The Sunday Best (8/11/2019)

The Sunday Best

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


The Sunday Best


I have a confession to make. Several, actually, and I shared them with Steve from Think Save Retire. Blogger Confessions #43: Physician on Fire


With twenty-twenty-twenty-four hours to go in this anesthesia career, I’ve been doing some reflecting lately. This career has been good to me and has taught me more than simply how to guide humans safely through surgery. Dr. Dawn Baker of Practice Balance shares the Interesting Skills I’ve Acquired as a Practicing Anesthesiologist.


If I’m truly done, I’ll lose some of those valuable skills, but the lessons will not escape me. We hate to lose things, and The Physician Philosopher explains how that loss aversion can be detrimental. 4 Ways Your Fear of Loss Impacts Your Finances.


Student loan debt is one thing everyone would love to lose. The Locum Guy puts together an aggressive plan to help you demolish them in a year or two. Read his Step by Step Guide to Crushing Your Medical School Debt Fast.


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With the painful diagnosis of neurofibromatosis, Amanda of Why We Money understands the importance of financial independence better than most. Wealth and Health: Reaching for FI is Useful No Matter What Your Plans.


Do your plans include real estate investing? Passive Income MD answers one of the most common questions asked among direct owners of rental properties (and he owns six of them across three states). How Much Time Does It Take To Manage My Own Properties?


Do your plans include bond investments? Dr. Breathe Easy Finance and the FI Physician team up to answer a straightforward question. Do You Need Bonds In Your Investment Portfolio?


The ubiquitous FI Physician (see guest posts on PoF here and here) visits Early Retirement Now to discuss the benefits of a decreasing bond allocation as you age in retirement. Can a Rising Equity Glidepath Save the 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate Over a 60 Year Retirement?


Some people live for today because they don’t know what tomorrow will bring. However, saving for a rainy day can turn that rain into sunshine. A Purple Life (think red pill + blue pill) muses on money-making and mortality. Why Retire Early? Because Death Is Coming.


If you’re going to retire early, I recommend becoming a millionaire (preferably a multimillionaire) first. ESI Money shows us how another five people did so:



After ticking the boxes in the Money Checklist, I turned my attention to some other early retirement issues, including health insurance. Early Retirement Checklist Part Two: Insurance, Family, and Social Considerations Prior to FIRE.


I’m happy to be debt-free, but I would have a larger net worth if I had made a different choice. Matthew White laments his choices as he does the math. Why Paying Down Debt Aggressively Was the Worst Financial Decision I’ve Ever Made.


The White Coat Investor shares the worst financial decisions dozens of doctors have made. Stupid Doctor Tricks: Physicians’ Biggest Financial Mistakes.


It’s Harvest Time. Tax Loss Harvesting Time.


A drop in your portfolio value is nothing to celebrate, but you may be able to make lemonade when lemons are thrown your way.

In the midst of a busy week in which the stock market was as volatile as liquid hydrogen, I almost neglected to check for tax loss harvesting opportunities. I credit Dr. Elloso for the reminder in the Physicians on FIRE Facebook group. His one post probably saved members tens of thousands of dollars in taxes, collectively.

It’s foolish to sell low and lock in losses when your funds are down, but savvy investors know that you’re not locking in a loss when you exchange one fund for a similar (but not substantially identical) fund. That’s the key to tax loss harvesting.

A simple transaction can save you $1,000 to $1,400 per year on your taxes via a $3,000 tax deduction, and excess losses can be carried over for years to come.

On Friday, I took about $17,000 in paper losses by swapping some Vanguard international funds for another. Those “losses” can offset future capital gains or be used to take $3,000 off my ordinary income for the next 5+ years.

For further details and to take advantage of the current market conditions, see the thorough guides I’ve written on the topic:



This Could Be the Last Time


“This could be the last time.

This could be the last time.

May be the last time.

I don’t know.” – The Rolling Stones


Tomorrow morning, I’ll turn in my pager, drop my scrubs in the hamper, and walk out of the hospital in the post-call morning fog for what may very well be the last time.

Just thinking about that fact gets me a little choked up, and I’m not even sure why. It’s not pure sadness or unadulterated joy. I suppose it’s just recognition of one era ending and another beginning. It’s an emotional time.

I quote The Stones above because I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever do this work again or not. I’m still capable and not thoroughly burned out. There are simply other places I would rather be.

My mind is in the game, but I don’t know that my heart is. As much as I’d like to be able to say medicine is my passion and calling, I’ve never really felt it. It’s been a rewarding career and one of the best jobs I can imagine having up to this point, but I am ready to do something different.

Will I feel the same in six months or year? If I do experience a change of heart, my mind will be fresh and ready, as will the requisite red tape. I do plan to hang onto an active license, earn some continuing medical education, and keep my board certification for at least a year or two to be prepared just in case.

That being said, I would not be surprised if tomorrow morning’s stroll out the back door truly represents the last time.


