Long before keeping your money at the bank was the norm, folks had to find other ways to protect their wealth...
Thousands of years ago in Babylon, individuals would act as creditors and debtors – storing and lending money for others. The Code of Hammurabi, written around 1780 B.C., even stipulated lending terms:
A merchant may collect interest of thirty-three and one-third per cent on a loan of grain, and twenty per cent interest may be charged on a loan of silver.
If a free person who has borrowed cannot repay the loan with silver but can repay it with grain, the merchant who made the loan is obligated to accept the grain at the rate of exchange set by the king; if the merchant tries to raise the interest rate, that merchant shall forfeit both the capital and the interest.
If a merchant loans grain or silver at one rate but later tries to collect at a higher rate, that merchant shall forfeit both the capital and the interest.
Later, people would turn to temples and churches to store and borrow wealth. During the Crusades, the Knights Templar created a banking system across Europe and the Holy Land. Pilgrims and crusaders could deposit their wealth with the Templars, receive a receipt proving their deposit, and then withdraw that money once they arrived in Jerusalem. This lessened the risk of robbery, since cash-laden pilgrims were prime targets for bandits.
Over the centuries, the modern banking system has evolved to what we now know today. But for as long as we've had some form of banking, there have been people keeping their cash outside the system... often buried somewhere on their land or hidden in their homes, like under the mattress.
Even today, I have folks tell me, "Doc, I just think my cash is safer with me."
But if you're just sitting on the sidelines with your cash – whether it's literally under a mattress or sitting in your bank account – you're losing the chance to exponentially grow your wealth.
And right now, according to my colleague Greg Diamond, is the time to put your cash to work.
Yesterday, Greg hosted a "Get Out of Cash" event where thousands of attendees learned...
- Why you absolutely must get out of cash right now...
- When to expect a rare situation that could leave millions of people behind and define your wealth for the next decade...
- How to potentially double your money multiple times this year without touching a single stock...
- And much more...
Now, let's get into some of the things you've had on your minds this week. As always, keep sending your comments, questions, and topic suggestions to [email protected]. We read every e-mail.
Q: What's the best way to get rid of visceral fat? – G.T.
A: We recently explained that when you're considering your health – and your weight – you should focus on visceral fat. The first layer of fat under your skin is subcutaneous fat (this is the fat you feel when you pinch your skin). Under that layer is the visceral fat – it wraps around your organs. Visceral fat builds as we age, when we eat fatty foods, or when we don't exercise.
The problem with visceral fat is that it triggers inflammatory responses and can even interfere with insulin. That means it's a contributor to ailments like diabetes and fatty liver disease.
There's good news, though... Our favorite diet is a proven way to help reduce visceral fat. According to a study in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, folks who follow the Mediterranean diet have less visceral fat than those who don't. The data suggest consuming more unsaturated fats (like olive oil) than saturated fats (like in processed foods) helps to keep visceral fat in check.
Similarly, a Spanish study called PREDIMED found that over a five-year period, people who ate olive oil or nuts as part of the Mediterranean diet had smaller increases in waist size than those who followed a low-fat diet instead.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meats, whole grains, and olive oil. In addition to helping reduce your waist size, this diet also helps prevent cognitive decline and protects our gut bacteria. U.S. News & World Report also just ranked it the No. 1 diet of 2023.
So if you're hoping to get rid of your dangerous belly fat, start eating the Mediterranean way.
Q: Do you recommend different types of bonds? What's the easiest way to buy? – H.W.
A: When we talk generally about bonds, we mean all types of bonds... those issued by the U.S. Treasury, municipal governments, and corporations alike. And that could be in the form of individual bonds or in funds.
I like investing in bond-focused funds – like mutual funds, closed-end funds, or exchange-traded funds. With these investments, we're pooling our money with other investors and minimizing the risk from any one or two bad investments. Since each fund holds dozens or even hundreds of individual bonds, we're instantly diversified. If one bond defaults, we've got the safety of the others to keep our value and income relatively constant. Plus, it's easier to buy one and sell one of these bonds in your brokerage account.
What We're Reading...
- Did you miss it? If you want to be a great investor, pay attention to this.
- Something different: The reason ancient Roman concrete has lasted so long.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
January 13, 2023
Editor's note: Our offices are closed Monday, January 16, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. You'll receive your next issue of the Health & Wealth Bulletin on Tuesday, January 17.