Today Jim talks with the always interesting Dr. David “Doc” Eifrig, chief editor of Retirement Millionaire.
Doc has a remarkable and unconventional resumé. He spent a decade on Wall Street as a trader with Goldman Sachs, became a medical doctor mid-career, and eventually launched his own suite of finance and health publications.
Doc and Jim break down what COVID-19 means for our mental health, his grand meditation experiment in front of 350 people, and what you should be doing with your retirement money right now.
Doc also talks about his new California winemaking venture, Eifrig Cellars, and the two things you should do now to help your immune system.
Today, on the Sound Health Podcast-
… and when you’re wanting to fight or fly, there are chemicals that your body produces and other triggers; adrenaline, interleukins, these are chemicals that modulate your immune system and upregulate T-cells, white blood cells—all the things that fight infection.
Before we get started, I’d like to invite you to take advantage of a free resource I’ve made for you, it’s called the Sound Health Newsletter. In it, I share the latest research in music and health, plus you’ll learn music and wellness exercises that you can use every day to feel your best. Just come visit me at donovanhealth.com to get started today, that’s donovanhealth.com.
Hey there, welcome to the show. This is Jim Donovan. I am so glad to have you here.
Today, we’ve got a very important episode with a brilliant man who I can’t wait for you to meet, Dr. David Eifrig, or Doc, as everybody calls him.
Doc has a remarkable and unconventional resume, including a decade on Wall Street as a trader with Goldman Sachs, becoming a medical doctor mid-career, starting a biotech company, publishing health research, running triathlons, and even producing his own wine.
These days, he puts his knowledge to work by helping thousands of people take control of their health and wealth with his publication, Retirement Millionaire.
Today, we’ll zero in on Doc’s best advice for staying healthy through COVID-19, why he recommends music as one of his go-to self-care tools, and even a few tips on how you can keep your finances healthy during this challenging time.
Doc, welcome to the show. So good to have you here. How are you doing today?
Great, Jim. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. It was a pleasure to have met you down in Arizona at Canyon Ranch. And so, thanks for having me back, I’m honored. Thanks for having me.
It was really excellent to hear you and all the different doctors talk to the audience that day. Yeah, I just thought my listeners would really appreciate hearing from you because you’ve got this amazing background, you’ve got all the medical background, but then you’ve also got a financial background. You do so many cool things, and I just think our audience would really enjoy hearing from you. So thanks for taking the time.
How’s it going through all of this COVID stuff for you?
Good. I think I tend to be a “clumper,” so I think there are people who are introverts and extroverts and I define that by thinking about the “version” part of it—the extroversion, introverts—how they recharge themselves.
And so the way I look at it is, introverts recharge by really going back and being alone and being themselves, extroverts recharge from the world by really going out and socializing and maybe partying or goofing around with other folks.
And I think the coronavirus stuff, and I’ll get to me in a second, but I think for many people, I’m hearing this has changed that balance for them.
People normally, let’s say, go off to work and if they’re in an office or if they’re with other people—depending upon their personality type—when they come home…especially people in long-term relationships… there’s an understanding already.
Like let’s say Mom comes home or Dad comes home… “Leave them alone. Let them go off and sit in a corner and read a book for an hour, or watch their show for an hour, and don’t talk with them.” That’s their introversion kicking in.
Or, Mom or Dad comes home and says, “Let’s go out in the backyard and play and throw a ball around,” or something like this effect, and are more extroverted.
And I think this has thrown everybody off, because I’m an extrovert and so I love being around people and recharging. But it’s clear from both talking to friends and family that they’re like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t stand being in the house with everyone around me all the time,” and really, are wanting a break or solitude and being inside is not.
As opposed to me–more extrovert–I’m like, “God, Let’s call our parents, let’s have them come and stay with us. Let’s fill the house with more people. We’re stuck together. Let’s do it. I love it.”
So I got to believe that people are either seeing this, feeling it and then, I don’t know if they’re figuring out solutions.
But one simple way, if you are an introvert and you’re feeling this, the cabin fever, I think is because you need to be alone.
Just go out, talk to your significant others and just say, “Listen, I’m going to go for a walk.” You may or may not, depending upon the density where you live, you want to put a face mask on, but just go out and get away from everybody, or as much as people as you can. Anyway, that’s a long-winded answer, I tend to do this.
Oh, I love it. I’m one of those introverts who is an extrovert at his work. I’m great for that two hours on the stage doing the thing, but then when I get home, like you said, everyone knows just to, “Give him some time and then he’s going to be good in about 90 minutes or so.”
