The Sunday Best (2/2/2020)

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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!



Sunday Best


The Sunday Best


Dr. David Draghinas, or, as I like to call him, Doctor Sunbound invited me back onto Doctors Unbound to chat about post-FIRE life nearly 6 months in. Retired in your 40’s: a physician’s story of Financial Independence & designing your best life. What does your best life look like?


Maybe your best life doesn’t involve retirement at all. Or maybe it’s retiring early-ish but at your own pace. Jessica of The Fioneers visits Wallet Hacks with an outstanding guest post. SlowFI: Write Your Own Script; Early Retirement Might Still Be Someone Else’s.


When you improve your net worth this much as a resident, I think early FI is all but guaranteed. A Resident Physician on FIRE: How One Doctor Grows His Net Worth in Residency.


Have you found a way system to outsmart those other schmucks investing blindly? Is data on your side? Mr. Tako looks at a number of strategies purported to outperform the markets. The Failure of Historical Data Advantages.


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Here’s a system for you. Just invest in stocks that continually increase their dividends year after year. The historical charts of these stocks’ performance is astounding! #survivorshipbias What about the stocks that have fallen off the list? Oh, nevermind those, fans will tell you. From Eric Parnell at Seeking Alpha, Requiem For Fallen Dividend Aristocrats. It’s not pretty.


International stocks, on average, have historically underperformed U.S. stocks. Some argue they have no place in your portfolio. Meb Faber disagrees, and offers substantial data to back his hypothesis. The Case for Global Investing.


Did you know that active duty military members’ annual fees are waived by most credit card issuers? You can save up to $550 a year with some sweet perks on credit cards like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, and Chase Sapphire Reserve card. ChooseFI details the Best Credit Cards for Active Duty Military.


Anyone with something that can be considered a business can get these two cards. One has no annual fee, the other’s is $95, and both have overly generous welcome bonuses, factors that help make them the best options out there for small business owners, as selected by CardRatings. Best business credit card winners: Ink Business Preferred vs. Ink Business Cash.


When we had to cancel one international trip and plan another for the next day, we were glad to have plenty of travel rewards miles and points saved up to make it both feasible and affordable. Two Months in Mexico: A Slow Travel Family FIRE Adventure.



Got a question about real estate investing? How about 19 of them? That’s how many The White Coat Investor answers in a detailed manner. Questions From Physician Real Estate Investors.


Our friends at Alpha Investing have started a podcast to answer more of your real estate investing questions. Their premiere episode discusses a popular topic among high-income investors. Considering a Syndicated Real Estate Investment Opportunity? What You Should Know.


You should know that you don’t have to spend a fortune to be happy and fulfilled, especially as a bachelor, a status that Mr. Money Mustache has reestablished. Exposed! Mr. Money Mustache’s 2019 Bachelor Spending!


When you invest to support your children’s higher education, is that saving or spending? You’re saving now to spend later. The Physician Philosopher highlights the topic in the latest Saturday Selection. How Should I Save for College? Plus a 529 Plan Hack.


Where to Park Cash


Every once in a while, it’s worth checking on the interest rates available at the various accounts readily available to me to park my cash. I’ve got a bit of an emergency fund, and now I’ll have to start making my own quarterly estimated tax payments, so I’ve got to keep a bit of cash on hand.

I have no interest in opening a new account. To me, it’s not worth the trouble to eke out an extra 10 basis points, but if I can move money from one account that I already have to another, it doesn’t take much of a difference for me to pull the trigger.

I’ve had an Ally Bank account for years. They offer solid interest rates, free paper checks, and easy online bill pay. I have no referral relationship with them, but I’m happy to recommend them, as they’ve served me well.

I’ve been investing with Vanguard even longer. Last year, I opened a Vanguard Treasury Money Market account with the $50,000 minimum. You only need that sum when you buy into it, but you don’t have to maintain that minimum initial investment.

For most, the interest will be state-income-tax free, and with Minnesota’s 9.85% marginal state income tax, that feature made it an attractive place for idle cash. I am now subject to Michigan’s 4.25% flat state income tax.

Finally, I could have a Betterment Cash Reserve account. The account offers excellent interest rates and the paired checking account comes with an ATM card that reimburses ATM fees worldwide (this is huge for us). I do have a referral relationship with them, but no longer have an account there because I can’t have both.

I honestly haven’t done this for months. VUSXX won out the last time I did this.


And the winner is…


I will very likely be in the 24% marginal federal income tax bracket this year, and I’ll pay 4.25% in state income tax.


At the moment, VUSXX is paying 1.52%. My after-tax return would be 1.52% x (1 – 0.24) = 1.16%.

Ally‘s APY interest in their savings account is 1.60%.  I have to account for state income tax so we’re looking at an after-tax return of 1.60% x (1 – 0.24 – 0.0425) =1.15%.

