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The Sunday Best (7/8/2018)

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:


Soon, Vanguard will eliminate transaction fees to purchase many hundreds of exchange-traded funds. Not a big deal for fans of the Three Fund Portfolio, but for investors who like to tilt, slice, and dice, this is a welcome move in the industry. From VanguardComing in August: The largest commission-free ETF lineup offered to investors.


Passive Income MD knows passive income. Ms. Montana knows passion income. J.D. Roth of Get Rich Slowly knows both well, and he explains them both in Passive Income vs. Passion Income.


If you’re earning passion income, you can expect to be happy at work. Our European friend at Tracking Happiness has kept insanely detailed records of his happiness and charted how it relates to work, time away, and more in Am I Happy At Work? [Analyzing my entire career from day 0]


Not happy at work? Get away, my friend! Joe Udo from Retire by 40 escaped to one of my favorite places — 10 Days with Kids in Incredible Iceland.


Not happy at work? Play with a retirement calculator. Liz, the Chief Mom Officer, sure did. I Slogged Through 26 Different Retirement Calculators – Will What I Learned Surprise You? (#calculatormountain)


Not happy at work? Could be burnout! Nisha Mehta MD explores the role of gender, penning Burnout in the Male Physician.


Not happy at work? Would you be happier Being a Doctor in Hawaii? Dr. Nguyen, the resident sensei at Senior Resident, tells us exactly what it’s like to be one. Is he living your dream?


She’s an RV owner, still a dancer, an artist, a writer, a business owner, an author, a gardener, a landlady, a traveler, a public speaker, a swimmer, and the author of Your Money or Your Life. Vicki Robin spells out how a cancer diagnosis led her to redefine how she defines herself. Who are You After Financial Independence?


The Wealthy Doc is financially independent and a reader of Vicki Robins’ YMOYL. He tackles step two of the nine steps to financial freedom in What is Your Actual Hourly Wage? Could it truly be under $50 an hour for a physician for a physician earning $300k per year?


I don’t know The White Coat Investor‘s exact hourly wage when he sits down in front of a computer, but it’s a heck of a lot more than $50 an hour. How did Dr. Jim Dahle arrive at this place?



Physicians and pharmacists, Register with Incrowd for the opportunity to earn easy money with quick "microsurveys" tailored to your specialty.

I Still Work Sometimes


As I write this, I’m on call for the weekend and have been in the hospital for nearly 25 of the last 30 hours. It’s “home call,” meaning I’m only in the hospital when there’s work to be done. Surgery, labor epidurals, and the occasional “outback” procedure like a lumbar puncture in the E.D. I’ve been doing lots of all of it.

In my weeks off, and I have a lot of them, it’s easy to lose track of the fact that I do have a busy job to return to when the traveling and relaxing is over. When I am working, my mind starts to drift to the next adventure whenever I find a little downtime. At the moment, my mind is on Disney. It’s been about 27 years since I spent a week at Disney World, and I’m almost as excited as I was back in 8th or 9th grade.

Give me your best Disney World tips in the comments. We’ll be staying with our grade-school aged boys in a value Disney on-site hotel for a week in September with Park Hopper Plus passes and a free quick service dining package. Ready… go!



Once again, I’d like to feature one of our trusted resources in the disability and term life insurance game. Allow me to introduce you to Scott Nelson Archer and his agency:

MD Financial Services

MD Financial Services Scott Nelson-Archer, and his team have 25+ years of experience helping thousands of physicians around the country protect their future with disability income insurance and low-cost life insurance. We offer “True Own Specialty” disability contracts that pay 100% when you are unable to perform the duties of your specialty.  Designing the right policy for each Individual Physician with a Fixed or Laddered Term Life strategy can help can protect your family the right way and save you thousands in premiums over the years. Our 25+ years of experience working with Physicians around the country cannot be matched!


Have a marvelous week!

-Physician on FIRE

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33 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (7/8/2018)”

  1. I love Disney!

    Frugal tip – buy some “souvenirs” beforehand. We got our kids Disney themed shirts (bought prior to the trip at Target or Walmart on the cheap) then each night when we got back to hotel kids got to open up a little gift at the end of the day. The knowledge that they were going to get a treat later cut down on the amount of times we got asked to buy extra overpriced souvenirs at the park.

    Extra magic hours – if you stay on park property each day a different park will either open early or stay open late for those who stay there. This is helpful if you’re trying to cover 2 different parks on the same day.

    Good shoes, yes duh! But seriously, good shoes!