Yeah. My two business partners, if anyone else happens to be a subscriber and knows, say Porter Stansberry or Steve Sjuggerud. You would know them…
Both those guys are introverts even though they can do, like you said, entertaining kinds of extroverted things.
But it’s funny, when we have conferences, by the third day, both should Sjug and Porter don’t want to join the employees for the last night dinner or the celebration or party, they don’t want to see anybody. They get back home, they don’t want to go into the office for a week, they don’t want to talk to anybody.
Sjug wants to go and serve, Porter just wants to be left alone and read. It’s very funny.
I’m on the other hand, I’d go to these events and I’m like, “All right, everyone, let’s get in the bus and let’s travel together for the next week. Come on.”
You should have been a musician… get yourself on the road, get in a bus…
Oh, yeah. That’s probably the hardest thing for me is not traveling as much as I normally do.
We may get into this, but I have a small winery in Northern California where I make just a couple hundred cases of wine.
And I have to go out there, probably three or four times a year for a week or two, at a time and longer during the harvest. But I haven’t been out there, I didn’t get out there in February, I haven’t been out there in April. I’m going to stir-crazy because I want to go through and taste my barrels and be out and about in the vineyard.
Anyway, that’s another story. I probably put on close to 200,000 air miles a year. And so that part of it, I’m reallygoing stir-crazy.
Yeah. It’s like everything’s coming to a full stop in a lot of ways. I can concur with that.
So what are you doing to keep yourself healthy through all of this?
Yeah. We have a Peloton bike. So I’ve been riding that more and more, I’d say. We’ve been trying to get out and walk more.
Elizabeth’s family is a walk four or five mile a day group, and there’s really not much more to do.
We’ve got some hand weights, so we do a little bit of hand weights stuff.
I try to do a yoga session once or twice a week, and usually from somewhere online. So kind of those things. I stretch a little bit and keep busy.
Oh, that sounds good.
How about you? What have you been doing to keep busy and keep healthy?
Well, I’ve got three kids at the house, so that takes up some good time.
It’s interesting because sometimes I feel—I know it’s not rational—but I feel a little bit guilty that for a lot of this, I’m actually enjoying it because I get so much face-time with my kids…
They’re not at school, no one’s at work, no one’s running around doing anything. So we’re taking walks together.
My oldest daughter and who just came back from college, we’re watching a funny Netflix show every night.
And it’s just like this a real together time that I had been missing these last couple of years after she left to school, and I never thought I would get it again.
So there’s a big part of me that’s like, “All right, I’m super grateful for this.” Just like you, I’m out walking. I’m one of those people that tracks his steps… that helps quite a bit.
Really leaning into the meditation. I do a lot of extended deep breathing exercises.
I started a cold shower regimen, which has been amazing… and intense.
So yeah, just that kind of good stuff. Making sure I get all kinds of sleep.
It’s funny. You mentioned that the cold shower thing.
“Tempering,” which I think is the formal name of this… It comes from tempering steel where you heat it up and then chill it fast, it’s coming back.
I remember back in the ’70s in college, it started to become popular. Anyway, it’s coming back, because you’re about the fourth or fifth person that’s talked about it.
I don’t do it every morning, but this morning I ended up going and taking it to as cold as I can get it, and I can go for about two minutes full-cold water and breathe and just… I take myself back to the days when I went to high school and college in Minnesota.
And the family, we had this old rustic cabin, and I say “rustic,” meaning like you could only flush it one time a weekend.
The toilet that was inside and there was no shower in that place, you took a lake water shower and then you hope that the heater worked by the end of the season. It would rust out regularly.
But I would go up and we’d drill holes in the ice and then go for a cold water dip. So when I’m doing this, and I did it this morning, I just sat there for two minutes and relived some old college days and just go, “Oh, I love the cold water, the experience.” It’s invigorating.
There’s some evidence that might help with the immune system. You have to be a certain mindset anyway to be willing to try it, and that might self-select for better immune systems in general. But it’s an interesting thing.
Let’s talk a little bit about your best advice on mental health through these times.
Sure. I guess that for me, and then I can speak to maybe others and give a little bit of advice. I think if you’re alone, you’re probably able to do the things that you were doing before for mental health.
But if you’re with other people, I think you have to really go back to this… It’s interesting to me how your first question might drive this whole talk today… but I think you have to ask yourself: With others around, are you having strong feelings where your expectations aren’t being met?
