All Things Financial Planning Blog


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Health Care Reform and You


Your Personal Declaration of IndependenceThe Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA, has many facets to it and its implementation will be done over several years. Provisions of the Act have ramifications for businesses and individuals so we will focus on the Health Care Reform Act and its impact on you as an individual. Since we are at about mid-year 2013 I wanted to focus on the Act for this year and next. To summarize 2013 and 2014, I offer the following …

In 2013,

  • Medicare Part A tax rate on wages goes up from 1.45% to 2.35% for certain individuals making more than $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000.
  • ‘Investment Income’ will have an additional 3.8% tax imposed if you make more than the $200,000 or $250,000.
  • Your employer must provide employees with info on employer plans, health exchanges and subsidies.
  • Your flexible spending account ‘set-aside’ will be limited to $2,500 per individual.
  • Medical expense deductions will not be deductible until they exceed 10% of AGI rather than the current 7.5%.

Beginning in 2014,

  • Waiting periods before you can enroll in an employer sponsored plan cannot be more than 90 days.
  • Insurance carriers will be required to cover everyone, even those with preexisting medical conditions.
  • If you are not covered through an employer health plan and do not purchase minimum essential health coverage on your own, you will have to pay a yearly fine of $95 per person ($695 in 2016) or 1% of taxable income (2.5% in 2016), whichever is greater. Individuals who do not have affordable minimum essential coverage from their employer will be eligible for tax credit subsidies for their health insurance purchase on a state exchange if their income is below 400 percent of federal poverty level – about $46,000. Minimum essential coverage includes Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, individual insurance, grandfathered plans, and eligible employer-sponsored plans. Workers compensation and limited-scope dental or vision benefits are not considered minimum essential health coverage.
  • Group health plans, including grandfathered plans, may not impose cost-sharing amounts (i.e., copays or deductibles) that are more than the maximum allowed for high-deductible health plans (currently these limits are $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a family coverage). After 2014, these amounts will be adjusted for health insurance premium inflation. Group health plans, including grandfathered plans, may no longer include more than restricted annual or any lifetime dollar limits on essential health benefits for participants. Limits may exist in and after 2014 for non-essential benefits.
  • Each State must establish health insurance exchanges for individuals and small businesses defined, federally, as employers with less than 100 employees

What will the health insurance exchanges and pricing look like?

Obviously, each State is different. Some States run their own exchanges others have opted to let the Federal government run their State programs. There has been a lot said and predicted about policy pricing given the mandates of coverage and benefits provided for in the Act.

In California, we got our first look at our health care plans to be offered on California’s exchange. Our State will have 19 rating regions which will have 13 health carriers offering four plan types to Californians – Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. California’s Silver Plan will have region costs that will vary for a 40-year-old from the low $200’s per month to the low $400’s per month depending on the region you live in. This is similar to our ‘zip-code-pricing’ currently used by companies in our State. The silver plan, which is expected to cover 70% of an individual’s health care expenses, has a $2,000 deductible, $45 copay for primary care visits, a $250 emergency room co-pay and a maximum annual out-of-pocket expense of $6,350.

According to Chad Terhune of the LA Times, for our 40-year old purchasing a Silver Plan and living in the Los Angeles County region they will be paying somewhere between $242 and $325 a month whereas a similarly designed plan today would cost $321 albeit with more comprehensive benefits. Statewide, considering all counties, the average premium in the State is $177. So the results thus far seem pleasing given the chatter about price increases.

In Ohio they have opted for the Federal government administered program to run the Ohio exchange. Fourteen carriers have submitted 214 different plans to the federal administered exchange. The price ranges for minimum essential health benefits through the federal administered exchanges range from $282 and $577. According to Ohio officials that will be an 88% increase in individual health policy costs for its citizens. . Other preliminary pricing for the 40-year old purchasing a Silver Plan has come in at a low of $205 in one region of Oregon to a high of $413 in a region in Vermont. The Congressional Budget Office had projected nationwide average monthly costs for the second lowest Silver Plan to average about $433. Results are still coming in so stay tuned.

