Saving money in the new year

As the adage goes, it is never too early or too late to save.

While the Bay Area may seem to be the cradle of riches and instant millionaires and billionaires, the country in general has a savings problem. Recent statistics indicate that 50 percent of the baby-boomer population has saved less than $100,000 for retirement, and 37 percent less than $50,000.

Would you invest in the Republican Party?

You might be forgiven for thinking that this article is about politics. It’s not. It’s about investing. And it’s generally not a good idea to mix the two.

Late last year Point Bridge Capital LLC in Fort Worth, Texas, filed for the creation of a new exchange-traded fund (ETF) focused on those companies whose employees have contributed the most to Republican candidates or to political action committees. They plan to use the ticker symbol MAGA, which stands for “Make America Great Again.”

Reviewing the four biggest Bitcoin myths

When the value of an investment suddenly soars or collapses, it tends to get a lot of media coverage. In 2017, that investment was Bitcoin.

This highly publicized cryptocurrency started 2017 priced at $978 and, as of early December, reached a value of more than $17,000. That’s a return of more than 1,600 percent in less than a year. No wonder everybody is talking about it. But should you invest in it?

How to worry less about your investments

I don’t suppose that worrying is ever a good idea. If there’s something in your life you are concerned about, and you have the ability to change it, then you can and should do so. If you have no control over it, worrying about it won’t improve anything and might even negatively impact your health.

Nowhere is this more relevant than with your invested savings. Many of the people who come to me for advice start by telling me how worried they are about their investments. If you’re one of those people, I may have a simple solution to help you alleviate all of that stress.

Examining the impact of taxation in retirement

There is a notion that taxes will be minimal in retirement. That may not be the case, especially in high-cost-of-living states like California.

A variety of taxes can affect retirees – federal and state income taxes, Social Security taxes and estate taxes, to name a few. Remember that tax deferral of qualified assets – 401(k), IRA and 403(b) – is not forever. With required minimum distribution of your qualified assets when you reach age 70 1/2, your tax rate could significantly increase.

What you can do about rising Medicare premiums

Since Medicare’s inception in 1966, the Part B premium had risen an average of 7.7 percent per year. But in 2017, it increased nearly 28 percent for certain Medicare recipients. It turns out there is a way for you to limit those cost increases. The question is, should you?

Let’s start with a quick review of Medicare. Part A, hospital insurance, covers in-patient hospital stays, surgeries and post-hospital skilled nursing care. If you have contributed to Social Security for 40 quarters or more, you are entitled to Medicare Part A coverage once you reach age 65 at no cost. You also may be entitled to Part A coverage without having to pay a premium through your spouse or based on other extenuating circumstances.

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