And I think those often bubble up in the form of anger or shortness, or maybe you speak a little bit harshly to a child, your spouse, a dog, or something.
And I think you just recognize that the abnormal times, you and I, we might get to solutions or questions to ask about the political side of this.
But what I have done, a little longer and a little more frequently, my meditation stuff.
Now, I trained transcendental meditation, but the meditation–the art of meditation–I think, I found its very, very simple and easy.
You may not know this, but a couple of years back at our Alliance meeting in Vegas, I just was feeling it in the moment in the conversation. I ended up conducting for that group in this large hall in Vegas, I think we had 300 people, 350. I did an onstage guided meditation session for people.
Yeah. And it wasn’t planned, my talk was on mental health and the amygdala and fear.
And when I got in the meditation, I’m like “You know what, we’re running a little early. Let’s go ahead and try this.” And so I did about eight to nine minutes.
And essentially, if someone wants to try it, I think the key is find a quiet place, put a note up on the door, tell the family, telling anyone around you, “Please don’t disturb me for 10 minutes. I’m just going to try this meditative session or quiet session.”
And what I do, and this comes from my original TM training, but this is what I would recommend is you sit, you might put on patterned music. I’m curious to know if you do that, but I don’t, but I sit there and I let my brain focus on my breath—my “in” and my “out”—I try to slow down my breath with deep breaths.
And if something comes into my brain like, “Oh crap, I’ve got to talk to Jim Donovan today,” I just let it go. I think, “Okay, yeah, that’s something I have to do today.” I let it go away and see if I can focus on a word, a word like the number “one” or “two” or hum… anything. “Om” is a classic sound, it creates some reverberation. I’m certain you know more about it than I do on these tones.
And you sit and try to bring that tone, not make the noise but make the noise in your brain. And it sounds weird, but again, what will happen I think for people who are new, is you’re thinking about how to make the sound, you can’t make the sound.
“Oh, you’ve got this thing with Donovan at 11:00.”
And again, you just keep breathing and just try to let it go, and it’s okay. I’m just sitting here quietly. And I just find that, gosh, I come out of that 12, 14 minutes later.
I’ve been doing it first thing in the morning in bed, I just scoot my butt up, put a couple pillows behind me, sit up straight so my head and my neck are balanced, my head doesn’t lean against the wall, it doesn’t fall forward…
And I just sit there for 10, 12, 14 minutes, and it just changes the mood you’re in.
And then again, I think the time to do it or to do it every day if you can or want to try it.
But if you find yourself being short, if you find yourself, people around you and things aren’t going as you expect, this is a great way to relax your nervous system, which gets jacked up when expectations aren’t met.
But also it helps with the immune system, and this is well-studied for meditation and immune system.
So that’s the one main thing I’m doing more of for health and that I really think is beneficial.
The other thing is movement, getting off of the couch, trying to get out there and walk. There’s a small Italian Greyhound in our house and he just wants to run and get out.
But I can take him for a two or three block loop in the middle of the day, and that’s good for me and also good for him and it doesn’t have to be necessarily a five-mile, hour-and-a-half trek.
So try to do that, get up and move.
And I’m always listening to… right before you called we were listening to some instrumental chill station on Pandora.
I have a flamenco guitar station that I listened to on Pandora regularly.
Yeah. I love that stuff.
I love music that’s soothing and rhythmic. And then occasionally, sometimes I have some other fun stations. I’ll listen to guys like old RnB guys—so Teddy Pendergrass, Al Green, Barry White, all this stuff. I can groove with the best of them, usually not during the day.
That’s good stuff. It’s such good music. Let’s just go back to meditation for one quick second. Can you tell us anything about the science behind meditation?
Yeah, sure. The first paper that I remember coming across is in Scientific American, and it was back in the, don’t quote me on this, but I want to say it was ’66 or ’67.
Yeah. They found a Yogi and they wanted to see how slow and low he could get his breath, and then they wanted to do some measurements of him and them, yogis in general. And what was fascinating to me is, he could get his breath down, again, don’t quote me too, like one breath a minute, one or two every minute, every minute or two. Incredible ability to control things that you don’t think you can control like a breath.
And when you do that, it changes things like your VO2 max, and your “V” is the volume of oxygen that your body can use and consume in exercise and high states of stress.
Your body, when it is in a meditative state, things slow down, your breathing, your heart rate. All of these things then, it allows the body to, if you will, relax. And when the body relaxes, it’s not in a adrenal gland stress mode.