    There are some grocery delivery services that you can get to deliver to your hotel, we haven’t taken advantage this, but it could come in handy if you think your dining plan won’t cut it.

    Not so frugal tip – splurged on the photo pass the last time we were there, and glad we did! We never get pictures together as a whole family, and to finally have lots and lots were nice.

    Have fun!

    • Just wanted to second the statement about getting the photo pass. That is totally worth it, despite the cost – they have photographers all over all of the parks, so you’ll always be able to get great family photos in good spots anywhere you are (with all of you, not minus the one holding the camera). I believe the price includes all of the pictures taken on the roller coasters, rides, etc too.

      For the next trip down there, consider heading out to Universal Studios. Good use of two or three days, and out middle-school-age kids still talk about the roller coasters there. (Aaaand so does the wife – for some reason she decided to try their Rip Roaring Rocket coaster that includes a 90 deg drop, and I’m pretty sure that is the last coaster she will ever go on for the rest of her life 🙂 )

      Enjoy the trip – sounds like fun!

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  3. PoF:

    You do NOT need dining reservations (unless you want sit-down meals) as you have the Quick Service Option. It includes:

    2 Quick-Service Meals
    2 Snacks

    Take the kids to our favorite, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party.
    You have to have separate park tickets but it’s worth it. Your kids can trick or treat (adults too!)

    Also, I take it you’re going during FinCon to get a tax write off? 🙂

    I actually went “under cover” and applied/interviewed for a job at Disney a few years ago. Dental Town magazine did a 2 page story on it.

    The main reason I did it was to learn how Disney does a brilliant job on attracting, training and retaining “cast members” that give fantastic customer service.

    I then have used both Disney and Ritz Carlton-type service in my practice to “stand out.”

    I’ve given a few “tours” for friends over the past few years as we’ve been about 20x. Let me know if want a tour “on the castle… I mean house of course.”

  4. I’ll leave the Disney-specifics to the other who seem to be “in the know”. My advice would be more climate-related since I live here.

    Yes you’re going near the peak of hurricane season so you may get more than you bargained for. That said, if you’re unfamiliar with our climate, just know it will still be HOT and humid here, although not as bad as July & August. But it’s likely to be quite hot in mid September. So make sure the family stays well hydrated with water and other non-caffeinated beverages. Also the heat tends to wring the stuffing out of people, so schedule some nap time in the afternoon at the peak heat of the day and enjoy a siesta back in your hotel room. After lunch is a good time.

    Also – be sure to apply sunscreen to all exposed body parts and get out of the sun whenever possible. I cannot tell you how many tourists used to come straight from Disney into the store I worked in, brilliant red with sunburn, and some would promptly faint from heat exhaustion in one of the store aisles. That’s a big bummer when you’re here on vacation.

  5. Don’t count the evening fireworks or shows out. Fantasmic was really an unexpected surprise. The water parks are a nice change of pace also. We also hopped on the Disney buses and toured a bunch of the themed hotels for free, Wilderness Lodge is probably our favorite. If you travel hack, Chase has the Disney Visa that allows your group a character photo for free in Epcot at certain times and there is no annual fee.

  6. I live 15 miles from launchpad 39B My windows rattle when they light a candle. Here is a schedule:

    If it’s clear and you can get up high and face east to north east say from a hotel balcony you just may see a rocket ship blast off. Night launch is breathtaking. It’s all serendipity and stars alignment of course, but a free travel hack of a lifetime. Check with the hotel concierge if they have a better info source on launches. I used to watch launches from my condo on St Pete Beach all the way across the state and I’ve watched launches in Orlando driving east on the highway.

    Don’t hate me but this is just south of DW

    • Now I live west of I-4, and my windows rattle when they are practicing at the Pine Castle bombing range.

      Speaking of the Space Coast, I’d recommend that our trusty PoF consider a trip to the Space Center. I went there some years ago. I’m a lousy tourist since I live here and take everything for granted, and don’t frequent the attractions, but we had people here from out of town. It was very cool.

  7. There are 2 things that will increase the happiness of your WDW vacation immensely.

    1) Planning: This has already been said, but the more you plan the more fun it will be. We have been going every year for the past 5 or 6 years and we have done different things for different trips. The one constant is always planning (meals, fastpasses, touring plans). We have what we are doing down to 15-30 minute blocks. Although some may call this crazy and it is quite a bit of work, we are able to minimize waits, rarely do we wait >20 minutes for anything, and maximize our vacation experience. PLAN PLAN PLAN is our WDW motto.

