The Sunday Best (12/16/2018)

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:


Do you realize that South America is not only south of the United States, but almost entirely east of it, as well? Or that most of Africa is in the northern hemisphere? Zach from Four Pillar Freedom wonders if you know money any better than geography. Using Data to Debunk Common Misconceptions People Have About Money.


The Simple Dollar revisits a 1995 speech from Berkshire Hathaway’s Charlie Munger at Harvard University. Understanding our failings can make us better, more impartial investors. Are you familiar with the Lollapalooza tendency? The Psychology of Human Misjudgment.


Would investing in land to be donated be an irresponsible misjudgment? It depends on who you ask, but The White Coat Investor did a great job of breaking down this confusing strategy being touted lately. Investing in Conservation Easements.


Why would people game a system designed to conserve nature and turn it into a tax avoidance scheme? Dr. Networth may be on to something. Quoting studies on the tendencies of the wealthy and their children, he says Wealthy People are Selfish.


Nomads with a Vision aren’t selfish people. They look at the role of the Donor Advised Fund and how it pairs nicely with Tax Loss Harvesting (here’s how I TLH with Vanguard). The Tax Loss Harvesting Charitable Giving Tango.


I’m glad I didn’t know about financial independence early in my career. I got to this point anyway, and I wasn’t counting down the years. Cody Berman of Fly to FI discovered FI in college and it makes the daily grind tougher to tolerate. Is Financial Independence a Blessing or a Curse?


The questions don’t stop after passing the finish line. Chris Mamula of Can I Retire Yet did retire from a career in healthcare at 41. He asks (and answers) Does FIRE Make Life Harder?


Doc Green from DiverseFI has reached FI, but he keeps plenty busy, despite having cut back significantly in his doctor job(s). Coach Carson interviews the good doctor in From Full-Time Physician to Half-Retirement at 45-Years-Old.


I hope you caught Miss Bonnie MD’s Christopher Guest Post the other day. She’s got a great interview series of her own, which I’ve featured in the past, and it’s time to get caught up on a handful that she’s published in the interim.


A Sit-Down with a Retirement Specialist


I don’t have an exact departure date yet, but I plan to leave my job late next summer. I had a few questions about how to set up my 457(b) withdrawals, whether I’d get a true-up on any remaining 401(k) match, and whether I’d be eligible for the 2018 profit sharing paid out in early 2020.

I made an appointment with the rep for our retirement plan who comes to town once a month or so. I was looking for some concrete answers to those particular questions and I was also curious to hear what she would think of my early retirement plans.

I came prepared, carrying a printout of the spreadsheet I use when I share my “PoF Portfolio” detailing the holdings not only in my tax-deferred retirement accounts with Transamerica, but also the other 80% of my portfolio.

The cheerful rep was quite impressed with both the net worth I had achieved, particularly at the tender age of 43, and also at the depth of knowledge I seemed to have attained.

She asked if I would continue to work in some capacity or if I would truly be done.
I explained that I may consider locum tenens work and would maintain an active license for at least a couple years. I also mentioned that I also had a website that was beginning to generate enough income to cover our living expenses.

With a wry smile, she  says “Who are you, the White Coat Investor, Physician on FIRE or something?”
In a matter of fact tone, I said “yeah, the second one.”

Boy, did her eyes light up with that!


She talks physicians about money every day, is married to a physician, and apparently recommends WCI and PoF to physicians about five times daily. In particular, she mentioned my step by step Vanguard backdoor Roth post as one she references constantly.

That was really fun to hear, as was the utterance of the word “celebrity” a couple times, which I outwardly dismissed but internally celebrated. I would never want to be famous like an actual celebrity, but I’ll take a sliver of internet fame any day.

I did my best to relay this conversation in 288 characters and the Tweet quickly became my most popular Tweet to date in nearly three years of @physicianonfire

I did get answers to my questions, too. Yes, I will receive a true-up for the missed match money but I will not receive the profit sharing in 2020. I will elect how my 457(b) will be paid out before I leave, and I can change that once in the future if I have a good reason (a change in my income or some other event deemed worthy).


Are You In with the InCrowd?


I delete most of the survey opportunity emails I receive. I’m not going to spend my valuable time answering screener questions only to be told 8 questions later that I don’t qualify. I also won’t bother responding to a survey for a chance to win some token gift card promised to a few lucky responders.

I do, however, always answer the quick microsurveys from InCrowd answers. In my experience, they can be completed in a few minutes or less on your phone or computer and pay at least a dollar per question. You’re even paid $1 if you don’t qualify after 1 question.

If you’re like me and don’t have the patience for the typical online survey, but have a few spare minutes here and there, I encourage you to sign up with InCrowd. You’ll get the occasional opportunity to share your medical opinion and your time and value will be respected.

