The Sunday Best (4/28/2019)

DDQ
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 Sunday Best

 

Look, Ma! I’m in the USA TODAY! And there’s a monkey on my back!!! Retire early: Can ordinary Americans find financial independence and stop work by 50?

 

If you would have told me a few years ago that my wife would snap a vacation photo of me and it would end up in both the print and online versions of a national publication, I would not have believed you. This blogging business has been a long, strange trip. Ben Carlson at a Wealth of Common Sense reflects on a similarly strange trip the stock market has taken over the last 7 or 8 months. What a Strange Round Trip It’s Been.

 

I always think it’s strange when investors profess a preference for dividend stocks, particularly when they’re high-income earners subjecting themselves to unnecessary tax drag. The White Coat Investor feels similarly. 5 Reasons to Avoid Focusing on Dividend Stocks.

Last week, I featured the story of a FI blogger going back to work. The Mad Money Monster is pushing back that dream before even arriving. From the sounds of it, eventual fatFIRE may be more her style. Why We Stopped Chasing Early Retirement For A Happier Life.

 

Doc G, the semi-retired internist and entrepreneur at DiverseFI, has realized that early retirement (or semi-retirement) creates a vacuum that yearns to be filled with different tasks, like… I don’t know… maybe vacuuming. How the good doctor fills The Early Retirement Vacuum.

 

Sam Dogen fills his vacuum with blogging and parenting, but he’s looking to take a big step back from blogging after ten years of Financial Samurai. He loves being a father, as he points out while Reflecting On Being A Stay At Home Dad For Two Years: Eight Takeaways.

 

Did Sam ever actually retire? Will I? These questions are surprisingly difficult to answer and worth exploring further, as Fritz from The Retirement Manifesto has done. Is the FIRE Community Full Of Hypocrites?

 

People who spend lots of money to look rich, but save very little, are another kind of hypocrite. There’s a term for this kind of behavior, and it goes way back to an early 20th Century cartoon series, as discovered by J.D. at Get Rich Slowly. Keeping up with the Joneses.

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If you’re looking to get off that hamster wheel and start saving some real money, Dr. Breathe Easy Finance has a list for you. You may be doing some of these, but I promise you haven’t done all of them. 101 Epic Ways To Save Money That You Haven’t Tried.

 

You know what didn’t make the list? Solar panels. Your Money Geek shares his experiences with ESI Money. Are Solar Panels Worth It?

 

I’ve benefitted from 3 or 4 of these, which helps explain how I reached FI by 40. The Top 5 Factors that Make Financial Independence Easier to Achieve.

 

Vitals Healthcare Marketing shared an important guest post, particularly for those of you who are business owners or in private practice. Your Personal Brand: Why Building Authority is Key to Your Success.

 

Yesterday’s Saturday Selection from WCI is, for better or worse, applicable to just about every physician, as we all tend to get a pretty late start. 8 Steps to Retire Comfortably Despite a Late Start.

 

Shrunk MD

 

A Harvard psychiatrist battling kidney cancer while juggling fatherhood and his career has done what anyone would do in that situation. He wrote a published a collection of editorial cartoons.

If that wasn’t your first thought, I can hardly blame you. I imagine the humor and creativity that goes into such an endeavor is therapeutic. Not as therapeutic as surgery and chemotherapy, but I’m pretty sure the good doctor has already had those.

100% of the royalties from the book are going to KCCure, which will not fix Kansas City, but will help fund Kidney Cancer research. If you’re in need of a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift, consider picking up Dr. Adam Philip Stern’s Shrunk MD: Vol. 1.

 

A Week of DIY

 

In about six weeks, we’ll be moving, and we’re going to be out of the country for nearly half of that time. That means we’re knee-deep in moving prep, so that it’s not a scramble when we get back from a combination of vacation and a surgical mission trip late in May.

The last two times we moved, it was for a new job of mine, and the employers picked up the tab for professional movers. This was both good and bad.

It was good as in we didn’t have to pay for it or do all that much. We went through some stuff and did some packing, but the hired help did the heavy lifting, both figuratively and literally.

It was bad in that we weren’t forced to deal with the impressive volume of stuff that we’ve accumulated over the years. You know it’s a problem when a box has two different moving inventory stickers on it and has been largely untouched for 10 years.