One of the other provisions of PPACA is that health insurance companies must issue rebates to individuals and small businesses if the health insurance company does not spend at least 80% of their annual premiums on medical care. In recent filings with regulators, Blue Shield of California said it owed $24.5 million in rebates to thousands of small firms and similarly Blue Cross of California will be rebating $12 million.

Comments and Planning Implications.

So there is a lot to be played out yet with respect to the law and its implementation and pricing. Businesses have a lot of hoops to jump through with larger companies, publicly traded for example, probably less (a relative term, obviously) impacted than the smaller businesses especially those with more than 50 employees and less than 200. How the pricing and number of carriers willing to provide policies in your state will pan out between now and the end of the year is still a work in progress. For those who do not have insurance currently, or those who have policies that do not provide minimum essential coverage, consult with your advisor to see how the blend of tax subsidies, tax penalties and other issues of PPACA impact you, your family and your financial plans. To your healthy and successful financial future!

David Bergmann, CFP®, EA, CLU, ChFC
Managing Principal
The David Bergmann Group
Marina Del Ray, CA


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The Fiscal Side to Staying Fit


I often compare the financial services industry to the world of diet and fitness. In fact, I wrote a blog about it here last year. Parts of both industries seem to share an obsession with selling quick fixes and easy answers to long term, difficult challenges.

But, what about a more direct comparison? Is there a direct relationship between physical and fiscal health? Is there more incentive than a slimmer waistline and a new pair of jeans to getting in shape and staying fit? Sure, the health benefits should be motivation enough, but virtually any behavioral data available suggests they are not.

The short answer is there’s most definitely a relationship and the cost savings are more important than ever. If you look at the way inflation impacts our society, health care costs lead the way, meaning it costs you more each and every year to provide you and your family with the same level of care. A healthier you could mean lower health & life insurance premiums, fewer days off work, lower food costs and reduced costs associated with nursing care and assisted living down the road. The list can go on and on.

Is it a guaranteed cure all? Of course not, but the reduced physical and mental stress to your body & mind over time alone should make it worth the effort.

Nothing I’ve said is earth shattering news, so where do we get off track? In part, it’s the way we think about nutrition and fitness. As kids, we “go outside and play” or go to “recess”. Adults refer to “working out” or “doing yard work”. Kids typically snack as a way to grab a quick, healthy snack to refuel before more play. Adult snacking becomes something we do with one hand reserved for the remote control while the other is stained orange from a food-like substance known as the cheese doodle.

The comparison to fiscal and physical fitness extends beyond cost savings. In fact, putting a plan together to stay as healthy as possible carries many of the same rules of thumb as a financial plan. Let’s look at some specifics . . .

  • Start today, not tomorrow
    • Compounding works in many areas of life. Many of you know that the earlier you start saving for the future, the easier it is to meet your goals. The costs to waiting are high. Same goes for your physical health. Quitting smoking today? Better than tomorrow. Starting to take a daily walk today versus waiting until Monday. Better. Every little bit helps and the more you do immediately, the less painful it will be.
  • Diversify
    • One of the biggest reasons people burn out or never get going with an active lifestyle is the perceived boredom. Just as sticking all your eggs in one asset class or investment is a surefire way to fail in investing; there can more to a healthy lifestyle than a treadmill or stationary bike. Diversify your activity and you’ll be much more likely to stay engaged and succeed. There’s any number of ways to do this including CrossFit, Zumba, Yoga, and Tai Chi. Many community center and gyms are offering an ever-increasing array of classes. Challenge your body in different ways and keep your mind engaged by turning your training into true cross-training.
  • Do it with Purpose – Make a Plan
    • Too often, people choose investments without any real consideration as to whether it is appropriate for them or what role it plays in meeting their goals. Much the same, putting a diet together based on a two minute TV clip or walking into a fitness facility and trying to figure out the machines without a sense of your ability to tolerate the physical exertion is a poor choice. Checking first with your doctor and spending an hour or two with a personal trainer can go a long way in jump starting a successful plan.
  • Stay Low Cost
    • Costs matter, but shouldn’t be an excuse. You don’t have to spend a fortune to stay fit. If you have nothing to spend on your physical health (read that again and see if it makes sense to you), there’s still plenty you can do with your own two feet and your body weight to stay very healthy. The internet is a valuable tool for researching various ways to build a program with little to no equipment at all. Besides, with all the money you’ll save by eating less, and cutting back on health care costs, how can you afford not to get started?