If you are a healthcare professional, check out InCrowd today.


Ring Them Bells


I know those bell ringers can be kind of annoying, but when it’s my own kids, I think they’re downright adorable.

This year marks the fourth consecutive year we’ve braved the cold together to ring the bell at our local Walgreen’s for a couple of hours.

I always see people I work with or kids my boys go to school with, and it seems people are more willing to open up their wallets and purses when they see a little kid bundled up to ring the bell. In the past, we’ve seen a number of 20s dropped and even a $100 dollar bill one time.

We didn’t see the big bucks, but we did manage to raise just over a dollar a minute for our efforts. Most importantly, my boys were reminded that there are people in our communities who don’t have enough food to eat or a proper place to sleep and a couple hours outdoors on a Friday evening is a small sacrifice compared to what many others go through on a daily basis.

Ringers are still needed and you can register to ring here.

A Recommended Insurance Agent


BattDouglas Financial Group


The BattDouglas Financial Group provides comprehensive specialty specific disability and life insurance planning for physicians. Your specialty, age, gender, health, hobbies and state of residence all make a difference in deciding which insurance company will best fit your needs.

As an independent agency specializing in insurance for physicians, we work with multiple companies to provide unbiased comparisons from highly-rated insurance providers. We work with insurance companies that offer own-occupation disability insurance policies for the best protection of your specialty. We have access to industry leading discounts and unisex rates – saving money on your premiums for years to come. The BattDouglas Financial Group Application


Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

75,000 point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 mo.
PoF Summary

2 points per dollar spent (2% cash back equivalent). Up to $300 credit each year for travel booked on Capital One Travel, 10,000 bonus miles each account anniversary ($100 value). Unlimited Priority Pass Lounge Access, up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ credit. $395 fee can be more than offset with travel credit & annual point bonus


Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

10 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (12/16/2018)”

  1. Regarding 401K; this is a topic that could use a post of its own. Many companies do not true-up contributions and only match per paycheck. Most 401K reps deal with rank and file employees and don’t have advice tailored to high income professionals.

    The result? Dividing $19K (plus or minus catch up) by the number of paychecks may not maximize matching for high earners because matching stops at the IRS salary cap, not just the $19K contribution cap. Contributing too much too early means marching is missed and contributing too little per paycheck means matching is missed as well (because of the salary cap). There’s a sweet spot, salary depending. Also whether catch up is matched or not affects the calculations; if catch up is not matched and no true-up, one may need to contribute a smaller amount up front then accelerate contributions EOY after the salary cap.

    Electing a 401K contribution is more complicated than it seems at face value for high income professionals.

    • Yeah, I got some bad info from HR / 401(k) rep about the match continuing when I front-loaded to the max in January and February one year. The match suddenly stopped when I stopped contributing even though the employer had only given me < 20% of the promised match. Fortunately, the rest came eventually, but I believe it was over a year later before they finally paid out the remainder in a true-up. Thank you for the words of caution! -PoF

    • Yes! This drives me crazy about my 401k (although the high fees are even more annoying). I always have to keep an eye on my contributions to make sure I don’t accidentally max out too early in the year and wind up missing out on contributions. I confirmed with my rep that there is no true up. Potential salary adjustments and bonuses that happen twice a year mean I have to set calendar reminders to check in on my YTD contributions regularly, do some math, then adjust my contribution percentage accordingly.

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  3. That must of been so cool, both for you and her. Next time you see her, ask to see her tweet 🙂

    If I went to an advisor and they mentioned WCI/POF, I’d instantly know I’m in good hands.
    (Now onto Xray’s site).

    BTW, Sunday Best is by far my weekly blog highlight. And thank-you, Merry Christmas.

  4. Congratulations on achieving celebrity status!

    You deserve it. You’ve done a great job promoting financial literacy and the concept of financial independence.

  5. You are indeed a celebrity and rightfully so. That has got to be a great feeling when she used your website as an example and found out it was you.

    I have met a few people and in casual conversation I have mentioned that I run a blog and it felt great when a few of those people actually knew about the website already and found out it was me. I have also tried to keep my blogging activities anonymous at work but some astute people have figured it out and one actually came up to me in our Christmas party and said I can’t believe you’re Xrayvsn! (the post about finding my waterfall property on Ebay was the clincher as I’m pretty known for that at my workplace).

  6. Dude! Your correspondence with that rep even gave me chills. Since your blog is the one I’ve consistently followed the longest, I feel like I have something to do with your “celebrity” status. Glad to know you’ve made such waves, even though I already knew you have!

  7. I can’t imagine how it must have felt to learn that your own 401k representative a) knows about and reads your blog, b) uses it to advise her clients, presumably many of your coworkers, and c) namedropped you ….to you, without her knowledge. And good on you for reaching out to have your concerns addressed and your questions answered.


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