The Sunday Best (5/19/2019)

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 Sunday Best


A couple of my FI-minded physician friends had a great discussion, talking about B.C. Krygowski‘s plans to move to Medellin with her family for the summer, among other things. Have a listen to the Hippocratic Hustle to eavesdrop on their conversation about Growing Wealth and Happiness with B.C. Krygowski, M.D.


One way B.C. Krygowski has learned to grow her wealth is by adhering to the teachings of The White Coat Investor. She recently reviewed his new book, discussing both the pros and the cons. Financial Boot Camp, by WCI: A Book Review.


Meanwhile, The White Coat Investor wrote a book review written by the newest member of the WCI Network. The Physician Philosopher’s Guide to Personal Finance – A Review.


While I’d love to complete the circle by featuring a book review from The Physician Philosopher of one of B.C. Krygowski’s books — that will have to wait, but she is working on one as you would know if you listened to the podcast that kicked off the show today. Instead, we’ll go with one of his latest posts. Money and Burnout: Taking the Road Less Traveled.


Many high-income professionals want to take the fast road to riches. Real estate sounds promising, but there are so many ways one can go wrong, notes Passive Income MD. 5 Mistakes Real Estate Investor Newbies Make (and, yes, he made some of them himself).


Do you know what works even better than real estate or any other investment when it ccomes to building wealth? Debt Ascent does. It’s simply a matter of growing the great divide, the Income vs. Spending Divide.


Maple syruping season is pretty much wrapped up by now, so our Canadian friends are paying attention to their portfolios once again. From the Loonie Doctor, When to Rebalance an Investment Portfolio. It’s a pretty sweet (pun intended) how-to guide from way up north.


I recently made a move to rebalance my portfolio that consists mostly of Vanguard mutual funds. They’re just as tax-efficient as the ETFs, despite what people might tell you. Bloomberg explains how Vanguard Patented a Way to Avoid Taxes on Mutual Funds.


I once lamented that We Were Promised Death Panels (and didn’t exactly get them). If we had, horrific situations like the one depicted at KevinMD might be more easily avoided. The Family Said: Do Everything.



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It’s situations like the one above that make it difficult to love the job that I’ve got, especially when surgery is “needed.” I’ll be retiring soon from a job I mostly like, but do not love. The voice behind The Best Chapter loved her job(s), but didn’t hesitate to move on. Why Retire From a Job You Love?


A while back, I was interviewed by a big personal finance site, but most of the material didn’t make the final post. Since I put some serious time and effort into it, I decided to share the full Q&A with you all. It may seem lazy, but I’ve been really busy volunteering in Honduras for the last week, so back off! Plus, it’s actually a great post. Stealth Wealth and Financial Independence: A Q&A with PoF. Read the whole post to find out where the finished article was published and read that version, too!


Michael Norton has made a habit of failing forward. He describes what he’s learned from his failures in 6 Lessons I Learned from Failed Business Attempts.


Investing can be as complicated or as simple as you choose to make it. The White Coat Investor prefers simplicity, and who wouldn’t? 12 Ways to Simplify Your Taxable Brokerage Account.


Six Figure Debt to Six Figure Net Worth


If you’re a physician and you’ve got six-figure debt, congratulations. You’re normal!

What you’d rather have is a six-figure net worth. Of course, it’s possible to have both, but I, for one, have found it wonderful to have zero debt, including mortgage debt.

How do you get from point A to point B?

I do my best to share tidbits here and there, but have not put it all together in one tidy package. My friend Travis Hornsby, a.k.a. The Student Loan Planner, a former Vanguard Bond Trader and husband to a urologist, has created a comprehensive course to get you from six figures in the red to six figures in the black.

Six Figure Debt to Six Figure Net Worth is the first course specifically designed to teach borrowers with $50,000 to $1,000,000 of student loan debt how to invest.

Here’s what included when you enroll in his course:

  • Lifetime access to its contents and future updates
  • 25 lessons designed to empower you to manage your own money (and save tens of thousands in fees)
  • 8 bonus lessons about topics such as real estate and owning your own business
  • 2 never before seen spreadsheets designed exclusively for users of this course
  • Confidence that you’ll be financially independent sooner than you ever dreamed possible after finishing it
  • Clear rules about investing for tax bombs, PSLF side account management, and early payoff vs investing discussions that are worth the price of the course alone.