Perhaps the biggest link of all is to manage your expectations. If you expect mind-blowing results without the work, it’s no different than expecting reasonable investment returns without any meaningful contributions or planning. It’s just not the way life works. Focus on those things you can control and don’t sweat minor setbacks from time to time. In fact, make a point to celebrate even small milestones as a way of stoking the fire towards more progress. Just make sure you find a way to reward yourself that doesn’t mean overindulging, or you’ll be right back where you started.

Chip Workman, CFP®, MBA
Lead Advisor
The Asset Advisory Group
Cincinnati, OH


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Flexible Spending Account Changes Looming


What is a FSA?

Health care Flexible Spending Accounts, FSA’s, are benefit plans established by employers to reimburse employees for health care expenses, such as deductibles and co-payments. FSAs are a type of flexible benefit arrangement that generally qualify for tax advantages as a Code Sec. 125 cafeteria plan, under which employees choose between cash (i.e., take-home pay) and certain nontaxable benefits without paying taxes if they select the benefits. Although they are usually funded by employees through salary reduction agreements, employers may contribute as well. 

FSAs are considered part of a cafeteria plan when they are funded through voluntary salary reductions. However, if they are funded by non-elective employer contributions, then they are not governed by the cafeteria plan provisions, but the benefits are excludible under Code Sec. 105 and Code Sec. 106.

Some FSA Statistics

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) National Compensation Survey, 39% of all workers in 2010, and 56% of workers in firms with over 100 employees, had access to a health care FSA. However, in establishments with fewer than 100 employees, only 20% of the workers could choose to participate in an FSA. According to a 2010 Mercer study, 37% of employees with the option of participating in an FSA did so, with an average annual contribution amount of $1,420.

FSA Rules Now and Looming

Contributions to and withdrawals from FSAs are tax-exempt. The federal income tax savings opportunities from health care FSAs essentially depend upon the amount set aside by the employee and the employee’s tax bracket. Since FSAs are funded with pre-tax dollars, the tax savings are the amount of tax that would have been paid on the set-aside amount. So, an employee in the 30% tax bracket who set aside $1,000 would save $300 in federal income taxes. Thus, the higher tax bracket the employee is in, the greater the potential tax savings. 

Unused FSA contributions left over at the end of a plan year have historically been forfeited to the employer under the so-called “use-it-or-lose-it rule.” However, a plan can (but is not required to) provide an optional grace period immediately following the end of each plan year, extending the period for incurring expenses for qualified benefits to the 15th day of the third month after the end of the plan year (i.e., March 15th for a calendar-year plan). Benefits or contributions not used as of the end of the grace period are forfeited. So any tax savings from participating should be carefully weighed against the potential risk of forfeiture under the use-it-or-lose-it rule.

A recent Congressional Research Report highlights the following characteristics of health care FSAs:

  • FSAs are limited to employees and former employees
  • IRS currently imposes no dollar limit on health care FSA contributions, but employers generally do
  • FSAs generally can be used only for unreimbursed medical expenses that would be deductible under the Code, but not for health insurance or long-term care insurance premiums; and
  • Employers may impose additional restrictions.

