On Your Mind: Strokes, Options, and Colon Cancer

Happy National Aphasia Awareness Month!

It seems like each month has a dozen different special issues attached to it. You probably didn't know June is also National Turkey Lovers' Month.

But aphasia is an issue everyone should be aware of...

Aphasia means you have difficulty with language, which can include speaking, reading, and writing.

Aphasia is the result of head trauma, so concussions, traumatic brain injury, and even infections can cause it. But the most common cause is stroke.

In fact, about 25% to 40% of stroke survivors develop aphasia. That's about 2 million Americans.

In today's Weekly Update, my research Amanda Cuocci explains more about aphasia, what to look for to determine if you're having a stroke, how to keep yourself safe, and what to do if you're already suffering from aphasia.

Click below to watch...

Now on to this week's questions... And keep sending your questions, suggestions, and stories to [email protected].

Q: You often talk about buying and selling options. However, I have never seen any discussion of the tax implications of options. Could you cover that topic? – R.B.

A: Profits from options are taxed like capital gains. If you're selling a call and receive a dividend, that would be taxed as any dividend would. With options held for less than a year, you'd be taxed for short-term capital gains. Anything longer than a year and you would be taxed for long-term capital gains. These only apply if you're the average investor... For people making 1,000 or more short-term trades a year, the tax rules are different. But you'd include the trades you closed on your taxes at the end of the year.

That's why I like trading covered calls in an IRA or a self-directed 401(k). In fact, there are two big benefits that make retirement accounts ideal for trading options... In tax-deferred accounts, you don't have to keep track of the trade's gains and losses for IRS reporting. And you don't need to worry about short- and long-term capital gain differences, either.

Of course, if you haven't contributed much to your IRA, you'll be limited to what stocks on which you can trade options. With a regular account, you can add cash at any time.

If you're a put seller, it's a little trickier. You usually can't use margin to boost your returns in an IRA or 401(k). So if you're using a retirement account, we'd recommend focusing on covered-call trades anyway. The returns of the two trades are essentially identical.

In my Retirement Trader service, I've used options as a way to generate safe, consistent income. In fact, over the last eight years, we've closed out 410 winning positions – a more than 94% win rate. Click here to learn more.

Q: [There are] many comments about avoiding plastic water bottles but what about other beverages that are sold in plastic bottles like juices, sports drinks, sodas, ice tea, lemonade, milk, etc? – C.B.

A: When it comes to plastic water bottles, you need to worry about the reusable and the disposable kind as both can contain bisphenol A or "BPA." There are different types of plastics. Take a look at a plastic water or soda bottle and you'll see the recycling symbol with a number inside.

No. 1 is the most commonly used plastic for disposable bottles for beverages and food containers. The problem with this type of plastic is that it leaches chemicals into what food or drinking it's holding. The risk is even higher if you heat the plastic.

Think about leaving a plastic bottle in a hot car... If you've tasted the water afterward, you'll notice the distinctly chemical flavor.

No. 7 is another plastic that has a high risk of leaching chemicals into whatever is inside.

It's nearly impossible to avoid plastic containers, so try to stick to bottles marked 2, 4, or 5 as these types of plastic don't have any BPA.

Q: You said [colorectal cancer] screenings are worthwhile for adults 50 – 75 years old. What about older folks? – E.K.

A: Colorectal cancer screening hit the news headlines this week when the American Cancer Society announced people should started getting screened at age 45, not 50. As we mentioned last week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) doesn't recommend colorectal cancer screening until 50, so we'll wait to see if there's more evidence pointing to early screening benefits.

For people 76 to 85 years old, the USPSTF gives colorectal cancer screening a "C" grade. The different types of colorectal cancer screenings come with risks ranging from tears in the lining of the colon to an increased risk of stroke. One study showed these risks double in patients over 85.

The USPSTF also points out that screenings are more suitable in people who can benefit from treatment if they have colorectal cancer. So if you're in this older age group, you'll need to weigh your risks and benefits of colorectal cancer screenings.

What We're Reading...

Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
June 1, 2018