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The Sunday Best (3/22/2020)

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


So… anything new this last week?

Yeah, not much is different on my end, either, except… well… everything!

A week ago, I was cautiously making my way back to Michigan, using liberal amounts of hand sanitizer and staying as far away from others as one can when taking three commercial flights and spending time in two airports.

I drove straight to our little cabin, arriving to a freezing cold place with no running water sometime after midnight. By 0200, I had running hot and cold water and the space heater had gotten the bedroom up into the 50s. I put on my long johns, snuggled up under a down blanket, and slept ’til noon.

My plan was to self-isolate for a week and extend that time if I learned of any exposure to someone who would later test positive.

I’ll be here for a couple of weeks by my lonesome now, but I feel well and have plenty of food and anything else I could need. I am grateful to my wife for loading up my car with groceries before I arrived and for single parenting for much longer than anticipated. I’m also grateful for the beer cellar in our storage area — I took this last week off, but I’ll be cracking a Surly Ten this evening!


A Big Announcement


…is coming later this week. I’ve been wanting to do something productive with my time and find a way to contribute to the cause as we face this coronavirus crisis as a nation.

Last week, I donated $1,000 each from our donor advised fund to 5 different charities that have established funds specifically to address needs created by the pandemic. There’s a lot more that I can do with your help. Stay tuned…

I met my #lifegoal of losing a million dollars much sooner than I had hoped I would, and the FI Heroes are not far behind. How they have responded as The Black Swan Arrives.



I am not for price-gouging or profiteering, but I do recognize that many people will be losing their livelihoods and need to find new ways to make ends meet. The Money Mix crew collaborated to put together 12 Ways for You to Make Money Now During the Coronavirus Pandemic.


We had a guest post on the topic this week, as well. Exploring Jobs to Enrich Your Life When Retired or Furloughed.


Does investing in real estate insulate you from the likely recession we’re in? J Scott at Bigger Pockets gives an overview of The Impact of Coronavirus on Real Estate Markets.


Our Saturday Selection this week comes courtesy of Passive Income MD. He shows how he minimizes the time he spends on his “hands-on” real estate investments. How Much Time Does It Take To Manage Your Own Rental Properties?


Time is something you have some control over. Dr. Peter Kim of PIMD recommends you focus on such things during a tumultuous time like this. Control What You Can Control.


It’s a good idea to have a completed legacy binder available for when you can’t control things on your own, and the best one I know of is on sale for less than $25. The Importance of a Legacy Binder: The “ICE” Binder is 40% Off. And I thought the 25% off New Year’s sale was a bargain — this is fantastic.



You can’t control the ups and downs of the stock market, but you can take advantage of them — even the losses. My top tax loss harvesting tips post has been getting a lot of love lately, and this post from Physician Finance Basics is a great companion piece. Tax Loss Harvesting Partners.


I’m not the only one making trades in my taxable account, but JL Collins, the author of The Simple Path to Wealth, sold some of his beloved VTSAX for a different reason. How is he Taking Advantage of Mr. Bear?


You can also control how much you spend, and many households will have to learn new ways to spend less. We’re pretty well-versed in my household. Pick up a few tips in Our Frugal Weirdo Tendencies. Yes, I Cut My Wife’s Hair. And she looks good in spite of that fact!


It’s been interesting to continue hearing the FI Physician‘s take as an infectious disease physician who happens to be a money geek. The latest:


The proverbial tide has gone out, and we’ve discovered that many individuals and corporations alike have been skinny dipping all this time. Jonathan Tepper analyzes the problem in depth at Unherd. Covid-19 Has Exposed Our Financial Fragility.


Many healthcare professionals, dentists in particular, are actually experiencing a decline or complete halt of their clinical activity and income. Ike Devji shares some insights with Medical Economics. Coronavirus 2020: Physicians Recession Survival Guide.


Someone needs to write a Costco or Walmart survival guide. We’ve been surviving by letting a Walmart employee do the shopping for us. If you’re new to the program, you can save $10 on Walmart Grocery. We’ve been using it almost exclusively for our grocery needs the last few weeks.


At last, the White Coat Investor weighs in on the coronavirus issue. Should the personal finance content continue in the face of this crisis? COVID-19 and The White Coat Investor.



COVID-19 Resources


I’ve got a bit of time on my hands, and one way I pass that time is by reading up on the latest news, projections, and data. I also help bust some myths and try to set some conspiracy theorists straight with useful information on social media. It rarely works, but maybe… just maybe… it helps when their friends see some dissenting opinions.




The data is only as good as the testing, but something is better than nothing. We have a pretty good idea that for every known positive, there are 6 to 10 others with the disease in the community that either don’t meet testing criteria, are not yet showing symptoms, and perhaps never will.




The next few weeks will be frightening. The next few months will be telling. Happy days will return again, but there will be hardship in the interim.

A huge thank you to everyone who is part of the effort to fight this disease, whether you’re a physician, nurse, respiratory therapist, part of the cleaning crew, manufacturing PPE or ventilator parts, stitching together masks, maintaining law and order, or restocking the shelves with essentials.

For now, my contribution is a combination of education and donation. As you know, I donate much of the profits from this blog to charity. Last week, we supported COVID-19 funds of the WHO / UN, the CDC, Red Cross, Feeding America, and Meals on Wheels. There will be more where that came from.



Have a safe and healthy week!

-Physician on FIRE


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5 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (3/22/2020)”

  1. Still on target to Fire in august despite the market. As I previously posted, this down turn has been a real world test of my asset allocation and mindset in handling the vagaries of the market. Planned my income based on the worst case scenario of the Great Depression of 1920 since leaving residency so no effect at all on retirement income. Key thing is plan for the worst and you should be fine. Only issue is with great need now kind of feel guilty about walking away. Would feel better if we had more PPE’s to protect us instead of Mgyvering DIY masks

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. I was prepared for a recession and a stock market drop. I was not prepared to have the OR closed and no work at the same time, which gives me a sense of not having any control.

  4. It’s a hell of a thing isn’t it? Strange days indeed. This is going to do unprecedented things to our economy, and in-turn to our investments. It’s going to be frightful.

    At this point, I’m just trying to get through each day…. and we’re far better prepared to deal with something like this than most.

    It’s always darkest before the dawn right? Somehow it feels like we’ve only reached dusk…

  5. Time to consider using your clinical skills again? Those of us on the frontlines will need your help. It’s war, and everyone’s lives are changing. The worst is yet to come. Medical training will be delayed, and we will certainly lose some of our colleagues. Hope this is your big announcement.

    • I’ve already made that declaration. Not so much an announcement, but I’ve acknowledged in a few places when asked online that I’ve already had that discussion with my former chief and I’m willing to do my part.

      My license is renewed and my credentials intact. I’m currently on standby, but ready to step in when needed. First, I’ve got another week or so of quarantine to get through.

      Stay tuned for a different announcement. I believe I can do more good with a voice and an audience than I can with a laryngoscope, but there’s no reason I couldn’t do both. I’ve done it before.



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