The report goes on to remind us that there have been changes to the FSA rules as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Significantly, PPACA:

  • Modified the definition of “qualified medical expenses” to remove over-the-counter medicines (except those prescribed by a physician), effective 2011. Effective Jan. 1, 2011, expenses incurred for over-the-counter medicines, with the exception of insulin, will not be eligible for reimbursement under a health FSA, HRA or HSA without a prescription. The penalty for using HSA funds for ineligible expenses increased from 10 percent to 20 percent; and
  • Limited the amount of contributions to health care FSAs to $2,500 per year (indexed for inflation after 2013), effective in 2013 (Code Sec. 125, as amended by PPACA).

Planning Implications for Individuals and Business Owners

So even though the contribution amount will be changing, we should not lose sight of the value of participating in a FSA account if it is available to us. In the 30% tax bracket one has to make a $1.42 before taxes to have $1 of after-tax dollar to spend on medical or other expenses. Wouldn’t you rather pay a $1 ‘cost’ (pre-tax contribution) for a medical expense rather than a ‘$1.42’? Of course, we wouldn’t want to ‘lose’ any overfunded FSA contribution amount so make your deferral election choices judiciously, but, nonetheless, make those choices and participate in this valuable employee benefit!

Employers who offer an HSA may want to consider adding a limited-purpose health care FSA (allowing employees to set aside pre-tax dollars for eligible dental and vision care expenses). Or, employers who aren’t offering HSA-eligible, high-deductible plans may want to consider them. Employers who offer FSAs can reduce their workers’ compensation obligations as well as the employer matching on Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Paired together, limited-purpose FSAs and HSAs allow employees to maximize their tax-advantaged savings for health care. They can use limited-purpose FSA funds to reimburse themselves for dental and vision care, and use HSA funds to pay or reimburse themselves for qualified medical expenses (deductibles and co-insurance, for example) and save for future expenses. HSA contribution limits for 2012 are $3,100 for individual coverage and $6,250 for family coverage. Don’t forget the limits for catch up contributions for persons over age 55 – $1,000 (unchanged from 2011).

Conclusion

In today’s world of spiraling medical costs it is imperative that we make every ‘benefit dollar’ we expend go as far as it can in covering our medical, and other, needs. I don’t know about you, but I would rather pocket that $.42 cents of taxes (referenced above), say into my 401k, than give it to the government. 

Effectively coordinating your family’s personal circumstances with benefit plans and options available to you is just one of the steps in the financial planning process but it is clearly an important one!

David Bergmann, CFP®, EA, CLU, ChFC
Managing Principal
The David Bergmann Group
Marina Del Ray, CA


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Medicare Open Enrollment Changes for 2011


As we approach the final quarter of 2011, folks enrolled in Medicare prescription drug plans ought to be prepared for some changes to the open enrollment period.

First and foremost, the period in which you are allowed to change plans has moved up to the period beginning October 15, 2011 and ending December 7, 2011. In previous years, this period ran from November 15 through December 31. The last application you submit in 2011 before the December 7 deadline will be the plan that becomes active on January 1, 2012. In other words, if you submit an application on November 30, but change your mind the following week, you may still submit another application before December 7. The second application will trump the first.

Unfortunately, marketing activities from Medicare providers can not begin until October 1, leaving a shorter window of time to evaluate options and make decisions in 2012. This not only means that companies can not begin marketing their products to you until October 1, but also means that agents and advisors are not made aware of plan changes and new offerings until the marketing period begins.

One of the more controversial issues surrounding Medicare and prescription drug plan involves the so-called “donut hole”. This gap in coverage has changed slightly in 2012 and will begin after you and the insurer have paid $2,930 for covered drugs and continues until you have spent $4,700. In 2012, there will be some continued relief in the form of discounts in that gap. Brand name drugs will become available at a 50% discount, while generics will receive a 14% discount.

