The Sunday Best (12/6/2020)

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

 

There’s intentional medical tourism, and then there’s an open fracture while on a shore excursion. From Making Sense of Cents, My True Travel Insurance Story – A Broken Leg & Surgery in the Dominican Republic. Ouch!

 

A lot of us have saved money on travel this year, but our incomes have also been affected. How COVID-19 Has Impacted Doctors’ Personal Finances.

 

It’s easy to be down this year, but That Frugal Pharmacist keeps her chin up. Thankfulness in 2020. Being Grateful Despite Cancer and Covid-19.

 

The Physician in Numbers shows her gratitude with generosity. On Giving, 2020.

 

I did something similar, making more than 12 dozen grants to charities chosen by others, and doubling the monetary impact of last year’s Giving Tuesday efforts. A $10,000 grant and a boatload of smaller ones in the plainly stated I’ll Give $100 Each to Charities Chosen by the First 100 Readers to Comment.

 

One thing I’ve learned in nearly five years of writing about charitable giving is that few people care to read about it. I get it. You’d rather read about something that more directly impacts you, like when Budgets are Sexy talks about SORR. Sequence Of Returns Risk – Why You Should Care.

 

Positive cashflow and lower volatility means a lesser sequence of returns risk and a higher likelihood of a successful retirement. Real estate investing can offer both. Passive Income MD details 5 Reasons I Prefer Real Estate Over Stocks.

  • To be honest, a 6th reason would be that it’s easier to make money teaching and recommending real estate investing than it is when pushing index funds. It’s true. I can’t imagine a worse segue to the fact that I can save you $300 on the upcoming Zero to Freedom through Cashflowing Real Estate, but there it is. Join the waitlist for some free content and a discount on the pre-sale next week.

 

The White Coat Investor pushes back on the Infinite Return concept that our buddy Passive Income MD touted not long ago.  Debunking the Idea of an Infinite Return.

 

He also debunks the idea that investing in a taxable brokerage accounts bests retirement account investing in these two posts. Why Early Retirees Should Max Out Retirement Accounts & We Need to Defend Retirement Accounts?

 

They’re earning $220,000 a year with plans to drop their earned income to 0. It’s painful to do this math, but His and Her Money Guide did it, anyway. The cost of retiring early: a lost career of wages.

 

Many investors lose years of wages to sketchy financial advisors, including those that call themselves fiduciaries. The FI Physician tells us he’s leaving medicine and that too many physicians are not much better than these untrustworthy advisors. Why “Fiduciary” is a Sales Pitch.

 

Some late-career physicians are keen on selling out to private equity groups and riding off into the sunset, leaving their junior partners in an unenviable position. Dr. Ben White looks at the ugly trend in Radiology and the Private Equity Bait and Switch.

 

I know all the words to a handful of songs and exactly one movie. Ben Carlson of A Wealth of Common Sense apparently shares an affinity for the same film. How Personal Finance Helped Launch Dazed and Confused.

 

Money Isn’t Everything

 

It’s the only thing. No! I’m not going to channel Vince Lombardi here, although I did once argue that money is everything in a very different context than the topic I’d like to discuss today.

Earlier this week, I learned that serial entrepreneur and near-billionaire Tony Hsieh passed away at 46 — he was a year older and almost a billion dollars wealthier than me.

Initial reports were that he died from injuries sustained in a house fire. That’s tragic.

As more details emerged, notably in Forbes’ Tony Hsieh’s American Tragedy: The Self-Destructive Last Months Of The Zappos Visionary, we learned that he suffered smoke inhalation after locking himself in a storage shed.

It’s easy to jump to conclusions based on that revelation, but it could have very well been an accident. By report, he was, at times, a heavy drinker, and in recent months had taken to drug abuse, partaking in the dissociative anesthetic gas Nitrous Oxide regularly.

Mr. Hsieh and his business partner sold their first company, LinkExchange to Microsoft when he was just 24. He later led Zappos to an astronomical valuation as the CEO and primary investor, selling the company to Amazon for $1.2 Billion in 2009.

He also invested hundreds of millions of dollars in an attempt to revitalize downtown Las Vegas, and he had more recently relocated to Park City, UT, buying up a number of properties and bringing in friends and confidantes.

He was known for prioritizing happiness for his employees and himself. He wrote a best seller titled Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.

Somewhere, he lost his way. No amount of money will bring happiness if you’ve not covered basic needs including physical and mental health. Sometimes, you cannot buy your way out of physical danger.