    2) Focus on the highlights: The first couple of times we went we “wanted to do it all” by riding as much as we could. This would involve arriving to the park an hour early to be the first in line and staying till it closed. This was fun, but exhausting and by the end of the week we felt like we need a vacation. The last few times we have gone we take it much easier. We still get to the park well before it opens, but we are always out around lunch time, you know when it starts to get really crowded and really hot, especially in September. This is turn gives us the afternoon to swim or nap, then we have evening plans including nice dinners, non park activities and if some cases evenings at the park when it is less crowded and not as hot. If planned right you can still do all the major attractions and many of the other things while feeling refreshed and really enjoying your vacation.

    If you have specific questions let me know. Have a blast


    • I will PLAN PLAN PLAN! I do have the memory of memorizing the unofficial guide to Disney back when I was 14 or 15 and I knew so much about the parks that the actual vacation was a bit anticlimactic. I touched on that experience in an old post, where I have a picture of the book I “published” based on our trip.

      But my expectations will be very different this time around. I have pre-ordered the 2019 version of that same guidebook (comes out next month), mainly for my boys.

      I’m usally a “do it all” type of person, but my wife is not, so we’ll hopefully strike a good balance. Our kids, just 7 & 9, might actually be rate-limiting factors at this age.

      Thanks for the advice!

  8. My brother works at Disney World. He probably knows more about it than anyone I should get him to create a tip list

    • No way! What does your cast member brother do there?

      There are tons of Disney blogs out there, but it’s great to hear people’s top tips here in the comments.


  9. We booked our trip to Disney last winter, we did well on the crypto market last year and decided to splurge a little. We scheduled and went in June and it was absolutely imperative to book all dining reservations six months in advance! If you’re staying on a Disney resort, they allow you to do this before anyone else not staying on one. Do it as soon as possible because they book up extremely fast. You wouldn’t be able to get into any decent or memorable dining attractions without the preparation. Also, it’s very similar with the fast pass system. Disney allows you to start booking those two months in advance if you’re a resort customer. I’d highly recommend doing that asap as well because the rides fill up very fast too. My family spent two days at each park just so we had enough time to cover everything and that felt sufficient. The hopper passes were not an interest to us because of that.
    Be prepared to wait in lines for everything and your patience will be tested throughout your trip for obvious reasons. You’re also going to feel like you’re throwing your money out the window. Disney is set up to make people spend money…a LOT of money. Keep your expectations low, most people are not accustomed to spending $13.00 on one basic hot dog!

    • Disney on crypto! Is there a website for that yet? You were wise to cash some out when you did.

      We’ve got a few things going for us by going in the slowest month of the year. First, the lines should be lower. Second, they offered a free dining package for all four of us. We’ll be drowning in “free” food and drinks all week long.

      Thanks for the tips!

  10. We were in Disney last fall. My boy had hyperemesis right when we reached the magic castle .

    That was also the week hurricane Irma hit .

    Your trip will be better than ours, guaranteed.

    Its A Small World — still pretty good.


    • We should be able to top your trip without fail! I hadn’t considered the fact that this is hurricane season though (we’re going mid-to-late September).

      We did the Small World ride last year at Disneyland Paris. And I’m sure we’ll be doing it again.


  11. Here are the things I wish someone had told me before my first family Disney trip.

    1. Fast Pass – set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to make your fast pass selections as soon as possible. If you stay on a Disney resort you can pick 60 days ahead of time. It sounds insane but some rides will run out of fast passes 2 months in advance.

    2. Accept that you won’t do it all – Disney is too big, the crowds are too abundant and your kids will be too tired. Pick 2-3 goals for the day and accept that the rest is just icing on the cake. The fast passes assure that you will achieve those few goals.

    3. Dining – the dining plans are only worth it if you plan on eating A LOT. I hope you like dessert served with every meal. You can make dining reservations up to 180 days in advance. There are crazy people who plan their meals 6 months ahead of time. If you wait until you are at the park many of the good restaurants will be booked up.

    4. Even Mickey has his price – Want to spend some fatFIRE cash to cut through all the lines? Check out the VIP tours
    I haven’t done it yet, but I’m thinking about splurging next trip for a day. It essentially buys you a private ride and unlimited fast passes for you and your family.

    • They say you should spend on experiences, but I don’t know, man. At this price, I’d have to be a decamillionaire to not feel ridiculous spending on the VIP experience.

      “Pricing: Varies between $425 and $625 per hour, depending on the season (valid admission is required for each park and not included in the price of this tour).”

      I’ll be on the ball to get our fast passes a week from tomorrow at 6 am CDT. Guess I’d better know exactly what rides to get Fast Passes for, too.

