CNBC make it 2024-02-07 20:50:56


Harvard-trained nutrition expert: If I could only prioritize one food in my diet, it’d be this

Meat is good for you. There are experts who might disagree with me, and many researchers continue to search for evidence linking meat to heart disease, for example.

But as a Harvard-trained, board-certified psychiatrist specializing in nutritional and metabolic psychiatry, I’ve long been curious about the relationship between food and brain health, as well as overall well-being. And in my research, I’ve yet to find a credible, plausible health argument against eating meat of any kind (including red meat, seafood, and poultry).

In fact, no other food group is nutritious enough, safe enough, or geographically accessible enough to recommend as the healthy foundation of the optimal human diet. 

So if I could only afford to buy food from one food group, I’d prioritize meat.

Why meat is actually good for you

Meat is good for gut health because it’s non-irritating, easy to digest, and supports healthy insulin levels without promoting blood glucose spikes.

It also provides all of the macronutrients and micronutrients we need, including some that are difficult or impossible to obtain from plant foods. For instance, it’s an excellent source of every B vitamin, including B7, which plants contain very little of, and B12, which plants do not contain at all.

Only meat contains heme iron, a form of iron at least three times easier for us to absorb than the non-heme iron in plants. And only animal-source foods contain the MK‑4 form of vitamin K2, which is easier to absorb (and is the form used by the human brain).

Some scientists even argue that eating meat made us human — meaning that it allowed us to devote less energy and bodily real estate to the long intestinal tract needed to process high-fiber, high-plant diets, so that we could invest more energy in developing our uniquely oversized brains.

How to nourish, protect, and energize your brain with meat

Here’s how to incorporate meat in your diet the right way: 

  • Choose healthy meats. Whenever possible, choose meats from wild animals or animals that have been raised humanely, allowed ample access to the outdoors, and fed a species-appropriate diet.
  • Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If you can’t access or afford high-quality meat, just do the best you can. 
  • It doesn’t have to be red meat. Shellfish, fatty fish, duck, and poultry liver are all highly nutritious alternatives to red meat (meat of mammals).
  • Eat fresh. Choose unprocessed fresh (or freshly frozen) meats whenever possible. 
  • Don’t fear natural animal fats. Fattier cuts of meat are more flavorful, more nutritious, and often less expensive. Unfortunately, pork and poultry fat from conventionally-raised animals can be high in linoleic acid, a fragile omega-6 fatty acid with a tendency to degrade into toxic byproducts that can cause damaging oxidative stress throughout the brain and the rest of the body.
  • Cook gently. Don’t overcook meat, as this will damage nutrients and flavor. Trim away any burned or blackened areas of meats grilled or cooked at high temperatures. 
  • Think about your protein goal. While protein targets vary depending on age, ideal body weight, health status, activity level, and other factors, most adult requirements fall somewhere between 0.6 and one gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight. For example: A woman whose ideal body weight is 125 pounds would require at least 75 grams of protein per day — roughly the amount found in one pound of 85% lean ground beef (which contains just over five grams of protein per ounce).
  • Don’t overdo it. Overeating protein can promote higher insulin levels (and even slightly higher glucose levels in some people). 

There are plenty of unanswered questions about nutrition, but I’d say the answer to “Does meat belong in the human diet?” is a resounding yes.

Georgia Ede, MD, is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist specializing in nutrition science and brain metabolism. Her 25 years of clinical experience include 12 years as a psychiatrist and nutrition consultant at Smith College and Harvard University Health Services. She is also the author of ”Change Your Diet, Change Your Mind.” 

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

This is an adapted excerpt from ”Change Your Diet, Change Your Mind: A Powerful Plan to Improve Mood, Overcome Anxiety, and Protect Memory for a Lifetime of Optimal Mental Health.” Copyright © 2024, Dr. Georgia Ede. Reproduced by permission of Balance. All rights reserved.

74% of Americans are confident they’ll be able to retire by 64—how much they need to save each month

Many Americans want to retire before turning 65, and they’re pretty optimistic about achieving that goal.

Nearly three quarters of American adults — 74% — are confident they’ll be able to retire at 64, per New York Life’s recent “Wealth Watch” survey. The life insurance firm polled around 2,200 people of various ages, genders, races and educational backgrounds.

