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The Sunday Best (3/8/2020)

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


It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, hasn’t it? If you didn’t have losses to harvest a week ago, you might now. Follow my Top 5 Tax Loss Harvesting Tips (with a few bonus tips) to be sure to get it right. You can expect to save at least $1,000 on your 2020 taxes by harvesting a $3,000 or greater loss.


I’ve generally used mutual funds for my TLH efforts (see my step-by-step guides for Vanguard and Fidelity), but I’ll also trade ETFs, like Dr. Mitra Sadhu of Physician Finance Basics does. He shares a guide for Vanguard ETFs in Tax Loss Harvesting with ETFs.


We can “thank” the novel coronavirus for these recent opportunities. How are real estate investments affected? Crowdstreet shares some insights on How the Coronavirus is Impacting Commercial Real Estate.



Our friends at Origin Investments also have some thoughts on the matter, as well. The Potential Impact of Coronavirus on Private Real Estate Investments.


One immediate effect has been a rapid decline in interest rates. Many homeowners have refinanced their mortgages to rates in the 2.5% to 3% range in the last week or two. See our recommended mortgage lenders for options near you, and consider that an ARM might make the most sense. Financial Samurai explains Why An Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Is Better Than A 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage.


Maybe renting makes more sense? Stop Ironing Shirts runs the numbers for a FI-minded, high-earning thirty-something couple contemplating an $800,000 home purchase. Midpoint to FI #5: Should We Buy Our Dream House?


For the older crowd, the CDC recommends you avoid crowds. And you may be seeing your kids struggle financially as wages aren’t what they used to be. Women Who Money discuss the pros and cons of helping them out. Should You Financially Support Your Adult Children?


Supporting “adult children” can be a real drain on your own finances, but that’s not the only way money can disappear. 20 Things You Need to Know About Asset Protection from The White Coat Investor.


Start receiving paid survey opportunities in your area of expertise to your email inbox by joining the All Global Circle community of Physicians and Healthcare Professionals.

Use our link to Join and receive a bonus of up to $50 .


You can also lose money in the market, if that isn’t painfully obvious. You can make money in this volatile market, though, as zero-coupon bond (STRIPS) owners know well. The Actuary on FIRE reacts. The market is crazy! No, not the stock market – bonds!


Going back to the stock market, would you believe that despite the recent drop, it’s still up since I retired from medicine back in August? Four Pillar Freedom looks at what the stock market represents and why it’s long-term trend has always been up. Why Does The Stock Market Go Up Over Time?


When you retire early with a sizable nest egg, it becomes more challenging to maintain the stealth wealth vibe, as the Leisure Freak found out. Busted! When The Cloak Of Stealth Wealth Malfunctions.


Retirement can have a number of different challenges, as one retired teacher learned when his purpose went away with his career. You’re Retired. Now What? Finding Purpose in Retirement.


Your work as an investor isn’t over as a retiree, either. A look at the role of cash value life insurance in retirement, creating income streams, and how creating your own dividend can be a more tax-efficient approach as compared to a high-dividend portfolio. From The White Coat Investor, Investing in Retirement Part II.



Home Sweet Home


I’ve got mixed feelings as I arrived back home just yesterday. We enjoyed the last two months in Spain immensely, but with the rapid spread of COVID-19 in many parts of Europe, I think we came home at a good time.

Not that I think it’s much more easily avoided here in the states. Compared to many nations, I think we’re undertesting and we really don’t have a clue as to the incidence or prevalence of this thing within our borders. I’d be surprised if it hasn’t hit all 50 states at this point, even if half of them have no confirmed cases.

For me, the fortunate timing of our arrival back home is not so much about avoiding the disease, as it is avoiding being stuck in a foreign country, having to quarantine in a place where I’m not familiar with the healthcare system and have little command of the language.


a stroll in spain


If I were trying hard to avoid the possibility of exposure, I certainly wouldn’t be planning to hop on a plane in two days to join hundreds of other healthcare providers for a few days in a Las Vegas ballroom. But that’s the plan as long as I don’t come down with some sort of symptoms between now and Tuesday.

