It's the Most Stressful Time of the Year

We're less than two weeks away from the beginning of the most stressful time of year... the holiday season.

But one thing you can make less stressful is travel.

Last week, we shared five ways to reduce the likelihood of the airline losing your luggage. After that, many readers sent us their own travel tips. We've picked a few of our favorites to share with you today.

Several of you suggested sharing luggage with your partner...

When my husband and I travel by air we pack a few outfits in each other's luggage. That way we have a few things to wear until our luggage is found. We also travel with a small carry-on with some clothes. If we are going to a special event like a wedding, we carry the clothes for the event in the carry-on. – L.T.

C.H. suggested labels so you don't mix up your valuables in security...

A good tip – put name and address sticker labels on valuable items. Once when going through security my computer along with three other computers which all looked the same came through the scanning machine. All of us had to turn on our computers to figure out which computer belonged to each person!

A simple stick-on address label could have prevented the confusion! – C.H.

T.G. must know how much we love data...

Doc, I had thirty-eight years with the airlines and when I read your article I could only say a big AMEN!! Tight connections, checking in a little late and when necessitated by delays changing your connection to a 'close' but different city is a recipe for arriving without your bags. ALWAYS put a copy of your itinerary inside your bag and in any outside pocket. Lots of ID on one or both handles. And to differentiate your bag from everyone else's... Tie lots of yarn or rope on the handles and even spray paint a big (your choice of color) X on either side. In unsecured baggage claim areas people have been known to innocently claim the wrong bag. Black bags are typical. If you are buying a new bag then pick an outlandish color or design so it doesn't look like all the others. – T.G.

How are you preparing for holiday travels? Let us know... [email protected].

Q: I don't recall you looking into the monk fruit sweeteners. They seem to be mixed with Stevia and are even being offered at Starbucks these days. Any comments? – D.M.

A: Monk fruit is a more natural form of sweetener. That's because, similar to stevia, it's an extract derived from a plant. But we don't know much about what monk fruit as a sweetener does to your health. We do know that it won't cause your blood sugar to spike, and some research points to potential antioxidant properties. The fact is, it's just not that well-researched yet.

Also, depending on the type you buy, it could be blended with a sweetener, dextrose, that does cause a spike in blood sugar. We should also mention that monk fruit sweetener isn't cheap and can be difficult to find. Some of our colleagues say it also has an unpleasant aftertaste, but others don't mind it.

Until we've seen more research on the benefits of monk fruit – and its safety – we can't give it our stamp of approval. But we'll keep an eye on it.

Q: What is happening with money sitting at [a] brokerage while waiting for a future trade? Is it safe? – W.K.

A: It depends on the type of account your money is sitting in. The first two things you should check are how it's insured and if it's earning any interest.

Most brokers are members of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation ("SIPC"). This is like insurance that protects you if the firm goes out of business... Your cash and securities held by the firm should be protected up to $500,000. It's similar to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC"), which protects bank accounts. But it only protects you if your broker fails financially and is a member of SIPC.

And some, again depending on the account, are FDIC-insured. (As a refresher, the FDIC insures deposits up to $250,000 per account type, per depositor.)

The biggest drawback is the lack of easy access to your cash. If you need to withdraw your cash from your broker, it can take several days to get the money out of your brokerage account.

Keep that in mind when deciding where to park your cash.

Q: Have there been any studies that show the pros and cons of a Keto diet?
My daughter and son-in-law have been on it for a year and I'm concerned. – D.M.

A: Ketogenic diets are typically high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets. Here's the basic idea behind it...

Normally, our bodies break down carbs to make glucose, which we use for energy. When we don't eat carbs, our bodies will break down fat. When fat breaks down during a process called ketosis, it creates an acid called a ketone.

The ketones act as energy units that feed your body. They travel through your bloodstream to muscles. This is actually how you maintain energy when you fast. And "keto" diets are meant to jump-start this process.

The thing is... ketogenic diets work, and they do help people lose weight. But they're extremely difficult to maintain over a long period of time. They could also pose some problems for folks with diabetes.

Longtime readers know I'm not a fan of unsustainable, fad diets. And it's essential for people to understand the risks and rewards.

We've gathered some good resources for you to check out, D.M. And please feel free to share them with your children...

Pros and Cons of the Ketogenic Diet
A Functional Approach to the Keto Diet
Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss

Got questions you want answered? Send them our way... [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
November 15, 2019