Don't Let Extreme Weather Empty Your Wallet

It's 60 degrees here at our Baltimore office... about 20 degrees warmer than usual this time of year.

Last week, the East Coast was in the grip of a winter storm. Even in Maryland, we felt sub-zero temperatures.

The winter storm (dubbed a "bomb cyclone") led to power outages, water main breaks, and near-record power demand. That demand on power could lead to higher energy bills for millions.

There are lots of tips floating around to help you save on your energy bill. Some are myths... Like the idea that turning your thermostat up will make your home heat up faster.

It won't.

But there are some tips that can actually save you money...

Lowering your water heater is a great tip. The ideal water temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. But many manufacturers set theirs to 140 degrees. Lowering your heater by 20 degrees can cut 6%-10% off your bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. And if you're worried about bacteria, 120 degrees is still considered a safe temperature for most Americans, unless you have a suppressed immune system.

In today's Weekly Update, Health & Wealth Bulletin researcher Amanda Cuocci shares five additional ways to keep your energy bill under control this winter.

Just click below to watch.


Now on to this week's Q&A...

Q: I am still waiting for your list of stocks that are likely to pay special dividends – based on the coming tax relief. – K.O.

A: Tax reform passed through Congress and has been signed by the president. And, as we predicted, the tax-repatriation provisions we've talked about in Retirement Millionaire saw virtually no opposition whatsoever.

The new tax laws will spur companies into bringing money back into the U.S. And as they bring cash home, they are going to spend the bulk of it on share repurchases – which increase the value of our holdings – and special dividends, which will put cash straight into our pockets.

We've created a "repatriation portfolio" of companies we expect to pay a special dividend. Retirement Millionaire subscribers can read it here. If you're not already a subscriber, learn more about how to get started here.

Q: Is steel-cut oatmeal a soluble or insoluble type of fiber and is it a rich source? – T.M.

A: Oatmeal is one of my favorite health-giving foods. It's packed with fiber, and you can add many types of spices or fruits to kick up the nutritional benefits. Many people tend to think instant oatmeal isn't as healthy as steel-cut oats. But research shows that instant oatmeal gives you as much fiber – four grams per serving – as old-fashioned oatmeal. To break it down, you get two grams of soluble fiber and two grams of insoluble fiber in each serving.

The big difference in the healthiness of each comes down to sugar. Flavored instant oatmeal packs a lot of sugar. If you want a little something sweet in your oatmeal, do what I do... Add fruit (like fresh blueberries when they're in season) to unflavored, no-sugar-added oatmeal. You'll get the combined nutritional benefits of oatmeal and berries.

Q: Some time ago, I recall you giving some advice on not eating cruciferous vegetables raw. Could you please either remind us all what that article was or correct me being in error? – W.L.

A: It depends... You want to pay more attention to the types of nutrients in the vegetable. Less so the type of vegetable. For example, we know that blanching levels of vitamin C. But B vitamins and carotenoids are still preserved.

You can read our full issue on the debate of fresh versus frozen versus cooked right here.

Q: Great issue on 401(k)s. At least I know I'm doing the right thing when it comes to them. But could you explain the difference between types of IRAs? – C.N.

A: We're happy you enjoyed the first issue of The Sunday Refresh. We've long told Health & Wealth Bulletin readers that opening a 401(k) is a no brainer. If your company offers to match your 401(k) contributions and you're not taking advantage of that, you're missing out on free money.

Laura and Amanda have lots of great wealth-building tips coming... including IRA options and how to make the best use of them.

This Sunday, they'll talk about how to determine your risk tolerance and how to overcome anxiety in investing. Click here to subscribe.

What are your investing goals for 2018? We'd love to hear them... [email protected].

What We're Reading...

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

Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
January 12, 2018