Our Favorite Things of 2019

If you're like me, you're still hunting for last-minute Christmas gifts.

So today, we're continuing a tradition...

My team and I wanted to share our best gift ideas with you. These are all things we've liked, used, and purchased ourselves. As with everything we do here, we want to give you all the information we can to empower you to take control of your life.

And if you've already finished your shopping, why not get a little something for yourself?

My (Doc's) picks

When I worked in New York City at Goldman Sachs, I kept four things in the fridge:

1. Ice
2. Beer (at the time the cult beers where Sam Adams and Anchor Steam)
3. Take out menus
4. Champagne

The Champagne was the key to good living, and to this day, you'll find a handful of sparkling wines waiting in all my fridges.

The reason is simple: Nothing says, "Let's have fun and celebrate life!" like bubbles.

But I also keep a couple of my favorite Champagne tools in a drawer next to the fridge. That way, if I'm in the mood for just a single or even small glass or two to start the party, I can also put the remainder away and have a second or third glass later in the week.

That's why my favorite tool to have around is a champagne stopper. I've had a few over the years, and the one I prefer is the Champagne Stopper by MiTBA.

It allows you to keep the opened bottle a bit longer than you might imagine because you can pump air back into the bottle and keep the gas dissolved in the wine... So if you want to have a glass of Champagne without wasting the bottle, treat yourself to this stopper.

Our franchise manager, Laura

If you're not a Retirement Millionaire subscriber, you're missing out on one of the most valuable things Doc writes each month... including his top ways to improve your health.

But I'll admit, I don't always practice all of Doc's tips.

In the more than 10 years I've known and worked with Doc, he's stressed the importance of clean air and using an air purifier in your home. But this year, I'm learning this firsthand... I finally bought an air purifier for my house, and I'm so happy I did.

I have pets in my home, and I live in a wooded area... so fur, pet dander, pollen, and other allergens are plentiful. After a lot of research, I settled on the Dyson Pure Cool Air Purifier.

This fan/air purifier combination is quieter than a typical fan, easily keeps a medium-sized room cool, and has a night mode that makes it even quieter and dims its light display. And I love that I can control it on my smartphone through the Dyson Link app or through Alexa.

The air purifier also shows you how many pollutants are in the air and can adjust its settings to keep them at an acceptable level. Gone are the mornings I wake up stuffy!

Our senior analyst, Matt

If you haven't read a Bill Bryson book, you should start. Whether it's science, the English language, travel, hiking, Shakespeare, the home, or his own childhood in the 1960's, each book is, yes, informative, but also eminently readable and entertaining.

Readers of Health & Wealth Bulletin will be particularly interested in Bryson's New York Times Bestseller from this year: The Body: A Guide for Occupants. Bryson takes the basic (and current) lessons of biology and makes them astounding.

"Don't forget that your genes come from ancestors who most of the time weren't even human. Some of them were fish. Lots more were tiny and furry and lived in burrows, " Bryson says in the introduction. "These are the beings from whom you have inherited your body plan. You are the product of three billion years of evolutionary tweaks." And with that, you're off on a tour of the quirks and wonders of the human body.

Our researcher, Amanda

I don't particularly like metal water bottles, so I wanted a glass one that I wouldn't break. That's why I chose the Upstyle Eco Water Bottle. This is not only durable, but also has a wide opening to allow you to add ice cubes. The insulating sleeve keeps it nice and cool, and it's easy to clean.

Our junior analyst, Jeff

If you have pets that shed a lot (or two in my case), you'll know the headache of pet hair. It gets everywhere. It sticks to clothes, blankets, the couch, and especially the car interior To get rid of pet hair, I use the ChomChom Roller. This pet hair remover is simple, but it's the best one I've used in a long time.

On long car trips, I often found myself looking down at my phone to figure out directions. I also spent a lot of time fumbling around trying to find my phone after it fell out of my pocket. I decided to order the Vicseed car phone mount, and it has allowed my eyes to spend more time where they need to be... on the road.

Our managing editor, Steven

Dead car batteries are an annoyance year-round, but they're more common and far more dangerous in the winter. And if you don't keep your jump starter charged, you might be relying on something that's out of juice when you need it.

That's why this fall, I traded in my old lead-acid battery starter – weighing some 20 pounds – for a new, smaller lithium-ion battery: the Weego Portable "Jump Starter" Battery. It only weighs about a pound, charges in half the time, and it can keep its charge for up to a year. More important, it boasted easy "smart clamps" that won't spark or even work unless it's properly connected. That means my wife is confident about using it, too.

And even if your vehicle's battery is fine, carrying a jump starter means you can help a stalled neighbor without having to mess with jumper cables between your vehicles.

If you have kids in the family, check out the Money Maze Puzzle Box. My wife and I gave this puzzle box to our five-year-old nephew and told him there was a surprise inside... It took him a while to solve it, but not so long that he grew frustrated. It's a fun way to give money or silver coins at Christmas.

Our managing editor, Corey

I started, and, importantly, finished more books this year than I have in the past by using Amazon's Audible app to listen to audiobooks. It's a lot easier to take in a book while in the car when going to work, running an errand, etc., than it is to find quiet time to sit down and read, at least in my house.

Three books come to mind in particular, and they were all narrated by the authors who wrote them, which was cool: Stephen King's On Writing, John McPhee's Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process, and Ben Reiter's Astroball.

Finally, I love the Odyssey White Hot XG 7 putter with a Super Stroke grip that I picked up for about $60 at a second-hand golf store. I brought it home for Thanksgiving just to practice with it.

(Editor's note: We receive a small amount of compensation through Amazon affiliate links.)

What We're Reading...

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

Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
December 12, 2018