The Sunday Best (9/3/2017)

The Sunday Best
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:

 

A year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Nii Darko, MD, a trauma surgeon and podcaster @ Docs Outside The Box. A couple months ago, we recorded a conversation, and you can listen in here: 028 – Financial Independence with Blogger Physician on FIRE.

 

The Happy Philosopher performs a case study on a fellow radiologist (not to be confused with a radiology fellow). A Military Doctor Can Retire Early. Should He?

 

The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey is on many blogger’s minds, including Amy of Life Zemplified. She encourages us to step up in Giving Back Can Help Us All Heal #Donate. *** I will be donating 100% of proceeds from Personal Capital signups for a week as outlined here.

 

To invest abroad or not to invest abroad. That is the question addressed by Big ERN, Ph.D. of Early Retirement Now in How Useful is International Diversification?

 

Lowering expenses ain’t easy. Veronika @ Debts to Riches wallows in comparisons in Keeping Up With the Mustachians. That title alone earned her a spot here.

 

Lowering expenses ain’t easy, and sometimes is unwise. From Cato, a lawyer blogging @ The Dollar Build, 6 Ways Spending Less Costs You More.

 

Lowering expenses ain’t easy with Disney. From SightseeMD, The Hidden Costs of a Disney Cruise. An $800 daily cabana rental, what?!?

 

Lowering expenses at tax time ain’t easy when you’re reaping the supposed benefits of a dividend growth investment strategy. The Biglaw Investor shares Dividend Investing: Enemy of High-Income Professional.

 

Perhaps we should focus on happiness instead. Author Jonathan Clements of Humble Dollar does. Jonathan’s Story: Five Takeaways From Happiness Research.

 

ESI Money has interviewed a bunch of Millionaires since I was featured in Millionaire Interview # 5. I like to share them in batches of five.

POFORTIFIED

 

I’ve gotten some pretty cool stuff in the mail lately. Stuff I didn’t ask for. Stuff I didn’t even pay for. But I scored some pretty cool stuff!

ESI Money sent me a tee shirt. Fritz @ Retirement Manifesto sent me one, too. Mr. 1500 sent me some of Vermont’s finest beer, which I shared with my brother and other friends. I appreciate my blogging friends’ generosity, as do my brother and friends.

 

Alchemist Hill Farmstead

thank you, mr. 1500!

 

I’m comfortable in a tee shirt and it’s not every day I get to drink Heady Topper, but my new friends at Fortified Bicycle managed to one-up the bloggers. Somehow, they caught wind of my frequent bike commuting, and they sent me a commuter bike to ride.

What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this? Nothing, as far as I know, but I’m reminded of a scene from Swingers in which Trent tells Mikey in the casino “Now the trick is we gotta look like we don’t need this s$*! and they give us the $h!* for free.” I’ve unwittingly followed a similar approach.

My Current Stable of Bikes

 

Until about a month ago, my stable consisted of three types of bikes.

I have a pair of mountain bikes which are great for biking with friends who visit at some nearby mountain bike trails. I also use one to commute to the hospital. It’s not ideal for commuting, but it gets the job done, as the hospital is a little under a mile away from home.

I also have a road bike, which is well suited to smooth roads and the paved rails to trails bike paths. I also used it occasionally to commute to the surgery center a little over three miles from home. It’s not perfect, since there are a few curbs and rough patches to navigate, but it gets me there.

The third style of bike I have is a vintage single speed Schwinn Predator. It’s my bike of choice when I want to feel twelve again, give my quads an intense workout, sit on hard plastic, or be confused for a high school dropout riding to the corner store for a Monster energy drink. I love the way it looks, but haven’t found many practical uses for it.

 

The Fortified Commuter Bike

 

Enter the new bike. I didn’t know I needed a commuter bike until I started riding a commuter bike. The model I’ve been cruising around on is the 8-speed version. I like the fact that there’s only one front gear — less bulk and gears to ruin your pant leg compared to the mountain bike or road bike. 21 gears is overkill for getting around town.