Another famous writer, a guy named Hans Selye wrote a book in the late ’70s called The Stress of Life. I believe he was a cardiologist in San Francisco, and he studied stress, and he puts stress on the map from a science point of view and showed that stress, and then again, meditation puts you in a relaxation state, so stress is this “fight or flight.” People have heard about fighting or flying. And when you’re in a wanting to fight or fly, there are chemicals that your body produces and other triggers—adrenaline, interleukins. These are chemicals that modulate your immune system and upregulate T-cells, white blood cells, all the things that fight infection.
These things get a shot into the bloodstream because like in the case of you’re going to get attacked by a tiger back in the day, you want to have the ability to fight infection. You’re on the run, so you want a little more speed.
All these things flood your body and are good for an acute event but not good for happening over and over and over. And this again, has all been studied.
I don’t know if I’m diving deep enough into it, but these are chemicals, the drug cortisol, when that’s released all the time, your body’s more inflamed, your body’s more reactive in an extreme way.
These kinds of things happen and get released when you’re diabetic, lots of sugar, we can do the same kinds of things and release the same kind of chemicals.
It’s one of the reasons with COVID-19, you’re hearing about people that have all of these, what they’re calling “preexisting conditions,” they’re in a really higher state of inflammation.
And then that compounds it when your body sees and wants to and tries to clear the virus, it ends up being exaggerated.
And so again, no one studied meditation in the ICU per se, but it’s definitely, you can imagine meditation and having a calmer state, means your immune system would more naturally clear viruses and bugs.
I hear a lot about when I have stress, adrenaline gets released, cortisol gets released. What good does cortisol do?
Cortisol is in this category of what would you’d say, it’s a hormone and it helps with everything from A to Z, you name it.
It’s in this hypothalamus pituitary access, the so-called the HPA, and this thing regulates from the base and the inside center of your brain, down through your spine, your kidneys.
It helps regulate blood sugar. So when your cortisol is firing, for example, it shoots off and releases blood sugar.
And again, that’s so you can now amass this energy to fight the bear off or to run fast away from whatever is after you.
Is it like the other side of the energizer from adrenaline?
Yes. The adrenaline is more like an instant full-on, full-speed-ahead… “A torpedo’s chasing us.”
Cortisol is like, “Everybody, man the battle stations. Get everything going, get the planes up, get life jackets on… Go! Go! Go!”
It alters your metabolism, it alters levels of inflammation, salt, sugar, water balance, all this stuff.
Can you talk a little bit about what happens in the body when we don’t burn off the cortisol through exercise?
I would turn you to the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” And imagine your body, if you’re sitting there and your body has to all the time be in this state where you’re under stress, cortisol, adrenaline, other stress hormones are being released over and over and over again.
A, you could get low on those things, but more importantly, it’d be like having someone “cry wolf” all the time, and you’re telling your body, “Hey, we got run. Hey, we’ve got to run.”
And in fact, the body’s not meant to run, run, run, the body’s probably meant to just do acute running for shorter periods of time and then sleep and relax.
And so if you’re shouting, “Help. I need help, I need help, I need help,” over and over, that leads to chemicals floating around and inflammation, which is kind of really the bad thing.
Inflammation is both good and bad, but having your body be inflamed all the time, swollen all the time, not having a salt balance that’s proper, all of these things lead to chronic inflammation.
And that chronic inflammation means that inside of your vessels can become inflamed when colds and viruses come through. It’s one of the reasons that colds and viruses are associated with—in the time of years that they happen, depending upon the hemisphere you’re in—more heart attacks and more strokes, it’s because your vessels become inflamed as your body reacts to those things.
It’s one of the reasons younger folks, like your kids for example, they have food and shelter and their level of worry and stress for many children is not as bad as it is for someone who’s married and working and lost the job and so on.
And it’s one of the reasons immune system works a little better in people that are younger.
Oh, that’s helpful. Thank you.
So I’ve been reading your very helpful, COVID-19 recommendations over the past few weeks in your newsletter.
First of all, thank you for publishing these. It’s so nice, especially with all the crazy misinformation out there, it’s so nice to have something that is easy to read, it makes sense, and it’s not just all a bunch of hype. So thank you for that.
So of all the people that are giving advice, who are you listening to? Who knows what they’re talking about?
