The Sunday Best (10/25/2020)

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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


A young woman got a lot of attention with her viral TikTok video lamenting her student loans. One little problem, though; the numbers just don’t add up. Borrow $80k, Repay $120k, Owe $76k: Is That Viral Student Loan TikTok Even Possible? The Brave Saver investigates.


The subject of that video either doesn’t understand debt or wasn’t telling the whole truth. This post might help her better understand how and why she finds herself in this predicament. Diagnosing Debt: Demystifying Interest Rates & Loan Terminology. There’s a good reason that student loans typically charge higher rates than a mortgage.


The debt collectors may have to get in line behind the taxman. He wants your money, too, and changes to our tax code are likely coming. James McGlynn with Humble Dollar contemplates the most likely changes we could see in the next couple of years. The Taxman Cometh.


If you’ve paid off your debts and entered into early or seme-retirement, you don’t have to worry much about debt collectors or the taxman. Dave from Accidental FIRE has found himself in such a position for several years. Three Years Of Early Semi-Retirement, Is It What’s It’s Cracked Up To Be?


Would you like to join him? Start reading! ESI Money has read dozens of books on retirement, and these are his favorites. The Best Retirement Books to Retire Sooner and Better.


One thing you’ve got to figure out when retiring early is how to pay for healthcare. It’s been an interesting journey for the banker behind Stop Ironing Shirts. FIRE and Health Insurance: Four Plans in 21 Months?


You may find that you choose to invest differently in retirement, especially if you “oversaved” and find yourself somewhere beyond FI. I’ve definitely changed things up a bit. How My Investing Has Changed After Financial Independence.


I’ve decreased my exposure to publicly traded stocks, not by investing more in bonds, but by diversifying more into other asset classes. Because, as Jesse Cramer from The Best Interest tells us, The Market Crash Is Coming! (…Eventually).


It’s tough to afford an early retirement if you’re stuck sprinting on that hedonic treadmill. XRAYVSN has been there. I Wanna Remain Special! The Allure Of The Hedonic Treadmill.


Would you rather be happy or comfortable? Arthur C. Brooks think we’re making a bad barter in an article for The Atlantic. Are We Trading Our Happiness for Modern Comforts? As society gets richer, people chase the wrong things.


If you’re coupled up, you should be sure the two of you are chasing common goals, and that you know what those goals are. The White Coat Investor shows you 7 Ways To Get Your Partner On Board Financially.


What tools do you use to help your life or business run more smoothly? Passive Income MD seems to be a pillar of efficiency, but he’s enlisted some serious help from a variety of apps, services, and people. Online Tools I Use on a Daily Basis.


This tool can be useful and fun in certain situations, but is generally ill-advised to use on a daily basis. Anesthesiologist James Turner fell into that trap as the pandemic took hold. In episode 8 of The Physician Philosopher Podcast, he describes the problem he had and how he addressed it. Read the post or listen to the broadcast and learn to Take the Edge Off Without Alcohol.



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Camping Without Alcohol


I woke up in a Walmart parking lot.

No, really.

That sounds like an appropriate ending to a bender gone awry, and I’m sure someone’s told that story. In my case, waking up in a Walmart parking lot is literally how I’m starting my day today.

We’re beginning a somewhat open-ended two-plus week trip pulling our new-to-us travel trailer to warmer climates, beginning with 5 days near Mammoth Cave National Park. It’s about a 12 to 13 hour drive from home, which is more than we want to tackle in one day.

Many Walmarts will allow RVs to park and “camp out” overnight, so I found one along our route that was a little more than halfway, and that’s where we spent the night so we could break up the drive.

Hence, I woke up in a Walmart parking lot this morning.

We’re in the home stretch of Sober October, and that’s been going just fine. It’s the third year in a row that my wife and I have abstained from alcohol for the month. I think this has been the easiest so far since the pandemic has led to limited social gatherings and we’re not dining out anymore.

I do associate camping with beers around a campfire, so that will be a little bit of a habit to break as we finish out the month. After Sober October, we’ll have a November to Remember. The plan is to make our way to Asheville, NC where I understand many breweries have outdoor patios that are open.

We’ll be there for election night, and with North Carolina being a hotly contested and “toss-up” state, it may be a very interesting place to be.


The Physician Philosophers’ Webinars and Giveaways


The webinars that I told you about last week are happening this week, so be sure to sign up if you haven’t already. Dr. Turner is a great educator, and I’m sure you’ll learn something useful in your life even if you don’t take him up on the free offers.

Here are the details:

Register for 1 of 3 Dates: 10/27, 10/30, 11/1 @8:30pm Eastern / 5:30pm Pacific. Attendees will receive an additional free group coaching call & an opportunity for complimentary enrollment in Dr. Turner’s $647 course, Medical Degree to Financially Free!

