I don't normally pay much attention to elections.
Our political system has left us with a bunch of self-interested leaders, devoid of any ideas about how to govern, and interested mostly in enriching themselves at the public's expense.
To be frank, facts and politics don't mix.
It's why I dislike government and other institutions. They never admit when they're wrong.
But no matter what you're feeling toward this upcoming election, it shouldn't be a reason for making a knee-jerk reaction with your investments.
If you haven't started to prepare, you need to watch yesterday's special interview with Stansberry Research's director of research, Austin Root, and 12-term former U.S. Congressman Dr. Ron Paul. Austin and Ron talked about...
- What's likely to happen on Election Day
- How to position your portfolio for the next four years
- The No. 1 thing you need to do to prepare before November 3
No matter who you want to win, everyone should be ready for the chaos that could ensue over the next several weeks.
Click here to make sure you're prepared.
Now let's get into this week's Q&A. As always, keep sending your comments, questions, and topic suggestions to [email protected].
Q: [In May, I lost my hubby to the coronavirus. But fortunately, he had the foresight to choose a high enough survivor benefit amount that I can pay people to help me at home.] I had no idea he had chosen the high option. This allows me to stay in my home.
However, this experience also taught me that both spouses need to know the basics of keeping the books. I was in charge of investing (yes, I have done very well and doubled his Thrift Savings Plan since he retired seven years ago) but I am now lost with the day-to-day decisions of what statements I need to keep and what can be shredded. We get annual tax statements, don't we? Is that all I need? – F.L.
A: F.L., we're so sorry for your loss. We're glad you've been able to get the help you're needing, especially during this difficult time.
To your question, there are different types of tax statements you could receive each year – including W-2s, 1099s for capital gains, and 1098s for mortgage interest. In terms of what you need to keep, the IRS generally has a three-year window after your filing date to initiate an audit, so you want to keep these documents at least that long.
But you do need to keep some records longer. For any investment purchases, keep the transaction records for at least three years after you sell the investment. Similarly, keep the receipts and records for three years after you sell your home. And finally, keep records for any contributions you made to a nondeductible IRA (like a Roth IRA) for the life of the account plus three years. The reason is to prove you paid taxes before making withdrawals so you aren't double-taxed.
Losing a loved one is never easy, but there are hard questions folks can answer to make the event a little less difficult. In Retirement Millionaire, my research team and I created a guide to help you lay out a clear road map for your loved ones in regard to investing and finances. Subscribers can read it here. If you aren't already a subscriber, click here to get started today.
Q: Doc, if you're not a fan of low-fat diets, what diet do you recommend for weight loss? – M.A.
A: Fad diets like low-fat and low-carb diets aren't the way to go for long-term success. And a pill is definitely not the answer. If you really want to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight, there are practical steps you can take... Common-sense steps like eating in moderation, practicing mindfulness while you're eating, and consuming a varied diet full of whole foods are the way to go. You can read all about my No. 1 rule to successful weight loss right here.
Q: Is melatonin a safe method to help with sleeping better at night? – J.O.
A: Of all the sleep aids available, melatonin is probably your safest option. As you and many of our readers probably have read elsewhere, melatonin is a hormone that your body produces naturally.
After speaking to a researcher at a sleep clinic, my assistant's husband took melatonin when he had a shift-work job that required him to sleep during the day. She advised, however, that it does make you very sleepy for a long period of time. Always make sure you have at least eight hours set aside for sleep. Waking up too soon can make you groggy and makes driving dangerous.
We also don't recommend taking it long-term. Remember, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate supplements... including melatonin. Therefore, there aren't many studies on long-term issues. And as with any sleep aid, don't rely on it. If your insomnia lasts more than two weeks, check in with your doctor about the underlying causes.
That said, some foods contain melatonin naturally. Three foods to help you fall asleep safely are walnuts, cherries (stick with tart cherries, not sweet ones), and tomatoes. Another more natural solution is to find out why you can't sleep. You may need to cut back on your stress... That's when a nice cup of chamomile tea and some meditation before bed can help, too.
If you want more tips on how to get a better night's sleep, read them here.
What We're Reading...
- Did you miss it? Don't let the election scare you out of the market.
- Something different: Kidnapping phone scams are climbing.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
October 30, 2020