However, only 41% of respondents currently have money saved for retirement. Even fewer say they have a retirement saving strategy in place, per the survey.

But they may want to make a plan sooner rather than later. The average American thinks they’ll need around $1.3 million to retire comfortably, according to Northwestern Mutual’s “Planning and Progress” study.

Taking that into account, CNBC calculated how much you would need to save each month in order to retire at 64 with $1.3 million. These calculations assume a beginning balance of $0 and starting ages of 21, 25 and 30. The calculations don’t factor in common, but unpredictable, life events such as layoffs, promotions or market volatility.

And since experts typically say you should aim to save 15% of your annual income for retirement, CNBC calculated the yearly income you would need in order to reach a 10% and 15% savings rate.

If you start at 21

Earning a 5% annual rate of return: $715 per month

  • Annual salary needed if you save 10% of your income: $98,970
  • Annual salary needed if you save 15% of your income: $65,983

Earning a 7% annual rate of return: $397 per month

  • Annual salary needed if you save 10% of your income: $54,943
  • Annual salary needed if you save 15% of your income: $36,630

Earning a 9% annual rate of return: $211 per month

  • Annual salary needed if you save 10% of your income: $29,186
  • Annual salary needed if you save 15% of your income: $19,458

If you start at 25

Earning a 5% annual rate of return: $903 per month

  • Annual salary needed if you save 10% of your income: $124,944
  • Annual salary needed if you save 15% of your income: $83,334

Earning a 7% annual rate of return: $534 per month

  • Annual salary needed if you save 10% of your income: $73,883
  • Annual salary needed if you save 15% of your income: $49,257

Earning a 9% annual rate of return: $305 per month

  • Annual salary needed if you save 10% of your income: $42,170
  • Annual salary needed if you save 15% of your income: $28,115

If you start at 30

Earning a 5% annual rate of return: $1,216 per month

  • Annual salary needed if you save 10% of your income: $168,363
  • Annual salary needed if you save 15% of your income: $112,248

Earning a 7% annual rate of return: $779 per month

  • Annual salary needed if you save 10% of your income: $107,909
  • Annual salary needed if you save 15% of your income: $71,943

Earning a 9% annual rate of return: $485 per month

  • Annual salary needed if you save 10% of your income: $67,213
  • Annual salary needed if you save 15% of your income: $44,811

Don’t panic if it isn’t feasible to set aside the recommended 15% of your income just yet. It’s OK to start by contributing what you can and steadily increasing over time. One way to do this is by increasing your contributions by 1% each year until you reach the recommended saving rate.

But you’ll want to start as early as you can. Even if you only set aside a small amount each month, the power of compound interest can help your retirement funds grow quickly.

While it may not be your goal to retire as a millionaire, it’s still helpful to have an end goal in mind as you map out your retirement saving strategy. CNBC Make It’s retirement calculator can help you get an idea of how much money you may need to save for your post-work years based on factors like your current age, when you hope to retire and how much you’ve already saved.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

If you answer yes to these 15 questions, you are happier than most people, says longevity expert

I’ve spent the last 20 years studying the five Blue ZonesOkinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California. These areas are home to the world’s longest-living people. 

While researching for my book, “The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons From the World’s Happiest People,” I spoke with Dan Witters, who has been the Research Director of the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index since 2008, in an effort to figure out the hallmarks of the most content communities.

Witters told me that authentic happiness emerges from a cluster of interconnected factors that almost always appear in a pack. He identified 15 of what he calls “cowbell” metrics that signal true happiness.

How many of these ring true for you?

If you agree with these statements, you are happier than most people

  1. You manage your finances well and live within your means. You have enough money to do everything you want to do.
  2. You set and reach goals on an ongoing basis.
  3. You always make time for trips or vacations with family and friends.
  4. You use your strengths to do what you do best every day.
  5. You feel safe and secure in your community.
  6. You learn something new or interesting every day.
  7. You have someone in your life who encourages you to be healthy.
  8. You eat healthy every day.
  9. You eat five servings of fruits and vegetables at least four days every week.
  10. You get to the dentist at least once per year.
  11. In the last 12 months, you have received recognition for helping to improve the city or area where you live.
  12. You don’t smoke.
  13. You are of a normal, healthy weight. 
  14. You exercise at least 30 minutes at least three days per week.
  15. You are active and productive every day.

