The Sunday Best (8/05/2018)

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:


Guess what? I’m on ChooseFI! (again — see episode 26 for my first appearance). This time, I joined Jonathan and Brad for a case study with a non-traditional med student turned dermatologist who is about my age and fueled by FIRE. Have a listen to Episode 086 | A Live Case Study With Physician On FIRE and Allison Goddard.


Like me, Dr. Goddard isn’t exactly burned out, but she doesn’t love every aspect of her job, either. Marjorie Stiegler, MD feels you should Save Your Breath About Your Burnout.


Family first. That’s the theme that ties the post above to this two-part post from the physician behind Fifteen Minute Financial Fitness.


But just like anyone else, he can have financial independence if he’s patient. Ken from The Humble Penny is willing to help by jumping out at him when he least expects it! How Fear Can Help You Achieve Financial Independence.


Tj’s brother is more interested in fulfilling a $10 Million Dream than he is in attaining this mythical concept of financial independence. From Half Life TheoryMy Millionaire Older Brother Thinks FI Principles are Dumb.


More bonus material: Another blogger reveals his identity! Will the Real Passive Income MD Please Stand Up?  [please stand up… please stand up. I’m like a head trip to listen to…]


Caroline Ceniza-Levine, a columnist for Forbes, Time, Money, and more is now an AirBNB host and blogger at Costa Rica FIRE. She’s discovered that Costa Rica Is The Perfect Location For The Freelance, ‘Gig Economy’ Worker. Yes, I’m packing my bags.


Jim from Route to Retire is taking his family even further south, retiring early to Panama. His mother would prefer he stay closer to home. She asked him a hypothetical question: Would an Extra $5 Million Sway Your Plans? Would it sway yours?


Home. They say that’s where the heart is, and for many, that’s where a lot of their money is. But Is Your Home a Better Investment than the Stock Market? J.D. Roth of Get Rich Slowly shares some eye-popping numbers and graphs.


There are homes and there are doctor homes. And there’s the Loonie Doctor Home. My Dirty Little 10,000 Square Foot Secret.


[Vanilla] ICE ICE Binder [too cold]


As I stated in one of my numerous tweets on the Legacy Binder put together by Chelsea Brennan of Mama Fish Saves, these things are flying off the virtual shelves, and you’d better get yours before the unlimited supply runs out!

While it may be true that it’s extremely difficult to run out of copies of a digital download, you can run out of time to get yours before the next price increase.



Based on how well they are selling, and the positive feedback she’s been getting, I expect the price to increase in the future Get yours here for $29 and you’ll not only be doing yourself and your family a favor, but you’ll also be supporting this site’s charitable mission.


Fidelity Funds are Free!


I didn’t even hear rumors about this one before this week, but Fidelity has announced two new mutual funds, a total stock market fund and an international stock market fund that will have a ZERO expense ratio. That’s correct: no fees. The funds themselves aren’t free to purchase — that would make no business sense, but you won’t incur ongoing fees.

Is this the greatest thing since sliced ticker tape? I don’t think it’s a bad thing — competition in this space has been driving fees down for decades. On the other hand, funds from Schwab and Vanguard are already really close to free with expense ratios as low as 0.03%.

Every 0.01% in fees on a million dollar portfolio costs $100 per year. However, in a taxable account, tax efficiency may prove to be more important than the 0.04% difference in cost between the new Fidelity funds and Vanguard’s equivalent funds.

Comparing the tax efficiency of Fidelity’s current Total Stock Market Offering with Vanguard’s using Morningstar’s comparison tools, you’ll see that Vanguard has consistently outperformed Fidelity in this category.



It may be that the new Fidelity fund is more tax-efficient than the old one. Either way, we’re talking about nearly identical returns with one company’s fund slightly cheaper and the other company’s fund slightly more tax-efficient.

In other words, I wouldn’t jump off the Vanguard ship over this. The White Coat Investor has promised a more detailed look at the new funds tomorrow, and I look forward to hearing what he has to say.


Delta Delta Delta, Can I Help Ya Get Some SkyMiles?


If you fly Delta often, now is a great time to rack up some Skymiles with limited time offers with increased welcome bonuses on both personal and business cards from American Express.

These cards are offering double the miles that you would normally get for meeting the minimum spending requirements.


Gold Delta SkyMiles card (compare this card)

  • 60,000 bonus miles after $3,000 spend in first 4 months
  • Check first bag free on Delta flights
  • Priority Boarding
  • 0 annual fee first year ($95 thereafter)


Gold Delta SkyMiles Business card (compare this card)

  • 60,000 bonus miles after $3,000 spend in first 4 months
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Priority Boarding
  • 0 annual fee first year ($95 thereafter)


Platinum Delta SkyMiles card (compare this card)

  • 70,000 bonus miles & 10,000 MQM with $3,000 spend in fiirst 3 months
  • Check first bag free on Delta flights
  • Priority Boarding
  • $195 annual fee


If you’re not a frequent Delta flyer, you can’t go wrong with the flexibility of Chase Ultimate Reward Points. Review all Chase Cards in one table.