I would sound a bit arrogant to say nobody because… I mean, I’m a subscriber to the New York Times, so I read that, but I would say that’s much more liberal and biased than a scientific Journal.
I read the New England Journal of Medicine daily, which has opened up its COVID-19 stuff, made it free, as has the New York Times.
I look at the raw data. There’s Hopkins, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, has a website where they started out graphically showing stuff, which made it a little more… It’s in this bright orange color, it looks deadly.
And they’ve been a source of following it, and then there’s some other sites that I don’t have them right in front of me—I have them on my PC in a different place—where they truly you can show the graphics up-to-date numbers by country as fed to this database.
And it shows very good graphical stuff, so you can graph not just on a linear basis, but you can do log arrhythmic graphing and logarithmic is what you want to see. And without diving into the math, you want to look at logarithmic graphs because it shows how fast things are worsening, or how fast they’re improving at a glance. You don’t have to look back and see stuff.
So these people are statistical geniuses and they provide the statistics and the graphing of it properly. And then you can look at that and see that.
You look at this stuff through your own eyes and with your own education and make your best recommendations based on what you see from what you know.
Yeah, exactly. And I’m sure your folks, just to remind them, I do have a medical degree. Before that I spent time at Columbia and their pre-medical baccalaureate program where between Wall Street and medicine. I did a molecular biology fellowship for two years at, Duke University before going on to train as an ophthalmologist, an eye surgeon.
I’m in peer-reviewed scientific journals, I know how to look at math and statistics.
I’m lifetime member of a Sigma Xi Society, which is a scientific society and economics. I think of myself as not a serious scientist, but a devoted scientist and the guy devoted to evidence and logic.
And without that, man, it’s just so easy to manipulate people and create fear and give bad advice. Actually, Jim, your folks probably don’t know this, but that’s how I got to where I am, where I’m publishing these newsletters because I got frustrated on my Wall Street days.
And I was Wall Street Goldman Sachs before with an MBA before going to medical school because I made money and decided I want to do some good. And then I saw both, not just finance, but even medicine, how manipulative it was.
And for example, doctors would go off on these weekend ventures in Southern Caribbean during the winter to learn about new drugs, and next thing you know, everyone’s prescribing that drug for anything and everything that ails you when that’s not the problem.
And the answer might have been, “Hey, you just need to learn how to meditate.” And I’m completely serious—things like reflux, things like pain, you can name it, there’s a drug for it.
And physicians blindly, once you get out of medical school, you’ve memorized the current level of knowledge. And unless you’re near an academic center, many, there are a lot of physicians that don’t really stay up on the cutting edge and don’t really even understand statistics and logic that well. Anyway, I’m valued on a high horse, man.
Yes, it’s good to be up there. We need to hear this information.
You did a mid-career shift out of financial into medical… Were you always interested in medicine?
Yes. The straight up answer is that my parents divorced or separated when I was a freshman in college, and I would say up until that point I had an interest in it, really only because I liked science, I liked math, I liked how things came together.
When I went off to college, I think I was probably pre-med more than anything. And it was to please my parents.
My dad was a physician, although an academic physician, so he wasn’t a wealthy surgeon, where we’d drive around in “fancy schmancy” cars, I got a 15-year-old hand me down my sophomore year in college kind of thing. But my parents split up, I sided with my mom and rejected this idea that I was to be like my dad.
And it wasn’t until taking some tests, the GMAT’s, the LSAT’s for law school, business school, scored well on these things, I said, “You know what? Why don’t I try business school? It seems like it’d be fun, and a couple of years I could be out there.” I liked stocks, I liked the markets. I forgot your question.
I was just interested if you had always been interested in medicines. I think you got it.
Yeah. I would say I was prepped for it, I rejected it, and then it wasn’t until I was sitting down and invited my father and my stepmother at the time up to New York City to.
I’d gotten access at Studio 54—I knew the owner there—to tickets to Lionel Richie, who was coming back… he had a throat surgery. And it was a small gathering, there were about 100 people in there. I flew them up, I had a limo pick them up at the airport, driving into the city. And at dinner on that weekend, my dad looked across and he goes, “Man, you’re living the life and blah, blah, blah.” How much money are you making up here? He just had no clue.
And I told him and he looked across the table, I remember this vividly, and he goes, “You’re making more money than I’m making!” And I was like, “Huh? How can that be? Aren’t you a rich doctor?” And I would say my relationship was still tenuous with him. “You’re an asshole doctor making lots of money.”