I’ve been looking forward to WCICon20 for quite some time, and I hope to see you there (but understand if you choose not to go). Unsurprisingly, spots have opened up in recent days, and the hotel prices have dropped dramatically, so there’s likely a spot for you if you’re willing to brave a trip to Vegas. Honestly, most physicians are probably at higher risk at work than they will be at the conference.

If you are coming, pack some hand sanitizer, don’t be offended when I don’t shake your hand, and know that I’m a “sun sneezer.” Yes, the bright light of day has a tendency to make me my miswired brain sneeze, especially when coming from a windowless place like a casino. Don’t assume I’m Typhoid Larry if I let off a sneeze or two. Hops can also trigger them, and I do like me some hops!

Our future family travels are a bit more in limbo. In October, we’re scheduled to take a 30-day cruise to China. On the exact ship that’s currently floating off the coast of San Francisco with 21 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Yeah. So… we’ll see what happens with that.


Student Loan Interest Rates Below 1.3% ?


One reader who refinanced with Figure last month figures his interest rate will drop to an APR of under 1.3% next month. He shared this with our Physicians on FIRE Facebook Group:

Refinancing disqualifies you from Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), so if you’re on that path, you don’t want to do it. If you’re not pursuing forgiveness, there has never ever been a better time to refinance your student loans, even if you’ve refinanced recently.

Figure also offers $200 cash back when referred by me via this link (or any link on this site), and I’ll also donate $50 to a charity of your choice if you do. See their current rates along with those of our other refinancing partners below.


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Student Loan Refinancing Disclosures



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Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE


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8 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (3/8/2020)”

  1. Any conflicting thoughts as a physician being retired early and being at home chilling when hospitals here could soon be overwhelmed like in Italy and in desperate need of people with your skill sets? This is definitely a very unique set of circumstances, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that but unfortunately you don’t have to be great at math to see how fast it might happen. It is comforting though to hear that you, as a person who knows a hell of a lot more about this stuff than I do, are not that worried about this and willing to hop on airplanes and attend large events like the Biogen people did.

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. you are a doctor who is going to hop on a plane when there will be 10,000 cases next week in the US. I would have thought you would know better! ha ha

    If the rest of the masses will display this lack of common sense we are doomed.

    • Your risk tolerance is clearly different than mine. You are not alone, but I plan to continue living my life, practicing good hand hygiene just like I did in my working days, and if I start showing any symptoms, I will self-isolate. It’s much more likely that I’ll pick up a common cold or influenza, but I also accept the fact that there’s a decent chance you and I will both contract COVID-19 eventually.

      There’s an interesting thread on the WCI forum about this very conference. Roughly 10% have bowed out, but most attendees realize they’re probably more likely to contract the disease at work than they are at the conference.


  4. It certainly has been an interesting couple of weeks. There’s lot’s of people talking about how much the market has moved in the last couple of weeks, but outside of a just a few select sectors (oil, travel industry, etc.) it really hasn’t been that bad.

    In many cases, we’re simply back to where we were late last year.

    I’m certainly not in the poorhouse yet! Great Sunday Best as usual POF

  5. Thank you, Amy!

    We don’t plan on doing any significant “outpatient economic care” for our eventual adult children, but we haven’t been faced with any difficult decisions in that realm just yet, either.

    Great article!

  6. Welcome home and Big Thanks for featuring our Women Who Money article!
    Wishing you continued safe travels.
    (John’s a sun sneezer too – still startles me half the time!)

  7. We were just talking about sun sneezing yesterday as I got hit on two separate occasions when we were driving. That’s pretty rare though. Usually, I adjust after round one, which always comes with two back to back sneezes (my theory was always one for each eye). I am usually good for the day after that first sun sneeze sequence.

    Safe travels,


    • I’ve never noticed if it’s a once-a-day phenomenon for me. There are many days that it doesn’t happen at all. I think it depends somewhat on the light differential; the more f-stops, the more likely I am to sneeze.

      I have noticed that I passed the trait along to one of my two sons.



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