The Sunday Best (11/21/2021)

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!

 

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FIRE bloggers share a bunch of favorites, including recent articles, family vacation spots, how they got started, how much they spend, and a whole lot more. The latest insights from Accidentally Retired:

 

This doctor is getting started on the right foot and making all the right moves. FIRE Starter 008: Maxing Out Absolutely Everything.

 

One of those moves is to avoid keeping up with the Dr. Joneses, a feat that is easier said than done. There are times when it’s OK to upgrade, though, says “Piggy” from Bitches Get Riches. How to Avoid Lifestyle Inflation … and When to Embrace It.

 

I’m still learning to embrace some measured lifestyle inflation. This is How We Spend When We Splurge, which we do a bit more than we’ve done in the past.

 

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One reason I feel more comfortable splurging is that we’ve got a steady stream of passive income. Passive Income MD shares his 3 Rules for Using Real Estate Investing to Create Passive Income.

 

When I calculate my real estate investment returns, I use the same spreadsheet function that XRAYVSN employs. Honoring the late DMX, he says X Gon’ Give It To Ya: Using XIRR Analysis For Real Estate Returns.

 

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With yields generally low, people are abandoning bonds. Is that a wise move? JL Collins weighs in. Are Bonds Done?

 

I’m not done with bonds, but I’ve decided to go with an inflation-adjusted variety. Last week, I shared How (and Why) to Buy I Bonds, and I was far from alone in discussing them.

 

There are some wealthy people in this nation. Spend Me Not looks at all sorts of stats on those who have amassed $1 Million, $10 Million, $50 Million, and a Billion or more. 28 Millionaire Statistics: What Percentage of Americans Are Millionaires?

 

Not many physicians reach a net worth of $50 Million, but this one did, and he shares some keen insights on life, work, and money. Post FI Notes 008: A Decamillionaire Entrepreneur & Physician.

 

Four months into his early retirement, Educator FI can’t sit still. That might be the least surprising among about 10 Surprises in Early Retirement he’s encountered.

 

Would you be surprised to know that the White Coat Investor is writing about crypto? He ruffles some feathers, stating Bitcoin Is Just like AOL; It Won’t Win the Race for Best Cryptocurrency. Many responded with an LOL at the AOL analogy.

 

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Getting Our Money’s Worth

 

My family and I returned home yesterday afternoon after spending a week and a half in warmer climates. We spent about half of that time in Orlando and the other half on a cruise ship. It was a fun and successful family vacation.

While I wrote about our splurges on the plane ride south, the truth is that I still like to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth when I spend it.

The flights, on budget Frontier airlines, were about $110 each round trip. With our flexible schedule, we can fly on days where kids fly free with paid adults. You have to join their Discount Den for $60 a year to qualify, but the membership more than pays for itself in discounted fares and free child fares.

Yes, you pay extra for seat selection and bags (including larger carry-ons), but we generally take the seats they assign at no cost, and on most trips, including this one, we are able to go with backpacks that travel for free.

To get the 4 of us on nonstop flights to Orlando and back for a total of $440,  I’d say we definitely got our money’s worth.

Back in March, when we took the first of 3 Florida trips this year, we bought annual passes to Universal Orlando. If you’re going to spend more than 2 or 3 days there, you might as well pay for the annual pass. With two action-packed theme parks and a nice, new waterpark, there’s plenty of fun to be had.

I like theme parks and enjoy the rides; my wife tolerates theme parks and avoids the rides (with a few exceptions). Our kids love every bit of it, and no one complains about spending time at Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley (the Harry Potter-themed sections of the parks).

In 8 months with our passes, we’ve visited one or more parks on 29 different days. We thought our boys might learn something about diminishing returns with that level of overexposure, but thus far, they’re still loving it. They’re also enjoying the freedom that we give them to roam the parks without their parents.

Having spent $2,174 on the 4 annual passes, with nearly 120 total visits amongst the 4 of us, those visits have cost us under $20 apiece. And we still have 6 months left on the 15-month “annual” passes! I’d say we’ve gotten our money’s worth, even if some days, I don’t take a single ride.

The other day, I celebrated my 46th birthday, taking 46,000+ steps throughout the property and nearby. My Garmin registered 22.25 miles by the time I was done mid-afternoon.

 

 

Finally, we learned the best way to get our money’s worth on beer on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Sadly, we found out on the last night when it didn’t make sense to take advantage of it.

I briefly considered pre-paying for the deluxe drink package, but in order to get your money’s worth, you’d have to drink 5 to 7 alcoholic drinks per day. Could we? I guess. Should we? No.

When we arrived in our spacious stateroom (truly — we upgraded to one more than twice the size of a standard room), there was a letter alerting us to some discounts that would be automatically applied, including 50% off of two glasses of beer, wine, or cocktails apiece since we were returning cruisers with them.

On the final evening, I checked our folio with the app showing all previous charges and did not see the discount applied automatically to the drinks we had previously ordered. Our Playmaker’s bartender informed us that we actually had to request the discount (despite what the paper said) and that we each had two half-off discounts on our accounts.

Most beers are $8 for a 12 to 16 ounce serving. However, a 60 ounce pitcher of draft beer was only $18, or $3.60 per 12-ounce serving. Better yet, the barkeep said that the half-off deal could be applied, making it a $9 pitcher, or $1.80 per serving, and they had Blue Moon on tap, which is a beer I don’t mind and is among my wife’s favorites. We could definitely split a pitcher between the two of us, and that is the best beer deal I’ve encountered on a cruise ship.

In the grand scheme of things, does it matter much whether I pay $8 or $1.80 apiece for a handful of beers? Not really, but I always like to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.

 

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


 

Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

 

3 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (11/21/2021)”

  1. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  2. Great Sunday Best as usual PoF! I particularily liked your ” Post FI Notes 008: A Decamillionaire Entrepreneur & Physician” post. A very enjoyable read!

    Thanks again!

    Reply

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