The Sunday Best (4/7/2019)

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


One frugal physician visits another. Comedy ensues. From The Frugal Physician, Debt Free Doctors: A Series: The Physician on FIRE!


Why would a doctor choose to be (relatively) frugal? Well, there a plenty of good reasons, but the ability to reach financial independence rather quickly is one. The White Coat Investor featured a veterinarian who pulled it off with a starting salary of $45,000. Financial Independence on a Low Income.


Frugality is just one tool you can use to build wealth, but there are many paths to FI. The Vital Dollar counts them up in 7 Different Paths to Financial Independence.


What if you don’t care about retiring early? Why should you bother with financial independence? Jean Chatzky of Her Money (not to be confused with Hermione) details 5 Things to Take from the FIRE Movement (Even if You Don’t Want to Retire Early).


A huge benefit of FIRE for me is the ability to travel extensively, and I’ve contemplated how timeshares could possibly play a role in that. According to Women Who Money, over 7% of Americans have ownership in one. But Are Timeshares Worth The Money In The Long Run?


When I started my career, I traveled extensively as a locums doc. I’ve written about the Pros and Cons of Locum Tenens (temporary / travel jobs for physicians), but I’ve never created anything nearly as thorough as Dr. Cory S. Fawcett’s course, The Doctors Guide to Thriving in Locum Tenens. You may recognize the good doctor’s name from my reviews of his books, The Doctors Guides to Starting Your Practice Right, Eliminating Debt, and Smart Career Alternatives and Retirement for Physicians.


Not interested in working when away from home? You can still find complimentary lodging if you’re willing to provide the same for others. From Vicki Thompson at ChooseFI, Vacationing Differently: Opening Your Home to Others Opens the World to You.


I wonder if I could do a home swap with someone in Egypt. I’ve always wanted to see the pyramids. Tanja Hester of Our Next Life knows a thing or two about pyramids. Where do you suppose her first paycheck came from? My Childhood in a Multilevel Marketing Scam.


I switched my cell plan to Google FI for the ease of international use, but my wife is with Republic Wireless and has been for years. It was a fun surprise to get an email from them sharing a detailed interview and article featuring our friend JL Collins. How to Manage Your Money: 3 Principles from JL Collins.


The yield curve inverted! Then it reverted! But was it the most important yield curve? Should we even care? Let’s ask a Ph.D. economist. From Early Retirement Now, Yield Curve Inversion: Eight Reasons Why I’m Not Worried Yet.


Last week, I broke down how much we spend per day to live the lives we want to lead. My Life Costs $220 a Day. A Realistic Budget for a Post-FI Family of Four.


I followed that up with a written financial plan from a graduate of WCI’s Fire Your Financial Advisor Course who has plans to be FI at age 42. Create Your Own Comprehensive Financial Plan.


Yesterday, Passive Income MD posed a pertinent question. What’s Keep You from Financial Freedom?


Is a Recession Coming?


The obvious answer is Yes. There will be numerous recessions and bear markets in your investing horizon. We just don’t know how soon, for how long, or how many times.

What does that mean for your investments? If many indicators point to an impending recession, would it be prudent to alter your asset allocation? Not necessarily, it turns out.

In an article I’ve featured here before, Ben Carlson points out that stock market performance in recessions is unpredictable, and the market, as defined by the S&P 500, actually rose in four of the last nine recessions. And periods after recessions tend to be very good for stocks.

In the midst of a recession, what you should probably worry about more than your portfolio performance is the security of your job. Recessions mean layoffs, and if you think you’re immune, you may be in for a surprise.

The hospital where I took my first “permanent” job started having major financial problems during the recession that lasted from December of 2007, ending in June of 2009.

The facility never recovered. I was relieved of my duties in the summer of 2011, and the place closed its doors in March of 2012. Adding insult to injury, I was later sued for millions for having held a brief, non-voting role on the Hospital Board. That was a fun few years.

I’m not worried about these things happening to me in the next recession. I’ll be done working as an anesthesiologist before the next one hits, and I’ve avoided hospital committees and board work like the plague ever since being served with a ridiculously thick stack of papers.

The only job I might have when the next recession strikes is that of personal finance blogger, and I imagine people will seek out information from people like me even more than normal if a recession hits. Not that I’m hoping for one.


I Could Always Dog Sit


Our family loves dogs, and we’ve had a few of our own. We’ve been without a dog for about a year and a half now, and the house has never felt the same without one.

