Q & A from Marsh’s financial e-mailbag

Question: Can I contribute to a Health Savings Account if my wife is on Medicare but I’m still working?

Answer: You must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan as a requirement to fund an HSA. Then, yes, you can contribute up to $3,450 as an individual, plus an extra $1,000 assuming you are over age 55. The tax benefits of an HSA are triple: the contribution is tax deductible, the growth is tax-deferred and the withdrawals are tax-free for qualified medical expenses. Pretty hard to beat!

Question: I’m divorced after 22 years of marriage and want to retire next year when I’m 65. Can I claim Social Security under my ex-husband’s benefit and let mine keep growing until I’m 70?

Answer: If you claim SS before your “full retirement age,” which for you is age 66, then the government looks at all of the benefits for which you are eligible: your ex-spousal benefit versus your own benefit and gives you the greater of the two payments.

However, if you were age 62 coming into 2016, and waited to retire until age 66, you would be in the grandfathered group that could claim an ex-spousal benefit and let your own keep growing. That option isn’t available for people not age 62 by Jan. 1, 2016.

Question: The markets are making me nervous. Do you have any tips on how to time the market to avoid losses?

Answer: A better answer is to have a well-diversified portfolio that matches your personal tolerance for risk. Owning some mix of stocks versus bonds, spread across all sectors of the U.S. and international markets will give you peace of mind to ride out market volatility.

Have Questions for farragutpress’ relatively new monthly columnist? Send your financial questions to Yvonne Marsh, CFP®, CPA at questions@marshpros.com, and she will review your question for possible inclusion in a future column.