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The Sunday Best (4/19/2020)

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


I’ve learned that you can tell most of your friends’ political leanings based on what they post about an apolitical virus. The Debt Free Dr shares an additional 7 Lessons Learned During the Coronavirus Pandemic.


Dylin from Retire by 45 shares what he and his wife have learned from the perspective of a couple of early retirees. FIRE in the Age of COVID-19 (Part II: Preparing for the Next Storm).


More than a dozen years ago, the Great Recession taught me How to Get Wealth Investing in a Bear Market without trying. Today’s bear market gives you an opportunity to repeat the feat.


Lowering your interest rate on student loans can help you grow your wealth. Splash Financial can’t match the 0% forbearance the government is offering on some government loans, but they are offering variable rates as low as 1.58%. If you’re on the 0% plan, stay put! But if you have consolidated loans from the early 2000s or other loans that don’t qualify (or have refinanced already, see what Splash can do for you.


When overseas Airbnb income is a meaningful part of your early retirement plan, pandemics really suck. Costa Rica FIRE is learning this the hard way. Will their diverse passive income sources be enough? This Pandemic Is A Stress Test For Our FIRE Plan.



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The White Coat Investor stops by to say “I told you so.” Early retirement is hard; why make life harder than it has to be? 14 Reasons Why the White Coat Investor Doesn’t Want You to Retire Early.


I’ll take “Unfortunate Times to Reproduce” for $400, Alex. They couldn’t have known about this pending pandemic 9 months ago, but my friend Kevin and his wife added a panther cub to the Financial Panther household. How has the baby and the pandemic affected the lawyer’s many side gigs and her dental practice?  What’s New In My Life – We Had A Baby!


I’ll take “Unfortunate Times to Reproduce” for $600, Alex! Dillon from Dollar Revolution not only brings new life into this world, but has to say goodbye to another when there’s no good way to do so. He reflects on these developments while honoring his fallen brothers in this touching post. As One Life Began, Another Ended.


I know many of my readers aren’t getting a stimulus check (and neither am I). But if you are, Leif from Five Year FIRE Escape has got you covered. 3 Most Lucrative Ways to Spend Your Stimulus Check.


With oil stocks tanking and travel stocks going south, I’ve seen a renewed interest in individual stock investing. Be careful out there; there are wolves on Wall Street. The Stock MD shows us The Anatomy of a Pump and Dump Cycle.


I don’t know where the real estate market is heading, but I still expect there will be some deals to be had in the coming months. Robert Feol talks acquiring property in Financial Freedom & Real Estate: It Starts and Ends With Acquisitions.


The FI Physician continues to post his thoughts on the handling of the pandemic. Insights from the infectious disease doctor over the past two weeks:


While some physicians are busier than ever, others are taking turns going into work in different platoons or just stuck at home indefinitely. The Physician Philosopher has some tips for those of you not used to so much home time. 5 Ways to Find COVID Balance While at Home.


Erik from the Mastermind Within is using this down time to polish his Spanish language speaking skills. He went from knowing very little to conversing in Colombia in a matter of months (pre-pandemic, of course). How I’m Learning a Second Language in Quarantine.


Finding a Routine


I’ve been back in northern Michigan for over a month now. This toned-down existence isn’t exactly the FIRE life I had in mind, but to be honest, I really don’t mind the low-key lifestyle I’m settling into.

Our kids have always benefitted from sort of structure, even when traveling and adjusting to new places. Grown-ups can do well with routine, too. There are a handful of things I’ve done every day for just about five weeks now.


Learning a second language.

I started doing at least a little bit of Duolingo way back when we started living in Mexico last October. The app tells me I haven’t missed a day, but that’s not entirely true, since there is a “streak freeze” feature that forgives you for missing an occasional day as long as it’s only one. But still, it’s been nearly half a year, and I’m still going strong.



I’ve become more dedicated this last week, aiming to start and finish one icon (20 lessons of 20 questions apiece) every day. With some breaks (more on that below), it takes a good hour and a half. But I’ve got the time, so why not hit it hard now? I should be a much better communicator by the time we’re able to visit a Spanish speaking country again.


yes. yes, i do.


Exercising daily.

I got back into a body-weight exercise routine five weeks ago and haven’t missed a day. It’s not much, and that’s what makes it doable.

I’ll do at least three sets of 10 or more pushups, situps, dips, and/or air squats on a daily basis. I generally do them as sets in between Duolingo lessons.

I took a few days off of dips when my shoulder was bothering me, and I’m skipping the air squats to rest a bum knee, but I’ve done the pushups and situps daily throughout, pushing myself to 100 of each yesterday. A month ago, it was 30 a day. Progress!

Running is still a challenge. I healed from the very-likely stress fracture, but I’ve had bothersome bouts of medial knee pain return. I’m self-diagnosing this as pes anserine bursitis / tendinopathy or something similar.

My best advice for injury-free running: don’t grow old. There are probably some stretches or therapies that would improve my condition, but they won’t help as much as staying forever young would.

For now, I go for one walk of at least a mile every day with my wife; we’ve done so three weeks straight. Our cell phone data will make it look like we’re doing  a poor job of social distancing. I know one measure counts you as a bad actor if you’ve strayed more than 500 feet from home, but we stay far away from others when we’re out and about. It’s hard not to in a small town.


Netflix and chill.

Yes, I know what that really means.