So yesterday, we picked up two dogs!

While a couple of new dogs could throw a real wrench in our upcoming travel plans, there’s no need to worry. These aren’t new dogs; they’re used dogs.

More specifically they’re OPP (Yeah, you know me!) — other people’s pets.

We truly do love dogs, and we’d also like to boost our résumé as potential house sitters in the future, so we signed up to board pets in our home via Most house sits involve caring for pets, so a few good reviews on Rover could give us the pet cred we need to land a desirable house sit in the future.

I ended up working most of the day and all of the evening, but I found time to take the black lab for a much-needed walk late in the afternoon. At about 80 pounds and 18 months old, the young gal has a lot of spunk and inertia!

It is fun to have dogs in the house again, though. We’ve watched several dogs for friends, but this is our first foray into paid boarding. Our boys will have some responsibilities for the dogs, and our plan is to credit them with earned income for taking care of the animals, and that income can be the basis for their first Roth IRAs.

If you’ve been reading, you know they’ve got generous 529 plan balances, and now they’ll have a start on their retirement planning, as well. If you like the idea of doing the same, or are just looking for some vetted pet sitters for your own pets (they apparently reject > 80% of all applicants), Rover will give you $20 to try them out.


The Final Four!


I was a third year medical student back in 2001 when Minneapolis last hosted the final four, and I happened to have the weekend off. I also had a new (to me) bicycle to break in, so I rolled on down to the old Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome to check out the scene as game time approached.

There was abundant energy in the air as the fans started making their way to the teflon-roofed giant marshmallow. Most of it was positive energy, but I detected a bit of nervous and almost negative energy as well.

A Maryland fan who apparently had a pair of spare tickets to sell was being harassed rather aggressively by some resellers who were haggling to buy them cheap to turn around and make a quick profit. The man was clearly annoyed and not interested in playing a part in their scheme, which was illegal at the time.

As I watched this bit of unpleasantness unfold, the man caught my eye. I had secretly been hoping to score a cheap ticket in the unlikely event one would be available, and I must have had a look on my face that made that fact apparent.

I don’t recall the exact exchange — it was a quick combination of pleasant words, nods, and winks. He told me he had “those tickets” for me as though we knew each other and planned to meet up all along. I said something about having to hit up an ATM and he handed me the tickets with a smile and told me to enjoy the games.

I actually did find an ATM and withdrew some cash just in case, but I never saw the gentleman again, which was obviously his intention.

I called up a friend and he dropped everything to join me for the Saturday semifinal games. We had a blast. Duke beat Maryland. Arizona beat the defending champion Michigan State team, and Duke went on it win it all.

That was one of those random acts of generosity and kindness that I’ll never forget.

Years later, I had an extra ticket to watch my two alma maters face off (Minnesota vs. Florida in the round of 32 in Austin, Tx) and I “scalped” it by giving it away to the first young Minnesota fan I found who was in need of a ticket outside the Frank Erwin Center.

It wasn’t the Final Four, but I was happy to pay it forward like the man in the Terrapins leather parka did for me back in the day.

Eighteen years later, the fans in Minneapolis were treated to a pair of great games at the beautiful new behemoth of a stadium yesterday. Who have you got winning the championship game?


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Have a championship week!

-Physician on FIRE

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4 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (4/7/2019)”

  1. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  2. Unfortunately I had my Michigan State Spartans winning it all – so I guess now I will go with Texas Tech. In late 2008, I actually took a risk and changed jobs in the heat recession and the hospital I joined at the time had some clinical layoffs shortly thereafter. Thankfully, the financial analyst role I was in at the time was spared. MSU was runner up in the tournament the following spring…Final Four must be recession proof : ) Great to see Tom Izzo get a win over Duke this year.

  3. Rather than hearing about a groundhog seeing its shadow I think the true indication that spring has come is when the Sunday best image changes to where the award is no longer covered in snow (I believe today was the change but may be mistaken (it’s the first time I noticed it though)).

    Great story about paying it forward with basketball tickets.

    • It has been sans snow a couple of weeks now. I noticed because it has been snowing here in beautiful upstate NY until very recently. I thought it funny that the Sunday best had it’s melt but we were still frozen.

      I am disappointed with how advertisy the j Collins post was. I love his stock series and hoped he wouldn’t need to sell out like that. Oh well he didn’t write it.
      Good collection this week. Keep them coming!


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