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The Sunday Best (3/29/2020)

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


Your life has been interrupted. Your portfolio’s been ravaged. How do you respond? Jonathan Clements of the Humble Dollar comes through with sound advice to get you through this debacle. 27 Things to Do Now. Once you’ve done them, please come back here and finish reading The Sunday Best.


For some, it’s even worse. Many workers have been laid off, and more layoffs are sure to come. Jackie Beck wants to help you cope and get back on your feet. 11 Things to Do When You’ve Lost Your Job.


The massive economic stimulus package includes a provision for some borrowers who have the right kind of federal student loans. Are you eligible for six months of interest-free forbearance? Student Loan Planner digs into the details of What the $2 Trillion Stimulus Plan Means For Your Student Loans.


With those lighthearted topics out of the way, it’s time to get serious. Dad Sense shares his best tips for frugal frivolity and foam. How to Save Money on Beer.


For those of you who were investing back in the Great Recession like me, does this feel familiar? Clipping Chains hops into the Delorean to review some Shocking Headlines of the 2008 Financial Crisis (and Why They Are So Important Now). Ahhh, yes. I remember them like it was 12 years ago.



This headline comes from 2009, and it discusses events dating back to 1929, but it is very much applicable today. From Business Insider, New Study: Stocks Only Took 5 Years To Recover After 1929. Note, this was only true for those who remained invested in the stock market. The “stocks took 25 years to recover” naysayers are using fuzzy math.


Many people misconstrue what it actually means to invest in stocks or to be invested in the stock market. The Banker on FIRE is here to set the record straight. Five Dangerous Misconceptions About The Stock Market.


You don’t have to everything just right to do well over the long run with your investments. Just get the big things right. From The White Coat Investor, What Matters Most When Investing.


I think The Hammer and The Dance is an outstanding explanation of how social distancing can work and what the rest of the year might look like as this pandemic progresses. It’s also a great band name. The FI Physician agrees with the premise, but quibbles with some of the specifics. Improving on the COVID Hammer and Dance. Also from the FI Physician this week:


I’ve decided to donate all of next month’s profits to COVID-19 relief. I made a lofty goal of $50,000, which would be at least double a normal month. Based on the response thus far, there is virtually no chance of that happening.

My posts on charitable giving, whether or not I’m asking for anything, universally fall flat, but I’ll keep on trying. People are in need, including thousands of my colleagues who are lacking proper PPE. Support COVID-19 Relief Efforts With Only a Click (or Two)!



Answer quick MicroSurveys for cash. Designed with convenience and timeliness in mind, 70% of surveys are answered on a mobile device in just a few minutes.

Physicians, Pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals are invited to join Incrowd today!


The FIRE critics have been waiting with eager anticipation for a bear market like this to expose us as a bunch of poorly prepared frauds. I don’t think they realize who they’re dealing with. Take Tanja Hester of Our Next Life, for example. She’s well prepared for this, as most FI-minded folks are (and unlike much of the general population). Recession, Coronavirus and the Future of FIRE.


Andy Hill of Marriage Kids & Money understands how FIRE can be good and not-so-good. As a family finance podcaster who writes very well, he speaks and blogs on the topic as he sees it. FIRE Movement: The Pros and Cons of Pursuing Financial Independence.


In my mind, the verdict is in. The FIRE movement not only survives the pandemic, but grows stronger. Lane of Travel Inspire Connect, who is now just inspiring and connecting from his home base in Valencia, Spain, wants to help you Start Your FIRE Journey: The 10 Stages of Financial Independence.


A fourth year medical student is well on his way to financial independence, if not already there. What? How?!? It’s Never Too Early to Start: The Rapid FIRE Approach of One Enterprising Medical Student. Not only that, but he’s donating profits from one of his side hustles to help supply PPE where it’s needed most. Kudos!


Uplifting COVID Stories


Much of what I read on the topic is bad news, and for good reason. In the hardest-hit areas, the peak in terms of infected patients is likely at least a week or two away, assuming adequate distancing measures are followed. In places that haven’t seen much or any of it, the peak could be a month or two away. And more peaks could follow. It’s a crappy situation all around.

There are bright spots out there. Lots of them, actually. Here’s a collection of a few I’ve come across in the past week. Feel free to share more that you’ve seen by leaving a comment.

  • Headspace Plus (a meditation app) is free for healthcare professionals for all of 2020.
  • ChooseFI shares the best plans for 3D Printed Masks & Face Shields.


For every corporate action, there are thousands of individuals acting heroically in their own less publicized ways. Whether it’s picking up groceries or pharmaceuticals for a neighbor, donating PPE, fundraising, or just staying the f*&% home, every small action or even inaction can help.

My wife and a friend made cloth masks and donated them to our local radiology department. I know countless others that have done something similar. Just reaching out to friends and family for a conversation or video chat can boost mental health.