My heart goes out to Tony Hsieh’s parents and family and to everyone whose lives he touched. There were many.

 

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Canceled Plans

 

With the pandemic numbers setting record highs on a daily basis and a vaccine release imminent, we’re not taking many chances.

Some call it living in fear; I call it making responsible choices.

Two weeks ago, my family and I were planning to travel to Minnesota to join my parents for Thanksgiving. Both families have kept our respective “circles” very small. Still, as the hospitalizations and positive tests climbed, it didn’t seem like such a good idea.

I already had plans to buy my wife a new car (more on that in a later post) and to pick up my annual 16-gallon beer allotment in Minnesota. My wife and kids stayed put, and after a week of home isolation and a COVID test (which was negative, as expected), I made the solo trip to see my family. It was good to see them, and we were able to exchange Christmas gifts early.

This week, my family and I had plans to stay with my wife’s cousin downstate. They’ve got a short-term need for my wife’s nanny services, and the last time she volunteered for the job, we didn’t see her for nearly three weeks. This time, we figured we’d all go.

Alas, as you might guess, we canceled our plans to travel down together. Her cousin works in a hospital, and multiple patients are dying from COVID there every single day. The baby, at 5 months or so, isn’t quite ready to take care of himself, so my wife is still making the trip, but if she is exposed, she can either stay where she is or isolate at our cabin, much like I did for two weeks back in March.

I don’t know exactly what the upcoming holidays will look like, but I don’t foresee any consideration of travel or spending anytime indoors with extended family.

My hometown Timberwolves’ star Karl-Anthony Towns has lost his mother and six other family members to COVID-19. I’ve missed many holidays due to my education, training, and career. I’m more than willing to sit out one more under these dangerous circumstances, and I’d love to see everyone in both extended families next year when most or all of us are vaccinated and the disease has hopefully been all but eradicated.

 


 

Have a safe week!

-Physician on FIRE

 

15 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (12/6/2020)”

    • Thank you, B.C. I was hesitant to admit that I did travel to MN, but I believe in full transparency, and I felt I did it in a relatively responsible way. Once I arrived, I didn’t leave the property for 5 days except to take a daily walk on country roads.

      Next year, I fully expect to participate in all kinds of activities that would be deemed irresponsible right now — and probably some that would be a bit reckless at any time. 😉

      Cheers!
      -PoF

      Reply
  1. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  2. Thank you again for your generous Giving Tuesday post and contributions. It was heart-warming to read through all of the charities that you made contributions to.

    Happy and Healthy Holidays to you and your family!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Kristia!

      To make it easier for others to see, these are ~150 charities that received $100 or more based on requests from readers and sponsors. Our friend Vagabond MD contributed to an additional 20.

