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The Sunday Best (8/9/2020)

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


He sold in May and went away. Consider this Exhibit A in why it’s generally unwise for mere mortals like us to attempt to time the market. Future Proof MD fails to predict the future, doing some damage to his portfolio in the process. FPMD Market Timing Experiment Update – Navigating the FOMO Market.


The Physician Philosopher has been investing consistently for three years since finishing his fellowship. He started with a decidedly negative net worth, but he and his wife have made great progress. How great? Net Worth Update #10: Three Years Later.


I estimate The Physician Philosopher would be approximately 11% wealthier if he had followed my advice for young doctors to a T. Take these 5 tips to heart to achieve wealth in rapid fashion. The Top 5 Financial Priorities for an Early Career Physician.


Let’s back it up a bit further. How do you teach sound financial concepts to a much, much younger crowd? Bob, the Taiwanese Canadian who blogs at Tawcan, talks about introducing his children to FIRE. Teaching Kids About Financial Independence Retire Early.


Can there be any honor in an early retirement? Is it simply a privilege of the selfish? The White Coat Investor ponders morality and FIRE. Is It Wrong to Earn Less?


One way I assuaged the guilt of retiring early was to earmark a handsome sum of money for charity first. Joel from Budgets Are Sexy shows us How to Include Charity in Your Budget, and Other Ways to GIVE!


I know from experience that not many people will click on that last article. There are lots of valid and not-so-valid reasons that people will use not to give, but you can’t use the junk mail excuse anymore. The Finance Buff shares this Life Hack: Donate To Charities Without Getting Junk Mail.


You probably didn’t click on that one, either. It’s understandable; most people are more interested in getting money than giving it away. Fred Leamnson of Your Money Geek shares some ideas on how to get some for yourself. 12 Passive Income Ideas for 2020 and Beyond.


You know who’s got even more passive income ideas? Passive Income MD. He shares what he keeps in the “bucket” that holds most of his current investments. Asset Allocation (Part 2): The Risk / Growth Bucket.


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Jim and his family from Route to Retire have seen their buckets turned upside down in their first year of early retirement. Is Our Retirement in Panama Unexpectedly Over?


It may be back to the drawing board for them. This post from Our Freedom Years might help them sort out what’s next. How to Plan Life After Retirement.


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


Travel in the Time of COVID


We planned a life after retirement, and our plans were thrown down and stomped upon. International travel is on hold indefinitely; this is not exactly what we had in mind.

Ideally, no one goes anywhere, and the spread of this virus is minimized. A more realistic scenario is that when people do go somewhere, they travel with care, mask up, avoid unnecessary risks, and douse their hands in alcohol-based hand sanitizer liberally.

I’ve taken the latter approach recently after staying put since mid-March. We made it out of Madrid in early March without picking up the virus, and a week later, I dined in Las Vegas with several people who would test positive for the disease a mere two to four days afterwards.

Last month, I was able to get an antibody test.



I was hoping I might have had an asymptomatic case and a decent likelihood of having some immunity to COVID, but alas, that appears not to be the case.

A couple of months ago, when America seemed to be over the hump, we had some airline credit expiring. We were supposed to take our kids to Space Camp, but that didn’t happen, so we booked a new set of flights to Florida for 2021 and I had just enough credit left over to get to Colorado and back this summer, so I booked it.

I had a buddy going through some personal stuff, and I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, so I made the trip the week before last. Masks were mandatory on the plane and in the airport. Hand sanitizer was ubiquitous, including in a trial-size container in my pocket. When I landed, I drove to a county that’s seen 24 positive cases so far in 2020 and spent the week there with my friend.

I’ve been home and symptom-free for the better part of two weeks. We live in a county that reported its first two positive cases in a month just the other day.

I keep saying that I haven’t seen my parents since Christmas, but the truth is that I haven’t been to Minnesota since Christmas. My parents spent two wonderful weeks with us in Spain in January and February. Still, until this weekend, I hadn’t seen them in six months.