This time, we’re going through thing room by room, drawer by drawer, and box by box, deciding what to keep and what to take. I’ve written about how minimalism can be at odds with frugality (it’s hard to give away things that have monetary value), but when forced with the decision to continue to move, store and maintain the thing, I’ve gotten better at parting with stuff.

It also helps that we’re financially independent. I could make a few bucks selling some of these things, and I did do a round of eBay selling recently, but we’ve done a lot more loads to the Salvation Army. We also gave a trailer full of furniture to friends of ours, and in return, they’re letting us borrow that same trailer and they’ll help us load it up with our own stuff, too.

 

A DIY Fail

 

The other day, I set out to install a 7-way wiring harness and electronic brake controller in our Nissan Armada. Although it’s got great towing capacity, it did not come with a “towing package” capable of handling a bigger load like the trailer full or furniture or a travel trailer that we hope to pull some day soon.

I didn’t like the price quoted by a local dealer / installer, and after they reneged on a package deal for the install and an enclosed trailer I was ready to purchase, I said “the heck with it”* and researched what it would take to do it myself.

After spending pretty much an entire afternoon and evening on this project, I reached the point where I could do no more. I couldn’t locate either the reverse light wire in the back or the cold side brake control wire in the front, and I don’t have the right tools to test for power going to where it needs to be.

I’ve now got an appointment with the local Nissan dealer to finish the job.

I wouldn’t call it a total failure, though. I actually did a lot of the work. I ran a 10-gauge duplex wire from the back to the front of the vehicle, spliced the wire and ran several wires through a hole I created from the engine compartment to the cabin, installed a couple of circuit breakers, ran wires from the brake controller to the battery, and more.

I used butt connectors for the first time, which is fun to say, so I’m going to say it again. Butt connectors. I was also thoroughly impressed that these little powerhouses known as self-tapping screws could work their way into the thick steel frame of the vehicle. I got a little dirty and didn’t injure myself.

I would have liked to have ended the day with a finished job, but I learned a fair amount and probably saved some money in the long run. We’ll find out on Wednesday. I also learned that I need a better crimping tool if I’m going to do a job like this again. Which I probably will.

 

*not the actual language I used

 

 

Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

10 comments

  • VagabondMD

    Congrats on the USA Today mention and photo!

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  • Congratulations! Amazing to be featured on a publication like USA today. That is definitely reason to go out and buy as many copies as you can and frame them.

    Too bad on the towing harness DIY attempt. I once was quoted over $700 to repair the door pull in my Mercedes that had broken (poor design). I did a youtube search, got the part for $100 and did it probably in an hour or so. Felt pretty proud of myself.

  • Congratulations on your article! That is amazing and a reflection of how your message (and how you share it) resonates with so many of us! You deserve the spotlight!

    Good luck with the move. You might want to check out Marie Kondo’s Netflix special. I know her message has gotten a little cliche by now, but her approach is quite practical and the show is pretty entertaining. Not to mention she seems like the loveliest person ever. I watched the first 3 episodes only and it was enough to get started. I have never been so excited about folding clothes and how my drawers look! Lol

  • Thanks for the feature, PoF!

    Lisa

  • Great list of articles! I have a lot of reading to do.

    Good job at tackling the wiring for towing. I’m curious what the dealer says. Any independent shop?

    Around my area it would be a fortune since the dealer loves to over charge and sees when people are coming a mile away. We know friends who have traded in cars because they needed a headlight replaced or a small issue that was under warranty but the dealer made them FEEL it would be a bigger issue.

    My husband is great at wiring everything on vehicles and our house too. I’m amazed! He learned it all as a kid and it came naturally to him.

    In addition, we have done a lot of vehicle maintenance and repairs over the years and I have helped him with the cars including timing belts, head gasket replacement, oil changes, and more.

    Keep up the DIY! Wish we lived closer I’m sure my husband would have helped.

  • For some reason your Sunday Best posts seem to have fallen off my radar Pof! Well, no more!

    After reading this one, I realized how sorely I missed them! Lots of great stuff here!

    Keep it up! 🙂

  • EW

    POF — used to love your site, but there is now WAY to much advertising. Can you tone it down a bit?

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