What the experts say
A second look at Roth IRAs
With income tax rates at a low, “looking at a Roth IRA right now makes a lot of sense,” said Dan Caplinger in MotleyFool.com. When you invest in a Roth, you don’t get the upfront tax deductions traditional IRAs and 401(k) plans offer, but you can withdraw money tax-free once you’ve hit retirement age. In other words, you’re “paying more tax now in exchange for tax-free treatment later.” The tax reform that lowered rates for many individuals last year “made that proposition more favorable for Roths,” compared with traditional IRAs, lowering marginal rates for most taxpayers by 1 to 4 percentage points. You can contribute up to $6,000 a year if you are under age 50, and $7,000 after that. Given the possibility of tax rates rising, “the cost of obtaining those huge tax breaks in the future might never be this low again.”
New hospital rule, same confusion
A new Trump administration order requiring hospitals to post their prices online is “turning into a fiasco,” said Robert Pear in The New York Times. The data hospitals are offering “is incomprehensible and unusable by patients—a hodgepodge of numbers and technical medical terms, displayed in formats that vary from hospital to hospital.” One typical price list gives a charge of “$42,569 for a cardiology procedure described as ‘HC PTC CLOS PAT DUCT ART.’” Even if you can figure out what services a hospital delivers, comparison shopping is “nearly impossible,” and the listed prices have little bearing on what the average consumer would actually pay. Despite the worthy goal of promoting transparency, the results—as one consumer who looked up her local prices put it—are “gibberish, totally meaningless.”
If you want a job combining high pay and low stress, consider orthodontia, said Catey Hill in MarketWatch.com. It’s the sole profession on U.S. News & World Report’s newly released list of best-paying jobs that offers below-average stress along with an above-average paycheck. Health-care jobs dominated the top of the annual pay list. Many of those jobs, such as anesthesiology, which led the list at $265,990, came with significant stress. Not so for orthodontists, the only people whose profession combined a six-figure salary—$229,380—with below-average stress and “above-average levels of work-life balance.” In a recent survey, three-quarters of professionals said job stress has negatively affected their personal relationships.