Discover How Today’s Top Physicians Actually Defeat Burnout…Without Leaving Medicine In his FREE Live training you’ll learn:

  • How to improve your happiness and satisfaction
  • An effective way to balance all your responsibilities
  • The 2-part system to become more efficient




Two Great Cash Back Cards for Your Wallet


Last week, I was offered a full year of Blinkist Premium, a book summarizing app reminiscent of Cliff’s Notes for non-fiction books. They offer both written and audio “blinks” and have started producing “shortcasts” that are 10-minute synopses of popular podcasts.

I took American Express on that offer. Earlier this fall, as part of AmEx’s effort to support small businesses, my wife and I each made 10 purchases of $10 or more at area small businesses, and we each got $50 credited back to our cards for doing so.

While American Express is not accepted everywhere, particularly overseas, it is still good at most businesses that accept credit card payments, and there are some perks that make being an American Express cardholder worthwhile.


American Express Blue Cash Preferred

$250 cash back with a $1,000 spend in 3 months
PoF Summary

The Blue Cash Preferred card offers 6% back on up to $6,000 a year in US supermarket purchases and 6% back on popular streaming services. 3% back on US gas station & transit purchases, 1% back on all else. $95 annual fee.

Chase Freedom Flex

$200 cash back with a $500 spend in 3 months
PoF Summary

The Chase Freedom Flex offers a 5% cash back on categories that rotate quarterly, 3% back at restaurants and drug stores, 5% back on grocery store purchases of up to $12,000 in the first year, and 1% back on all else. No annual fee.


If you’ve already got a card that gives you flat cash back of 1.5% to 2% on all purchases (see this post for great options), you should consider adding a card that gives you more on some of your most common charges, like those that you make at grocery stores and gas stations. Two cards that fit the bill are the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card and the new Chase Freedom Flex.

The AmEx card gives you 6% back at grocery stores for life; the Flex gives you 5% back in the first year and 5% back on categories that rotate quarterly. Both give you 3% back at gas stations and 1% back on other categories not otherwise incentivized.

The Flex has no annual fee, and the $95 annual fee on the AmEx card is waived in year one.

If you don’t have an American Express card of any kind, that would be my top pick. There are dozens of other offers available from American Express that you don’t get with Visa, Discover, or Mastercard.

If you’ve already got an AmEx card and are less interested in the 6% grocery benefit for life, the no-annual-fee Flex card may be your best bet. It’s a Mastercard, which offers a few perks that Visa does not.


A Recommended Insurance Agent

PKA Insurance Group

PKA Sept WEB2018Pradeep Audho is an independent insurance broker and the owner of PKA Insurance Group Inc.  His focus is on Disability and Life insurance. Pradeep has over 14 years of experience providing clients with Disability and Life insurance. He represents all the major disability insurance carriers. Many of his clients are immigrant physicians and he is very experienced with the additional issues they may encounter when purchasing insurance products on a work-visa or as a non-US citizen. You can request a disability quote here.  And you can also run instant Term Life insurance quotes by clicking here.



Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

Physician on FIRE has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Physician on FIRE and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

9 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (10/25/2020)”

  1. Thanks POF for highlighting an article of mine which was inspired by a former post of yours.

    Cool idea of parking your RV at a Walmart. That’s truly a cost effective and convenient option. I’m sure Walmart benefits as well as you are likely to stock up on supplies there.

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  3. Have fun in Asheville! One of my favorite places in the world, good medical community in that area too. Just be wary of trying to keep up with the Vanderbilts.

    • I don’t even try to keep up with the Joneses, let alone the Vanderbilts!

      It should be fun, but the pandemic definitely puts a damper on things. Neither New Belgium nor Sierra Nevada have taprooms open or tours operating now. But some smaller breweries should have outdoor patios open, and I enjoy those.


      • The various taprooms just downhill from downtown are open though! Our favorite was Burial Beer company, but so many to choose from.

        One unfortunate thing is the damage the pandemic/riots did to Asheville. We were there in September and lots of boarded up places and a growing homeless population

        • I’ve heard that homelessness has long been an issue there, but the damage from the protesting and rioting is obviously new in 2020.

          We’ll be sure to check out Burial Beer Co, and likely a few others.


  4. Envious of your road trip — I can only assume that the weather will be better there than here in Michigan! Let us know if Mammoth Cave is really all that, as I have a novice spelunker in our home 🙂

    • I’ll be sure to report back! Unfortunately, guided tours are not happening now. #ThanksCovid But we did book a self-guided tour. I think we’ll mostly do hikes in the park and there are some good trails here at Nolin State Park where we’re camping for the week.

      And yes, the lows here should be at least as “warm” as the high temps back in northern Michigan.


  5. Thanks for another great Sunday Best PoF! I always manage to find some article or post that I missed here every week (The Atlantic article in this week’s Sunday Best was great!). Thanks again!

    Enjoy your trip to Asheville!


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