He goes, “No, man, you’re making much, much more.” Maybe double than he was. And at that moment in time, it freed me because my dad was impressed with me, accepted me.
I realize now he accepted me and loved me and cared about me, all that stuff…
And it freed me to contemplate something else. And so it took probably about three more years before I realized, and that was by me starting to take one class at a time, like general chemistry at night at Columbia in that post-baccalaureate pre-med program I mentioned, that I even contemplated getting back into thinking about it.
And that’s how it happened. I fell in love with science, I fell in love with the periodic table, and chemistry— how that all fit together, physics. I don’t know if that helps.
Yeah, it does. Story is fascinating.
If you don’t mind, I want to talk a little bit about some financial matters. One of the big parts of this whole COVID thing is people stressing out about money.
And so putting our current economic upheaval aside, what is your general “retirement millionaire” approach to investing for long-term success?
Oh boy. I hate to say this, I hate to do this pun, that’s the “million-dollar question.”
If I have my drums up, I would’ve hit them.
Yeah, perfect. But I’m pumped, ting!
If you start to look at numbers, it turns out, that once you get up to making about $70,000 a year, people are no happier at higher levels.
And definitely to get to 70, that’s $35 an hour…
And there’s plenty of jobs in the United States that are hardworking, sweating, 9:00 to 5:00, physical laboring jobs that gets you to 70 to 75.
And I would tell you that, you at that point are no happier or less happy than, in general, these groups of people—and this has been studied over and over again—than somebody who’s a multimillionaire.
So what are the things you can do—I like to think about this—what are the things you can do as you’re getting up to those kinds of levels in salary or hourly wages?
If you’re younger, middle-aged, there are certain things that wealthier folks can do that you ought to consider doing that can really make a difference in your life to make you even feel wealthier. Because as you’re, I would argue, healthier.
And one of the really early investments everybody should make is a bed, a really nice comfortable bed.
You can buy a $400 bed, a $350 bed, but millionaires sleep on $1,200 beds and $1,500 beds, so save money.
And $1,500, you could save in a year’s time by putting 100 bucks away and buy yourself a bed that’ll last 15, 20 years and you’ll sleep exactly so… One third of the day, now you’re sleeping exactly like millionaire sleep.
So that’s one of the early things I would suggest people do with their money.
That’s great advice.
There you go.
The other thing is—it’s hard to do in America, but when I go to Italy, when I go to Europe and other places, New York City, big cities—we’re walking. And it’s an important part of life. I think that it’s critical that people contemplate movement on a daily basis. Now, you are asking finance, but I’m going to tie this in just one second.
If you’re moving and you’re thinking about walking three miles a day, four miles a day, I would argue it’s less pleasant to be a smoker.
And if you’re smoking less when you’re walking three to five miles a day and are working out, that money, which a pack a day, half a pack saved every day is another hundred bucks, 120 bucks that you could do something with including investing in the stock market, and investing in something that creates a future.
And really stock market and the idea of capitalism is you’re taking money that you’ve saved, you work for the money, you take the money and now you give it back out into the world and have it be able to produce goods and services in exchange for money from those people.
And the idea is that, everyone wins. That is, your capital’s being put to use to produce goods and services and whether it’s to make N-95 masks, to make hamburgers, to make drum sets, to make meditation tapes, whatever it is… Your money is out there, and in exchange for that, you want to try to make sure you’re getting payments back, things like dividends or interest.
Now, the government to this day has ruined the market and interest rates by altering that whole landscape. But in the past, you would loan money to somebody, a friend or family member and this is over thousands of years of history, you would get anywhere between four and eight percent a year on your money that you loan to friends and families or neighbors for the venture that they wanted to produce.
And that interest rate was for the risk that you might not get your money back.
Same thing if you invest in stocks, you want to get a dividend, which is a share of the excess profits that someone’s making.
So if you do that and you do that regularly by again, trying to be healthy, save money, if you’re walking more—if you’re walking to the grocery store that’s two miles away or a mile away—you might save gas, you could consider those savings.
So savings, would be the next step, building up something in case there was an emergency like it’s today.
So I don’t know if that helps answer your question, but I would say, save money for a bed, invest in if not stocks…
My letter, we talk about this, we talk about the balance between health and wealth. And then I also have this Free Daily… I don’t know if you’ve mentioned that, or were planning on it.
Yeah, we’re actually going to include a link for that, it was the Health and Wealth Bulletin, right?
Yeah. And that’s a free letter that gives you a sample of what we are interested in, talking about sharing with people, how we write.
