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The Sunday Best (7/28/2019)

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


My wife makes her podcast debut at the request of our friend “Doc G” from DiverseFI and the What’s Up Next podcast. She’s got no interest in listening, but I thought she did great, as did Lara McElderry & the Chief Dad Officer. Married to Money?


Note that’s married to money, not married for money. Big difference. Money doesn’t solve your problems, anyway. Mr. Tako Escapes asks a semi-rhetorical question. Worth Millions and Don’t Feel Wealthy?


Not worth millions and don’t feel wealthy? We can help you with the first part. Joe from The Federal FIRE teamed up with Steve from Think Save Retire with the following guest post. Escaping the Death Spiral: A High Income Path to Financial Independence.


Don’t have a high income either? If you’re a primary care doctor, the White Coat Investor can help you. How to Double Your Income as a Primary Care Physician.



Not a doctor? You don’t have to be a doctor to make money in real estate. Passive Income MD shows us Different Ways to Make Five Million Dollars in Real Estate.


Not sure how to get started with Real Estate investing? Why not register for a free email course from a real estate investor who reached financial independence in his mid-thirties and wrote the book on Retiring Early with Real Estate?


Don’t want to retire early? ESI Money offers an alternative, based on Bob Clyatt’s Work Less, Live More. Early Semi-Retirement: An Alternative to Full Retirement.


If you love your work, you may never want to retire. But can you make that romance last? The Military Dollar explores The Problem With “Choose A Job You Love And You Will Never Work A Day In Your Life.”


It’s amazing how the days fill up when you start working less or not at all. Fire the 9 to 5 knows this all too well. Things I Haven’t Done Since I Retired Early (and a few I have).


He’s got no one to blame but himself for any inaction. Do you play the blame game? Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar doesn’t play that game. Them: The Failure of the Blame Mindset in Financial Improvement.


Learn how to better manage your student loan debt, and explore refinancing to a lower rate with cash back offers up to $1,000! Student Loan Resource Page


If you’re going to dream, dream big. If you’re going to lose, lose big! I share my counterintuitive Life Goal: To Lose a Million Dollars.


As I continue to explore crowdfunded real estate investment opportunities, I’ve invested in each of the funds discussed in this recent syndicated guest post. If I’m going to share these offerings with my readers, the least I can do is put some of my money at stake. What You Need to Know about Fundrise and DiversyFund.


Do physicians have free will? Or do we owe it to the world to work ’til we drop? The Physician Philosopher checks out the arguments and whether or not they hold water. Is it Wrong for Doctors to Retire Early? 



Tour de Rates


As Egan Bernal chases victory in the final stage of the Tour de France, I’m chasing down the best interest rate for my parked cash.

Earlier this year, I shared how I had moved my cash from Ally Bank (now paying 2.10% APY) to Vanguard’s Treasury Money Market (VUSXX), which now has a yield of 2.18% after accounting for the expense ratio, and the interest is state-income-tax free for most.

I don’t normally jump around, but for the first time in years, it seems you could be leaving a noticeable amount of money on the table if you’re not getting a good rate of return from some form of high-interest savings account. This is especially true if your emergency fund measures in the tens of thousands and it’s sitting in some crappy account paying 0.10%, which is not uncommon.

Now that I’ve officially moved to Michigan, the appeal of VUSXX is lesser. In Minnesota, my marginal state income tax on interest was 9.85%, whereas Michigan has a flat 4.25% state income tax. Avoiding state income tax doesn’t boost my after-tax returns as much as it once did.

This week, the well known roboadvisor Betterment launched a savings account backed by four banks that’s FDIC insured to $1 Million, and it’s offering 2.68% as of this date.

Let’s compare after-tax returns, assuming I’ll be in the 24% federal income tax bracket in 2019.


  • Ally: 2.10% * (1 – 0.24 – 0.0425) = 1.51%
  • Vanguard VUSXX: 2.18% * (1 – 0.24) = 1.66%
  • Betterment: 2.68% * (1 -0.24 – 0.0425) = 1.92%


Moving some money to Betterment would improve my after-tax return by 26 basis points, or $260 per $100,000 invested per year.

VUSXX has a minimum investment of $50,000 to open, but you don’t have to maintain that. Once it’s open, you can leave it open, even if you only have pennies in there.


Check Out Betterment Everyday


I've got my 2 acres of non-leveraged, crop-producing, cashflowing farmland via AcreTrader. Get yours.


Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

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13 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (7/28/2019)”

  1. Thanks for the mention this week PoF! As a continuous reader of your Sunday Best, it’s really nice to see mentions!

    Thank you sir! 🙂

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. “Vanguard’s Treasury Money Market (VUSXX), which now has a yield of 2.18% after accounting for the expense ratio, and the interest is state-income-tax free for most.”

    -How do you know that this fund is state income tax free? Where do you get that information?

  4. I think the Mrs. POF did a fantastic job on that podcast! And woot woot-Bernal WON! (But we were a bit disappointed that the Colombians didn’t make loads of noise celebrating as they did whenever a goal was scored during national soccer games this year.)

    • Thanks, B.C.!

      I thought so, too. Hopefully he will receive the attention he deserves when returning to his home country.


  5. Would you please compare your active investing approach to the passive (DRIP’S)Dividend Aristocrat (those companies that have increased dividends yearly for at least 20 years)?

  6. I put my cash in CIT when it was 2.43% My cash hoard provides 7 years of SORR protection, about 1/4 of my “expected” retirement. Inflation adjusted I’m still cash flow positive. Do I have FOMO on some return? No. I have JOMO (joy of missing out) for my highly reduced risk profile. With return comes risk by definition, Eventually I will claim SS and then tap my portfolio at a very low WR, and then see what the future may hold. In the mean time I sleep like a baby.

    • With a cash allocation that size, rate chasing makes a lot of sense.

      Even a tenth of a percentage better means hundreds of dollars in returns annually.


      • There is a game old coupon clippers play. They meet at the beach everyday to brag about the latest entry level rate they’ve obtained on things like savings accts and CD’s. I remember visiting my grandparents in Ft Lauderdale and that was often the topic of discussion over cocktails before everybody headed off to the early bird special. Of course in those days a passbook account paid 6%

  7. “Vanguard’s Treasury Money Market (VUSXX), which now has a yield of 2.18% after accounting for the expense ratio”

    I’m pretty sure that the yield already takes into account the expense ratio.

    • Exactly.

      Some people will subtract the expense ratio from the reported 7-day SEC yield, which is currently 2.18%. But there’s no need to. It’s already accounted for.



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