New Year, New Data Breaches... Make Sure You're Safe From Them

A month into the new year and we're already hearing about data breaches...

Just a couple of weeks ago, news hit that more than 770 million e-mail addresses and passwords were put on a hacking website.

Most of them were from hacks we already know about, including from MySpace and LinkedIn, but more than 100 million are from a currently unknown source.

So I wasn't surprised when I received this e-mail from a reader...

I have read that a line of prose is more secure as a password than a complicated password. What are your thoughts? – G.B.D.

Longtime readers know I recommend passwords that are "long and strong." A strong password has a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols (the characters above the numbers on your keyboard) that are nearly random.

"S&SG2TD4L&D" ticks all those boxes... But it seems impossible to remember. Turning it into a sentence makes it much easier. In this case, "Sam and Sue go to the diner for lunch and dinner."

If you want to use a basic line of prose though, you're going to have a tough time. Most sites nowadays have specific password requirements – like using numbers and special characters – that a plain sentence won't be able to meet.

So go ahead and use some prose and turn it into a strong password using this method.

We're putting the final touches on a brand-new report that includes details on how to protect your personal information online. When it's ready, we'll let you know.

What are you doing to keep your data safe online? Let us know... [email protected].

Q: I am planning to invest the majority of my IRA money split between Retirement Millionaire and Income Intelligence. I don't need the money to live on so I plan on holding for several years. Do you have a specific portfolio percentage you recommend for each equity or do you have published guidelines somewhere on the site? – T.D.

A: In Retirement Millionaire and Income Intelligence, we give you guidelines on how much of your portfolio to put in each individual recommendation. In general, I recommend you put no more than 4% to 5% of your portfolio in any one position. If you use a 20% to 25% stop loss, that limits your losses to a maximum of around 1% of your portfolio.

When we think you can add more to a position or if a different stop loss is needed, we'll always let you know when we make the recommendations.

Q: Thanks for the tips on coping with holiday stress. I'm not sure what "meditate" infers. When I try to put my mind in neutral, stressful thoughts come in. A fourth tip might be physical exercise. – R.K.

A: Getting your brain to shut up is one of the obstacles I hear about most. Even my mind wanders, but stick to it... Eventually you'll get better at controlling your thoughts.

Here's what I do:

  • I sit upright in bed propped up with about with four pillows, but none behind my head. I try to keep my head nearly perfectly balanced on my neck – so that if I'm absolutely relaxed my head wouldn't tip over.
  • Next, I begin saying my mantra – a two-syllable word you repeat silently to yourself throughout the process. It can be a word like "Two-Ray" or "Oom-Day." I try to time my breath with each syllable. Inhale with one and exhale with the other.
  • Stay focused on relaxing and breathing slowly, but also lightly focus on the mantra sound.
  • I find that suddenly my mind will wander – all the things I need to do, or things I've forgotten to do, often flood my mind. When those thoughts flow in, I slowly turn my focus back to my breath and the mantra. I turn back slowly, almost in a respectful way, toward the stream of thoughts I was having.
  • Soon, and after a few attempts, I find my breath and thoughts slowing.
  • Yet again, I'll turn back to my breath and my mantra.
  • After 15 minutes or so, I quietly and slowly take a few minutes to start to move my toes and fingers and then arms and legs as I come out of the "relaxation state."

I hope you'll continue to try meditation. Good luck!

Q: You said in today's edition to clean veggies and fruit with a mix of vinegar and water at 1:3. On 11/20/18, you said one tablespoon vinegar to six cups of water. Which is it? – M.G.

A: Good eye... We're glad someone is paying attention. We have updated the vinegar to water ratio based on a recent experiment from Cook's Illustrated. In the experiment, a 1:3 ratio removed 98% of the bacteria on produce. We've updated our guidance based on this new research.

What We're Reading...

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

Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
February 1, 2019