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The Best of What They Said and I Read week ending 1/8/17

Short excerpts from articles I found interesting.

I may not agree with the author and the following material is not intended as investment advice.


Kiplinger’s Retirement Report – Your Questions Answered – Medicare Part B Confusion -January 2017

  • “I can’t get my head around the Medicare Part B premium. I’ve read that the basic premium is supposed to be $134 for 2017, but that most seniors will pay $109 per month and some will pay more than $400. Can you clear things up?”


  • “We’ll try. The 2017 premium is officially $134. But about 70% of beneficiaries (those receiving Social Security benefits in December and not subject to high income surcharges) will pay much less, averaging about $109. The law forbids an increase in Part B premiums to reduce January 2017 benefits below the amount received in December 2016. This means that different people will pay different premiums: last year’s $104.90 plus the amount that the 2017 0.3% cost-of-living adjustment adds to their Social Security benefit. The rising premium offsets the COLA, but it can’t reduce the benefit below December’s level.


  •  “Those who start receiving benefits in 2017 will pay $134 a month, because they’re not protected by the “benefits can’t go down” rule, unless that is, their income is high enough to trigger a surcharge. Those surcharges can drive 2017 premiums as high as $428.60 a month. Beneficiaries will get a notice from Social Security pinpointing what they’ll pay…”

Bob Carlson’s RETIREMENT WATCH – Filtering Out the Noise – January 2017

  • “…Once someone told me that Napoleon’s policy was not to look at an item of mail until three weeks after it was delivered, because most of the items will have resolved themselves by then.”


  • “Many people should take a similar attitude with their investments and other parts of their personal finances. I regularly hear from people who follow the market and economic news daily or more frequently. They have the latest updates and want to know what it all means and how they should react. This practice seems to me to increase their stress levels and uncertainty without improving their financial position. Often, the latest reports are noise, not news. Over any meaningful time period, much of what passes for daily financial news doesn’t affect much. The reports matter only if you’re a market trader. The rest of us are better off spending our time on other things and focusing only on the things that matter to our finances over time…”  

Barron’s – No Cigar Yet – Dow Stops Short of 20,000 – January 7, 2017 by Ben Levison

  • “…Last Friday, the Dow came within 0.37 point of reaching that big round number, the closest it has come since Barron’s put the blue-chip benchmark on 20,000-watch on Dec. 10. Lost amid all the will-it-or-won’t-it was the fact that the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite closed at record highs last week, even as the Dow ultimately fell short.”


  • “The S&P 500 gained 1.7% to 2276.98 last week, while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 2.6% to 5521.06. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 201.20 points, or 1%, to 19,963.80, its second-highest close on record...”

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