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The Sunday Best (1/3/2021)

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 New Year is here! There many challenges in 2020; could there be new opportunities as we come out of this pandemic in 2021? Passive Income MD explains How Physician Real Estate Investors Can Prepare for 2021.


The real estate market is just one of many markets that have made investors wealthy. The Banker on Wheels is playing The Long Game – Historical Market Returns and 2021 Expectations.


Robinhood investors tend not to have the same investment horizon, based on their investing behavior. Larry Swedroe at The Evidence Investor explores Why Most Robinhood Traders Earn Lousy Returns.


Dr. Pay It Back had some solid returns in 2020, starting nearly $100,000 in debt and now with a net worth approaching $200,000 in the black. How did he do it? Live Like a Resident: Financial Progress in 2020.


It helps to have an anesthesiologist’s salary. The Physician Philosopher, who, like Passive Income MD, Dr. Pay It Back, and me, is also an anesthesiologist, sheds some light on physician salaries. How Much Money Do Doctors Make? (and Why It Doesn’t Matter).


What goals have you set for yourself in this New Year? Budgets are Sexy, and so are goal-setters and go-getters. 2021 Financial Goal-Setting and the Fresh Start Theory.


Not sure what to choose for your financial goals? I’ve got a dozen specific ideas to help you out. The Top 12 Financial New Year’s Resolutions for 2021.


Perhaps your goal is to pay off debt. That Frugal Pharmacist eliminated what is the largest debt for most people. Why I’m So Glad I Have a Paid Off Mortgage.


A goal of yours should be to take advantage of every tax advantaged account available to you. I started my 2021 Backdoor Roth with Vanguard 2 days ago. “Peds” tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the backdoor Roth but were afraid to ask in this comprehensive resource. The 2021 Backdoor Roth FAQ.


Personal happiness is an outstanding goal after the year we’ve had. The Prudent Plastic Surgeon explains that Money Can Buy Happiness.


One of the best ways to buy happiness may seem counterintuitive, but study after study shows that spending on others boosts happiness more than spending on yourself. Doing so in a tax-advantaged way gives you some additional benefits at tax time, too. Vanguard Brokerage to Vanguard Charitable: How to Easily Donate Appreciated Assets.


Richard Quinn has been retired for 10 years, and he’s learned a few things. Writing at the Humble Dollar, “Promises get broken” is just one of eight lessons from his Ten Years Retired.


Dawn Baker, MD of Practice Balance is a semi-retired anesthesiologist. She also looks back at the last decade and the many lessons she’s learned. Hindsight is 2020: A One to Ten Year Review.



Happy New Year!


2020 was the first full year since I started medical school in 1998 that I spent no time in hospitals or clinics to learn or practice the art of medicine. The year was not exactly what I had planned or in mind. I don’t imagine anyone envisioned a year like this.

When the pandemic began, I was only about seven months removed from clinical practice, and I figured I could help, so I volunteered to go back to my old job if needed. It turned out they, like many other anesthesia departments, actually had less work to do, as elective surgery volumes declined or were put on hold entirely in some instances.

Now, some 17 months after my last shift, I don’t know that I would feel 100% comfortable working as an anesthesiologist again. In many ways, I think it would be like riding a bike, but the first few trips around the block might be a bit wobbly. There’s also the issue of BLS, ACLS, PALS, and any other certifications that I’ve let lapse.

This year, rather than volunteer my services as an anesthesiologist, I called our local health department to see if I could help administer COVID vaccines. That seems like it would be a more direct way to help our nation escape the grasp of this dreadful disease, and I’m no stranger to jabbing strangers with needles. I’ve done so thousands of times in places that require far more precision than a quick poke in the deltoid.

The United States missed its goal of 20 million vaccines administered by the end of 2020 by about 17 million doses. I am waiting to hear back from the health department — there are some administrative hurdles to accept volunteers for this kind of thing, apparently — but I may be part of the catch-up effort. First, I would have to get the vaccine myself, and that’s something I’m more than willing to do as soon as I get the call.

It was an odd holiday season. The four of us spent Christmas at home alone and New Year’s Eve at our cabin. Again, just us. We’ve managed to stay healthy for this long; why take chances now? It’s not like I haven’t missed family gatherings over the holidays before.

By this time next year, I expect life to be more joyous. Cheers to hope and prosperity in 2021!


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Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE


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6 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (1/3/2021)”

  1. 2020 was certainly an interesting year… to say the least. Against all odds the markets made some surprisingly good financial gains in 2020. Astounding, but I’ll take it!

    Good on you PoF for offering to stick people with needles to help with the vaccination effort. That’s really great to help out!

    Great Sunday Best as always PoF! Lots of good posts this week!

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. I like the robinhood investing article. All too often we hear of wallstreetbets that worked out or didn’t work out so well in the end. Retail investors would be much better off buying the S&P 500 index and watching their wealth grow to new heights they haven’t seen before.

    • Yep — that was an interesting read. The “gamification,” performance chasing, and underperformance, none of which are all that surprising, but nevertheless are interesting to see from someone who has seen the data.

      I have the vast majority of my stock holdings (and 100% of my bond holdings) in index funds. Makes investing far less stressful (and often more lucrative).


  4. Glad you liked the 10 year time capsule! As someone who has taken extended sabbaticals and periods of time off from practicing anesthesia, it is a little like riding a bike. I just had a case of anaphylaxis in the OR, quickly recognized and successfully managed (with help from a couple colleagues), despite only working 2-3 weeks in the past 4 months.

    I haven’t quite reached the point of feeling like I’ve had too much time off in between practice periods, but I’m sure there will be a time when that happens. I did want to say, though, that you help more people than you think merely by writing your blog and sharing your knowledge vs. traditional clinical service. Keep doing what you’re doing! I hope we cross paths in 2021.

    • Good for you on catching the allergic reaction in the O.R. — that doesn’t happen often, and is usually butt-clenchingly scary when it does.

      I appreciate your support, and I am happy that I can help people in other ways. I was limited to being responsible for the care of up to 4 patients at a time, and now I reach 1,000s of people every day. It’s different work, but I enjoy it very much.

      I’ll be at FinCon in Austin, assuming we have this COVID thing under control by September (we’d better!). See you there?



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