'Tape This List to Your Fridge'

Once a year, I send out a 12-part list...

I always tell people to print it out and post it on the fridge or hang it up in their office. I think it's one of the most important issues of my Retirement Millionaire newsletter...

And one of our subscribers agrees with me. On Monday, he sent this e-mail...

We have on our refrigerator "Doc's top 12 ways to improve health in 2016." Have you rethought any of these recommendations? Are you going to issue a new list? We will keep this list handy until it is republished or revised. We find it very useful. The order of the items listed is not what I would have expected, but we appreciate the list. Thanks for all of your input – both health wise and investment wise. – F.C.

On Wednesday, I sent out my annual list of health tips for the year. Retirement Millionaire subscribers can view and print the entire list here.

You don't want to miss this year's issue. I detail 12 actionable steps to improve your life in 2019, including...

  • In my No. 4 step we go to war against one of the biggest dangers to our health...
  • How to use your ears as a cure-all for many ailments (step No. 8)...
  • And my No. 1 step – a plan from the Royal Canadian Air Force that we think is better and more powerful than what you'll find in any hospital.

If you're not already a Retirement Millionaire subscriber, click here to get started.

How are you taking control of your health this year? Send us your goals at [email protected].

Q: It has always been my understanding that you cannot fund an IRA and a 401(k) at the same time. Right now we are saving about $30,500 a year and could afford more, but I haven't been funding my traditional IRA because I fully fund my 401(k). Could you please elaborate on my paragraph above and clear this up for us? I would appreciate hearing more of your thoughts in this regard. Perhaps other readers have the same confusion. – G.D.

A: Contributing to a 401(k) doesn't stop you from also contributing to an IRA, but it can impact your traditional IRA tax deduction. If you have a retirement plan at work, the deduction for your traditional IRA contribution can be reduced or eliminated entirely, depending on your income. (Roth IRA contributions aren't deductible.)

The biggest impact on your IRA contributions is your income...

Individuals making more than $135,000 aren't eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA for the 2018 tax year. That limit goes up to $137,000 for 2019. And a married person filing jointly can't contribute if his or her household income is more than $199,000 in 2018, and $203,000 in 2019. Traditional IRAs don't have any income limit.

You still have time to make your IRA contributions for 2018. The deadline is April 15, 2019 – the same day your taxes are due.

Q: This past week was difficult selling after a stop signal. I used a limit sell order and it opened lower and dropped from there. Do you still recommend a limit order for stop signal? – L.B.

A: Most brokers give you the option to enter your stops "into the market" using stop-loss orders or trailing-stop orders. Don't fall for it!

We advise you to never reveal your stop loss to your broker or anyone else.

Entering your stop price into the market might seem easy, but it leaves you vulnerable. Investors or brokers who see your stop might be tempted to move the share price to push you out of the position. So never enter your stops into your brokerage account as part of your order.

Using strict stop-loss rules to avoid capital losses removes emotion from your trades. When you're wrong, admit it and take your lumps. It's one of the most important rules to successful investing.

Remember, before you invest, know exactly why you're buying a stock. Set yourself up to succeed by knowing ahead of time what your exit strategy is. Stop losses are a great asset for any investor, so start using them to monitor your portfolio today.

Our friend Dr. Richard Smith developed a great program for keeping track of your exit strategies. His TradeStops software monitors your stops in real time. It also accounts for stock splits and dividends. It's a valuable tool for any investor's tool kit. Click here to learn more.

Q: Doc, my wife and I love blueberries and the benefits received from them. Please share your opinion about Elderberry juice. Is it a fad or does it in fact have many health benefits as our friends claim? Thanks for all your advice. – T.G.

A: I do have some reservations about elderberry juice. First of all, there's little hard science out there that it really does boost so many health claims. There are a handful of studies about elderberry syrup and the flu. It looks like taking the syrup can shorten the amount of time you feel sick (up to four days). There's also a small study from Germany in 2011 where elderberry syrup – when super concentrated – killed several types of bacteria and the influenza virus.

Our concern is that there isn't a mechanism of action in place – the studies are all very small and don't cover the actual cause. That said, some elderberry syrup during a cold or flu probably won't hurt. It doesn't interact with any main medications, and it might boost your immune system the way vitamin C and zinc do (I take these whenever I feel a cold coming on).

A side note, though... You mentioned juice. Keep in mind that juice is not the same as whole fruits. Juice is high in sugar, so drinking it regularly will overload you with inflammation-causing sweeteners. The problem is that elderberries are toxic in raw form, so you would need to consume them in a syrup, juice, or jam form. So, we wouldn't hop on the daily elderberry juice bus. But we would give the syrup a try next time we're under the weather.

Let us know if it helps your cold at [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
January 11, 2019