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The Sunday Best (4/26/2020)

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


Data. Optimism. A hazy northeast style triple IPA. 🎶🎵 These are a few of my favorite things, and Big ERN of Early Retirement Now delivers big time on the first two, while the local Austin Brothers Beer Company did a fine job with their recent Big Murk release. COVID-19: Some Empirical Observations and Reasons for Optimism.


I think we’ve all gained some new insights when it comes to money during this pandemic. The Average Doctor shares a great number of them in this two-part series.


One thing I’ve realized is that retiring early had my family and me ready for this lockdown lifestyle from both a financial and day-to-day perspective. How Early Retirement Prepared Us for the Pandemic.


The Drs. Albright have been dealt a tough blow as they launched their own businessoffering elective medical services within the last year. They spell out the top 5 COVID-19 Takeaways From a New Medical Practice with The White Coat Investor.


Hundreds of companies are offering gratitude to those of you caring for patients in this challenging time. The Average Socialite has kept this extensive and well-organized list updated regularly. Perks and Freebies for COVID-19 Healthcare Workers.


The government is handing out freebies for those who know how to tax loss harvest, and they’ve been doing so for years. I’ve updated and republished my Tax Loss Harvesting with Vanguard: A Step by Step Guide.


The government is handing a whole new slew of freebies to support the economy during this crisis. Retire Before Dad asks a pertinent question after the CARES Act. What if the Economic Stimulus Doesn’t Work?


And the debt! Is our government no better than Mike Tyson or MC Hammer when it comes to fiscal responsibility? A couple of my favorite writers address this conundrum.


How important is the right asset allocation to your investing success? As long as you stick with it, not as much as you’d think. Mindfully Investing looks at historical returns of a variety of portfolios. The End of Your Investing Worries.


You’ll have fewer worries if you reach a state of virtual retirement. Leif from Five Year Fire Escape explains exactly what that means and how you can achieve it. Aggressive Hours Reduction: Why Every Physician (and human, really) Should Chase ‘Virtual Retirement’



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One of the keys to financial freedom is living well within your means. The Educator FI couple was doing a very crappy job of it, but they turned things right around. We Lost to Lifestyle Inflation. Here’s How We Fought Back.


It’s easier to avoid lifestyle inflation when you have no desire for the latest and greatest. The Financial Mechanic understands this well. Why You Don’t Want Nice Things.


Financial independence is one of the nicest things a person can have, and it can really come in handy when life isn’t going so well. The Physician Philosopher describes how Financial Independence is the Escape Hatch.


Many millionaires have located their figurative escape hatches. How did they find them? Another batch of millionaire interviews from ESI Money:


$5,000 Goes to ___________


It’s been about five weeks since I promised to donate 100% of my online profits from April to COVID-19 relief. Part of that pledge included me granting $5,000 to a single charity chosen by a reader.

Would you like to be that reader?

I certainly hope so. It can be a local, national, or international charity. All that matters is that the money will benefit people impacted by the pandemic, and that the organization is a true 501(c)(3) charity (there are nearly 2 million in the U.S.) that can accept a $5,000 grant from our donor advised fund.

You can nominate your chosen charity by reading this post and leaving a comment naming the charity. The winner will be chosen next week and announced in the May 3rd Sunday Best. Last chance to make a nomination!






Did anyone else watch that animatronic version of Roger Goodell in a basement announcing draft picks all weekend? Wait… that was him?!? His performance reminded me of the robots in Disney’s Hall of Presidents. Except the animatronic presidents were more life-like.

Still, it was great fun to see highlight after highlight of hundreds of college football players who are about to be pros. Seeing the various home setups and cute kids of the coaches and general managers was also a joy. Someone was so impressed by Kliff Kingsbury’s pad, they made a Lego version of it.

I can’t help but wonder when I’ll be attending my next football game in person. It’s too soon to speculate, but I look forward to that day, whenever it comes.

Five players from my alma mater were drafted, marking the first time since 1969 that five Golden Gophers were drafted in the first 7 rounds. There have been other 5+ Gopher draft years in the meantime, but those were in the days of the 12-round draft. I was happy to see this year’s crop have their names called, and two of them will be joining Brady and Gronk in Tampa. Not a bad place to be.

On the homefront, I’ve been doing the 100 pushups, 100 situps routine while getting my Duolingo Spanish done every morning. I’ve started running again after battling some old-man injuries, and that seems to be going well. You can follow some of our family adventures and check out the regression of my hairline on Instagram.




Those two kids ran 3.5 miles with us yesterday. Then, in the evening, the younger one accused us of being the tooth fairy. Eventually, the whole truth came out about the tooth fairy, Easter Bunny, Santa, and the Elf on the Shelf.

We had a good run for well over eleven years with a couple of believers, but all good things must come to an end. Buddy the Elf will be making a surprise springtime appearance tomorrow morning so we can all reminisce together.

Wherever you are and whatever your life is looking like right now, I hope you’re faring well. Be safe!



Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE


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8 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (4/26/2020)”

  1. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  2. Great Sunday Best as usual PoF. I particularly liked Financial Mechanic’s post about Nice Things this week.

    It’s so easy to slide into lifestyle inflation, especially during times like these when our entire world fits in four square walls and you have to look at the same couch, chair, and television every single day. The temptation to upgrade with those stimulus funds must be very tempting.

    Catch you next week! Stay healthy, wealthy, and wise!

  3. In the comments of the Big ERN post you link to, Karsten (the ERN author) says Covid-19 is a “harmless” virus (based, I guess, on his “analysis” which relies on data we know are inaccurate). I am surprised a medical professional would encourage others to read such an author.

    • I basically agree with this. I am a long time fan of Big ERN’s work, but his writing about COVID has been hugely disappointing and probably damaging to a lot of people’s understanding.

    • I didn’t read any of the 191 comments (as of this moment), but he calls it a deadly virus in the second sentence of the article.

      The data is far from perfect, but there are some encouraging signs with a number of nations and state past or near a peak based on the efforts we’ve made thus far. I do fear that trend reversing rapidly and a second peak larger than the first if people don’t continue to take the threat seriously.

      The author of that article has done some amazing work with safe withdrawal rate data in the past. If his analysis of the COVID data is severely flawed, it’s probably a result of garbage in / garbage out.


      • True. And he also calls it “harmless” in the comments, after readers pointed out major flaws in his analysis. I agree that we have a garbage-in-garbage-out situation here. At the risk of stating the obvious, ERN’s prior analysis of financial data (which have properties that are well-understood after decades of intensive research) do not qualify him to interpret medical data which we know are highly uncertain, and for which new information is continuously developing. If his analysis turns out to be correct, it will be sheer luck, as we know, with a high degree of confidence, every data point he examines is biased downward. There is a lot pf evidence for this and none pointing the other way. Dressing up sheer guesswork and presenting it as “cold, hard analysis” is irresponsible and intellectually dishonest.

        And I find it unlikely that Americans will take this seriously enough without being forced to. Our culture prizes individualism too much and rarely makes people account for negative externalities they create.

  4. My kids have been accusing me for a few years of being the tooth fairy….the truth might have come out yesterday when my younger one tricked me with a question about the tooth fairy (epic mom fail – distracted by food prep in the kitchen).

    • This was the first time we were questioned about any of it, honestly. We might have let it slide if a certain higher power wasn’t lumped in with the rest of the lot. Some clarification was in order.



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