If you needed a delicate medical operation, what would you do?
Would you just find the nearest, cheapest doctor to do it? Or would you even just attempt to do it yourself?
No, of course not.
Unless it was an emergency, you'd take your time to understand the risks of the procedure and find the best doctor you can to perform it.
So why wouldn't you treat your finances – the money you've worked so long and hard to acquire and save up – with the same level of concern?
You might be sitting there thinking, "But Doc, my portfolio did great last year." Maybe you even made outrageous gains in cryptocurrencies or meme stocks. That's great. But it's also probably luck.
And if the beginning of this year is anything to go by, luck won't get you through the rest of this year.
Look, nearly two years ago, we had the fastest bear market in history when the stock market crashed 30% within just a few days. Normally, this kind of event would shake people to their core. But folks were more concerned about the health and safety of their families and empty grocery store shelves than about stocks. Not to mention, 2020's crash was short-lived and the market quickly rallied back.
I worry people are totally underestimating real risk right now...
Making money in the market is not just about finding the right stock. The truth is, asset-allocation decisions are even more important than which stocks you end up picking – especially in markets like what we're seeing right now. But too many folks don't bother with managing their risk.
That's why five years ago, I helped create Stansberry Portfolio Solutions.
Think of it as a "done for you" portfolio where we're obsessing about risk so you don't have to. We're putting all our research together for you – and giving you allocated, diversified portfolios that are incredibly simple to follow.
Last week, I spoke with my colleagues Dr. Steve Sjuggerud and Matt Weinschenk to take a look at where we are in the markets, discuss where we're heading, and share our top picks for 2022.
No matter where you are right now – whether you're all-in on the bull market... nervous that another crash is just around the corner... or simply overwhelmed with what's happening in the world – I urge you to watch a replay of our special briefing.
Make 2022 the year where you take control of your finances... click here to watch now.
Time to dig into this week's Q&A. As always, keep sending your comments and questions to [email protected].
Q: What do you think of melatonin to help with sleep? – T.S.
A: Melatonin is the sleep hormone that rises and falls throughout the day. When the sun sets, our bodies start naturally producing melatonin to prime us for bedtime. Melatonin levels typically peak around three or four in the morning to keep us asleep while we're dreaming. Then, levels gradually decrease – preparing us to naturally wake up around the time the sun is rising again.
In recent years, melatonin supplements have become popular for folks who have trouble falling asleep. Of all the sleep aids available, melatonin is probably your safest option. But that's not saying much...
According to a study published in JAMA earlier this week, melatonin usage more than tripled from 2005 to 2018. While overall melatonin usage is still low, sales are growing each year.
More troubling is that researchers pointed out that some melatonin supplements contain up to 478% more melatonin than claimed on the label. So, you can't know how much you're taking. Remember, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate supplements... including melatonin. Therefore, there aren't many studies on long-term issues.
That said, some foods contain melatonin naturally. Three foods to help you fall asleep safely are walnuts, cherries (stick with tart cherries, not sweet ones), and tomatoes. Another more natural solution is to find out why you can't sleep. You may need to cut back on your stress... That's when a nice cup of chamomile tea and some meditation before bed can help, too.
If your insomnia lasts more than two weeks, check in with your doctor about the underlying causes.
Q: You wrote about tips for people who get sick, but what about those of us who spend the winter stuffy (but not sick!)? I blow my nose so much, it starts to hurt. Any suggestions? – C.J.
A: Regular readers know I love neti pots during allergy season... A neti pot looks like a smaller version of a teapot with a spout that's shaped to fit into your nostril. And this simple tool can help out your nose during cold winters, too.
When our nasal passages get dried out, they don't produce enough mucus to trap the viruses in the air. Dry, inflamed nasal passages are also more likely to crack and bleed, which can be both alarming and uncomfortable. And if you have a stuffy nose that you're blowing often, a neti pot can relieve the irritation.
A 2016 study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that over the course of six months, using a neti pot was more effective at treating chronically irritated nasal tissue than steam inhalation or medication.
Study participants who used neti pots showed better outcomes on the Rhinosinusitis Disability Index, used fewer over-the-counter medications, and indicated they were less likely to consult a doctor for their issues in the future.
You can protect your nose and support your immune system with three ingredients: a neti pot, a saline packet (it comes with your neti pot), and distilled water. (Distilled water keeps contaminants like bacteria out of your nasal passage... Don't ever use tap water in your neti pot!)
Add the saline-packet contents and water to your neti pot. Give it a little swirl to help the saline dissolve. Then, while standing over your sink, tilt your head to the left and pour the solution into your right nostril.
You may need to slightly adjust the angle of your chin so the solution flows through one side and out the other nostril. If any solution reaches the back of your mouth while you're settling into the perfect head tilt, that's normal. Just spit it out. About halfway through the solution, stop pouring, gently blow your nose, and then switch sides.
I use my neti pot once every few days in the winter (and during allergy season).
What We're Reading...
- Did you miss it? Zillow's mistake won't scare us out of housing.
- Something different: The best – and worst – sugar cereals.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
February 4, 2022