As you are considering your options, there are several factors you want to ensure that you are paying attention to:
– Your current formulary, including the tiers your drugs are placed in
– Co-pays for brand names and prescription drugs
– Deductibles
– Make sure that your pharmacy is an in-network provider
– Alternative options, such as mail-order, that may reduce your costs
– Pay particular attention to your total out-of-pocket costs rather than focusing on premiums

With an earlier enrollment period beginning in just over a month, it is important to begin planning and organizing your information now to ensure you can make a smart decision in the weeks ahead.

Joe PitzlJoe Pitzl, CFP®
Director of Financial Planning
Intelligent Financial Strategies, LLC
Edina, MN


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You, Your Parents, and Long-Term Care


Even after you are all grown up, your parents can still have a big impact on your life. Even though they want to be independent, and you want them to be, you may feel the need to help them in a number of ways, both formal and informal. Many children help their older parents directly – doing chores, running errands, paying bills, even providing care. Some children provide financial support, too. As with many aspects of life, your interaction with your older parents can run more smoothly with some planning and preparatory discussion.

A recent Wall Street Journal article, “‘The Talk’ with Mom and Dad” described one area that many children help their parents with – the decision about where they should live as they get older and need more help. The choices can be bewildering – stay at home and get help, move to an independent or assisted living arrangement, possibly a Continuing Care Retirement Community, and if a lot of help is needed, a nursing home.

As the article suggested, however, decisions beyond the nature of the arrangement are also important. What area will they live in – the one they know and where their friends are, or one near you, so that it’s easy for you to visit and help out? And, once they decide on a location, there are frequently several choices within a category – some larger, with more resources, some smaller and friendlier – some closer to you, others further away.

I’m going to focus on another aspect of this decision – how to pay for it, and especially how to pay for long-term care.

First, what is long-term care? It’s not medical care. Long-term care is help with the Activities of Daily Living or ADLs (eating, bathing, transferring, dressing, and using the bathroom). If your parents need help with some of these, they need long-term care. They can receive long-term care in all of the places that I mentioned earlier – at home, in assisted living, in a Continuing Care Retirement Community, or in a nursing home.

Aside from finding the right place, there are two additional issues with long-term care: it can be expensive, and it’s uncertain whether your parents will need it, and if so, for how long. While the conversation may be difficult, it can be very valuable to discuss this with your parents well in advance of when they may need long-term care. In fact, you almost can’t start soon enough.

Because the need for long-term care is uncertain and the potential cost is very large, it’s a natural opportunity for insurance. Today, the US government and the states provide insurance for all those who cannot afford care through the Medicaid program. However, to be fully eligible for Medicaid, your parents will need to have very few assets and very low incomes, and eligibility requirements have been tightening.

Alternatively, your parents can self-insure – they can simply plan to pay for whatever care they turn out to need. If they need little or no care, or if their assets are very large, this will work out just fine. However, if they need a lot of care, the cost can dramatically deplete their estate, which they (and you!) may find to be very distressing. In addition, if you end up paying the bills, and you are watching the assets drain away as you pay for their long-term care, you may end up worrying about whether there will be enough, and about what to do if the assets run out.

Finally, there is long-term care insurance. Long-term care insurance provides a sum of money that is available to fund long-term care. Most long-term care insurance policies describe their benefits in terms of the daily benefit (for example, $100 per day) and a benefit period (say, 2 years). The total benefit is the total dollar value of the daily benefits (in our example, $100 per day times 365 days per year times 2 years or $73,000).

Your parents can buy a little (a small total benefit) or a lot (a large total benefit) of long-term care insurance. Importantly, if your parents do decide to buy insurance, they don’t need to buy enough to cover the entire cost of care. For example, if they have $24,000 per year in Social Security benefits, that will cover the first $24,000 per year (or so) of long-term care costs.