How to find your happy place

If you want to maximize your well-being, either where you currently live or in a new place, there are a few more guidelines that you can keep in mind.

Communities that are designed with these metrics often thrive and promote longevity:

  • Trust. There is a cohort of trustworthy politicians, police, and neighbors.
  • Walkability. Sidewalks and safe streets facilitate physical activity and socializing.
  • Access to nature. There is proximity to parks, open spaces, and trees.
  • Civic engagement. People actively contribute to a willing city government on maintaining and approving quality of life.
  • Clean environment. There is clean water, air, and land.
  • Healthy teeth. People have access to affordable and regular dental care.
  • People-friendly streets. Quiet, safe streets that favor humans over cars.
  • Healthy behaviors. There are local restrictions on smoking, less obesity, and less drug abuse. 
  • Healthy food. Farmers’ markets, local restaurants, plant-based food that’s easier to find than fast food from chain restaurants.

The writer E.B. White said, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” The key is to find that sweet spot between savoring life now and doing things that lead to a richer, more meaningful outcome in the future.

Dan Buettner is an explorer, longevity researcher, National Geographic Fellow, and award-winning journalist and producer. He is also the author of the best-selling books “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest” and “The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People.” Follow Dan on Instagram @danbuettner.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

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This is an adapted excerpt from ”The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons From the World’s Happiest People″ by Dan Buettner, published by National GeographicCopyright © 2017 by Dan Buettner.

Early retiree who earned $380,000 in passive income last year: The ‘best option’ to get started

Sam Dogen knows a thing or two about passive income.

By the time he left his investment banking day job in 2012, Dogen, the founder of Financial Samurai and the author of “Buy This, Not That,” had built up about $80,000 in annual income outside the office. Combined with a hefty severance he negotiated for, he determined that was enough money to live on.

It was for a while, but when he and his wife decided to stay in San Francisco and have a couple of kids, the family’s cost of living shot up. By reinvesting his passive income along with money he made through his website and book sales, Dogen was able to boost the family’s income over the years as well.

In 2023, Dogen’s passive income portfolio, which includes stock, bond and real estate investments, among others, generated about $380,000.

If you’re looking to build a similar stream of passive income, you’ll have to start somewhere — and likely without the help of an investment banker’s salary or severance package. According to Dogen, the best way to begin earning passive income is through your brokerage account.

“If you want passive income right now, I think the best option is Treasury bonds at 5%,” he says. “It’s amazing.”

How to use your brokerage account to earn passive income

You can buy Treasury bonds through most major online brokerages, as Dogen points out. Treasurys are considered among the safest possible investments because they are issued and backed by the U.S. government, which has never defaulted on its debt.

And given the recent rise in short-term interest rates, short-dated Treasurys — known as T-bills — look particularly attractive. A 1-year Treasury currently pays an interest rate of 4.73%, with shorter-dated bonds yielding even more.

“Right now, Treasurys are the most attractive, with 1-year Treasury bonds yielding about 5%,” Dogen says. “You can buy a bond for $1,000 tomorrow for 5% guaranteed, and you don’t have to pay state income tax [on the interest income].”

You can earn passive income by investing in stocks, too. Dogen has a large portion of his equity holdings in an index fund that tracks the S&P 500. While you may not think of a broad market index fund as an income-producing investment, it is. Stocks in the index currently yield an average of 1.5%.

You can keep a broad equity exposure while earning more income by choosing a dividend-focused mutual fund or exchange-traded fund, says Dogen. He suggests shopping for a fund that tracks so-called “Dividend Aristocrats” — companies that have maintained and raised a dividend payout for at least 25 consecutive years.

“These are larger-cap names, like McDonald’s, that have good cash flow and pay higher dividends,” he says.

Stocks in the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats index currently yield about 2.6%, on average.

Investing in real estate: Get to ‘neutral’

Stock and bond distributions have a couple of advantages over other forms of passive income. For one, you don’t need much money to start. Buy one share (or even a partial share) of an ETF, and you’re in.

