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The Sunday Best (3/10/2019)

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:


The FIRE is spreading to the backtable. Time to grab the extinguisher and pull, aim, squeeze, and sweep? Nah. It’s just me and Dr. Chris Beck talking financial independence on the podcast for interventional radiologists. Episode 38: Financial Independence for Physicians.


I tend to speak of FI as a multiple of your annual expenses, but Passive Income MD understandably approaches it differently. How To Figure Out Your Financial Freedom Number (and What To Do Next).


However you like to do the math, pursuing FI / FF is truly worthwhile. From Costa Rica FIRE, FIRE Is A Useful Career Planning Tool Whether It Is A Fad, Paradox, Or Here To Stay.


I booked a stay in Costa Rica just the other day. I’ve heard Jacó is a fun place to visit, but the description of my Airbnb gave me pause.


No Hookers airbnb
when you let robert kraft rent your airbnb


How many times does a host have to deal with a particular issue before posting a rule in ALL CAPS? I hesitated to book the place, but when I saw the weekly price on the three-bedroom condo, I was hooked!

Better still, I discovered the Chase Offers feature available only on their mobile app, and I saved an additional 15% (or over $75) off this Airbnb stay by activating that particular offer for my Chase card (YMMV). If you’ve never booked on Airbnb, you can get $40 off your first stay via this PoF referral link. Just be sure to follow the house rules!


I’m a big fan of traveling the world, but I’ve never had to travel quite like this guy. From The Saver and Spender, When Traveling the World is Hard.


Travel is especially hard when you have no money, especially if you’re going to Disney World. Yes, many of us will have a mix of assets and debts. Debt Free Happens ponders what to do in such a situation. Should You Go to Disney or Pay off Debt?


Travel is especially hard when you have no time. Before taking my family to Disney, I cut back. Crispy Doc has a series on docs like him and me who are now more free.


This is a heartbreaking update from That Frugal Pharmacist. She has cut back, too, out of necessity. She almost wishes she was the one afflicted. When Cancer Hits, Life Comes First.


Doc G from DiverseFI ponders what comes next after financial independence while discussing the “achievement treadmill.” Deep thoughts in Confronting Inner Demons.


The Sunday Best has taken on a serious and somber tone, but those posts are well worth your time. So are these two in the latest update to Big ERN’s famed SWR series. Like him, I’m not a fan of dividend-focused investing, and another good reason not to be is demonstrated in detail at Early Retirement Now.


Ether to FI’s most recent update was well received. How impressive that he and his family have a net worth approaching a level that about 40% of all physicians have yet to achieve. And he’s only about 20 months into his career. Ether to FI: “I hate it. I hate it. I hate it!” Learning from Those You Disagree With & a Net Worth Update


The Mad Fientist’s deep voice was one of the first that introduced me to these financial independence concepts. It has an honor to have him on the blog the other day for a written interview. Christopher Guest Post: Mad Fientist.


How bad is your FOMO? Passive Income MD shared the cure in the latest Saturday Selection. How to Avoid FOMO When Investing.



Avoiding Capital Gains Taxes


It used to be that the best way to avoid capital gains taxes on assets with substantial gains was to donate, die, or have low, low taxable income. I once wrote a post on the Top 5 Ways to Pay No Tax on Capital Gains & Dividends, but now there’s a sixth option.

Opportunity Zone investing offers a path that may be more palatable than some of those others. When you sell an asset with gains and reinvest that money into an “opportunity zone” project or fund, the capital gains are deferred. Remain invested for 7 years and the deferred tax is reduced 15%, and after 10 years, the tax due is forgiven.

It’s a bit like PSLF for real estate investors. Invest in a developing area (versus work for a non-profit) and the government rewards such behavior that presumably benefits our society.

EquityMultiple will be offering their first Opportunity Zone Fund in the coming days, and they created a video explaining more. They have an article explaining the tax benefits of opportunity zone investing, as well.

Again, these make the most sense if you have taxable investments outside of retirement accounts with significant unrealized gains. Since I’ve been flushing out my best-performing lots to our donor advised fund over the last five years, I don’t have all that much in the way of unrealized gains, so I won’t be investing in these anytime soon.

If you were lucky enough to have picked up a FAANG stock or other hot performer some time ago, this could be a good way for you to lock in those gains and potentially eliminate the taxes on them.


Join us in Honduras? A Call for Nurses


Our upcoming Costa Rica trip is paired with a medical mission trip to Honduras in a wonderful, safe setting. We made it a family trip last year (you can read all about it) and we’ll be back from May 11th to May 18th of this year.

We’ve got a full complement of surgeons on board and all the anesthesia spots are filled, but we’re looking for preop, PACU, and OR circulating nurses to help us out. There’s also a need for someone with sterile processing experience.

If you have any interest, or you know someone who might, please follow up with One World Surgery. I hope to see you there!


An Updated Credit Card Tracking Spreadsheet


As I do every couple of months or so, I’ve updated the master spreadsheet I’ve created that helps you track the cards you have and has up-to-date info on welcome bonuses, minimum spending requirements, card perks, and more.

Download yours with your email below. If you’re already a subscriber, you won’t be double-subscribed. And if you don’t want to subscribe, just download it and unsubscribe right away.

You’ll get a sheet that looks like the one below, plus a separate tab with business credit cards, and a third tab that’s a blank slate so you can copy and paste info from the first two as you add to your collection of rewarding cards.



Download your sheet and start tracking your cards and their benefits, and start planning your next subsidized vacation today!



Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

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15 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (3/10/2019)”

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  9. Opportunity zone investing definitely has come into my radar lately (Millionaire Doc actually first brought it to my attention on a post he did).

    It does seem that there are a ton of tax advantages to it making it appealing. My only concern is that obviously this is being done by the government to incentivize development there. Which makes me question is there a worrisome backstory to why this land needs to be heavily incentivized for people to even consider developing there? It’s like seeing a $5 Rolex on Time Square, you have to give pause to figure out if something is off to get price/incentive like that.

  10. Grateful for your kind attention to the series, PoF. Your picks have become my equivalent of the Sunday Times experience: I brew a strong espresso and spread them out over the virtual kitchen table to savor.

    Was thinking of you as I sent a patient in complete heart block to the cath lab on my last shift. The young EP cardiologist who came down to accept the patient gave me a knowing wink and said, “By the way, I enjoy your blog. And don’t worry, I won’t blow your cover.” Never had that happen before in my anonymous little backwater.



    • Very interesting. Did you get a chance to find out how he knows? I suppose you’ve shared enough detail to make it clear to someone who knows you, but the first time it happened to me, I was pretty freaked out.


      • “Pretty freaked out” captures my sentiment nicely.

        I plan to further interrogate him (a little EP humor!) the next time we do not actively share a patient whose age is three times his heart rate.

        Perhaps an inevitable milestone in every anonymous bloggers’ life, but it still left me shaken.

    • Based on experience or the “no hookers” line? If we had to stay away from every place that didn’t allow “the oldest” profession, there wouldn’t be many places to go!

      We’re also going to spend time with friends closer to the mountains, but we also wanted our kids to have some pool and beach time. Jacó has both plus national parks nearby. And a brewery. 🙂

      When we have more time to travel, we plan to spend time in less touristy places, but with just a week, I think this will work.


  11. Good round up, POF.

    I love the Docs who Cut Back series by Crispy Doc and the SWR series by Big ERN. (I guess I am a sucker for series of posts).

    Now, I’ll have to go check out the others.


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