Personally, I am not the target audience for such a course and have not taken it myself, but I know Travis quite well, and he is a very sharp man. He also had help from his brothers in producing the course, and he backs it up with a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. The course opened earlier this week and will remain open for enrollment until Tuesday night (in two days).

At less than half the price of WCI’s Fire Your Financial Advisor, this might be the course you’ve been waiting for, particularly if you’re buried in student loan debt.

Preview the curriculum and take the first step towards financial freedom with one click here.


Check out the Course

[If you do follow through and enroll in the course, this site will be compensated, and you will be supporting our charitable mission. Thank you!]


Adios, Honduras!


My family and I enjoyed another wonderful week in Honduras, volunteering with One World Surgery at NPH Honduras to give care to people who have nowhere else to turn.

Honduras actually has national healthcare, but if you can’t afford the supplies you need to have the surgery, it’s not going to happen. You literally have to pay directly for the suture, plate, rod, local anesthetic, etc… and many in this impoverished nation cannot afford the cost.

At One World Surgery, triage is done via a combination of medical urgency and ability to pay. When patients are seen in clinic and require surgery, they will be scheduled according to those criteria and occasionally others enter the picture.

For example, one patient with a leg that had been broken four months earlier traveled for two days to reach us. He lives in an area known as La Mosquitia that required a journey to us via both river and road. It’s best known for undiscovered tribes as depicted in The Lost City of the Monkey God.

Although the daily schedule is designed with the goal of finishing by about 4 p.m. in mind, that was a case that we added on to the end of the schedule, and we were able to accommodate the patient with a tibial rodding and an overnight stay before he began the long journey home.


one world surgery
Dr. Merlin Antunez (who grew up right there at NPH Honduras) and Dr. Andrew Swentik, trauma fellow.


We had a great crew once again, and I am grateful for all of them, but especially the anesthesiologists who learned about the opportunity to serve via my writing and chose to join me. I’m guessing we provided more ultrasound-guided peripheral nerve blocks in one week than the public hospital in Honduras performs all year.

In addition to the surgical work we did, we also got to see our “Goddaughter,” an adorable now-4-year old girl that we bonded with a year ago and now sponsor with monthly donations. We saw her most days and learned that she’s got two sisters living on the ranch, as well! The three of them joined us for a memorable dinner one evening.

Our kids thrive in this kind of environment, and they were helpful all week long, washing dishes, sweeping floors, and doing whatever was asked of them.

Although I don’t necessarily love doing the work (and there are some new challenges working in a third world country with limited resources), I do feel accomplished and appreciated at the end of a week like this. One of the downsides of a complete early retirement would be the inability to be a part of brigades like this.

On the other hand, there are many ways to serve and many other places in which to do so. But it’s hard not to feel a bit conflicted after an experience like this, and I highly recommend such a trip to anyone, regardless of where you are on your financial independence journey.


peace to you, mi amigo


Best of luck to our friend Jorge, an excellent Honduran physician who celebrated his 31st birthday with us and is applying to internal medicine residencies in the United States this fall. Astute readers may recognize him as the same doctor who was assisting me with a nerve block procedure in the post I wrote about our first experience in Honduras with One World Surgery.


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Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

2 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (5/19/2019)”

  1. Thanks for the mention POF. I have been taking a deep look at rebalancing, as I am working on building an online rebalancing tool.

    Your death panel lament and the “do everything” article struck a chord with me. I see this play out every week in my clinical practice. Sad. It is the moral distress caused by those situations and feelings of powerlessness to change them that will likely be the ultimate cause of burn-out for many an intensivist or ICU nurse. Not the long hours.

    I also remember, when pandemic planning was all the rage about 10 years ago. Serious discussion of field triage and panels to limit intervention for some cases was part of that. One practical concern as we stared that in the eye (it was to fall to intensivists) was the fear of retribution by disgruntled family members. In our universal Canadian healthcare system with finite resources, triage and rationing already takes place. Sometimes it is rational/deliberate, but most often it is a more ad hoc event based on geography, timing, and luck. Fortunately, it hasn’t hit a critical level. I suspect that it would take an actual crisis for a deliberate a decision-making process to take root since no one will voluntarily take it on. It would be political suicide for a politician and carry its own dangers for those tasked with operationalization.

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  3. Thanks for pulling together this Sunday Best list each week, PoF. And thanks for coming to visit us in Costa Rica. By the way, we should probably put these laptops away and head to the waterfall! 🙂


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