      The dining plan came free with the resort, so we’ll be taking full advantage of our daily allotment of 2 snacks and 2 counter service meals per person per day (plus drinks, including a specialty alcoholic drink per meal where available). And the day after we leave Disney, we start this cruise. If I don’t gain ten pounds, I’ll consider it a success!


      • I’m not saying you could ever justify the expense. In February we brought a 7, 2 and 1 year old along with a 65 year old mother in law with a bad knee. By the end of that trip having a private guide drive you park to park with unlimited fast passes sounded pretty sweet. I will do it once before I die and let you know if it was worth it.

  12. I actually spent some money ($15) and bought a touring plan:

    They have a companion one for universal studios which I did as well (discount if you do both)

    It was really helpful and they create an interactive plan based on attractions you want to see. It helped minimize walking and kept accurate wait times in the app you get.

    Definitely worth spending the money as I had once tried to do this on my own the first time I took my daughter to Disney and it was a lot more effort on and not as well thought out.

    Also when you use all your alloted fast passes check to see if any available as you can then keep adding 1 fast pass when you have no more left. (the touring plan actually allows you to put the fast pass times in the planning stage as well and incorporates that into the plan so you don’t miss it)

    • I’m glad to hear good reports on that, XRV. I booked Disney via the travel agent recommended by called Small World Vacations. It was the same price as the quote direct from Disney, but came with some freebies, including a one-year subscription to Touring Plans. I downloaded the WDW Lines app already and used their calendar to try to figure which parks to go to on days where traffic will be expected to be lighter.

      Their plans give recommended FastPass times and apparently you’re allowed to add one more after you’ve used your allotted three.


      • Actually after the alloted 3 is used up, you can keep adding 1 more after each one used (I think on one of my best days I ended up with the 3 of us using 6 or 7 passes in one day. That brings me to another good tip, try to schedule your allotted fast passes as early as you can, so when you use them up you can keep adding more as the day goes on. And if you are there for the gate drop you should head for a popular ride that has a normal long time later in the day as it will be relatively short line first thing in morning (and saves you a fast pass)

    • I look forward to seeing that! I hope you enjoy your foray into the video realm. I clicked on your new post today and discovered a video — that was unexpected.


  13. We stayed at one of the all star resorts, and the food there is a little less expensive, so we made sure to get breakfast each day. We also 100% split a mickey waffle. The day we stayed for the late night, we went back to the hotel for a nap mid afternoon that let us stay up late without being too cranky. Be sure to factor travel time from your hotel to gate & back. Have lots of fun!!

    • Staying off-season, we were able to get the quick service dining option included at no additional cost. Pricing out packages other ways, the value of 7 days of 2 snacks and 2 meals for 4 people (3 of them considered adults for dining purposes (> 9 y.o.)) appears to be about $1,200.

      With snacks worth about $5, meals about $15, and drinks another $5 to $10 (an alcoholic drink included with meal), you could spend up to about $200 a day to get the same treatment, so the math works out.

      Thanks for the tips!

  14. Thanks for the mention, my friend.
    As old as the YMOYL book is (the original was 25 years ago) it can still teach us valuable lessons. It wasn’t the first place I learned FI concepts (believe it or not) but it was the best-organized structure on how to get there. Joe Dominguez was a genius (and funny too). Fortunately, Vicki is still spreading the word.

    BTW I bet WCI made about a buck an hour or less for the first two years of blog work! He deserves all the riches flowing his way. He makes everything look easy – which you and I know well – isn’t easy.

    • You’re welcome, WD.

      I have the recently updated version of YMOYL with Mr. Money Mustache having written the foreword. Nearly finished, and I’ll be writing a review at some point. The concepts are sound, and so many people (particularly those not already readin our blogs) would benefit from the book.


      • You would like Josh. He often comments about the various beer options available at WDW. He introduced me to Unibroue beers which I believe you can get at the Canada Pavilion at

        • And new this year is an alcoholic beverage with every quick service meal. Cheers to that!

          I do enjoy some Unibroue. Great Belgian style beers. And strong, with cool, dark labels.


  15. For Disney; Fastpass reservations open at 7 a.m. (Eastern) 60 days out from your reservation. You have to be on close to that time to get hard reservations (Flights of Passage and new Toy Story land rides.) Start with your last day in the park as the reservations opens for the duration of your trip. Also, get the app for use in the park to track wait times.

    • Great tip! I knew about the 60 days, but didn’t realize how important the 7am time was. I’ll set an alarm. We’ll be 60 days away in 8 days.



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