The other advantage is that it’s truly passive. The same can’t be said of real estate, says Dogen. Although profits he earns from his rental properties factor into his passive income calculation, he’s the first to tell you that managing properties requires time and effort.

“Being a landlord is not passive income. It’s semi-passive,” he says. “And if you’re unlucky, it’s active income with a lot of headaches.”

Getting into the landlord game might not be the place to start your passive income journey, but you’d still be wise to start saving for at least one down payment, Dogen says: your own.

“I recommend everybody get neutral real estate by owning your primary residence, especially if you know where you want to live for at least five years,” Dogen says.

Owning a home gets you to “neutral” on real estate, he says, because renters are counting on housing costs staying where they are or falling.

“You probably shouldn’t be renting forever, because there’s a history of real estate going up [in value],” Dogen says. By owning, you essentially ride the ups and downs of inflation and housing prices while building equity in your home at a regular, fixed cost.

A few years after you buy, your real housing costs will likely feel significantly cheaper, he says, because because your payments remain the same despite generally rising salaries and housing costs.

In short: “Once you get neutral real estate, life gets a little bit easier.”

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One of 2024′s ‘best jobs’ can pay over $200,000 and let you work remotely without a degree

You can earn upward of $200,000 working from the comfort of your own home — no bachelor’s degree required — if you’re willing to crunch some numbers.

Loan officers claimed the No. 2 spot in Indeed’s annual ranking of the “best jobs” in the U.S., thanks to its high earning potential and increasing demand for these skilled professionals across several industries. 

The pay is great: The average salary for loan officers is $192,339, per Indeed’s research. Positions also tend to offer a lot of workplace flexibility. At least 75% of the listings for loan officers on Indeed’s database have remote or hybrid options.

DON’T MISS: The ultimate guide to acing your interview and landing your dream job

Loan officers assist people and businesses in the process of applying for loans, evaluating financial documents and helping borrowers complete their applications.

The demand for these services has grown in recent months, as industries like real estate, education, retail and e-commerce feel the squeeze of inflation and a tighter housing market, says Scott Dobroski, vice president of global corporate communications at Indeed.

Banks might be tightening up their lending standards because of recession fears, but the demand for mortgages remains high. “The need for loans will always be there, even if it ebbs and flows a bit,” adds Dobroski.

How to qualify for the job

You can become a loan officer without a bachelor’s degree. 

The requirements for becoming a loan officer vary from state to state, but generally, the process includes the following steps: 

  • Register with the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry (NMLS)
  • Take pre-licensure courses on federal law and regulations, lending standards and ethics
  • Pass a state or national license test
  • Find an employer to sponsor your license

To become a loan officer, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED, Indeed reports. Before you can work as a practicing loan officer, you’ll need to find an employer, like a bank or credit union, to hire you and sponsor your license. 

After you complete the pre-licensure courses, most companies are willing to hire you as a loan officer “in training” to support various aspects of the mortgage lending process without drafting or servicing loans directly, says Ciara Glover, a mortgage loan officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

The 37-year-old left her job as an academic coordinator at Louisiana State University in September to work as a full-time loan officer at Canvas Mortgage, a residential mortgage division of Merchants & Marine Bank. 

Glover first became a loan officer seven years ago as a side hustle to make extra money. She worked from home for an online mortgage lender in her spare time. 

It only took her about two months to finish the necessary coursework and find an employer to sponsor her license before she could start working. 

“It’s one of the most flexible jobs out there,” says Glover. “You can fit your schedule around client meetings, and most employers are supportive of you working from home, in my experience, that’s been a common practice for loan officers even before the pandemic.”

‘There’s no ceiling on how much you can earn’

Some loan officers are paid a flat salary or an hourly rate, while others earn a commission based on sales in addition to their normal salary.

Most loan officers are paid between 0.2% and 2% of the total loan amount in commission, according to Indeed. For example: If a loan officer negotiates a 1% commission on a $500,000 loan, they would be paid $5,000 on that transaction alone.

“There’s a hard limit on what you can make in a lot of jobs, but for loan officers, there’s no ceiling on how much you can earn,” says Glover. “It’s the kind of profession where you get whatever you put in — so if you work hard, you’re looking at a nice paycheck.”

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Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

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