As the memes say, your grandfather stormed the beach at Normandy. All many of you are being asked to do is sit on your couch and Netflix (plus or minus the chill). You got this.

Our healthcare professionals, on the other hand, are being asked to do much more than that, often without adequate protection. One of the first priorities with my upcoming donations will be to organizations helping to provide personal protective equipment (PPE). If you know of a great charity helping specifically with procurement and delivery of PPE, please let me know.

Learn what you can do to help the cause without spending a nickel.




Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE


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25 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (3/29/2020)”

  1. My wife and I are both retiring early from medicine in our fifties this year and frankly the covid19 crisis reconfirmed that it was a great idea given the risk physicians are taking with inadequate ppe. My wife got out of her private practice just before the crisis and the timing could not have been better given the financial hit private practice is getting with no surgeries , elective cases and stoppage of patient visits. Spoken to a lot of my colleagues in private practice. They have zero income and barely covering overhead. I am in a academic position but even the deep pockets of the hospital can only go so far before they cut heads or pay. Lesson to all young physicians . Save like crazy so you don’t ever have to rely on a job and think of money as freedom and not about buying shiny things and spend more time with loved ones .
    Wondering how other MD’s are faring financially with COVID19 especially in private practice?

    • It’s frightening to see physicians and other healthcare workers being asked to confront this disease without adequate protective equipment.

      And I’m hearing from many, many docs who have had their pay cut anywhere from 20% to 100% — those in the latter category are obviously working very little if at all right now.

      It’s a good time to be financially independent. There’s no doubt about that. Congrats on your achievements!


  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. Can you provide a link to the instructions for making cloth masks? What type of material should be used to make them?

  4. We certainly live in interesting times, don’t we? As usual, great Sunday Best PoF!

    It’s been hard to find any positive news the last couple of weeks, so it’s nice to see you highlighting some.

    Hope you and your family are holding up well. We’ve been under lockdown for 3 weeks now, which hasn’t been that terrible actually. It’s harder on the kids than the adults frankly. No friends, no school, and limited outdoor time. All of our local parks are even closed!

    It’s tough to keep a couple of rambunctious kids from bouncing off the walls!

    Stay healthy!

  5. Resent the fact that as a physician i am expected to go to work without ppe. At same time my assets at risk if malpractice lawyer can make a case . I look forword to FIRE. Why practice if u dont have to. Any FIRE anesthiologist want to help intubate covid pts under current system? Physicians should demand reform.

  6. “New Study: Stocks Only Took 5 Years To Recover After 1929.”

    That’s fuzzy math, too. It’s true that the broader index (I use a back-filled S&P500 equivalent) came close to recovering in 1937; 0.48% below the old peak (CPI-adjusted total return). So, it’s not surprising that maybe some other measure slightly topped the old 1929 peak. But the market completely collapsed again in 1937. And it took until 1945 to reach a new, CPI-adjusted all-time-high in 1945. So, it was a much longer and more painful event than this article wants to make it!

    (From “Who’s Afraid of a Bear Market?” 10/30/2019)

    • Fuzzy math has been en vogue here in the U.S. since the G.W. administration. 🙂

      15 years is better than 25, that’s for certain. I’m also glad I wasn’t around at that time. Our grandkids may be saying the same about the 2020s, at least the early part of the decade.

      Thanks for weighing in on the issue — the most correct answer is almost always between the two extremes.


  7. Read the post by Jonathan Clements, 27 things to do now. I looked into selling 12k of my Schwab US Aggregate Bond ETF. With the Bid-Ask Spread, it will cost me $1000 dollars. Is this worthwhile doing, to free up $11k that I would use to buy stock etf’s at a discount? Any thoughts?

    • Absolutely not!

      Take a peek again during the trading day while the market is open, and I think you’ll see a much smaller spread (i.e. pennies).


      • Thanks! It seemed like too big of a spread for a bond ETF. Weird that Schwab calculates it that way when the market is closed.

  8. I signed up for the The Morning Brew from your last post and I really enjoy it. Pairs well with ‘NextDraft’ which aggregates across all news, not predominantly business. Both have a distinct ‘voice’ which I appreciate.

    • Thank you for taking us on a tour of the headlines. It’s easy to forget what the markets and the headlines were saying back then. I had a newborn at home and a job that kept me very busy at the time.


  9. I've got my 2 acres of non-leveraged, crop-producing, cashflowing farmland via AcreTrader. Get yours.
  10. Hey PoF! Thanks for mentioning DadSense! We’re glad to lighten the mood and share some shopping tips on one of the essentials of life. Have a great Sunday!

  11. Thanks for the mention, PoF! Was great meeting you and the family. If any of your readers are ever in Valencia, Spain let’s grab a drink!

    • I’m glad we were able to connect, and I really look forward to being able to travel again one day.

      Until then, be safe. Valencia will bounce back, but it’s going to be a painful time for a while.



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