The Sunday Best (12/19/2021)


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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!





He’s now survived cancer and two years of FIRE. What fills his time and soul, from the Dragons on FIRE. Year Two of Early Retirement.


If you avoid learning about taxes, you avoid lowering your taxes. Doc G hosts the FI Tax Guy on the Earn and Invest podcast. Five Tax Questions You Must Ask.


It’s that time of year where you’ve still got time to make some adjustments to optimize your 2021 tax situation. An overview of The Best Tool for Year-End Tax Planning that I’ve found.


His successful exit no doubt required some tax planning. From Jeff Rose at Good Financial Cents, He Sold His Blog For $6 Million – This Is How He’s Investing Now.


It costs money to run a business. Stockholders pay business expenses in a very indirect way by virtue of the company’s profits being lowered by the cost of doing business. Real estate investors often pay these fees directly, making head-to-head fee comparisons pointless. Passive Income MD breaks down some of these costs of doing business that are passed on to the investors. Make Sure You Understand These 5 Syndication Fees.


Tokenization is a trend worth noting. Unlike cryptocurrencies, digital tokens are shares of actual companies or properties that are tracked on blockchain networks, making proof of ownership clear and potentially facilitating seamless transactions. Crowdstreet examines the role tokenization has begun playing in the real estate investing realm. Tokenize It: Real Estate Tokenization Means More Control for Investors.


Are you tired of hearing about the best investments with benefit of hindsight? It turns out pundits are pretty good at predicting the past, as Barry Ritholtz points out. Survivorship Bias, Legos Edition.


It’s true that certain Lego sets have appreciated in price. So have many used cars. The White Coat Investor shows you How to Buy a Car the White Coat Investor Way.


Geographic arbitrage is easy to achieve in medicine if you’re willing to live between the coasts. FIRE Starter 010: New Attending Practicing Geoarbitrage in the Heartland, where the pay is good and the cost of living is low.


His main job pays well, but it’s not where his passions lie. Could their new side gig speed up their path to FI? FIRE Crossroads 012: Millionaire Engineer with a Box Company Side Hustle.


The top 25% of professional sales people will earn similar incomes to doctors, lawyers, and software engineers, says the early retiree behind Stop Ironing Shirts. He interviews someone who has excelled in the field. Sales to Financial Independence: Interview #1.


William P. Bengen, author of the first paper that established the 4% Rule as a safe withdrawal rate, responds to those who believe it’s now lower. At Advisor Perspectives, he answers this question with a “no.” Is It Now the “3.3% Rule”?


The biggest risk and reason to withdraw conservatively is a poor sequence of returns early in retirement. Carl from 1500 Days has a solution. The Anti-Withdrawal Strategy: How To Beat Sequence Risk.

  • Related: Access cash at 2% for anything under the sun, using your portfolio as collateral at M1.


The comments agree with me. This interviewee is more conservative than he needs to be, but when you’ve already won the game… Post FI Notes 012: Mostly Retired at 55 with a Military Pension and Millions.


Have you bought your iBonds, which now pay 7.12% interest, for 2021 yet? There’s still time, and as The Finance Buff points out, your business can buy them, too. Buy I Bonds for Your Business: Sole Proprietorship, LLC, S-Corp.



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Living Like a Family on FIRE


Nearly two and a half years removed from my anesthesia career, a time that has been mostly consumed by this pandemic, my family and I are doing our best to live out the dreams we had when I chose the FIRE path.

Last month, we took our first cruise since I retired. This month, we spent two weeks in our favorite south-of-the-border destination, Guanajuato. The colorful city nestled among the mountains was the setting for one of our first slow travel FIRE previews. Once again, we had a lovely trip, revisiting our favorite restaurants, fruterias, and “callejones” (winding alleyways along the hillsides) while discovering new ones.

We even had a visit from another Family on FIRE. My friend Bryan, who also retired from a physician career in his forties, came to see us in Guanajuato for a few days with his wife and teenage kids.


The anesthesiologist in me desperately wants to cannulate that EJ, even if it is my own.


I have to say they’re doing it right. As compared to us, they’re traveling more, learning Spanish better, and spending less time on computers.

Upon our return this weekend, we celebrated Christmas early with my family in Minnesota, and we decided to share our most immediate travel plans with our kids, as the trips are generally the big gift that we give to them.

