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The Sunday Best (4/08/2018)

The Sunday Best

The Sunday Best
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:


I’ve recorded another podcast, discussing careers, financial independence, and beer with Dr. Tarang Patel of Doctor Money Matters. Line this one up for your Monday commute! Episode 24. Physician on Fire, MD — Achieving Financial Independence.


Speaking of achieving FI, the man behind Canadian Dream Free at 45 has done so and FIREd last year. An update: Life After FIRE, Six Months In.


Another northerner reflects on his life after retiring two years ago just shy of his 50th birthday. From the still-frozen tundra of Minnesota, Mr. Firestation shares FIRE Second Anniversary – ‘Kidult-hood’ Revisited.


Bob Clyatt, author of Work Less, Live More: The Way to Semi-Retirement, has been semi-retired as a sculptor for a decade and a half. J.D. Roth features his story in a guest post at Get Rich SlowlyFifteen years of semi-retirement: A real-life look at what it’s like to live more and work less.


The Doc of All Tradez is quite literally following in my footsteps. The now part-time anesthesiologist and part-time blogger recently spent a chunk of time in Hawaii. Sound familiar? His Part-Time Medical Career Update from Hawaii.


With the volatility in the stock market in recent months, it’s easy to be fearful of these historically high valuations. Crispy Doc explores if our trepidation is rational in CAPE Fear.


Cyclically Adjusted Price to Earnings ratio isn’t the only thing an investor should fear. There’s also inflation and it comes in different varieties. The Actuary on FIRE asks, What’s Your Personal Inflation Rate? — Inflation Risk for Retirees Part 3.


Big ERN wants to alleviate your fears by giving you tools to combat the enemy. From Early Retirement Now, Inflation Risk for Early Retirees — Part 4: Hedging.


When trying to optimize your financial life, remember that sometimes Perfect is the Enemy of the Good. We are reminded of this by Full Time Finance as he shares how good enough works in a variety of ways.


A 14-month maternity leave? Dr. McFrugal‘s wife is taking an extended break from her day job and she has earned every day of it and then some. Channeling his inner Jay-Z, the good doctor tells us She’s A Hustler Baby, And I Want You To Know (That She’s Leaving Work).


Join us in Honduras?


I made the same request in my Facebook groups (Physicians on FIRE for MD & DO medical doctors & fatFIRE for all comers) and I’d like to share it here, as well.

My family and I are going to be helping out on a surgical medical mission in Honduras with One World Surgery on the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos compound. Families are encouraged to join and housing is provided on-site.

We are looking for any preop or PACU nurses, OR circulator, anesthesiologist or CRNA available to join us May 5 – 12. One World Surgery can offer a partial flight scholarship.

Contact Maria @ medicalmissions@oneworldsurgery.org for details.



This will be the third big family trip since I went part-time last fall. Flying a family of four around the world can get to be expensive, but we haven’t paid anything but taxes on any of the dozen flights we booked to get to Guanajuato, Hawaii, or Honduras.

We’ve booked our flights using travel reward miles, largely from bonus points and miles earned on introductory offers on new credit cards. On these three trips alone, we’ve saved close to $10,000 by spending rewards instead of cash.

Chase now has a great business card with no annual fee that offers 50,000 points worth $500 by meeting the minimum spend of $3,000 total in the first three months. If you have a different premium Chase card, those points can be transferred to Ultimate Rewards points, which can be used on a number of travel partner programs like Southwest, United, Hyatt, and many more for a value significantly better than the cash value. Click to learn more about this card.

If you don’t mind a $95 annual fee, they offer a Preferred business card with 80,000 Ultimate Reward points awarded after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Click to learn more about this card.


If you do choose to pursue one of these cards via my links, this site is rewarded with a referral fee, and I donate half my profits, so please keep this site in mind any time you’re considering a new credit card. And please don’t use a credit card if you can’t afford to pay your balance in full each month.



Have a most excellent week!

-Physician on FIRE

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17 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (4/08/2018)”

  1. okay thanks for the explanation. I’m impressed you were able to get round-trip tickets to Honduras for 25000 AA points. Last time I tried to book a domestic round-trip ticket on American I had a hard time getting the flight for 25000 points. Obviously with the American Airlines system you can stretch your AA points further if you are able to travel on the flights that cost fewer points…and I think that was true last time I tried I redeemed a rewards ticket on Delta. But I’m probably stupidly getting a penny per point redeemed.

    wasn’t aware of the ability to convert Chase UR points directly into airline points. I’ll have to check that out.

