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The Sunday Best (4/12/2020)

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


Shaun Mosley from Successful While Parenting and I were planning to talk about early retirement and related topics, but somehow the conversation kept going back to the same place. His wife is a pregnant OB/Gyn in metro Atlanta, and I feel for them as she continues to care for patients while growing her family during this pandemic. Physician on FIRE Talks COVID-19.


I haven’t seen the inside of an operating room in 8 months. Gomerblog has a theory that I was forced out rather than leaving of my own volition. Physician on FIRE not allowed in OR, deemed too much of a fire risk.


The market rebound over the last couple of weeks has been impressive, if not confusing. The Banker on FIRE removes emotion and takes an objective look at bear markets of the past and how they played out. Making Money In Times Of Crisis – Lessons From Past Bear Markets.


Nadine Evans takes a look at failed med school applications of the past and the lessons aspiring doctors can learn from them. Top 5 Reasons Most Medical School Applicants Get Rejected (And How to Avoid Them).


Learn how to better manage your student loan debt, and explore refinancing to a lower rate with cash back offers up to $1,000! Student Loan Resource Page


If they get in, most of them can count on multiple six-figure loan balances when all is said and done. LendKey shares some advice for those who have already built up those balances. Managing Student Loan Debt During COVID-19. If your federal loans qualify for 6 months of interest-free forbearance, don’t change a thing!

  • If you don’t qualify for that gift, plug your numbers in to LendKey’s Refinancing Calculator to see how much you could save.


Lots of lessons in The Sunday Best today. This one’s from The Physician Philosopher, an anesthesiologist who’s back to work after a period of self-isolation in his basement. What COVID Taught Me About Money.


If you were planning on retiring in the next year or two, have your plans changed? Mr. FireStation ponders whether or not it’s Time to Put Off Retirement.


If you were planning on rental income to fully fund your retirement, April Fool’s Day may have been a particularly cruel joke, as nearly 1/3 of our nation’s renters failed to pay rent. The Darwinian Doctor has second thoughts about adding to his stable of rental units. Rental empire under siege: Anno Darwinii 0.75.


International stocks have been under siege, as well. Ben Carlson of A Wealth of Common Sense explores whether or not we should be Buying Foreign Stocks After a Fall.


Have you been checking on your portfolio balances regularly? Hourly? Some say you should avoid it as much as possible, but I learned the hard way not to ignore mine. The Danger of Not Checking Your Portfolio (I’ve Made a Huge Mistake).


This whole not-leaving-the-house thing has made us pretty frugal, although we have been ordering in more than normal to help keep local restaurants afloat. The Frugal Physician describes her family’s Frugal Living During the CoronaBear.


What can you do to stay entertained while stuck at home and living frugally? Your Money Geek shows us how to Watch Free Movies Online: 9 Best Free Movie Streaming Services. Did somebody say free?


Passive Income MD hesitated before taking the first steps towards growing his passive income. The First Step Is The Hardest.


I was happy to see Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to be Rich make this pledge: We’re donating $25,000 to help people during coronavirus. My original goal was a total of $50,000 in COVID-19 relief, but at this point, I’ll be quite pleased if we can match Ramit’s effort. Remember that all of my online profits this month will be directed there, and that you can help (and choose where $5,000 of it goes).





He loved science. He got excellent grades. Eventually, he ended up with a great job and a strong salary, putting his skills to good use.

Over the years, he lived well but relatively frugally, and he learned how to invest on his own. He realized that financial independence was well within reach long before most people would consider retiring. With two boys at home who loved to explore the great outdoors in the northern U.S., he made a plan to leave a lucrative career behind and join his family to live a more adventurous life.

He realized that the “secrets” he had discovered were too good not to share, and he started a blog to help others find financial freedom themselves while documenting his own journey. Not long ago, he left his job, and he and his family had this newfound freedom to enjoy!

If this sounds like someone you know, then you know my story fairly well. But this isn’t me; it’s about David.

David and I had a lot in common, but our post-FIRE paths diverged.

After he and his wife Emily retired in 2018, they had a great summer with their boys, who I believe were the same age as mine are now. Looking forward to the ski season in New Hampshire, David started experiencing some odd difficulties with basic functions like memory, typing, and balance.

A seizure sent David to the Emergency Room. Four months after retiring early at about age 50, he received the diagnosis.


Seven months ago, just a month after my own retirement from medicine, Emily shared the news with us via Twitter. You can read it in detail here. He underwent surgery, 6 weeks of daily radiation, and was taking oral chemotherapy at the time.

Yesterday, she was back on the Twitter account of their former blog, Plan Invest Escape.