And we don’t do… I’m in the business advertising to me, the only time I would advertise something is if I’ve tried a product or service and I personally like it and recommend it.
But we don’t let those people advertise in my stuff like… it’s sort of a sacred ground where you pay me. Not for the free letter, but for the paid subscriptions…
This newsletter, Retirement Millionaire, you pay a very minimal amount a year, and then in exchange for that, we don’t bombard you with advertisement in that letter.
That letter is purely our content, but you’ll get a flavor of that to see if you’d ever want to be a buyer of our content by seeing the free daily.
That’s meant to give you a taste, it’s like a wine bar or winery, “Come on in and sample my wines. If you like them, you can buy them.” And that’s how I like to do business, it’s up to you to decide whether you like my stuff.
Is that healthandwealthbulletin.com? Is that the right URL?
It’s excellent letter, everybody should go grab that.
People Like me who have a 401(k) or a similar retirement savings, what should they be focusing on as the markets adjust to all the shock that we’re experiencing right now?
Part of it depends on your age and part of it depends on how soon and quickly you need your money.
And if you’re investing in the stock market in your 401(k), you really just want to be there, like this is the place to be in stocks.
If you’re in funds that have exposure to the general returns on the stock market, whenever the market is down, and you would imagine that, let’s say, you had 100 bucks and you needed to spend it over the course of a month… I would tell you that on the first day the market’s down in that month, put 33 bucks in. And if the market goes up a whole bunch or it goes down a second day, you put 33 bucks in, goes down the third day, puts your final third in.
And so any time the market is down, you want to be investing and as it goes up higher and higher, if you need the money, take it out. If you don’t need the money, leave it in—”let it ride,” if you will, because the returns in the stock market have been for as long as the United States has been going about 7.5% per year over and over and over again.
Along that way, there’ll be bad years, down years. But I know for myself, I spoke at Las Vegas at our annual conference to our Alliance members, and I said I was nervous about the heights of the stock market.
Now, I didn’t say, “Tell everyone to go to cash,” I gave my best investment ideas for stocks there, but I did say, personally, I wasn’t sleeping well at night, so I had moved a lot of my money out of the market and I’ve always had a little bit in gold stocks and it’s actually a gold mutual fun.
But now that the market’s down and things are terrible, this is the time to start to, if you’ve never invested, start investing, you want to buy when things are low, you want to sell when things are high.
Most people do the opposite, most people who have a funds with a fidelity and mutual funds, actually sell when things are low and buy when everyone else is talking about things going up. You want to do the exact opposite.
And it’s very hard to do it emotionally. You start to feel stressed, you start to panic, that amygdala fires, you get in this stress response we’ve talked about earlier. That’s the time to meditate and say…
And the truth is, women are better investors than men. So for the men listening in and for you, Mr. Donovan, ask your wife, ask your spouse, find a woman who wants to be your investment advisor and ask her—and this has been studied repeatedly—women just have a calmness and a sense of when to panic and not panic.
If I didn’t have my wife, I think I would be in a much worse shape.
Tell me a little bit about your wine making, you have a vineyard out in Northern California.
Yeah. The winery and vineyards are in Northern California in Sonoma Valley.
Oh, it’s beautiful.
Yeah. Just West of Napa Valley, and it’s in the mid Northern part of Sonoma called Dry Creek Valley. And it’s been a lifelong dream of mine, and I’ve been playing and dabbling in the wine business.
I actually started a newsletter back in 1978 in the wine world, I’m just fascinated with wine.
Fifteen years ago, the opportunity presented itself, I’d go out and work to crush in Sonoma with friends that lived out there and have been in the wine business all of their working lives. And I had the opportunity to start to make my own label, and I’d always wanted to do that. It’s my name on the label, it’s Eifrig.
So it’s E-I-F as in “Frank,” R-I-G. Eifrig. My winery is Eifrig Cellars. I’m definitely doing a pitch for my stuff, but it’s EifrigCellars.com.
Oh, please, yeah.
And the wine I make about 200 cases a year.
And occasionally, some years I’ll do a Chardonnay, where I’ll do about 50 cases, which is two barrels of wine.
And I’ve made a Merlot. I made a Merlot I made in 2016. I did about 60 cases of that, and I did the same amount in 2018 and ’19.
And so I do anywhere from 200 to 300 cases a year.
