Trump’s big speech and your money


President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress tonight could dive into details on major budget proposals – about taxes, health care, government spending and other programs – that would affect you and your wallet.

Tonight will be the introduction to the budget process, one that will lead to much discussion and won’t be approved until maybe May. In some cases, the impact on your finances could be immediate, while other proposals may take longer to work through the system.

Health insurance

President Trump said he’d like every American to have access to health care, and he’s promised to rein in drug prices. Trump long has discussed drastically altering the Affordable Care Act. Whatever changes get approved likely are going to affect everyone’s finances, whether it’s how much you pay in insurance premiums or for drugs or if you can save on health savings plans. Trump met with major health insurers on Monday morning and, without giving details about his plan, promised to increase competition and decrease costs.

Social Security

Republicans, notably House speaker Paul Ryan, repeatedly have said programs that spend the most money must be scrutinized. Ryan has shown a consistent willingness to make cuts and change how benefits are calculated. Trump, on the other hand, has vowed to preserve these programs, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says the budget doesn’t contain any cuts for Social Security.

What does it mean for you? We should all be keeping an eye on how much we’re investing for our future in light of what may happen to Social Security. Check out the Social Security and financial planning calculator here.

The stock market

Trump likely will discuss the roaring markets.

Just days after he entered office, the Dow Jones industrial average hit 20,000 for the first time, and it, and other major indexes, have been setting records since.

Experts believe the Trump administration will have a positive impact on some sectors, such as infrastructure and energy, as regulations are loosened and rebuilding takes place.

One thing is for sure, the market doesn’t like uncertainty and there’s definitely uncertainty around the budget proposal and how it will be received.

There’s also uncertainty about some of the things Trump will say and tweet. You can track the Bankrate Trump Index to see how the president’s tweets and comments affect individual stocks.

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The current seven personal income tax brackets would be slashed to three under Trump’s proposal.

The lowest tax bracket is now 10 percent, and Trump’s plan would bump that up to 12 percent. The highest is now 39.6 percent, which would be slimmed to 33 percent.

One of the most hated parts of the Affordable Care Act was the tax that would be levied on people who did not get health insurance. You’d prove coverage by answering a question on your income tax return – and for the 2016 tax year, this question was removed.

Now, under the Trump administration, this tax will most likely be repealed.

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Tip of the week

Even if Social Security doesn’t come up in Trump’s speech tonight, it’s important to understand your own Social Security status.

If you haven’t checked your Social Security account before, it’s easy. Create an account online at

You can find out valuable things. First, an estimate of what that monthly check might be. Even more important, how much bigger that check could be if you delay claiming benefits.

Your account shows you how much you’d get if you claim at 62 – the earliest opportunity – or at your full benefit age, depending on your birth year. Or you can get even more. Each year you delay, the benefit goes up.

The other reason to check is so you can look at your earnings record. See if any jobs are missing, or if the income is incorrectly listed. Both can impact the amount you get when you’re ready to claim.

Money Masters question

On our Bankrate Money Masters Facebook group, a reader asked this question about investing:

“Can you shop around for financial advisors and can anyone recommend some books to better understand investing. Thanks.”

My response: If you want to learn more about investing, “The Warren Buffett Way” by Robert G. Hagstrom is terrific and really straightforward. I wrote about it in a last-minute Christmas guide. Nice and simple, and not a bit intimidating. ‬

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Jill Cornfield

I'm a reporter at Bankrate, talking retirement – my own as well as yours. Sign up for my free newsletter.