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The Sunday Best (3/15/2020)

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!

Sunday Best

The Sunday Best


Some federal student loan interest is going to be waived for a while. Will this affect you? If so, how? The latest from the most informed guy I know when it comes to student loans, Travis Hornsby of Student Loan Planner. What Does the Trump Student Loan Interest Waiver Mean?


With the tanking of the stock market last week, the United States officially entered a bear market. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, says Fritz Gilbert of the Retirement Manifesto. The Benefits of a Bear Market.


If the bear market lasts several decades, you’ll struggle to find any benefits, though. Jeremy of Go Curry Cracker explores how investors’ balances and retirement are affected in Lessons from Japans Lost Decades.


While it’s too soon to be officially labeled as such, there’s a decent chance we’re currently in a recession. The Financial Panther, a lawyer turned gig-economy expert, shares some Strategies for Dealing with the Next Recession.


I've got my 2 acres of non-leveraged, crop-producing, cashflowing farmland via AcreTrader. Get yours.


How about some strategies for being happy? It’s not always easy during times like these. From The Physician Philosopher, Happiness Economics: What Actually Makes us Happy?

This post from a couple of years ago has aged extremely well. It may be a good time to implement what you can from the Military Dollar‘s Emergency Preparedness for Natural, Man-made, and Twitter Disasters.



The FI Physician, an infections disease doctor and financial advisor, has been exploring the pandemic from a variety of angles lately. The most recent posts in decending order:


I had the pleasure of meeting “M” from Reflections of a Millennial Doctor this week, although we did not exchange a handshake or a hug. No touching! I can’t imagine someone treating the sweet doctor this way, and stories like these no doubt contribute to burnout. This is All Your Fault!


The semi-retired Minimal MD talks about the compromises she and her spouse make to accommodate their different approaches to money and spending. Minimalist Compromises: Finances.


Those that are relying on Airbnb income are going to have to make some compromises in the coming months. The Financial Mechanic‘s Mother rented out her old room (and another) after she moved out. Smart move? We Were Airbnb Hosts For 3 Years– Here’s What We Learned (and Earned!)


The surprisingly controversial $13 Million Mistake guest post (read the comments and you’ll see what I mean) led to not one, but two followup posts.


Finally, another batch of excellent millionaire interviews from ESI Money. Let’s hope they’re all still millionaires after the beating we’ve taken the last couple of weeks!



The World Turned Upside Down


Unprecedented measures are being taken to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, and for good reason. We’re seeing the results where the virus has been poorly contained, and it’s ugly.

When you have more critically ill patients than ICU beds to care for them, hospitals are overwhelmed. When there are more patients requiring mechanical ventilation than there are ventilators, difficult choice have to be made.

We’re seeing this happen in Italy, and the situation in Seattle is not good. A handful of other cities are seeing dozens of newly diagnosed patients, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

As is clear from the blog posts featured this week, our account balances have also taken quite a hit. I believe those losses will be temporary, but the loss of human lives from COVID-19 is not.

I sincerely thank everyone of the front lines for their heroic efforts and the sacrifices they’re making as we face this potential crisis head on.

Practice your best hand hygiene, lay low if you can, and we’ll say Cheers on the other side of this pandemic.



Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE

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14 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (3/15/2020)”

  1. PoF,

    Thanks for sharing another one of my pieces! I’m still pinching myself, marveling that I had the opportunity to stand awkwardly next to you and thank you about a thousand times in person. Hope you’re staying safe in this bizarre new world!


    • You are too kind, M. Please keep raising awareness of the issues you and our physician colleagues face on a daily basis. You are an amazingly talented writer.

      And I’m as safe as can be — all alone at our little cabin for the next week or so.


  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. I’m near Orlando, FL and the closing of the theme parks was a huge wake-up call. Schools and some other institutions are closed.

    Someone at my work office reported suspected COVID-19 illness, management responded with mandatory work from home for everyone, no exceptions not approved by VP level manager. It’s getting pretty real here.