I decided to make a scavenger hunt to reveal each destination, and I had some fun forming the poetic puzzle pieces. A slightly modified version:


If Per takes your presents, you should call the police.
We didn’t get you much, so we’re taking you to Greece.
Where on earth will we go from there?
To get a clue, check with Uncle Per. (pronounced like “pear”)

If you’ve never heard of it, it’s not our Faulta.
But in mid-January, we fly to the island of Malta.
Where do we go next? To a new neighborhood?
To find out, have a look beneath the firewood.

Our next destination is no longer a mystery.
I hope you like pasta, ’cause we’re going to Sicily.
That’s an island of Italy, in case you didn’t know.
Where will go next? Alexa might know.

I hope you don’t mind spending a month away from home.
Later in January, we’re heading to Rome!
We’ll also see The Vatican. That should be fun.
But the trip isn’t over when we leave on January 31.
What happens next? Haven’t you heard?
If you want to find out, check with the Minnesota State Bird.

When February comes around, so much will have happened.
We must get back home, but not before revisiting Athens.
That’s one exciting month! May your Christmas be Merry.
We fly back to Alpena in early February.


May your Holidays be Merry, and your gifts well received.

If you’re scheduled to work, I hope you’re relieved!


Earning the Southwest Companion Pass is Easier than Ever


Now is an ideal time to start piling up points to earn a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. When you reach the threshold, ideally in early 2022, a guest will fly free with you on every flight for the rest of 2022 and all of 2023.

Earning the pass early in the year gives you the most time to enjoy the benefit, which could mean 20 to 23 months of buy-one-get-one-free flights on Southwest.

Chase just increased the welcome bonuses on their 3 co-branded credit cards to the highest ever, making reaching the 125,000 point pinnacle more easily within reach.

You get 50,000 points when spending $2,000 on the card in the first 3 months, and another 50,000 when spending an additional $12,000 within 12 months of obtaining the card. That will give you at least 114,000 points after spending $14,000, and with bonus categories where you can earn double or triple points, you might be closer to 120,000 points by the time you’ve met the minimum spend.

You can rack up Southwest points quickly with the same welcome bonus of up to 100,000 points with any of these:


I’d like to apologize on behalf of the marketing team that came up with the 3 P names for these cards that appear to be in the wrong order, but they’re not.

The Plus card is the most basic and has an annual fee of $69.

The Premier card sounds like the fanciest card, but it’s not. It has mid-range perks and a mid-range annual fee of $99.

Finally, the Priority card is the most premium card of the bunch that gives you some upgraded boardings, the most bonus points on your cardmember anniversary, etc… Its annual fee is 149.

With the all-time-high welcome bonus, you can earn the Companion Pass with no more than $25,000 spent on the card, and most likely with less. If you don’t expect to spend that much, consider getting a Southwest business credit card to easily exceed the required 125,000 required miles by earning a welcome bonus on two cards.



Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE


Physician on FIRE has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Physician on FIRE and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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8 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (12/19/2021)”

  1. Thanks for the feature!

    Love the poems you wrote for your travels. Enjoy the traveling and stay safe! We were supposed to go to Malta in May 2020 but of course had to cancel because of COVID. Hoping to go there soon.

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. Bengen was also on Morningstar’s podcast the long view. After Morningstar called the 4% rule deal (they are at 3.2 or something like that because of high equity prices and low bond returns), I wanted him to challenge them on using future assumptions on something that obviously is a study of past returns. But they skipped over that part. It is interesting to note that Bengen thinks 4.8ish percent is safe if you have adequate diversification, but that personally his portfolio is something like 20/80. Because personal finance is personal. Also interesting to note that the inflation regime you retire into is huge but he has no way to predict it in advance. Good to know!

    • If you can keep earning money in retirement like Bengen, you can have a higher or lower safe withdrawal rate!

      I’m trying to make this as clear to my readers as possible. If you’re earning $400,000 a year from a blog, you can advocate a 10% or 0% SWR. It doesn’t matter if you’re spending less than $350,000 a year!

      But I have a feeling, most readers don’t realize that people who talk about retirement a lot make a lot of money off the subject.


      • People who talk about retirement a lot realize the SWR is a quaint little meme and not at all how people withdrawal money.

        And anyone making that much money off anything is not withdrawing anything! Bengen is just more evidence that personal finance is personal!


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