Over the last three weeks, we’ve actually just chilled while wathing Netflix, watching all of the can’t-look-away disaster that is Tiger King, a few episodes of the mini-documentary series Rotten, and we’ve just started Ozark.

We’re also watching the Marvel comic-based movies in chronological order with our boys, a project that began in Spain earlier this year. We just watched Thor: Dark World, and Captain America: Winter Soldier is up next. We can’t go out for entertainment, so it’s nice to be entertained without leaving home. In this case, it’s Disney+ and chill, which sounds truly disturbing.


A Recommended Financial Advisor


For those of you who would rather not DIY, I maintain a list of recommended financial advisors. Among the good guys and gals who work frequently with physicians, only the lowest cost, fee-only fiduciary advisors were invited to be on this short list. Among them is FPL Capital Management.


FPL Capital Management

FPL Capital Management Vetting Application


FPL Capital Management is a Fee-Only RIA that offers a unique fee structure, which is based on charging clients a flat annual fee for services provided. Fees range from $1,000 to $5,000 per year for Portfolio Management. They utilize low-cost funds from Vanguard, Dimensional, iShares, WisdomTree, and AQR. They have custodial relationships with Schwab, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade.

They offer an Institutional Platform that provides clients access to private debt and private equity funds. FPL also offers Wealth Management and ERISA Fiduciary services. Their focus is medical practices with fewer than 100 employees. They offer this service utilizing DC Platforms of Vanguard and DFA.


Annual Advisory Fees range between $1,000 and $5,000, depending on the level of service selected.

Contact Info:
3525 North Causeway Blvd.
Suite 633
Metairie, LA 70002

Visit FPL


Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE


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19 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (4/19/2020)”

  1. I’m up to 128 straight days of Duolingo Chinese. I usually just do one level of an icon a day but you have inspired me to try to up that and mix it in with some other activities. Chinese is tricky because they are teaching me the characters along with how to say the words. My time is paying off because I am able to understand more of Dragon Gal’s conversations with her parents when she speaks Chinese to them. At least enough to get the general topic. No more secrets anymore!

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  3. PoF,

    Some great reads as always. I don’t know how you manage to consistently put out the Sunday Best for as long as you have. I can’t seem to do anything consistently.

    Glad you are keeping/getting in shape. I’m working on that too. I find as I age I can still workout, but it has to be modified. When I run I go slowly and even take walk breaks. I call it interval training to make myself feel more athletic about it. Those who relinquish the “need for speed” can stay fit and active.

    Keep plugging away. BTW it probably isn’t Pes Anserine Bursitis if it is interfering that much with activity. And that bursa is below the knee on the medial tibia.

    Are you still glad about the downsizing or does your small house feel too small now? I normally think my house is too big, but with four of us home all the time I’m glad we have the extra elbow room.

  4. I feel like if I run into you at FinCon, we should try having a conversation in Spanish and see if we can actually understand each other. We’d probably come off sounding like two idiots, but beer tends to fix that problem. 😉

    • I can’t imagine I’ll be conversational until we are able to spend significant time in a Spanish speaking country again. You, on the other hand, will have no excuse!


  5. Thanks for the shoutout PoF! I’m blown away that you do 1.5 hrs of Duolingo! That’s commitment!

    I’m jealous of your Marvel movie quest. My girl is at the perfect age for a Disney Princess addiction so whether I like it or not it’s all Disney all the time!

    • The boys and I are loving these Marvel movies. I’ve seen maybe 2/3 of them, but not many of those that came out in the last three or four years, so it’s going to get interesting for me as we start watching more shows that are new to me, as well.

      With two boys, I haven’t had to endure the Disney Princess stage. My heart goes out to you.


  6. Thanks for all the great reading material for a lazy Sunday afternoon (and thanks for including us)! Glad to see you’re exercising mind, body, and spirit during these strange times. We’re trying to do the same here in the Bay Area, and having a little fun, like Allison giving me a Mohawk yesterday. (it’s the little things)

    Stay safe and healthy!

    • We are safe and sound, indeed. I hope you’re able to enjoy some outdoor time with your new baby soon, even if it’s just in the backyard.


  7. Unless I’m missing something, it sounds like Costa Rica FIRE panicked and sold their entire diversified stock portfolio to buy gold and bonds. A previous post alluded to switching to a “tactical asset allocation strategy.” Yikes. I hope they didn’t also pay for that advice.

    • It’s not clear exactly what they’ve done there, but if they are out of the stock market, I hope they didn’t get out mid-to-late March. It’s possible that we’ll retest those lows, but it’s also possible that we’ll never drop that low again.


  8. Sounds like you have a solid routine down. Mrs. Max OOP has been using a new app called “FitOn” – it seems like it changes exercises up a bit. You could also do the 30-day plank challenge and hit a 5-minute plank.

    I am also starting to settle into this new, slower life. It almost feels like we have gone back in time, probably because I have seen a lot of people rollerblading around our town? Not sure what that’s about.

    Take care,


    • Have you completed the 30-day plank challenge? I’ve only done them sparingly, and a one-minute plank was challenging enough.

      I’ll have to check out FitOn. I’ve used Sworkit in the past for quick 5 to 7 minute workouts and I really liked it. I kind of forgot about it, but I may add it back to the mix at some point here.


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  10. Thanks for all the language tips and article from Erik.
    I’ve been dabbling in Russian just for fun but certainly have never achieved a Duolingo streak like yours! It makes me realize I can get much more serious.


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