My wine is, I would say, it’s on the higher-end price point wise and only because when I was trying to decide my price point, I put it up against a bunch of different wines and it turns out that in blind tasting with friends and family, I can compete with wines that are 200 to $400 a bottle day in and day out.
And so I went after that market, but it’s kind of the Retirement Millionaire thing where we over deliver and under promise.
My wines are around 100, $110 a bottle. My Cabernet, the Merlot and the Chardonnay are less expensive.
I’m very proud of it because people have tried single bottles… they’re skeptical, two bottles and then they come back and buy six and then they buy a dozen full cases. And I sell out within about a year, so I really don’t carry older inventory.
Let’s see. What can I tell you about it? Beautiful wines. I’m happy to, if anyone listens and wants to try it, I’m happy to give, if people bought a couple of bottles, I’d give you two for the price of one just to tell me when you sign up that you heard it on this broadcast. I’d be happy to do a great discount for anyone who wants to try.
There you go.
They’re great gifts. And so again, I’m proud of it, happy of about it, I stand by it. I’ve had one of the things you worry about is–
Is it a creative thing for you?
Yeah, it’s the artist inside of me.
I have people out there, and Jim Ricci is a guy that runs and manages the vineyard. I jokingly tease that he knows the names of every single vine and has a name for them.
I love to go out there and ride the tractor with him, help him prune, do all these things that you have to do on a farm, but I don’t want the responsibility of farming and he loves it.
So I’ve got a great business partner and a farmer, the great farmer, and he’s just brilliant. That’s a longer story for another day.
And then I have a woman who I’ve been helping her during the crush, Phyllis Zouzounis who’s incredible wine maker.
But the fact is that when I first had the opportunities to make my own, she wasn’t really… How would I put it? I have to make sure I say something I would say to the person’s face because they could hear it.
She’s a grumpy old lady who makes some of the most incredible Zinfandels in the world and is old world old school, and I like to do things. I like to blend and most of my Cabernets are 100% cabs, but I’ll take some from an earlier vintage, blend it back into the older one, before bottling.
She just doesn’t like to putz around with that. She’s like, “This is the vintage, why are you adding old? Why are you adding new?” So that’s the fun for me is to gather the group.
I gather Jim, I gather Phyllis, myself, a couple other folks, and we sit around and we decide the final blend of the wine.
And really to the percent, so one vintage, for example, like the ‘16 Cabernet has got 2.3% of Merlot, it’s got 1.9 or 1.8% of ‘17 cab in it. And you can tell the difference between plus or minus a percent in blind tastings.
And this is how focused I am on creating the best possible wine I can make with an unanimous group deciding the final. I actually decide the final, but I don’t decide that—they don’t know this really, they might recognize that I have done it—until it’s unanimous.
And maybe they say, “Could you please get us out of this room, we’ve been here six hours. Yes, let’s do this blend.” But anyway, it’s a fun hobby, definitely not making money on it. I think it’s a labor of love. It allows me to fly across country in a better seat than I would have otherwise, which, other than that, I’m putting everything back into it.
There’s an old joke in the wine world… “So how do you make a small fortune in the wine business? You start with a big fortune.” And I’ve made sure that I’ve not done that… I don’t want to lose money on the deal and I’m definitely not at this point not trying to make money on it.
Thank you for that. I appreciate hearing about that. What’s the easiest way for listeners to connect with you.
Listeners to your podcast? I would say, they’ve got to go to the HealthandWealthBulletin.com. Check out that because it’s a free daily letter. You can also sign up for that to get it on a weekly basis.
You can try to find the other newsletter. That’s a paid subscription that’s called Retirement Millionaire. We give you I think it’s a 60- or 90-day money back guarantee on that as well. You can also contact me if you’re a serious lover of wines through Eifrig Cellars, the wine page. You can find me on Facebook.
And I’ll include all of his links on DonovanHealth.com/Podcast so that’ll all be leaving there for you, for folks that are listening. Doc, thank you so much for taking the time today. I really appreciate you speaking with us and maybe we can do this again sometime.
Sure. I’d love to, Jim.
Take good care of yourself.
Awesome. Thanks, Jim for having me, appreciate it.
Well that’s it for today. I appreciate you tuning in. Remember to come see us on our social media channels, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Just search “Jim Donovan Sound Health.” Now before you go, I’d like to let you know about a free resource I made for you. It’s called the Sound Health Newsletter. In it, I shared the latest research in music and health in an easy to understand for.
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For Sound Health, this is Jim Donovan. See you next time.