PIE Tweet


I am glad to have had the opportunity to clink pint glasses with David in person when he had his health. He was a gregarious Scotsman full of great stories and cheer.

It’s been two and a half years since we toured the Harpoon Brewery in Boston together and shared a pint or three afterward. He should have had decades ahead of him, but sadly, I can only now drink in his honor the next time I visit the northeast, but not with him. 🍻 Tonight, I’ll raise a glass with a heavy heart in a toast to Emily and their sons.

Times are tough for many right now. Please take a minute to take stock of what you do have. A lot has been taken away from us, but there is still much to be thankful for. I am grateful for my health, my family, and the prospect of a bright future when the pandemic has passed. And I am grateful for David’s friendship, even if 99% of our interactions were online.



A Recommended Insurance Agent


Physician Financial Services

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, RHU®, LUTCF has been in the insurance and financial services industry since 1990. Unlike medicine, which has a standardized path that physicians must take to gain the education, training and experience requirements necessary to obtain board certification, the insurance and financial services industry does not.
Working with an agent that is familiar with the underwriting of both disability and life insurance policies for physicians can all but guarantee a smooth underwriting process in which the desired outcome is likely. While he might not be a doctor’s first phone call regarding their insurance needs, he is often their last.



Have a good week!

-Physician on FIRE


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11 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (4/12/2020)”

  1. Thanks for the feature Leif – certainly a great Easter present!

    No one knows what the markets will do next but we do know our time on Earth is precious and not to be wasted – as Mr. Pie’s story so poignantly illustrates. My heart goes out to him and his family.

    Hopefully everyone out there is living their own best life possible!

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. Great Sunday Best as usual PoF. I particularly enjoyed Banker on FIRE’s post this week. Hopefully his predictions about the market turn out to be true.

    I didn’t know him, but it’s sad to hear the news about Mr. PIE’s passing. Thanks for sharing the news.

    I’m hopeful that next week you will have some positive news to share. I’m a bit tired of bad news these days.

    • Thanks Mr. Tako – glad you enjoyed it! The past does not predict the future – but can sure give us an indication of how things might play out. I look forward to reconciling my predictions with reality in a few months (or years!).

  4. I was so sad to hear about David (Mr Pie as I had come to know him) when I first heard the news about his diagnosis last year. My thoughts and prayers go out to Emily, and his family.

  5. Everyone i know who is retired (including me) are very happy to be retired during the quarantine. In a way, it is the ideal way to endure a quarantine. However travel plans got cancelled and the gym being closed means figuring out an entirely new work out schedule. People who own rentals have some serious hassles. I do not own rentals. My wife has become so obsessed with germs that my dog and i are dumbfounded. But the house is cleaner…BTW my Dad died from a Glioblastoma. First symptom was memory loss. I never hold a cell phone next to my ear. YMMV!

    • I’ve always been a little wary of real estate rentals based on people I know who have had to deal with them. Sure they can be fantastic investments and probably more millionaires have been minted from it than anywhere else, but it comes at a cost. It’s not really passive.
      If you hire a property manager, a huge chunk of your expected cash flow and potential profit is out the window (10-14% management fee per year). I prefer exchange traded cash flow yielding investments like preferred stocks and MLPs, which I discuss on my site. The average yield is easily 7-10%, often tax favorable.

      • I agree owning rentals can be a pain in the ass and does expose to some liability so would need to put real estate in LLC . I prefer Realestate trusts ie REITS if you want some realestate exposure

  6. Howdy physicians! Curious to know whether the pandemic makes you want to work more, return to work (if you retired), or feel more proud of being a doctor or less?

    I’m hearing from lots of doctors who are pissed off about the lack of support, PPE, cut in pay, etc. I know there’s been a structural decline in pay and more busy work for the past couple of decades for why the FIRE movement is growing in the MD space.

    However, just curious to know more about now.



    • Doing great. still getting paid and even got a bonus for billings last 6 months. took alot of vacation since i am retiring at 56 in august. invested well despite the bad stock market , saved like crazy till i peaked > 10 million in income generating assets, planned well with good asset allocation and flexible spending plan ( i always based my withdrawal rate precovid on the worst case ie 1920’s depression so the down market didnt leave a scratch in my income) . looking forward to a care free retirement in Hawaii or Florida once travel restrictions lifted

    • I retired at age 48 in December of last year. So glad I don’t have to work! Most of my former colleagues I’ve spoken to who are still working wish they had this choice.

  7. Thanks for the call out on my latest post! These are crazy times for people at all stages of their FIRE journey, but with good planning & discipline we will succeed. Just like a century ago, here’s hoping this global pandemic will be followed by our own Roaring 20s!


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