    All jokes about hoarding TP aside, when on supply run this past weekend I observed product outages in certain categories of items – bottled water, milk, paper goods, cleaning products, and bake-and-frost sweet rolls, surprisingly. I guess people figure they are stuck with the kids at home, so might as well give them a treat?

    In central FL we are used to this kind of panic buying on some level because every time we get a hurricane people go nuts and stock up on similar items. Unlike this time however, adult beverages seem to sell well just before a hurricane!

    I had to laugh when the cashier at grocery store told me they are calling this event “Hurricane Corona”. But seriously, I totally see the logic in attempts to slow down the infection rate in an attempt to avoid overwhelming our medical care systems. Take care, everyone.

  4. Great Sunday Best as always PoF!

    As a resident of the Seattle area, I can confirm it is indeed ugly. Everything is shutdown — schools, libraries, restaurants, bars, even some large stores are only allowing 50 people in at a time. You literally have to stand in-line outside and wait for someone to leave before you can enter.

    The big lines make me wonder if these social distancing rules are going to backfire — because lines by their very nature are not good social distancing.

    The layoffs are also starting, which is doubly concerning. The economy is going to take a huge hit because of this…

    Which is why I think it behooves those of us with extra cash to spend a little with local businesses if we can. Don’t just hide-out at home! Spend a little! If we don’t support them, they won’t exist when this virus is finally done.

    • Good to hear from you, Mr. Tako.

      Social distancing only works if people follow the rules. When you’re supposed to maintain at least 3 to 6 feet of distance, crowding in line defeats the purpose! I know some people at airports were forced into that situation, but outside of a store? I’m sorry, but that’s on the customers.

      Since being out and about unnecessarily is probably not wise at them moment, purchasing gift certificates for small businesses and restaurants to be used later could be helpful. The flip side, I guess, is if they go out of business before you get a chance to use them, but that’s the chance you take.


    • Heading home today. The original plan was to hang out for St. Patty’s Day and the beginning of March Madness, but we find ourselves in a different type of Madness. Looking forward to being home and laying low.


  5. Just curios if The White Coat Investor Conference in Las Vegas decided to go on or level heads prevailed and was postponed for the safety of your fellow man?

    • Well, that’s a leading question if I ever heard one, and I’m guessing you already know the answer.

      At the time the decision was made, a pandemic had not been declared and it was more or less business as usual. Many people had already traveled to Las Vegas for the conference or were on their way.

      A live stream option was added so that people could watch from the comfort of their own homes or hotel rooms. Handshakes were banished, hand sanitizer flowed freely, and attendees were encouraged to keep a safe distance from one another. Rather than making the decision for everyone, the organizers chose to let those who registered decide how to proceed.

      We clearly know much more now than we did a week or even a few days ago. If the conference were planned for this coming week, it would not go on. The timing was certainly unfortunate.


      • We all rationalize our decisions differently. The NCAA and Conference Tourneyments literally pulled players off the court on Thursday at noon that were to be played in front of no crowd. They made a very difficult selfless decision for the greater good. I truly respect your work and your voice and actions has helped and resonates with me as well as thousands if not more.

        We get a few opportunities in our lifetime to be leaders when it truly counts, the next few days and weeks we need more leaders. I’m confident you can use your platform to be one of them.

  6. As always, thanks again for all the articles. On a financial front, had cash on the sidelines and buying in pieces, setting limits daily of how much to put into stocks as the markets gyrate. I know most are index fund folks, most of my investments are too, but I allow myself 10% or so of portfolio to be individual stocks Picking up some companies that will weather this but are darn cheap due to COVID-19, looking at Disney now, etc.

    On a COVID-19 front, helping lead the efforts for Ft. Bragg, NC and for over 87k of Soldiers spread across multiple bases and deployed worldwide including Europe. All of a sudden the doc has become more important on the staff, getting better at media interviews. Military quickly stepping up responses from 14 day quarantines for all returning from outside the US to recent stop movement (travel ban) for military in the US until 11 May.

    The COVID-19 fight continues, I hope we all help flatten the infection curve and reduce the number who die from it, history will tell.


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