Tiffany James looking ahead

first_imgTiffany James, last year’s World Under-20 400m champion, was an interested spectator at the JAAA Carifta Trials on Saturday, James, a six-time Carifta Games gold medal winner, isn’t looking back on her stellar junior career. She has her mind focused on competing with the ladies she respectfully calls ‘the big girls’.With junior meets reserved for those that are under 20 during the entire year of competition, James is looking ahead. “Well, I know a lot of people are expecting much from me so it’s just for me to stay focused, keep calm, put in some more work and get out there, because, you know; this time with the big girls, it’s going to be much harder but I’m confident.”Speaking with the assurance that perhaps comes from being a World champion, the Mico University college student athlete professed, “I’m willing to work and I’m ready.”She isn’t dismayed by the recent success Jamaica has enjoyed in the 400 and the 4x400m relay. Stephenie Ann McPherson led a Jamaican 1-2-3 at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, with Shericka Jackson taking bronze medals at both the 2015 World Championships and at the Olympics last year. The 4×400 team, including McPherson and Jackson, is the reigning World champion. In fact, James said, “It excites me to see that Jamaica is improving in the one-lap events.”Coached by 1983 World champion Bert Cameron, James is working to do well in her first senior season. “I have a lot of goals for 2017”, she informed. “A few are to run a personal best, of course, to be on that World Champion-ship team, the World University Games”, she enumerated as she watched the trials.FIRST TIMEJames set a personal best of 51.32 seconds to win her World title last year.She was pleased with her Gibson McCook Relays performance. Appraised that her 4x4x00 relay leg was timed in 52.8 seconds, she responded, “It’s the first time actually doing the one lap since the start of the season, so it felt great.””I’ll be running the 400 metres at the G.C. Foster Classic,” she revealed, “so let’s see how it goes.”The Mico University college did very well at the recent Gibson McCook Relays, especially in the 4×400 metres. James explained why, saying, “Well, I guess everybody is seeing and wants to come and everybody is willing to work.”Nobody knows Mico as a team that can win Intercol, or have somebody to win,” she continued, “but I don’t know if it is me, but I believe I started it and everybody is motivated and want to train, and that’s why we’re getting the results.”The Inter-collegiate Champ-ionships are set for April 7 and 8 at the National Stadium.last_img read more

Social Security is political necessity

first_imgFaced with billions in bond redemptions along with perpetual government deficits from other sources, the Treasury will have to borrow real money rather than simply make bookkeeping entries. Worse, it must borrow real money from an increasingly skeptical world (read: China, India, Japan and Saudi Arabia). It is increasingly clear that our dollars are less welcome than they have been in the past. Retirees will get their promised Social Security benefits because it is a political necessity, whatever the consequences in the financial markets. I don’t think we can be as confident about the really big promise we call Medicare. The unfunded liabilities of Medicare Part D, the prescription drug program, are nearly as large as the unfunded liabilities of Social Security. And that’s just a small part of the program! The future costs of Medicare are massively greater than Social Security. That, I believe, is where retirees can expect to see the most creative weaseling, and from both political parties. Q: We invest in American mutual funds and Fidelity mutual funds. Considering the upheavals that the markets are experiencing, we keep our heads above water except for one fund. Fidelity Real Estate Investment was a shining star, but now it is a crashing star. I want to move to another fund, but my wife says to hang on. Your opinion, please. – R.M. Q uestion: I am conflicted by what I have been reading about Social Security in your columns and book “The Coming Generational Storm.” On the one hand, you recommend we delay taking Social Security benefits until we reach full retirement (66 for me) if we can afford it because the payment is so much higher and we will realize more money in the long run. On the other hand, you paint a pretty bleak picture about Social Security’s long-term solvency and the real possibility of significant benefit cuts in the future. That makes me think I better start taking Social Security as soon as I can if that worst-case scenario plays out. I could go either way, but what is a 60-year-old boomer to do? – S.S. ANSWER: The squeeze that is coming probably won’t be a direct hit on Social Security benefits. There are two reasons for this, financial and political. The financial reason is that our government has accumulated Social Security trust fund assets – a horde of Treasury obligations – from all the extra employment taxes we’ve been paying since the last big Social Security reform in the 1980s. Those assets are on the official books. They can, and will, be redeemed by Social Security to make the needed payments to retirees. Basically, the cash flow hot potato will be passed to the Treasury. A: The reason we diversify our assets is that everything doesn’t go up, or down, at the same time. That’s why we should own cash, domestic bonds, domestic stocks, international stocks, international bonds and REITs. Those are all recognized asset classes. Their proportions can be mixed, so you can get a modest return with very little risk or a higher return with substantial risk. That’s what investing is about. Unless you have reason to believe that you really shouldn’t have real estate in your portfolio, a down year is no reason to sell. Indeed, if you want to keep your portfolio balanced, it is often a reason to buy more. If the fund’s performance trails its competitive peers, however, you should think about a replacement fund. Q: If you were four years from retirement, as I am, where would you allocate your monies? We have about $270,000 saved in an IRA. Would you buy any gold? – N.B. A: I wouldn’t buy gold except as insurance against chaos and, if I was worried about chaos, I’d buy a gun and lots of bullets before I bought gold. As long as we continue to have baby showers and PTA meetings in America, we need to focus our investments on earning assets – stocks, bonds, cash and real estate. One simple portfolio is what I call the Margarita Portfolio, a mixture of one-third domestic stocks, one-third international stocks and one-third Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities. It can be done very inexpensively with low-cost index funds or exchange- traded funds. This portfolio gives you diversification. It also gives you some protection against inflation and/or a falling dollar with the TIPS and international equities. Questions about personal finance and investments may be sent by e-mail to scott@scottburns.com or by fax to 505-424-0938.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more