Planning for College – Managing Wants and Desires

Children are often influenced in ways that are not always obvious.  As mentioned in part 1 of this 3 part series on planning for college, family conversations about fond college memories and experiences, likely occur long before a child narrows their choice about where to apply and enroll.  Children will also be influenced by friends and their ideas or maybe where a teacher encourages them to explore.  Ideally, they consider their intellectual and vocational gifts and settle on a few schools that align well with their longer term professional or vocational aspirations. All the while, parents may be trying to gauge how much feedback to give and wondering whether their financial preparations will be sufficient to cover the costs of their child’s choice.  Before leapfrogging to the subject of how the cost will be reconciled with resources, first let’s address how a parent can best approach helping a child explore options. While children may be influenced by similar factors, every child is unique and very likely to make decisions based on different objective and subjective criteria.  Add to this, a Read on! →

The Greek Tragedy and a Chinese Fire Drill

Greece had been edging towards an exit of the Eurozone.  Global market risk, while elevated from the news, had generally suggested that the direct outcome of this event would be limited / falling well short of anything that would constitute a genuine crisis.  China, on the other hand, has emerged as a much more substantial issue with the weakness in the local Chinese market spilling into Hong Kong and global equity markets. Until matters stabilize in China this will certainly continue to be the main driver of financial markets, and even the impact of a favorable end to the Greek mess would likely be overwhelmed by a continuation of the intense liquidation of Chinese equities. Greek Tragedy; The Greek people voted overwhelmingly against accepting the June 25 plan offered by its creditors. The “No” vote doesn’t necessarily mean Greece will exit the Eurozone but the potential had increased. This was a shock to the markets in that it was assumed the people would vote yes. Eurozone leaders made Greece surrender much of its sovereignty to outside supervision in return for Read on! →

Is This Proposed Medicare Benefit Enough?

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled End-of-Life Talk Proposed as New Medicare Benefit highlighted an issue encountered as patients approach the very end of their lives.  While there may be doctors who are willing to discuss end of life plans with their patients, they are not currently being reimbursed by Medicare for the time they spend in these important discussions.  Does this result in doctors opting out of these conversations altogether, or they are waiting until it is essentially too late to talk about it? A Frontline special a few months ago highlighted the fact that many doctors continue to pursue medical options to the very end of a patient’s life, even when there is no hope and when continued treatment creates additional physical trauma for patients and their families.  Obviously doctors have the ultimate goal of healing their patients, but when the end is inevitable, lack of training has been cited as one of the reasons many medical doctors never have end-of-life discussions with their patients. While we may not be able to control whether or not Read on! →