Chase Sapphire Preferred: 50,000 points



Chase Sapphire Reserve: 50,000 points


  • 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in 3 months
  • $450 Annual fee partially offset by $300 travel credit each year
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓
  • 3x points on travel & dining
  • 50% more value when booking travel with Chase portal
  • Many point transfer partners
  • Free Priority Pass Select = Airport Lounges worldwide = free food and drink at hundreds of airports
  • Click here to learn more and compare this card to others


For more information on my travel rewards strategies and a nifty spreadsheet to help you track credit cards and their perks, see my post Credit Cards for People Who Love Travel and Money.

One Treeeellion Dollars


Did you hear that Apple topped $1 Trillion in market capitalization? Of course you did. And they were the first company to do so. Sort of.

If you adjust for inflation, however, the Dutch East India Company was worth over $8 Trillion and there are a handful of others that had bigger inflation-adjusted market caps compared to Apple. Read more at Money Magazine.



Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

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  • It was a crazy week with two bloggers I enjoy revealing their true identity.

    Fortunately for everyone I have a face for radio and won’t be revealing my identity anytime soon. Plus (going along with the superman theme of my blog) I think having my glasses on really is fooling everyone with my Clark Kent personna.

    I actually bought the In Case Of Emergency binder (using your link) and was impressed with the detail and thought that went behind it. Mama Fish really has a great product on her hands.

    I am not jumping ship from the vanguard funds because of a no expense ratio (inertia is great isn’t it?) but if I was just starting to invest it would be tempting to do Fidelity (they even have lower minimum investment requirements)

    • Glad to hear you’re happy with your purchase. I look forward to being able to check “completing a legacy binder” off our list.

      I won’t be jumping ship, either, and with the better tax efficiency of the Vanguard funds, you may still come out ahead with Vanguard in a taxable account. But it’s good to see downward pressure on fees across the board.


  • Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  • Thanks for the shout-out POF! It is scary that I actually got all of the popular culture references above. Particularly so, that the voices in my head were actually in character 🙂 They can keep me company while I go mow my lawn for the next couple of hours.

    • So you get SNL up there? I thought you guys were more into SCTV.

      Enjoy mowing with your gigantic lawn tractor. Is it difficult to mow the area inside the moat? #castlelife


      • We invariably enjoyed SNL, Kids in the Hall, SCTV and reenacted skits/characters with each other in the schoolyard.

        The timing of when to put the moat in has been a debate. We wanted to wait until the kids were old enough to be strong swimmers, but have it in before dating age. The other outstanding project is the boyfriend interview room. I am still debating a medieval feel like the rest of the house vs something more chic and modern like a simple tarp, chair and lightbulb dangling from the ceiling. #crazydad


  • Great list. Nice job on the Podcast too. I’m a big fan of the ChooseFI guys and it is awesome to hear you in the mix. There were so many inspiring lessons in her story, especially how much progress a person can make with hard work, planning, mentors, and grit (Passion + Persistence).

    • Yes, to go from a career surgical tech position with only a high-school degree to a Caribbean medical school despite not taking the MCAT, and finally matching to dermatology. It takes a special person to pull that off.

      Thanks for listening!

  • UpNorthMD


    While not directly relevant to this week’s Sunday best collection, I stumbled across this NYT article on potential abuses/downsides of DAF immediately made me think of your site. While its interesting and disappointing how some ultra-rich could be abusing them, the article certainly did not change my excitement for DAF as a tool to use in my personal life as a new attending.

    • Yeah, I don’t think either one of us will be donating $500 Million in stock anytime soon. It is a bummer that the GoPro donation wasn’t invested in index funds once it hit the DAF.

      I do recall reading that Vanguard Charitable donates a minimum of 5% of its funds annually, but the actual percentage granted was a lot higher — I want to say 3 to 4 times higher. I do think they’re a great way to encourage people to give money away. Even for the billionaires, once the money is donated to the DAF, it’s no longer theirs.

      And I see nothing wrong with treating a DAF like an endowment. I plan to make grants consistent with a relatively safe withdrawal rate over decades.


  • Nephron Don

    Thanks POF:
    Great blog. Now I am a regular reader, and am planning FIRE in the next 5 years. “One treeelion dollars”: Was that an Austin Powers reference? Keep the zingers coming…

  • Thanks for the inclusion again, PoF – that’s definitely a good way to get me to buy you a couple beers at FinCon! Of course, you might still be trying to recover from your cruise at that time! 😉

    — Jim

    • You are very welcome. You know it’s going to be more difficult to get back to FinCon annually from Panama. But I imagine you’ll find a way to make it happen.

      Did I mention we’re spending a week at Disney World before the pre-FinCon cruise? And that the dining plan now includes alcohol with meals?


      • You’re living the dream!! I have a feeling you’ll still make having a beer or two at FinCon happen even after all that fun!

        I thought about the FinCon trips from Panama and I would like to make it happen. I’m guessing next year will be out though since we’ll be moving right shortly before the conference. Guess I’ll have to make this one worthwhile! 😉

        — Jim

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