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The Sunday Best (2/9/2020)

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


Instead of asking how to pay for college or how much to save for your children’s higher education, maybe you should ask whether or not you should pay anything at all. No, this has nothing to do with any political proposals. From His and Her FI, I went to college for free at 15. Your kids can too. [if they’ve got the brains, that is]


We’re doing our best to give our kids a thorough education as we show them the world. My lovely wife returns with her second guest post to answer a question we’re commonly asked. Worldschooling: How Our Children are Educated as We Travel.


We’re also giving our kids a financial education, something some people don’t receive until a few decades later. Educator FI shares their story at Camp FIRE Finance. Clueless at 40 to Financially Independent by 50.


Black Tee Money had this FI thing figured out well before 40. How’s the FIREd life going thus far? Our First Year On FIRE – Budget and Net Worth Results After The First Year of Early Retirement.



Physicians and pharmacists, Register with Incrowd for the opportunity to earn easy money with quick "microsurveys" tailored to your specialty.


Dr. Cory S. Fawcett of Financial Success MD has been making smart financial decisions for decades. In his mid-fifties, he made the decision to leave surgery and the O.R. in his motorhome’s rearview mirror. Does he miss wielding the scalpel? Three Years Retired from Surgery and All’s Well with my FIRE Life.


Not to be outdone, the Leisure Freak celebrates 10 years of early retirement with a guide to avoiding FIRE’s potential pitfalls. How to Avoid Early Retirement BackFIRE.


I’m not too concerned about my early retirement backfiring. Should we be concerned about the not-so-early retirees as they start drawing down their portfolios en masse? Ben Carlson injects A Wealth of Common Sense into the conversation. Will Retiring Baby Boomers Crash the Stock Market?


Speaking of stock markets crashing, Japan’s 225 Nikkei index now sits at 40% below its 1989 peak. That’s over 30 years with a negative return. What went wrong and could it happen to U.S. investors? John Lim gives us a Crash Course at the Humble Dollar.


Got more retirement questions? Fritz Gilbert, the author of the Retirement Manifesto, is your guy. 10 Most Common Retirement Questions…Answered!



Want to supplement your retirement income? Become an Airbnb host and you could see some nice cash flow. I was surprised at how little capital it took to get this side gig going. How to Generate Over $5,000 Per Month With One Airbnb Property.


If you’d like to invest in real estate in a more passive manner, you may be interested in crowdfunded opportunities, syndicated deals, or real estate funds. Passive Income MD shares 3 Important Things to Know About a Sponsor Before Investing.


While you’re keeping things simple, set up some easy automations to improve your bottom line. Paying Yourself First – 6 Ways to Automate Your Financial Life from The Physician Philosopher.


Some things are best kept difficult. Like letting others take your money, for example. The FI Physician outlines Asset Protection for Physicians Through the Life Stages. Be sure to cover your assets!



Seven Days to the Barcelona Half Marathon


Are you as tired of hearing about this as I’m tired of training for it?

I knew it!

Actually, it’s been great and it feels odd to go more than a day or two without running. Or at least I think it would, but I wouldn’t know. I’ve been at this three or four times a week since late last year.

I am taking this week off, though. I’ve had some nagging and increasing medial right knee pain. It goes away after I’ve run a couple of miles, but it’s with me most of the non-running days, especially the day after.

I’ve also got some new left foot pain, which my truly brilliant wife hypothesized is likely due to some compensation I’ve made to accommodate the pain on the right.

Anyway, I plan on doing plenty of walking as we continue to explore beautiful Barcelona, but I plan on no actual running until the actual event one week from today.

I actually had a good week on the pavement, despite a little bit of pain here and there. The 5k, in particular, made me happy. I was a younger, even skinnier man the only time I’ve run faster than that.




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


Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE


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18 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (2/9/2020)”

    • Our kids wrote essays on it and we watched videos.

      While it looks exhilarating, I’m not enthralled with the idea of putting myself at risk of being gored.


  1. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  2. Oh yeah, and enjoy Barcelona! It’s one of my favorite cities. I’m going back with the baby, family, and extended family. We’re taking 20 of my family members on a western Mediterranean cruise that sets sail from Barcelona. Can’t wait.

    Actually, there is a Hilton semi-close to the Paris hotel. The Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas is a Hilton hotel and it’s just across the street from Las Vegas Boulevard. I’m staying there with my family. And I convinced Vi and his family to book a stay there too. It’l be fun! Looking forward to seeing you at WCI Con in a month. 🙂

  3. Hey PoF! The Hilton Aspire card does have a hefty annual fee of $450. But the $250 resort credit, $250 airline fee credit, and free night certificate (to any hilton including Conrad and Waldorf Astoria) make this card worth it. It pays for the annual fee and more. Here’s my experience with the card.

    • Yeah, the value just isn’t there for me.

      I’m usually spending nothing on airline fees — generally don’t check a bag but might if we’re flying Delta since I have a Gold card that covers checked bags. But even then, it’s not usually worth the hassle. We’re in Spain for two months with carry-ons and we could travel lighter.

