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The Sunday Best (12/22/2019)

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


Retiring with a six-figure net worth sounds scary to most, including me, but not to Dr. Mo of Sustainable Medicine & Urgent Care Career. See what he has to say about Retiring on Less Than $1M.


We travel too much to have a lower-budget retirement (and travel as a family of four), but using travel rewards wisely certainly helps. The Budget Savvy Bride talks about low-cost travel for two in The Savvy Secret to Booking Your Dream Honeymoon for (Almost) Free.


Her plan does not involve starting an IV at 37,000 feet, a feat I’ve accomplished twice in the three in-flight medical emergencies I responded to over the years. Earning Free Travel the Hard Way (and How to Make it Much Easier).


I honeymooned in Alaska, and we plan to go back for our 20th anniversary, but in the meantime, Spain looks like a great destination. We’ll be there for two months starting in two weeks! We seem to be following in the footsteps of the Crispy Doc family who was there this last summer. I’ll be referring back to his Barcelona Highlights from his recent family getaway.


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


We travel a lot, but not as much as the now-retired general surgeon Dr. Cory S. Fawcett. His latest book, The Doctors Guide to Real Estate Investing for Busy Professionals is reviewed by Wealthy Doc. Real Estate Investing for Doctors.

This is book four in Dr. Fawcett’s Doctors Guide books. See my take on the first three:


In a followup to his recent post on the all-cash plan, Passive Income MD explains why it may behoove you to Use Leverage to Purchase Properties.


I didn’t realize until recently that these Opportunity Zone investment benefits would not be the same come January 1st. If you had significant capital gains from investments this year, it’s worth looking into your options to defer and reduce the tax impact. From EquityMultiple, Opportunity Zone Investing—Considerations for the End of 2019.


Real Estate is just one of many types of investments represented on the annually updated Callan table. The FI Physician looks at the last two decades of returns and guesses what might happen in the next one. Callan Periodic Table in the 2020’s: Two Decades in Review.


The White Coat Investor looked at the same data set and recently published his findings. 7 Things to Learn From the Periodic Table of Investment Returns.



The Minimal MD visited the local library and published her findings. Well, she didn’t just visit. She’s clearly a regular, highlighting 13 potential benefits, several of which I had never heard of. Want less clutter and debt? Love your library.


When you’re done showing your library some love, show some love to your parents. And then sit down for what can be a difficult discussion. Having the Financial Talk… With Your Parents.


Just don’t tell them you maybe kinda sorta joined a cult. It’s not like we’re the Branch Davidian! Joining a Cult: The Financial Independence Counterculture.


ESI Money has cultivated a growing list of millionaires and their habits. Cultivated. See what I did there?



Home Sweet Ho……ly Crap, That’s a Lot of Mail!


We were away for nine weeks. You’d swear it was nine months if you saw the pile of letters, catalogs, magazines and more that were waiting for us upon our return.

A kind friend picked up our mail periodically and collected it in a bag while we were away. When the bag was full, she started using a box. And then a bigger box when the smaller box was full.

At least 80% can be tossed aside, destined for the recycle bin. Given the time of year, a few percent of the pile consisted of Christmas cards and newsletters and those are always fun to read. I actually wrote one on the plane home, but we’ve run out of time to send it out. Whoops! Guess you’re getting an email this year, family and friends!

Most of what’s left after the junk mail and Happy Holiday wishes is either requesting a check or sending one to me. Although we sold some of it this year, we still have most of that lakefront investment property. The township treasurer sends a letter requesting a check for each of the seven remaining parcels twice a year.

We also owe property taxes on our new $90,000 home and our lake cabin. Those requests were waiting, as well. Fortunately, pretty much every other bill is on autopilot and autopay, including the utilities and credit cards.

Running an online business, there are some pleasant surprises in the mail. Instead of asking for checks, some companies actually send them to me! While I prefer electronic transfers over snail mail and paper checks, it’s tough to get upset over someone sending me money.

Next fall through spring, we plan to be gone for over six months. I expect our accumulated mail to be delivered by forklift on a pallet. How much fun will that be?


Safe Travels and Happy Holidays!


I’ll be on the road most of the day today. For those of you who are traveling this holiday season, I wish for clear roads, timely flights, tolerant children, and no lost luggage.