Finally, Betterment gives a 1.84% APY. The after-tax return will be 1.84% x (1 – 0.24 – 0.0425) = 1.32%.


For 16 or 17 basis points, I’ll gladly move my money to an account I’ve already got. The better place for my parked cash is Betterment. If you’re willing to open a new account, you might find a slightly better rate on our High Yield Savings Account page.

I often hear about even higher interest rates, but there’s usually a cumbersome catch. You have to make 10 debit card transactions per month to get the rate. The rate only applies to the first $15,000. The rate is good for the first year, after which it plummets to next to nothing. I don’t play those games.



1 Month. 105 Miles


I’m pretty sure I’ve run more in the last 31 days than at any other 31-day period in my life. I’m very happy with this fact and I’ll bet I’ve walked a similar number of miles in the last three and a half weeks.

I haven’t been in a car since we were dropped off at the Alpena airport on January 7th. The electric Tuk Tuk and tour guide I hired to show my parents and us around Valencia yesterday was the closest thing to an automobile I’ve set foot in here in Spain. It was more like a modified golf cart, though.

My half-marathon training chart had us up to 12 miles this weekend, two weeks before the Barcelona half marathon. Running 12 miles and not 13.11 seems like hiking 92% of the way to a lovely peak and turning around just before summitting.

I went the extra 1.11 mile.

I know I can run a half marathon now because I ran half a marathon yesterday, and it went very well! Bring on the real deal.


Valencia Half Marathon


There’s no way I could do all the things I enjoy doing and still train like I have if I was still working a traditional job in medicine. FIRE makes this possible.

I’ve been impressed and surprised by the progress I’ve made. The last time I ran with this regularity, I was hired by a hospital in South Dakota that wasn’t open yet. It was like a “mini-retirement” that lasted a few months and was glorious.

I was a bit faster and thinner then, but I’m only three minutes off from my top half marathon time back then when I was in my mid-thirties.

Here’s my training record from the last month. All of this was recorded by my Garmin Forerunner 110, the same GPS watch I was wearing 8 years ago in South Dakota (and in Michigan before that). These things last.


105 miles


Yes, I’m proud of my running, if that’s not painfully obvious. I was never a runner until my wife pushed me to start running in my early thirties.

She’s running just as much as I am, but with much shorter legs, which has got to make it tougher. I am very proud of her, as well, and it’s much easier to train when we’re in it together.



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.

11 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (2/2/2020)”

  1. Hi! Love your posts. Reading through the Betterment Everyday Checking there is a note at the bottom that says while Betterment doesn’t charge any fees, Visa charges 1% foreign transaction fees. Would you still recommend this? Here’s the note all the way down at

    “Checking accounts and the Betterment Visa Debit Card provided by and issued by nbkc bank, Overland Park, Kansas, Member FDIC. Funds deposited into Checking will be eligible for up to $250,000 of FDIC insurance. Betterment Everyday Checking made available through Betterment Financial LLC. Neither Betterment Financial LLC, nor any of their affiliates, is a bank. Betterment Financial LLC does not charge foreign transaction fees for the use of the Betterment Visa Debit Card outside of the United States. However, Visa charges a foreign transaction fee of 1%. Betterment Financial LLC does not reimburse this 1% transaction fee on foreign ATM transactions or on any other foreign transactions or purchases. Checking accounts do not earn APY (annual percentage yield). Betterment Everyday Cash Reserve and Betterment Everyday Checking are separate offerings and are not linked accounts.”

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  3. Really enjoy this weekly recap.

    One offering to consider to maximize interest rates is MaxMyInterest

    It is very easy to set up multiple banks with one common application. The service moves to $ each month to the highest interest among the banks you have set up (all FDIC insured) and the fees are nominal in the whole scheme of what they offer.

    I am currently getting 1.92, 1.91. 1.91 and 1.90 in the 4 banks I have $ in.

  4. Thanks for the mention PoF! That was a fun post to write!

    Great Sunday Best as always, I particularly liked the “Requiem For Fallen Dividend Aristocrats” post.

    I’ve often thought that focusing on dividends is like following the tails of tigers. Sure, tails are important, but if you’re only following tails you won’t see when a tiger is going to get hit by a bus. Or when the tiger is going to bite you…

    Follow the heads, not the tails. 😉

  5. Congrats on the run! You almost exactly doubled my mileage as I build back up from a frustrating 2018. Early retirement for the win on running!

    I’ve been struggling too on where to park cash, its so easy to stay within the brokerage account(s) but the signup bonus game is fun.

  6. I am not a runner, but I signed up to walk a 5k because I realized I do 3 miles ish on my weekly walk. Now I’m working on mixing in jogging for more and more of the time.
    Thanks for sharing your training progress. All the best for your 1/2 marathon!


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