Dear American Consequences reader,
We have Christmas music on in the background as we’re putting together our next issue of American Consequences.
Our focus is on consumption: The things we buy. Why we buy them. And who really benefits. More on that in two weeks…
In the meantime, P.J. and I have put together a “gift guide” with a few things we’re giving or wouldn’t mind receiving this holiday season.
We sent you the first idea earlier this week because it had a special “Cyber Monday” deal.
Now, we’ve filled our guide out with several more excellent gifts…
OneBlade is the world’s best razor. Bar none.
I (Steven) use the original “Genesis” OneBlade for every shave. I switched from a double-edged safety razor two years ago, and haven’t looked back.
I (P.J.) am more of a “stubble bum.” I go for the unshaven look… unless someone’s looking. Then, I want to appear to be clean-cut. OneBlade is perfect for the twice-a-week shaver. It slices smoothly through the underbrush.
And our bearded “living well in retirement” expert, Dr. David “Doc” Eifrig, trims around the edges. Beards need razors, too…
OneBlade is an heirloom-quality razor that will last a lifetime. It has won major design awards and was even included in the permanent collection of the Henry Ford Museum – right next to the Gramovox floating record player!
There are two options – the new Core OneBlade and the top-of-the-line Genesis OneBlade. Click here for more info on what went into designing these razors.
And get ready for the shave of a lifetime with, as we mentioned, a razor that lasts a lifetime.
2. Buy this and cut your cable…
We Americans hate our cable companies. No wonder… the average American family’s cable bill is $123 per month.
But this holiday season, Doc Eifrig says there’s one great gift that might help you take the final step and “cut the cord.”
The simplest and easiest hardware option for streaming is called a Roku box. This small device plugs into your TV and connects it to the Internet. The Roku box allows you to control your subscriptions to most of the major streaming services and includes free channels like YouTube and Pandora.
Apple, Google, and Amazon make similar boxes (and smaller, matchbox-sized plug-in sticks), but the Roku beat them all for its ease of use.
And recently Roku released an even cheaper and smaller version called the Roku Stick. The best price we can find right now is on Amazon for about $40.
3. Buy this to drink…
I (P.J.) love (as you might expect) Irish whiskey. I’ve got a new favorite I discovered in Dublin a few years back – Redbreast Single Pot Still Whiskey. (No, not that kind of pot.)
This is an old-fashioned Irish whiskey reintroduced in 1991. Smooth as a OneBlade shave.
It’s a little “spendy” – as my Irish Great-Aunt would have called it. (She liked an occasional nip herself.) The best price I can find for 12-year-old Redbreast on Google is $45 a bottle. Check your local shop.
But the good news is: Buy the 12-year. It’s as good as the 15-year-old, which is as good as the 21-year-old.
4. Buy this for your financial security…
This is the best time of year to buy closed-end funds (CEFs), says Doc…
Every day, you can find hundreds of funds trading at a discount to their net asset value… that’s the value of all the funds’ assets, added up. At any time, the average fund sells at a discount to its NAV.
And history shows CEFs have sold for the steepest discounts in December…
In December, professional money managers need to arrange their portfolios to determine their year-end numbers. Often, they sell CEFs to book gains and take losses (for tax purposes), and that drives CEF prices down in relation to their true values.
Regardless of the underlying cause, December is a good time to scoop up funds that you’ve been considering. Over time, the discount changes, but odds are that it will be the biggest in December.
Right now, the average fund is trading for a more than 5% discount to NAV. To screen for CEFs to buy, Doc likes to use CEFConnect.com. (We have no affiliation with CEF Connect, we simply like its screener.)
And of course, if you’d like to know a few specific CEFs that Doc recommends buying, you can subscribe to his Retirement Millionaire monthly newsletter here.
5. Buy this for your spouse…
Everyone appreciates a massage. And it’s a great gift for a loved one…
Doc says you can find discount codes on RetailMeNot for gift cards to Spafinder. Spafinder is the biggest and easiest way to search your city for nearby massage centers – along with exercise classes, day spas, and wellness centers.
There are also tools you can use to give yourself a massage (which only sounds impossible). Doc uses a Body Back Buddy to help relieve aches. You can find them on Amazon for $30.
6. Buy this for your kitchen…
Nothing cooks like cast-iron pans. The best cast-iron pan is the one from your parents or your grandparents that has decades of history behind it.
But you can get great new cast-iron pans today for far less than you think… a pre-seasoned 10.25-inch pan is $15 on Amazon. It’s made in the U.S. from the renowned Lodge foundry, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Le Creuset is another popular and long-lasting brand. But it’s more “spendy” – a 10.25-inch enameled cast-iron pan costs around $160.
7. And buy these to read…
We couldn’t pick just one… so here are a few of our favorite reads right now:
- Fiction: Speculator by Doug Casey, who contributed to our November issue.
- Children’s: Go Go Gorillas by Patrick Wensink. He’ll be in our December issue. Makes a great read-aloud gift for the grandkids.
- J.’s latest: How the Hell Did This Happen? The 2016 presidential campaign.
- Finance: A Man for All Markets by Edward Thorp. A fantastic read if you’re an investor and you’ll learn something about casinos, too.
- Historical: Everybody Ought to Be Rich: The Life and Times of John J. Raskob, Capitalist. Raskob’s career was a spectacular one (good and bad) and he was an early architect of the capitalist system in America.
- Investing: And if you’re interested in specific investment advice, you can’t do better than Doc’s Retirement Millionaire It’s one of the greatest bargains out there for retirement, health, and investment advice. Learn more here.
Steven Longenecker and P.J. O’Rourke