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  3. you say you saved nearly $10000 using rewards credit cards on the three trips you discussed. the points on the chase card you feature are worth $500. Have you churned through 20 of these various rewards cards over the past year to get this much value from these cards?

    • 20 cards, no.

      The trip we take this upcoming Friday is on American Airlines. A couple of the Citi cards featured give you 60,000 or 70,000 points at the moment when you meet the minimum spend.

      If both you and your spouse obtain these cards and meet the minimum spending requirements (do not get a companion card, but each of you apply separately), you’ve got 260,000 points.

      The trip my family is taking to Honduras this Friday cost 25,000 Aadvantage points each for a round-trip ticket. With cash, it was $800 apiece. So with 100,000 points, we saved over $3,000. The costs in terms of miles and points to get to Hawaii and Guanajuato were similar.

      Long story short, if you’re only getting a penny per point redeemed, you’re getting a terrible conversion rate. With the Chase cards, depending on the card you use, you can book directly on the Chase UR site with points for 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point, but you can often get far more value from converting those points to Southwest, United, or other travel partners. I’ve heard of crazy first-class redemptions at around 20 cents per point.


  4. A couple of really good posts in this Sunday Best! Thanks PoF. I’m looking forward to reading that Bob Clyatt interview!

    Enjoy Honduras!

  5. On way back from our cruise to Honduras. Certainly a fun place. If your there for a bit stock up on Malarone, bug repellent, and sun tan lotion. We really enjoyed it., despite the list above. Thanks much for adding our post.

  6. I love hearing post-FIRE reflections. As the movement (as far as being labeled), is still quite new, there aren’t a ton of people yet who are writing from the “other side.”

  7. You didn’t just describe 14 months at home as the primary caregiver to a new infant as “an extended break”, did you?

    • “from her day job” was implied by maternity leave, but I can see how that could be misconstrued. I’ll add those words to make it explicitly clear. We’ve raised a couple babies ourselves. My wife worked harder than I did those years.


  8. Honduras is coming up fast! You guys are going to have a great time. I loved it there! It wasn’t the most lavish of the trips that I went on, we’re talking bat/scorpions/tarantulas in our bedrooms, no running water, inconsistent air conditioning (which in 95+ degree weather is a big deal), riding in the back of pick up trucks over dusty, bumpy dirt roads taking an hour to reach the clinic, to name a few. But the experience was worth it and I’d do it all over again! Honduras has a bad rap, but in my eyes it is a really cool and interesting country. So excited for you and your family!

    • “we’re talking bat/scorpions/tarantulas in our bedrooms, no running water, inconsistent air conditioning (which in 95+ degree weather is a big deal), riding in the back of pick up trucks over dusty, bumpy dirt roads taking an hour to reach the clinic”

      I wonder if it’s too late to cancel 😉

      I know the surgery center is a 10 to 15 minute walk across campus to the housing, which looks quite clean and comfortable. The anesthesia machine and monitors look identical to some I used in residency.

      I’m not sure about the bats and scorpions. And please don’t tell my wife about the tartantulas.

      Also, good for you — I can’t imagine there’ s any substitute for doing that kind of work.


  9. Another great round up, it’s really great to see Dr. McFrugal on this list, I’ve been enjoying his stuff lately as well.

    The Honduras trip sounds really cool, what a great way to expose your kids to the world and highlight how fortunate we are while modeling the importance of giving back!

  10. Thanks for the shout-out to my Second Anniversary post, PoF! A trip to sunny Honduras sure sounds good right now!

    • We’re wishing we had scheduled it for a week earlier. Foolishly, we didn’t want to miss out on so much “Spring.”

      So much for Spring, right?

      And happy LEGOing!

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  12. Thanks so much for the link to Bob Clyatt’s interview. I enjoyed it and will definitely be checking out his book. Love your Sunday suggestions by the way!

    • I read Bob’s book shortly after realizing I could FIRE and before I started this site. His writing is insightful, and it was perfect timing for me when I discovered it in our local library.



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