:                    $125 per hour
Introductory Call:               15 to 30 minutes, free

Contact Info:

9425 S. Union Square Suite #102
Sandy, Utah, 84070

Visit RFK Capital Management


I've got my 2 acres of non-leveraged, crop-producing, cashflowing farmland via AcreTrader. Get yours.


Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE


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4 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (11/17/2019)”

  1. Thanks for featuring me, Leif!

    I am a fan of the Olympus E-M10 Mark II, which is my current camera after I was “relieved” of my Mark I version from an Italian hostel. Kinda glad I’m not the only one to have goofed like that.

    Have an amazing time in Ecuador! I went to Chautauqua there in 2016; my first time meeting anyone interested in FI in person! I felt like someone who’d only learned a language from books, finally getting to talk with “native speakers”. So much has evolved for me on the FI journey since then. Say hi to Paula for me.

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. Happy pre-birthday Leif.

    I remember when I turned 45, splurged on an amazing trip to Bali with my now fiancee. I have to figure out what I want to do when I turn 50 (which is approaching way too fast).

    Sucks about the camera issue. Pretty smart to carry 2 camera bodies. I only have one (an old Canon Digital Rebel), however with the quality of cell phone pics these days I rarely take it out on vacation because it is much bulkier.

    That’s funny about the pillow top bed being upside down, I probably would have never caught it at all.

  4. Maybe THAT’s what was wrong with out bed in Medellín? That thing was so firm to the point of being seriously uncomfortable….the couch or our travel cot was more comfortable. Next time I’m going to check the bottom side, lol. Thanks for sharing that tidbit! Sorry about the camera, that stinks. We lost J’s in an Aldi’s parking lot in Spain too.

  5. Have a great time in Ecuador, it’s definitely one of my most favorites places in the world. And I get the whole double bed thing as we currently have the same set-up at our Airbnb in Tallinn. We even have the legs of the twins beds taped together for convenience. #HighClassLiving!


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