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The Sunday Best (4/14/2019)

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!



the snow is back. 7 inches fell the other day.


The Sunday Best


You’re probably familiar with the 4% rule based on a presumably safe withdrawal rate. Paula Pant of Afford Anything came up with a different calculation using rental properties. Six Percent is the New Four Percent.

p.s. Join Paula, me and other like-minded folks this November in Ecuador!


The better the returns, the more you can spend. Makes sense, right? The Financial Samurai took a look at J.P. Morgan’s analysis of ten different asset classes over the last 20 years. How do you suppose real estate performed? What about gold? U.S. stocks? Prepare to be surprised by the Annualized Returns By Asset Class From 1999 — 2018.


If you read the first two articles, you know that real estate can offer some advantages. It can also be less-than-passive. Is crowdfunding the way to go? How do you evaluate your options? Passive Income MD shares Top Tips For Crowdfunding Due Diligence – An Interview With CrowdStreet


Perhaps we should focus less on the monetary return on investments and more on a different ROI. Life Outside the Maze explores The Best Happiness Return on Investment.


Along those lines, paying off a mortgage may not be the optimal use of money, but those of us who have done so seem to be pretty happy with that choice. The Chief Mom Officer explains why she made that choice and how she made it happen (in a one-income non-doctor household). We’re Debt Free.


Having no mortgage makes it easier to retire early. Should one be in a hurry to make that a possibility or not? ESI Money hosts Jillian of Montana Money Adventures in a guest post addressing that question with a palatable alternative. Are Several Mini-Retirements Better than One Full Retirement?


The E.R. physician from Big Family Small World has been on a “mini-retirement,” traveling the world with his big family for the better part of a year. Is he ready to make it one full retirement? Future plans revealed in The Prodigal Physician.


The Dragons on FIRE detail how they’re Preparing for Early Retirement while living with cancer. You’ll note they’ve been crossing items off their bucket list. Like this one: Easter Island — Hawaii 100 Years Ago.


Cancer is tough, and no one is immune. Crispy Doc learned of several devastating diagnoses of loved ones in the last week alone. His Rough Week had him ruminating on how he might live differently if he felt his days were numbered.


That’s a rough week, but others have it worse. We lose more than one physician per day to suicide in this nation. The Physician Philosopher asks Why Do Doctors Kill Themselves?


As I do each quarter, I shared all kinds of blog statistics along with the performance of The PoF Portfolio in 2019 Q1 PoF Portfolio & Blog Performance Update last week.


Not all index funds are created equal, and the wrong fund could cost you millions. Just Start Investing shows us The Long-Term Cost of Investing in the Wrong Index Fund.


Our most recent Saturday Selection demonstrated How to Design Your Personal Retirement Glide Path. Will you decrease your stock allocation in retirement? Or consider increasing? For many reasons, your optimal glide path is personal.


The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card


The Chase Sapphire Preferred is my top pick for your first rewards card. Welcome bonus of 80,000 points worth at least $1,000 when used to book travel (after a $4,000 spend in 3 mo) and other great perks you can learn abouthere.

Destination Unknown


We’re still working on figuring out our non-investment retirement glide path. That is, what exactly will our living situation be after I leave my job this summer?

We plan to spend at least half the year traveling, and we have a cozy place where we’ve been spending the majority of our time in the summers that could function as a home base.

We also have a whole lot of stuff. Furniture, drawers, the things that fill the drawers, the stuff we will want if we move to another house, but shouldn’t keep if we’re going to use our cabin as our launching pad.

There are pros and cons to either option. If we keep only our second home and make it our primary home, we’ve got two bedrooms and one bathroom and about 700 square feet of living space. The minimalists in us — or the 1% of me that might be part-minimalist — likes this idea. The practical me, not so much.

The costs of that plan are appealing. Altogether, between association dues, property taxes, and utilities, the place runs us maybe $4,000 a year. It’s pretty much maintenance free, and the grounds are taken care of for us.

The downsides include the obvious smallness and the fact that we’d have to get rid of or store most of our belongings for an indefinite period of time. We would have no place to keep a car or cars over the winter, and while we love the location, it’s not as close to my wife’s family as we’d like our home base to be.

So we’ve been house hunting. In the area that we’re looking, we could get a decent lake home for what we’re selling our current home for, but we’d definitely be downsizing. We could afford something grander, but there’s not much inventory in the 4 to 5 bedroom / 3 bathroom range, and something like that could be overkill for our needs, anyway. We’re pretty much shopping for a summer home that we might spend a few weeks at in the fall and winter, as well.

I made an impromptu trip east to check out some homes last week. We’re going back as scheduled to look again this week. It’s great to have options, but that means we have to make choices. It’s easy to take the simplicity of maintaining the status quo for granted. Facing the FIRE is like opening a menu with unlimited dining options.

Wish us luck as we page through the massive menu!


FIRE Made Simple


The Two Cents duo from PBS put together a slick video that portrays FIRE in a positive, easily understood light. A couple of our friends, namely Mr. Money Mustache and Montana Money Adventures (that’s a mouthful of M) are featured:


YouTube video





Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

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9 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (4/14/2019)”

  1. Thanks for the feature this week! Truly awesome to be in here.

    And best of luck with the home search! I have only searched for rentals so far, and usually go from extremely excited on the first two visits to extremely defeated by what seems like (and sometimes really is) the 30th visit… I hope you have luck early in the process!

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. DH and I have said this a lot lately (first world problems, mind you!) : “FIRE is difficult because you have endless options! How do you choose? It’s difficult to have so many options!” Like-we are not used to having so many possibilities open! What does one do? I guess try to put solid thinking into our decisions and hope we are making the right choices that won’t too mess up our kids years from now? Though, truth be told, our kids have amazing lives compare to our child hoods! (I type this on my iPhone next to a crackling fire in a hotel in down town London with my 8-year-old sitting next to me. Life is good with FIRE-both the literal and the figurative ;-)) Thanks for compiling your Sunday best – it’s always the highlight of my reading every week (& I read a lot of stuff, so that’s saying something! #StrongWork)

  4. I came to read the always awesome Sunday Best to find… I am in it!! Thanks Physician on Fire! Thanks also for tackling some heavy topics with cancer and suicide this week. These really have me thinking about my life and feeling grateful for the time we do have and the people in our lives. It only helps to let them know.

  5. Thanks for the feature today! It was a nice surprise to wake up to this morning.

    One of the reasons I want to retire early is to be able to travel to hard reach places like Easter Island and also be able to spend more time there.

    Living with cancer definitely makes health insurance in early retirement trickier, but I am determined to find a way to make it work.

    Good luck with the house hunting search!

  6. Another fabulous lineup.

    I hadn’t seen that PBS FIRE video so I’m glad you included that. They mentioned that one criticism of the current FIRE movement is it consists of high-income people “like physicians.” I believe that was a reference to you, good sir! You have made such a huge impact in a few short years.

    I look forward to following along on your next adventures once you set down your Tuohy needle.

  7. I have some apartments in Grand Rapids I’d be willing to rent to you…you’d need a background check first, of course, I can’t be renting to just anyone with no job. 😉


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