I don’t love traveling in the time of COVID, but I’m willing to take some calculated risks while being as careful as one can be. My parents aren’t exactly high-risk. They’re in their early 70s and fairly healthy. I wouldn’t call them particularly low-risk, either.

I would hate to be the one to introduce this stupid virus into their home. On the other hand, I’d hate to go a year or more not seeing them, because you never know what might happen over the course of a year. After talking with them, we all decided it was time to make that 10-hour drive to pay them a visit.

It’s always good to be back in Minnesota, pandemic be damned. If you, like us, decide to travel, please take every precaution to do so as safely and sanitarily as possible. Avoid indoor spaces as much as possible, keep your distance, mask up when appropriate, and dream of a day when all these precautions are unnecessary.

But please don’t go to Sturgis. That sounds like a virus-spreading disaster waiting to happen.


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Have an outstanding week!

-Physician on FIRE


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9 thoughts on “The Sunday Best (8/9/2020)”

  1. Thanks so much for including our recent post on planning life after retirement. It’s a part of the FIRE experience that too often gets skipped over while we’re all busy crunching our numbers and focusing on the financial aspect of early retirement.

    Like you, the life we planned for in retirement included quite a lot of international travel. Fortunately, as Canadians, we were recently able to resume our full-time travels, although taking every safety precaution along the way. We feel for our fellow nomads who are American and currently stuck in place. Hopefully the situation stabilizes soon enough so that everyone can get back to pursuing their retirement dreams.

  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. When I changed my father’s address from his to mine over a year ago, I was inundated with tons of junk mail related to donations he’d made. Most were political action committees (or so they claimed to be).

    At first I just threw them away, but after months of receiving 3-5 pieces of mail DAILY, I started returning their donation cards in their prepaid envelopes with a request to remove him from their mailing list. It took a few months and some repeated requests to the same ones (Martha McSally is a very determined donation machine), but these mailings are now down to a trickle.

  4. We live in Scotland, older son in London. Haven’t see him since November. Unlikely to see him anytime soon. None of us have any desire to spend 5 hours on a train, or 8 hours in a car… Just at the minute, the virus is in retreat for us, so if we are going to meet up, we should do it soon, before the anticipated winter ‘second spike’ …..
    As for meeting up with our younger son in New Zealand, that will be at least a year away!
    However, the important thing is that we all stay healthy. Zoom isn’t quite the same, but certainly less risky!

  5. We’ve done a couple of small local trips since the pandemic started, but nothing out-of-state yet.

    Not that I’m worried about taking on additional risks, but mostly because it’s a big hassle to travel while taking the extra precautions…. especially with two kids. It would be a challenge to make sure they keep their masks on, constantly sanitize, and don’t touch everything.

    I’m tired just thinking about it. Guess I’m not traveling for now! 😉

    • Yeah, travel is just not as fun when many attractions are shut down. Those that are open won’t be the same as they were a year ago.

      Our kids are a little bit older and follow directions pretty well, but it was impossible to get them to stop touching handrails and other unnecessary objects out in public when we were spending our final days in Spain back in March.


  6. Thanks for the mention Leif. The only trip we’ve done so far was heading to Banff and Jasper. We drove there and back from Vancouver and camped for the most of the trip. I had a lot of my business trips cancelled in March because of COVID-19 and haven’t gone on any trips since. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to air travel right now. Stay safe!

    • Sounds like a lovely trip. We’ve got a travel trailer that we can pull now. We’ve got one long weekend trip planned, but the rig may get more use later this fall and winter. We’ll just have to see how things play out as time goes on.


  7. I’m currently on a 3 week work trip to MN and WI myself. Work has been keeping us regionally so no airplane trips, just long car rides in the work vehicle. I don’t linger at rest stops, in got use the facilities and grab food, back outside. The biggest difference for me is food on the road. I did eat out on the Patio at a restaurant for the first time since March two days ago. I still mostly take out and bring back to my room.

    • I’m guessing your highest risk of exposure is when you’re actually working. That’s something I have not had to contend with during this pandemic thus far.

      Stay safe out there!


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