A Most Extraordinary Wine Experience

Sometimes I get an e-mail I can't wait to share...

And on Tuesday, I received one from subscriber J.P.D...

Thank you for your truly remarkable exposé about wines.

I am myself a great wine enthusiast, with a cellar of a few thousand bottles, especially from the Bordeaux region.

My most extraordinary experience was a bottle of Pommard 1875 offered by my grandfather (who incidentally had been condemned to death by the Nazis and managed to escape). [He] wanted to celebrate the anniversary of his escape with some exceptional bottles from his cellar (3,000 of his bottles had spent the war in a cemetery vault during the war!). A Pommard, which we drank in 1980 and was an absolutely unforgettable marvel for 15 minutes, and then all the flavor disappeared, but the cork's perfume lasted for an hour...

This is the best thing I've read this week. Next time, invite me over – I'd happily swap you a bottle of Eifrig for one of yours and the full story of your grandfather's escape. And my team now wants to find a bottle of Pommard 1875 for our next taste test. Thanks for sharing your story, J.P.D.

Have you ever had a special bottle of wine? I'd love to hear your story at [email protected].

Q: What, "There's Alcohol in My Diet Soda?" issue mentioned that stevia lowers your blood pressure and can lead to dangerous levels. What are the dangerous levels? My blood pressure has always been low. [...] Do I need to worry? My doctors never seemed concerned. – P.S.

A: Great question, P.S.!

Most folks think the lower the blood pressure, the better. And while this is generally true, it's important to know that low blood pressure sometimes indicates a serious problem.

While there's no agreed-upon "too low" reading, it's generally anything below 90/60. Now, if you have low readings and you experience any symptoms, it could signal an underlying medical condition that requires treatment. Symptoms include:

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Blurred vision
  • Cold, clammy, or pale skin
  • Fatigue, depression, or trouble concentrating
  • Shallow breathing

Our concern is for folks already on blood pressure-lowering medication that ingest stevia, This can drop their pressure too low, which can lead to falls. It's a similar reason why we urge you not to heavily limit salt, as that also contributes to falls.

Low blood pressure, particularly if there are symptoms, can indicate a few problems like hypothyroidism, pregnancy, lack of some vitamins, and heart issues. However, these conditions have other symptoms as well.

In short, if you don't experience any of these symptoms or have a family history of thyroid or heart problems, you don't need to worry. I encourage you to read more at Heart.org right here.

Q: Doc constantly condemns white sugar and all kinds of artificial sweeteners because of their deleterious effects on our health. What does he think of Stevia? Is it truly a "natural, less harmful" sweetener? – B.M.

A: This is a popular question we receive. We wrote more about stevia in one of our previous Q&As. We like that stevia reduces blood-sugar spikes and is easily broken down in our intestines, unlike other artificial sweeteners.

Our concern is blood pressure, as P.S. mentioned. It's more of an issue for folks already on blood-pressure medication or those with very low blood pressure who may experience symptoms as a result.

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Q: While I understand the power of careful position sizing and stop losses (pairing these for 1% net impact on the portfolio), what if many individual positions are tanking at the same time, say 10 of 20 positions drop 20%? Specifically, how does a new-ish investor protect at the portfolio level when too many individual positions are falling below their stop losses. Is asset allocation the only way? – J.R.

A: As a "new-ish" investor, I'm glad to hear you're taking action to protect yourself against big losses.

Position sizing, asset allocation, and stop losses all play an important role in saving you from big losses.

Asset allocation is how you balance your wealth among stocks, bonds, cash, real estate, commodities, and gold in your portfolio. This mix is the most important factor in your retirement-investing success.

If you keep too much wealth – like 80% of it – in a handful of stocks and the stock market goes south, you'll suffer badly. If you're heavy in real estate (like many folks were in 2006), you'll be wiped out in a big real estate crash (like many folks were in 2008).

The same goes for any asset... gold, oil, bonds, land, blue-chip stocks, etc.

Concentrating your retirement nest egg in just a few stocks or a few different asset classes is way too risky for most people. Betting on just one horse is a fool's game. That's why I encourage my readers to practice smart allocation practices, and why in Retirement Millionaire I recommend investments in a variety of asset classes.

On another note, also understand the difference between a hard stop loss and a trailing stop loss. A hard stop does not move, even if your investment moves upward. A trailing stop adjusts higher as the share price of your investment rises. This locks in profits.

Hard stops work well for income-generating investments. Trailing stops work well for growth investing. I talk about this more in depth in this issue.

Finally, whenever you buy an investment, write down why you bought it... Is it for growth? For a steady income stream? For diversification? Then determine when or under what circumstances you would sell. Keep these notes handy and check them when in doubt.

What We're Reading...

Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig and the Retirement Millionaire Daily Research Team
Chicago, Illinois
June 9, 2017