 

Fortified Bike electric

 

This bike is a great hybrid / compromise between the bikes I was using to commute, and it has made both commutes better. It gets me from point A to point B nearly as quickly as the road bike, but it’s much more rugged and handles curbs, potholes, and sandy or grassy patches with ease.

Mine is also tricked out with a number of accessories. I’ve got front and rear fenders, which came in handy as I rode home the other night in the rain. I’ve got the headlight and taillight combo, which I’ve used before 0600 and after 0100 within the last week. I’ve also got the rear rack, which I’ve learned can easily carry three 4-packs of 16-oz. beers in a grocery bag as long as you have a bungee cord.

 

Fortified_Fender

 

Another cool feature of this slick, matte black machine is the theft-proofing that they’ve done. The seat post and wheels can’t be removed without special tools, and most components are also secured with a modified hex wrench specific to these bikes. If you live in a theft-prone area, you can purchase theft protection for a fee.

 

Fortified Theft Proof

 

Speaking of purchasing, if you are in the market for a ride like this, the code POFORTIFIED in September will get you 15% off their bikes and gear. Be sure to check out the MMM Special Edition packages — yes, Mr. Money Mustache rides a Fortified bicycle, too. I have no affiliate relationship with Fortified (I won’t be paid a commission), but I’m really hoping they let me keep this black beauty of a bicycle.

 


You’re still not using Personal Capital? Track all your accounts in one place like I do.


 

Have a great week!

-Physician on FIRE

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26 comments

  • Getting There

    PoF,

    I’m always looking to increase my stable of bikes so I might have to check out a Fortified. It is a sweet looking bike, but in a low crime area I wonder is the theft protection is worth the extra hassle.

    • When I lived in the city, one of my bikes was stolen within a week. The bike shop guy recommended a thick cable based lock and the thieves cut right through it. I’ve been a U-lock guy ever since.

      Where I live now, I could probably get by without even locking it most places, like I did at the surgery center the other day when I realized when I got there that I didn’t have my keys.

      The theft protection isn’t much hassle, but it is extra money. I might consider it in a big city if you’re frequently leaving it outside, especially overnight.

      Best,
      -PoF

  • Neuro-doc

    Sweet bike!

    I’m still riding the commuter bike I bought in med school in the late 80’s. I ride to work most days of the year (except when there is too much snow or (particularly) ice on the ground). I have a 7-mile commute, but most of it is along a paved pathway through a parkway system along our town’s river. It’s a great escape at the beginning and end of each day to be exercising outdoors in nature, away from the stresses of work, and away from the aggravation of driving in traffic.

    Pro tip: if you get panniers (saddle bags) for the rack on your bike, you can easily transport four growlers of craft beer if you take the long way home that happens to pass by your local craft brewery!

    • Good for you, Neuro-doc. You’re far more hard core than I am!

      I do have a bottle holder that holds 6 bombers (and probably howlers, too) that I’ve used when going to homebrew club meetings.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • Here I am awake at 4:40 AM, unable to fall back asleep reading your weekly recap when I see my name in your article. Talk about a surprise. And an honor. Thanks for the shoutout.

    Here’s to making that bike a permanent resident of your garage!

    Cheers,
    Cato

    • You’re too kind, Cato, and I’m with you on the bike!

      Apparently, I had a Ctrl-C failure when putting this together, but I was able to fix it this morning, so you should start to see some traffic on your excellent post on cheapness being costly.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • Thanks for the article inclusion PoF and your continued generosity to many communities, including the virtual.

    Nice bike! I’ll vote to let you keep it. 😉

  • This is such a great list! I haven’t read any of the articles you mentioned and need to check them out soon. It’s awesome that you’re on another podcast.

    And yes, you deserve all the gifts and attention coming your way because you’re awesome and so willing to help other people. I took your advice on building the list of Asian PF bloggers on a separate page, and it has worked out great so far! I really love the idea. It’s genius! Thank you!!