      ABUNDANT LIFE MINISTRY
      ADORE-A-BULL RESCUE INC
      AFRICAN MISSION HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION
      AFTER-SCHOOL ALL-STARS
      AKRON CHILDRENS HOSPITAL FOUNDATION
      ALI FORNEY CENTER
      ALS THERAPY DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION INC
      AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION
      AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE INC
      ASSURE WOMENS CENTER
      ATLANTA COMMUNITY FOOD BANK INC
      AUTISM SPEAKS INC
      BALTIMORE ANIMAL RESCUE AND CARE SHELTER INC
      BELCHERTOWN DAY SCHOOL INC
      BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF KENTUCKIANA INC
      BILLINGS FOOD BANK INC
      BLESSING HOUSE
      BRADENS HOPE FOR CHILDHOOD CANCER
      CADDO-BOSSIER CANCER FOUNDATION LEAGUE INC
      CAMERON BOYCE FOUNDATION
      CAMP SUNSHINE AT SEBAGO LAKE INC
      CANINE ASSISTANTS INC
      CAROLINA-HONDURAS HEALTH FOUNDATION
      CAT WELFARE ASSOCIATION INCORPORATED
      CHADTOUGH FOUNDATION
      CHICAGO FOUNDATION FOR WOMEN
      CHILDREN S HEALING CENTER
      CHILDRENS CANCER ASSOCIATION
      CHILDRENS CANCER PARTNERS OF THE CAROLINAS INC
      CHILDRENS MIRACLE NETWORK
      CLOTHES THAT WORK
      COLDWATER OF LEES SUMMIT
      COMBINED ARMS
      COMFORT AID INTERNATIONAL
      COMMUNITIES ACTING TO HEIGHTEN AWARENESS AND LEARNING INC
      COMMUNITY VENTURE FOUNDATION
      COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL INCORPORATED
      CROSSROADS INC
      EASTVIEW COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
      EDUCATING AFRICAS CHILDREN
      EDWARDSVILLE NEIGHBORS IN NEED
      FAMILY PROMISE OF BREVARD INC
      FEEDING AMERICA
      FEEDING AMERICA
      FILIPINO YOUTH LEADERSHIP PROGRAM ORGANIZATION
      FISH OF SANIBEL-CAPTIVA INC
      FORGOTTEN ANGELS FOUNDATION
      FOSTERING HOPE INC
      FOUNDATION FOR THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH INC
      FRIENDS OF ALPENA COUNTY LIBRARY
      FRIENDS OF PULASKI
      FRIENDS OF THE BOUNDARY WATERS WILDERNESS
      FRIENDS OF THE GREEN CRESCENT
      GARY SINISE FOUNDATION
      GIDEONS ARMY GRASSROOTS ARMY FOR CHILDREN
      GIVEWELL COMMUNITY FOUNDATION INC
      GLOBAL VILLAGE MINISTRIES INC
      GO PANTRY CORPORATION
      GODS STOREHOUSE SOUP KITCHEN
      GREATER PITTSBURGH COMMUNITY FOOD BANK
      HABITAT FOR HUMANITY INTERNATIONAL INC
      HANDS OF ESPERANZA
      HARBOR HOUSE DOMESTIC ABUSE PROGRAMS INC
      HELPING HANDS SIMIAN AIDES FOR THE DISABLED INC
      HILLSIDE HEALTH CARE INTERNATIONAL
      HOPE INTERNATIONAL
      HOUSE OF BREAD
      I CARE SAN ANTONIO INC
      IMAI-IMCI ALLIANCE INC
      INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION
      KID POWER CARES INC
      KISMET PET ADOPTIONS
      LITTLE FREE LIBRARY LTD
      MAKE-A-WISH FOUNDATION OF THE MID-ATLANTIC INC
      MANNA WORLDWIDE INC
      MARC LUSTGARTEN PANCREATIC CANCER FOUNDATION
      MAYORS ALLIANCE FOR NYCS ANIMALS INC
      MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERS USA INC
      MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERS USA INC
      MEDICAL DEBT RESOLUTION INC
      MIDDLETOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY
      N A A C P LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND INC
      NATIONAL GIRLS COLLABORATIVE
      NATIONAL WOMENS HISTORY MUSEUM
      NATURE CONSERVANCY
      NATURES NURSERY CENTER FOR WILDLIFE REHABILITATION AND CONSERVATION
      NAVY SEAL FOUNDATION INC
      NAVY-MARINE CORPS RELIEF SOCIETY
      NEW HOPE MINISTRIES INC
      NEW YORK-NEW JERSEY TRAIL CONFERENCE INC
      NORTH DAKOTA SPECIAL OLYMPICS INC
      NORTH TEXAS FOOD BANK
      NORTHERN LIGHTS SLED DOG RESCUE INC
      NORTHLAND MIRACLES
      NPH-USA
      NUJC INC
      ONEWORLD COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS INC
      OPERATION UNDERGROUND RAILROAD INC
      OREGON FOOD BANK INC
      PALM BEACH COUNTY FOOD BANK INC
      PALMER HOME FOR CHILDREN
      PARTNERS IN HEALTH A NONPROFIT CORPORATION
      PEACEHAVEN FARM INC
      PETOSKEY MONTESSORI CHILDRENS HOUSE
      PETS & PEOPLE HUMANE SOCIETY INC
      PLACE OF FORSYTH COUNTY INC
      PRODISEE PANTRY INC
      PROJECT ANGEL HUGS
      PROJECT HEALING WATERS INC
      PROMISE INC
      PURDUE RESEARCH FOUNDATION
      REPAIRERS OF THE BREACH INTERNATIONAL INC
      RESCUE ROVERS
      RIDGE AND VALLEY CONSERVANCY INC
      ROCKINGHAM HARRISONBURG SOCIETY FOR PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
      RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES OF CENTRAL AND NORTHERN ARIZONA INC
      RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES OF EASTERN IOWA AND WESTERN ILLINOIS
      RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES UPPER MIDWEST
      SAFE HARBOR OF GRAND TRAVERSE INC
      SAFEHOUSE MINISTRIES INC
      SIENA FRANCIS HOUSE
      SMILE TRAIN INC
      SOUTHWEST WILDLIFE CONSERVATION CENTER
      SPINAL CSF LEAK FOUNDATION
      ST JUDE CHILDRENS RESEARCH HOSPITAL INC
      STAGES BLOOMINGTON COMPANY
      STEPHEN SILLER TUNNEL TO TOWERS FOUNDATION
      STRAY RESCUE OF ST LOUIS
      TEMPLE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL INC
      THE DANCE ENSEMBLE
      THE INN BETWEEN
      THE PREEMPTIVE LOVE COALITION
      THE ROTARY FOUNDATION OF ROTARY INTERNATIONAL
      THE TERRY FARRELL FIREFIGHTERS SCHOLARSHIP FUND INC
      THE WILD ANIMAL SANCTUARY A COLORADO NON-PROFIT CO
      UNBOUND
      UNITED STATES FUND FOR UNICEF
      UNITED WAY OF NEW YORK CITY
      UTAH FOOD BANK
      UTAH SPORTS COMMISSION FOUNDATION
      VALUES-IN-ACTION FOUNDATION
      WATCH US FARM INC
      WELL OUTREACH
      WHISPERING WILLOWS SENIOR DOG SANCTUARY INC
      WOLF TRAP FOUNDATION FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
      WOMENS FOUNDATION OF ARKANSAS
      WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT INC
      XLH NETWORK INC
      YOUNG HEROS FOUNDATION