      We’re not resort types, either, and with just 230 places to use that Hilton resort credit in the world, I don’t see that happening most years. Maybe if they gave a $250 credit towards any of their properties, I’d be more interested.

      I get the same free night with the Surpass card when I spend $15k on the card, too, and I’ve now got the Diamond status, as well, from the $40k spend. We’ll see how much I enjoy the added perks. I have intentionally booked Hilton properties for three conference trips this year (after WCICon in Vegas, St. Louis for Financial Freedom Summit, and FinCon in San Diego).

      Glad it’s working well for you and yours, though! Maybe I’ll switch at some point, but right now, the CSR is my only premium card.


      • Ah, I see. All that definitely makes sense. It’s definitely hard to use those credits with your current life situation and travel style. The easiest way to try to redeem the airline fee credit is for fares under $100. One potential easy way is to take short, cheap flights with Southwest, maybe Minneapolis to St. Louis for example. But you’re right, it might be more hassle for what it’s worth.

        I was wondering why you put $40k spending on a card like the Hilton Surpass. I know you’ll earn a free night certificate and Diamond status. But other than that, the earning rate isn’t super. Running the numbers, do you think it’s worth the opportunity cost of not putting all that spending on a straight 2% cash back card (or equivalent) in which you could have had $800 cash to spend on anything you wanted? I’m genuinely curious about your rationale analysis :).


        • That is a neat trick with the cheap flights counting as “fees.”

          The Points Guy considers Hilton points to be worth 0.5 cents, so the 3 points per dollar is 1.5% back. It’s double at restaurants and quadruple at Hilton (plus the additional bonus points from being a HH member). Tack on the value of Diamond status (somewhere in the hundreds) and the free hotel weekend night (low to mid hundreds), and it seems like a pretty good deal. 2% cash back would be simpler, but not necessarily more valuable.

          All that said, I’ve done more analysis in hindsight than beforehand — I just figured I’d use the card to get the diamond status and see what all the fuss is about. Last year, I paid ~$600 to be upgraded to a 1000 sq ft suite at the Washington Hilton for FinCon. With Diamond status, that may have been a free upgrade.


        • I guess it makes sense. But I just couldn’t see you spending a majority of that $40k on restaurants and Hilton hotels to fully maximize those bonus categories. It would make more sense to put restaurant and hotel spend on your Chase Sapphire Reserve card since TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents per dollar which would earn an effective 6% back in these categories with the 3x bonus multiplier. This is better than the Hilton Surpass. Even at Hilton hotels since 6% back as Ultimate Rewards points is fare more flexible and valuable than 6% back as Hilton Honors points. You would also come out ahead with non-bonused spending too using the Reserve card since you’ll earn an effective 2% back (considering TPG’s valuation) versus 1.5% back on the Hilton card. There are a few other cards you would get even more value from un-bonused spend such as the Freedom Unlimited (1.5x back in UR points), Amex Blue biz Plus (2x back in MR points), and Citi Double Cash (2x back in TY points); all points that are more valuable than Hilton honors points.

          I hope you get a lot of value from Hilton Diamond status. In my experience, it’s not a whole lot better than Gold status and definitely not spending $40k on a single card for. Free suite upgrades are only given on check-in and are based on availability. I highly doubt you would have been given a free suite upgrade at the Washington Hilton. I’m Hilton Diamond status and I tried… but I was only given a room with a higher floor and a preferred view, but now suite.

          Did you pay for your upgrade upon checking in or beforehand?

  4. Hi PoF!
    I’m glad you enjoyed my recent post on HumbleDollar.
    Looking forward to next month’s WCI conf in Vegas. Should be lots of fun.
    Keep up the great work!

  5. Great Sunday Best as always PoF! I always enjoy the articles you curate for us. In particular, my favorite had to be “Crash Course” this week.

    A crash like the Nikkei had in 1989 could totally happen here. The potential definitely exists, which is why I tend to be a more cautious investor than most.

    Cheers and enjoy Barcelona!

  6. The AMEX Aspire gives you Hilton Diamond without any spend minimums and also offers a wide range of additional benefits that are likely worth it in your travelling adventures!

    • That’s one of the premium cards I was referring to. The Bonvoy Brilliant would be another.

      We’ve already got the Chase Sapphire Reserve with a hefty annual fee — I can’t see us ponying up for multiple premium cards at this point. Maybe when we’re empty nesters using hotels more often. Now, it’s mainly Airbnb, but I’ve got a couple of conferences I’ll be attending where I’ll be staying at Hilton properties in 2020.


  7. All the best for your half marathon. Barcelona is a beautiful city and I plan to visit Spain again later this year.

    • Such a great place to wander. The streets and alleyways in the Old Town are fun and full of surprises. My parents have enjoyed their time with us here, and tomorrow we visit Parc Guell and La Sagrada Familia!



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