  • Happy Labor Day weekend! Keeping up with “insert your favorite comparison here” is a tough mindset to overcome. It is so easy to look at others’ situations and hone in on the one or two impressive feats without seeing the entire picture (including the hardships that helped get them there). We really need to be focusing inward and simply doing the best we can for our own personal situations.

    “Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Theodore Roosevelt

    Thanks for the good reads every Sunday morning! Time to grab some tea and finish reading through them 🙂

  • Lucky you! I, unfortunately, can not ride my bike to work since I drive all over LA to see my clients at their houses, but I did start riding my bike after work. Mr. Wow rides his bike to/from work everyday and just this week I started meeting him halfwayish on his ride home. Although, I am just on a beach cruiser, so nothing fancy there. Except for my killer whale horn!

  • Thanks for the mention, PoF! Great lineup of articles, as always!
    A Mustachian bike? What’s next? Big ERN bowling gear? A PoF stethoscope? A White Coat Investor white coat? Endless possibilities!
    In any case, have a great Labor Day holiday weekend, everybody!

    • I think I’d rather see my logo on a beer label than a stethoscope, but I like the way you think!

      The stethoscope is getting some overtime as I’m putting the Labor in Labor Day Weekend. Since Friday at 0600, I’ve put in 36 hours at the hospital, on the pager and sleeping at home the remaining hours. Tuesday morning can’t come soon enough.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

  • Ooooo, bikes! I had a nice Kona mountain bike that I used for everything – until it got stolen :/ Any theft proofing you can do / get is definitely going to be worth it in urban areas! The crappy ass $50 off Craigslist I bough to replace it was awful, but I sold it for $50 when I finished up so at least I didn’t lose money on it? I use my Mum’s commuter now, but I dream of the day I can get another mountain bike / commuter hybrid.

    Gonna check out some of those blogs! Thanks!

  • I’m getting closer and closer to purchasing an electronic-bike. So useful for emergencies since I don’t have a car and the ability to get 50 miles away without relying on public transit.

  • That’s really cool that you got free stuff recently. The bike looks really nice. Also great job with the list of best articles. I aspire to one day make it to The Sunday Best.

  • “Lowering expenses at tax time ain’t easy when you’re reaping the supposed benefits of a dividend growth investment strategy. The Biglaw Investor shares Dividend Investing: Enemy of High-Income Professional.”

    Are we talking about chasing high dividend yields, or are we talking about dividend growth investing? Or do we just want to bash anything related to dividends for the sake of bashing anything related to dividends?

    I think that the biggest problem for high earning professionals is not saving enough, and just living the high life.

    By the way, dividend investing is very similar to indexing, due to its passive nature, low costs and low turnover. And if you are looking at dividend growth investing, current yields are in line with, or only slightly higher than the yields on your stock index funds..

    • I’m not bashing either strategy, just referring to the fact that dividends are subject to a lot of taxes when you’re earning in the higher income brackets. In my latest post on BRK-B, I discuss when qualified dividends in a taxable account are great (when in the 15% or lower federal income tax bracket) and why they’re not so great when you’re subject to a 25% to 35% tax on them. latest post on BRK-B.

      We agree on the biggest reason that high-income professionals struggle to become wealthy, and it’s definitely not the taxes on the dividends in their taxable account. It’s the fact that many don’t have a taxable account and haven’t been maxing out available tax advantaged acccounts. I write about this subject far, far more than taxes. But when it comes to tax efficiency, I like to optimize.

      Best,
      -PoF

      • POF,

        I will be a friend, and gladly take all of your dividend income. It’s fine if I have to pay taxes on it.

        On a more serious note, I agree that taxes are a drag in the accumulation phase. I agree on optimizing taxes too.

        I like the approach in some countries, where reinvestment of dividends results in no taxes. The UK has “accumulation” shares in mutual funds.

        But, capital allocation at the company level is not a one size fits all approach. In some cases, you are better off as an owner to receive a tax inefficient dividend, than have a tax efficient share buyback. In others, the opposite is true. And of course, we won’t know which one was better, until some time has passed.

        Best Regards,

        DGI

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