      Cheers!
      -PoF

      Reply
  3. Thank you for the mention, POF, and for making such an effort to promote charitable giving in the personal finance sphere. I hope you and your extended family stay safe over the holidays; hopefully these will be the last holidays that will have to take COVID-19 into account.

    Reply
    • I’m confident that things will look much brighter by this time next year, and we will have a newfound appreciation for the freedom to safely gather.

      Thank you for also highlighting the giving spirt this holiday season.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

      Reply
  4. Your 6th reason in the “5 Reasons” for real estate over stocks is too funny, but obviously very right. The margins in real estate investing are big enough that affiliate and referral bonuses can be substantial. I like to think that there’s enough profit for everyone to share in the goodness, but surely this doesn’t apply to all cases.

    And regarding Tony Hsieh, it’s really a tragic story. You’ve probably read this story in Forbes, but the letter from Jewel to him about his drug use near the end was heartbreaking to read.

    Reply
    • I call ’em like I see ’em.

      I’ve got a 20% allocation to alternatives (mostly real estate investments) and that will likely grow as our net worth beyond what we need to be FI continues to grow. But I do think it’s fair to point out the potential conflicts of interest.

      That Forbes story is the one I linked to above. When the early reports of his demise came out, no one wanted to mention that the man had been in a downward spiral, surrounding himself with “yes men” on his payroll for months.

      Best,
      -PoF

      Reply
  5. It might not be the topic that gets lots of clicks and readers, but you and your family are doing good work giving and supporting needy causes.

    And it does encourage others to follow in your footsteps! 🙂

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Thank you for the kudos, Chris.

      That latter part is why I do it; I hope to inspire a greater amount of giving, multiplying the impact of the gifts we make many times over.

      I will say, though, that the traffic and click-through rates on charitable giving posts are abysmal. 4% of my email subscribers clicked on the post where I offered to donate $100 to a charity of their choice. I couldn’t have been any more clear on my intent.

      For comparison, about 4x as many subscribers will click through to this post.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

      Reply
  6. Great list of charities Doc. Holidays are tough with COVID but glad your family is staying safe.

    That radiologist post was a hard read. Especially since I see it as one of the highly paid professions to be taken over by robots in the next 5 years.

    Reply
    • Augmented by AI, sure. Same is true of pathology. But there’s still a role for the diagnostic radiologist, not to mention the many interventional procedures performed by both general and interventional radiologists.

      Stay safe out there!
      -PoF

      Reply
  7. Check out Generous Giving. They have great videos on their website you can watch. They are an amazing organization that I think you will appreciate. I have been to their conferences and attended a “JOG” (journey of generosity) and they are life changing.

    Reply
  8. Thank you for the reminder PoF — That I’m in a very fortunate position right now. We haven’t lost anyone in my extended family to covid, and we are relatively unaffected by the economic difficulties related to the pandemic. I’ve been lucky.

    Not everyone is in this very fortunate position. Compassion and empathy are important right now, as well as doing what we can not to spread the virus further.

    I commend you for holding back on travel, and suspending major holiday celebrations this year. The world needs more like you.

    Stay healthy, and great Sunday Best as always.

    Reply

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