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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! →
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! →
Before you check out for summer vacation, consider taking advantage of your free time this summer to do a quick check-in on your financial health. Between packing up the beach chairs and planning your next family outing, see if you can fit these 3 action items onto your summer checklist. Doing so will help ensure you are on solid financial footing and pay benefits as you head into the second half of 2015. Set aside time with your significant other to talk about money Money is one of the leading causes of conflict in a marriage. It can cause anxiety, stress, regret and even shame. But if we get ahead of issues by establishing common goals and the steps to achieve them, your mindset around money can shift from negative feelings to feelings of joy, excitement and fulfillment. Try setting aside 30 minutes each week to talk about big expenses coming up, financial concerns, priorities, and goals. It may seem silly at first, but this exercise can quickly open the door to more healthy and natural conversations around money and Read on! →
During May of this year, my son completed his sophomore year of high school. Next year brings the task of visiting colleges and the beginnings of selecting where he would like to apply, preparing and submitting applications and eventually choosing a school for the next stage of learning. This pending adventure serves as motivation to write a series of blogs about what I believe lies ahead and the possible challenges. Part 1 will address immediate and extended family dynamics that may influence children when they are young and impressionable. Part 2 will focus attention on how children reconcile these family preferences and opinions with their own. Part 3 will tackle the financial aspects of paying the costs of their choice. Some readers may have completed this journey but others may have yet to start. Regardless of where parents and children fall on this education continuum, hopefully some of what is written will resonate and be used to more successfully navigate what is to come. Planing for college can be a daunting task. The primary focus tends to be setting aside money Read on! →
A recent article in the Encore section of the WSJ, entitled “How to Add Life to Longer Lives” talks about the scientific advances which are extending our lives. The point made by the article is that although these advances are being made and the first person in modern times who will live to 150 is alive today, as a society we are not prepared to deal with all the associated aspects that significantly longer lives will impact. The idea that we, as a society, are unprepared for longer lifespans is not something just for future generations to ponder and solve, it is a conversation that needs to be elevated and discussed today. Over the past 15 years, we have seen most large employers freeze pension plans for their employees, eliminate these plans for all newer employees, and put more of the responsibility for retirement savings on the employee themselves, through 401(k) only options. The boomers who are retiring today are among the first who don’t have the safety net of an employer pension and in many cases did not adequately Read on! →