If you’re staying home to host a family gathering, may everything go according to plan, and when your in-law / uncle / second cousin thrice removed has a little too much egg nog, may he or she have nothing but kind words to say.

I hope you get the gifts you’re hoping for and the ones you give are well-received. If you haven’t finished shopping yet, get on that, already! Amazon’s one-day Prime Shipping has turned you into a lazy shadow your former self. 😉



Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

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11 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (12/22/2019)”

  1. Optoutprescreen.com is a great resource for eliminating unwanted credit card offers as well as offers from companies that have purchased your consumer data from the credit reporting agencies. My strong suggestion is to do the permanent snail mail method to eliminate these offers (junk mail/catalogs). It has the additional benefit of reducing the ability of bad guys getting you personal credit data. Over about six weeks it reduced my daily mail from 25-30 pieces to 2-3 items. Awesome. You may wish to contact your utilities to instruct them to not sell your personal information to others. Those physicians that have had their personal data stolen from CMS/Medicaire breeches may also reduce junk mail with the following great resource:
    https://inteltechniques.com/book2.html, it’s time consuming but has reduced and eliminated my risk as well as the added benefit of less junk mail.

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. Dear Physician On Fire,
    I received the BEST gift EVER! I am officially F.I.R.E.’ed this coming Friday, December 27th! Whoot Whoot! I have been following your blog since a little bit after the beginning and I can’t believe I am ~four months behind you. Since I announced my early retirement, there have been colleagues, staff, family members and close friends who are in disbelief, some who get it, some who stay quiet but unsuspecting to me, some have shocked me too (good and really bad). I think it’s because for the last 12 weeks since it’s been “public”, I’ve had REAL conversations with people about finance and what’s important in life. People have poured their hearts out, others who’ve basically cut me off and finally a chosen few who I’ve introduced F.I.R.E. or facilitated their “buy-in” to the movement. I really want to thank you for all you have taught me over the last few years. Since I started reading your blog (and I read A LOT of F.I.R.E. blogs); I donated a FAT check to my undergrad through a DAF, attended Chautauqua in Portugal where I met MY PEOPLE, and most importantly had the courage to shortened my F.I.R.E. date by ~6 or so years! I want you to know that there are real docs like me out there where your content has made all the difference! Kuddos to P.O.F.

    * Link to my “Last Day” PlayList – Hope it works!


  4. Have a Happy Holiday PoF! Hardly anyone sends paper checks anymore, but getting a check in the mail is still one of the best feelings in the world for me!

    I love it when it happens!

    Thanks for your Sunday Best!

    • I don’t love the paper checks, but it beats having 3% go to PayPal, which is more typical these days, at least in terms of business transactions.

      But hey, money is money!


  5. Here’s a tip from a travelling doctor: Have the person who is collecting your mail sort it when it comes in. They can tell what is junk and magazines. Then once a month have them put the good stuff in a little box and mail it to you somewhere in your travels. You can usually predict your location at points during the trip. This allows you to keep up with the good stuff and not worry about that stray bill you forgot to take care of before you left. Alternatively you can have them open the good stuff, scan it and email it to you so you can take care of it. Even easier is for them to take a picture of it with their phone and send the picture to you on messenger, email, or text. They could have some deposit slips to put check in the bank as well. Someone should also be checking on your house once a week to be sure nothing bad happens. Thanks for the mention.
    Safe travels and Merry Christmas,
    Dr. Cory S. Fawcett
    Prescription for Financial Success

  6. Happy holidays!

    Where in Spain will you be. In October we did a week in Costa Brava north of Barcelona. It’s now on the wife’s short list of places we’d do a second time. Enjoy the 7 dollar quality wine and 15 dollar for two meals out:)

  7. Longtime lurker here. I suggest, for your sanity and for the environment, using this web site to cancel/stop all those useless catalogs. You need to enter info from each catalog label, so it can take time depending on how many different ones you get, but it works great. We went from bags of unwanted catalogs each week to zero. It’s free.


    Susan Paradiso

    • I was just going to suggest this! That site has helped us cull the majority of the mailers we get when the company doesn’t make it easy to get us removed from their lists directly. We went away for the summer for a month and came back to a manageable pile.

      For when you go away for much longer, it’s important to tell companies that send checks to go with ACH or just hold them until the last month. Sometimes checks will say “invalid after 180 days” or some time period, might save you some headache if the companies issues those types of checks.


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