I've Been a Newsletter Reader for 30 Years

I'm one of the biggest newsletter readers I know...

Thirty years ago, my dad gave me my first newsletter. I still get that letter today.

I've read (and written) enough newsletters to know what it takes to create a product that's useful – firsthand, credible experience.

I've always told my team that I don't want to imitate the financial- and health-news media... with 25-year-old college grads sitting behind a desk regurgitating information they got from press releases. That's why we use "boots on the ground" research...

  • When we write about a trading strategy, it's one we've used.
  • Our health advice is filled with tips that we use personally. (Just look for: "Do what I do" in our essays.)
  • When we discuss the results from a medical study, we've read the paper.

And if we haven't done it, I'll get out my rolodex and talk to someone who has.

Today, we're sharing some readers' experiences on how they've tried to improve their health and wealth. And we're including some tips to help you start living a better life today...

We read everything you send us... Share your stories at [email protected].

Q: I owned MetLife during the 2008/09 crisis. I bought it at $30-odd and watched it drop to $12 (if I remember right). At that point, my gut was screaming to get out and avoid further loss. My brain was telling me this was the right time to buy. I listened to my gut and sold. I have always regretted that.

It was only after that I discovered Stansberry and the power of trailing stops. I have listened more to my brain after that and have tried to get my gut under control. It is still not easy.

I also have an example of placing an alert with my broker. I owned WWE and placed a stop loss order at $8 or $9 (somewhere in that range). There was a one-day flash crash from $11 down to my stop loss, and it bounced back immediately after my shares were taken away. I have never used my broker's feature after that. – R.S.

A: Your experiences are prime examples of why stop losses are important. We recommend investors use stop losses (in addition to smart position sizing) to prevent big losses.

We also advise against entering your stops with your broker. Some professional traders can use that information to take advantage of you. One reason has to do with market makers, who can sometimes move the market to trigger those stops... knowing once the selling is done, the price will quickly rebound. Most regular investors won't attract the attention of these traders, but why risk it?

Another reason is the experience you had... On the day of the flash crash in May 2010, the stock market fell 10% in 36 minutes. The market mostly rebounded by the end of the day. In an unusual situation like this, you wouldn't want to have an automated stop.

Thanks for sharing your story and helping us reiterate the importance of using stops and how to track them.

Q: I don't drink soda but I do love fruit smoothies. I make one every day with fresh fruits like mango, papaya, and pineapple, along with vegetables like carrot, spinach, and ginger, as well as orange juice and soy milk. What's your take on the consumption of naturally sugary drinks like smoothies? – D.S.

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A: You had us until "orange juice"...

Remember... drinking juice is not the same as eating fruit... Lots of people load up on fruit juices as a healthy alternative to sodas and other sweet drinks. And many manufacturers market them as healthy super-foods. What they really are is a great way to mainline sugar.

A 2012 study found that people who drink three or more glasses of fruit juice per day are 74% more likely to develop colorectal cancer. And colon cancer is common. More than 130,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the U.S. annually. Why risk it?

Fruit is a valuable part of any diet. But juice is not the same. Fruits are loaded with both cancer-fighting antioxidants and fiber. Fruit juice lacks the fiber of whole fruit. And worse, fruit juice is high in sugar, which causes spikes in glucose that increase your risk of developing diabetes and cancer.

So watch your intake of fruit juice... It's hard to eat four oranges and the accompanying sugars. But it's easy to down the equivalent amount of O.J.

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Q: I had trouble sleeping for 50 years. I went to the CES show in January and spotted a diffuser that could be used with essence oils. I did a little research and found essence of lavender would help a person sleep.

Purchased one and I now sleep seven to eight hours like never before. – J.P.

A: Scents are a powerful tool to use to improve your health. And lavender is one of my favorites.

Scents like lavender help calm anxiety, boost your memory, and help you sleep.

For example, a Japanese study from 2009 followed Alzheimer's patients receiving aromatherapy in the morning and in the evening, including the smell of lavender. After 28 days of therapy, all of the patients scored higher on four different cognitive-assessment tests.

A study at an assisted-living center in Minnesota found patients with dementia slept 42.5 minutes more at night after exposure to the smell of lavender. People with Alzheimer's often get agitated and have trouble sleeping at night, a problem known as "sundowning." This makes essential oils a natural alternative to giving patients medications with potential side effects.

Lavender can help anyone sleep. I've often put a drop or two of lavender on my pillow for this reason. I also travel with a bottle of rose oil.

Just make sure to stick to essential oils and not fragrances. Essential oils are stronger and natural. Avoid synthetic fragrances that contain harmful manmade mimics.

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