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Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

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20 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (8/11/2019)”

  1. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  2. I had an emotional moment as well when I finished up my last day at the full time job. Driving out of the parking lot for the last time brought all those feelings of “the end of an era” and a disconnection from my self-identity that one gets from a career well done.

    The best part of that initial time off was having the total freedom to reconnect with friends on an ad-hoc basis. Go to the movies in the middle of the week? SURE! Meet up spontaneously for lunch or dinner? SURE! Go horseback riding on a Tuesday? SURE!

    Your time will initially be absorbed with getting settled in your new house and going on those planned trips. And all that is good. Don’t be surprised if you get some quiet time and wonder if you should do some more income-producing work – I did. The nice thing is that you have the freedom to decide what to do with your time.

  3. Congrats POF,
    I remember having a difficult time parting with my medical school notes and textbooks, even though I knew I would never need them again. I think its just realizing all the hard work that went into attaining this career. It is certainly a difficult and emotional thing.

  4. Congratulations! I am sure you will keep us posted on your progress. It is great they you can beta test this for us. Work out the bugs before we get to that point.

    Best of luck with your transition!

  5. Great Sunday Best as usual PoF! While this whole early retirement thing sounds pretty scary, in practice it’s really not all that bad!

    You’ll do great at it! There’s tons of really fulfilling and meaningful things to do with your life that don’t involve a daily commute.

    I hope you find your latest one soon!

  6. Changes, especially for the positive, or commencements make me think of the ‘sunscreen song’. ‘If I had one piece of advice for the future, sunscreen would be it…’
    Wishing you all the best with your exciting next steps!

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  8. CONGRADS on closing one chapter and opening another. But I’m probably going to have people throwing things at me when I say a weird thing happened during my sabbatical: I actually got some serious rest and am mentally bored now…Hmmm. More on that later…;-)

  9. Congratulations Leif. I know I will have similar feelings when I finally pull the plug too.

    It is always scary when you have a transition in life, when you put theory into reality, and when you are walking away from a career you put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into.

    I too will maintain my license and CME for maybe 1-2 years “just in case” but hopefully with my conservative nature and trying to build several margins of safety it will be an unlikely scenario where I have to re-enter the medical world once I hang up the MRI machine. And who knows if there is even radiology to come back to (I have been reading a lot of posts on how the need for Radiologists is going to rapidly diminish as AI is making progress, etc).

  10. You made it, brother.
    Inspring. Congratulations.
    Of course there is minimal financial risk given your portfolio and an income that will continue to exceed expenses.
    Still, I get it.
    A lot of work and identity goes into being a doctor.
    The transition is a big one. Chill and relax for a few months. Travel, blog, and see how things settle out.
    Can’t wait to follow along vicariously.
    I look forward to seeing you next month. I’m sure you will feel more relaxed by then.

  11. Good luck in your new life. Momentous day! I was talking to one of my pain patients, a woman just a few years older than me, retired and a well known local pickle ball enthusiast. It showed because she was brown as a berry from her time on the court. We talked about what it’s like to retire. She told me: “it takes 6 months”. When I retired I found her assessment accurate. The first week feels like vacation, and Sunday comes and you get that old familiar terror about facing the week to come, but that week never materializes. It’s someone else’s job to pull the train. In stead you spend your time involved in early retirement, setting up all the new paths to be tread and then actually treading them. Initially you’re not sure the plan will fly so you need some metrics to assure yourself your plan is sound like a way to track the spend down information on your portfolio. I set up in Mint by tracking 2 accounts a CC account and a bank account through which all my purchases and credits flowed. Other smaller CC’s like the card I use to pay my daughters gas bill while at college were paid from these accounts and I didn’t track her spending specifically. It was a small number and was it’s own line item.

    The next Sunday came and the trepidation was less and mostly out of 30 years of habit. Then came the next and the next and soon enough my reliance on my past as an anchor for my future had ended. My plan was working fine. In retirement I was spending considerably less than I was making and banking the profit. I had reduced my risk so my portfolio was less affected by market volatility. As I worked through my plan and fine tuned it, since spend down is really nothing like accumulation, my confidence in my retirement plan grew. I knew I had the contingencies well covered. As my confidence grew my relationship to my past receded. It was no longer my security blanket. With every passing year, my past is receding in the rear view, and it’s no longer part of the present at all. My patient was right, it took about 6 months to trust the process and live the plan. I was happy enough in practice. I didn’t hate my life. I’m happy enough in retirement, I still don’t hate my life. It’s just now I do what I want, not what I “need to do”. What’s not to like? Not to second guess but I think people who return to practice don’t have a functional plan, and the anxiety of being functionally plan-less puts them back in the hospital. Literally.

    If you want to know about the reality of retirement just talk to people who are retired and see how they did it. There are probably a dozen people in your own family living that reality and “how it works” for them can inform you on what to do and not do in crafting your own pilgrimage.


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