You are an independent thinker...
You consider facts and use reason to arrive at your opinions and decisions. And you base your conclusions on evidence.
We suspect you are nodding your head to that description.
That's because everybody thinks that about themselves.
And everyone is wrong.
Rather, research consistently demonstrates that humans are capricious... suggestible... and downright nonsensical thinkers when it comes to so many aspects of our lives.
Investing showcases all these traits...
Our biases drive us to buy the wrong stocks, sell at the wrong time, misallocate our risk, and be overconfident in our abilities.
We'd all like to think we know this... and we're the ones who can cut through the fog of decision-making and do the right thing. But there you go... giving too much credit to your skills.
The best you can do is try to be cognizant of your limitations and correct your errors when possible.
But here's the problem... We crave validation of our ideas.
When we're not sure if we liked a movie, we search out reviews to help us form (or copy) an opinion.
As analysts, when we find an investment idea, we search out others who have made a bull case or own the stock. When we can't find anyone else excited about it, we start to think we might be wrong.
In The Little Book of Behavioral Investing, author James Montier calls stepping out of the herd mentality a form of "social pain." We want to be a part of the group. We want someone to let us know we are right.
But Montier also quotes legendary investor Sir John Templeton... "It is impossible to produce superior performance unless you do something different from the majority."
We aren't going to argue that every unpopular idea is automatically a good one. Quite the contrary. However, many people fail to act on their genuinely good ideas if they can't find validation for them.
When you develop a truly unique view, and you're right, you're in place for the best returns.
Someone who agrees with that is my colleague, Mike Barrett. According to Mike...
If you want to make serious money in the market... the kind of money that can change your entire situation... then you've got to look beyond investing in stuff that's physical or well-known.
You've got to invest in intellectual breakthroughs. In other words, new ways of thinking or doing things.
Mike looks for companies creating things that NEVER existed before... or doing things within existing industries nobody ever imagined possible. And he recently discovered a new kind of company with almost no revenue, no product, and no employees that could earn you 10 times your money.
Now, let's get into this week's Q&A... As always, please keep sending your questions and comments to [email protected].
Q: Thanks for your piece on dry skin. What about lips? My wife swears by Vaseline, but I just use ChapStick. What's the best way to prevent chapped lips? – K.S.
A: Unlike other areas of skin, our lips don't contain oil glands, so they are especially prone to becoming dry and irritated. And our lips' natural moisture source – saliva – only serves to dry them out more because it evaporates quickly in the air around us.
So moisturizing in the winter, summer, or really anytime will help keep them in good shape. And when it comes to picking the best moisturizers, these are the ingredients you want to look for:
- Castor seed oil
- Ceramides – which are a class of fatty acids that are naturally present in the skin
- Hemp seed oil
- Mineral oil
- Petrolatum or white petroleum jelly
- Shea butter
Both Vaseline and ChapStick have the same helpful active ingredient – white petrolatum. But your wife has won this round, K.S., because ChapStick also contains fragrance in its list of ingredients. Vaseline, on the other hand, is 100% white petrolatum.
Fragrance will further irritate your chapped lips. These are some other ingredients you want to avoid putting on dried-out lips:
- Beeswax – if you have a bee allergy
- Lanolin – if you are allergic to wool
- Octinoxate or oxybenzone
- Phenol or phenyl
- Propyl gallate
- Salicylic acid
Q: Calcium... Do you recommend taking it? My doctor has me taking 150 mg a day. My daughter says her doctor does not recommend her taking it and that it causes hardening of the arteries. What's your take on this subject? Thank you and enjoy you sharing all your knowledge. – J.W.
A: I can't comment specifically on whether you personally should take calcium. But I've written about the dangers of calcium supplements over the years...
Instead of taking supplements, I recommend folks eat more calcium-rich foods, but also foods high in vitamins C, E, and K, plus magnesium and boron. Almonds, spinach, bananas, chard, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, honey, raisins, fish, berries, and Brussels sprouts are all great additions to your diet to get these needed nutrients.
And get some exercise. Regular movement exercises like tai chi and walking will help you work on your balance and build some muscle tone. Add in weight-bearing exercise to keep your bones strong as well. Weight-bearing exercise simply means you're carrying the weight of your own body or lifting weights. So even things like jogging or racquet sports are great ways to get your heart and bones stronger.
What We're Reading...
- Did you miss it? Ten ways to find your next great investment opportunity.
- Something different: The arrival of "smart" tomatoes.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
December 10, 2021