One thing that keeps the Health & Wealth Bulletin team going each week is seeing an inbox full of your questions.
And that's exactly what we've been seeing lately... It's more than we've been able to keep up with. So today, we're making more space to get straight into some of the topics on your mind.
Keep your questions coming our way at [email protected]. We read every e-mail. Here are some of the things on your minds this week...
Q: I'm opening my first brokerage account. How do I know which one to choose? – J.M.
A: Congratulations on taking such a big step in your personal wealth journey.
You have lots of choices...
At the most basic level, the role of a brokerage firm is to facilitate trades. Depending on the type of broker, it may also provide research and advice. The more assistance the broker provides, the higher its commissions and fees.
When it comes to buying securities (like stocks, bonds, etc.), you have two main brokerage options: full service or discount.
Full-service brokers work for firms like Merrill, Wells Fargo, and Edward Jones. They interact directly with clients, person to person. They also frequently call their customers with buy and sell recommendations.
Full-service brokers can be useful if you need a lot of hand-holding. The problem is that brokers who take care of everything also charge fees and commissions for their services. Those charges can add up to as much as 1% to 2% of your assets every year.
I prefer discount brokers. You interact mainly with their websites. These brokers normally don't talk with you on the phone unless it's absolutely necessary. (And they charge more if you transact with them over the phone.) They're not going to tell you when to buy or sell shares, they'll just execute the trades you tell them to.
In exchange for accepting less human contact and spoon-feeding, discount brokers lower your transaction costs considerably. The fees and charges are small – often free for most stock transactions – which means more money for you.
But there are so many discount brokers out there... which one do you choose?
We've heard from lots of readers over the years (and used different services ourselves), and some of the favorites in terms of service and stability are Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and E*TRADE. All these brokers have been around a long time and their base-trades fees are $0.
(Editor's note: We have no relationship with any of these brokers. We don't get any referral fees or anything like that. Do not consider this report a recommendation for any one firm.)
For a free resource on the differences between discount brokers, check out NerdWallet's discount broker list.
Q: Hello! You folks have commented several times over the years on the topic of hypertension in both the Health & Wealth Bulletin and in Retirement Millionaire, but did you ever write an issue that focused intensively on it and treatment options? If so, could you please provide a link to it? I'm not having much luck on the website. Thanks for your help on this and everything you do! I'm an Alliance member and your work, out of all the publications, are my "MUST READ" favorites. – R.B.
A: Thanks very much for the compliment, R.B. And for being a loyal subscriber. As you mentioned, we've written a lot about hypertension over the years, but not always as the main focus.
We do have a few issues you can check out where we discuss the history of hypertension, risk factors, and treatment options...
'Get Thee to a Nunnery'
Five Tips to Ace Your Blood Pressure Test
Beat This Silent Killer
If you have questions that we haven't covered in these issues, just send them our way – [email protected].
Q: Instead of just saving orange juice and throwing the pulp away with the peel would it not be wasting benefits that may be in the pulp? Of course, if one has a lot of oranges that could spoil it makes sense to save and refrigerate the juice. Any suggestions? – D.B.
A: I love some fresh pulp in my orange juice. And you're right, you're losing out on a lot of the benefits if you discard the pulp.
Longtime readers know that while fruits are loaded with both cancer-fighting antioxidants and fiber, fruit juice lacks the fiber of whole fruit. And worse, fruit juice is higher in sugar than a piece of whole fruit, which causes spikes in glucose that increase your risk of contracting diabetes and cancer.
There's also a real concern that orange juice (and maybe other juices) gets the blood sugar so high so fast that it leads to elevated triglycerides ("TGLs"). These fat molecules are super-inflammatory and thus lead to an increased risk of vascular and heart disease.
Do what I do... If you drink juice or make your own, do the whole fruit (preferably organic), pulp and all. And don't have more than one or two whole fruits worth of juice at any sitting. If you must, it's good to drink juice before a workout, as the body will use the sugars quickly and not convert them to fatty TGLs.
And you can make use of those peels... Put them in a jar of white vinegar and water (1:1 ratio) and store it under your sink for a week. It makes for an effective – and sweet-smelling – household cleaner.
What We're Reading...
- Did you miss it? My playoff beard is back.
- Something different: Victorians loved this deadly green dye.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
May 6, 2022