How can you help your parents decide on the best approach for them? The first step is to start the discussion. You can ease into it by talking about helping them stay independent for as long as possible (at home vs an institution, assisted living vs a nursing home). Then you can talk with them about how they might pay for long-term care. Think through the three broad choices (Medicaid, self-insurance, long-term care insurance) with them.

If they do decide that long-term care insurance would make sense, you can help them sift through the alternatives. Long-term care policies can be very complex, with lots of options. Two heads can be much better than one in coming to a decision.

In addition, buying a policy sooner rather than later has two important advantages. Annual premiums are lower for people who buy a policy earlier in life. And, the longer your parents wait, the more chance there is for their health to get worse. Insurance companies strongly prefer to sell long-term care insurance policies to healthy people. If your parents wait too long, they may not be able to obtain coverage.

Finally, if your parents decide they cannot afford long-term care insurance, you and your siblings may offer to help pay the premiums. Even though only your parents are eligible for financial benefits from their long-term care insurance policies, you and your siblings can receive intangible benefits. Knowing that your parents will be able to afford some long-term care, and that you have taken steps together to protect your inheritance can provide you with considerable peace of mind.

rickMillerRick Miller, CFP®
Founder
Sensible Financial Planning & Management
Cambridge, MA


5 Comments

Mom’s Personal Finance Course


Medical BillsMy mother is taking a crash course in personal finance. Not that she really wants to take the course. In fact, she doesn’t like it much. Unfortunately, she does not have much choice. Here’s what happened.

My parents grew up during a time when the roles of husband and wife were pretty well defined. He had his jobs. She had hers. Neither paid too much attention to the domain of the other. Seemed to work reasonably well, albeit with some of the difficulties inherent in such a strict division of labor. Turns out, their all-too-common arrangement did not serve them as well as they thought.

Earlier this year my father passed away after a battle with cancer. Thankfully, his battle was not overly-long. Not so thankfully, the full impact of my parent’s division of duties came crashing in on my mother. Now, she has to take responsibility for all my father’s duties, while at the same time maintaining her own. Mom’s pretty resourceful, but there are a few areas where she just feels completely out of her comfort zone. The biggest, and most significant of those areas is her finances.

Let me provide one example, along with some resources that may be helpful in your own situation.

Most seniors wind up working with Medicare to handle a large portion of their medical expenses. My mother is no different. Unfortunately, Medicare is not always the easiest to work with. There can be a maze of paperwork and hoops to jump through. Do something wrong, and you may find yourself in bureaucratic limbo. When you’re not used to managing financial matters, and you are still grieving over the loss of your partner, handling these issues can get overwhelming. Mom was overwhelmed.

Medical bills kept mounting. Claims were denied. Appeals had to be filed. The phone started ringing from providers that wanted their money. Calls had to be made to attending physicians to get necessary forms completed. Just navigating through the various departments in Medicare got to be a major chore.

Thankfully, my mother’s son is a financial planner, and I have been able to provide some help and guidance. It got me thinking though, about what Medicare-related resources are available to help other people.

One of the first things to know is Medicare has a website, and it’s a pretty good one: www.medicare.gov has a lot of useful information. One indispensible reference is Medicare and You. This is a very good place to start when you are trying to determine what benefits you may have. If you want a more personalized version of your benefits, create an account on www.MyMedicare.gov. Once your account is created, you can see your benefits, check on claims, take a look at medical providers, and see services that are available to you. Among the other information available on the site is a good listing of nursing homes, hospitals and doctors in your area. 

Not everything can be handled via the website, and you may just want to talk with someone. The Medicare help line number is 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). You can order Medicare publications, listen to recorded questions and answers, as well as talk with someone about your Medicare questions.

Medicare has an ombudsman’s office where you can request help with a claim or make a complaint about how something has been handled. You can use either the website or 800 number listed above to contact that office. 

Sometimes you may need extra help in getting a claim handled. That’s where a patient advocate may come in handy. Patient advocates can help address issues related to health care, medical debts, insurance claims and similar concerns. Many states and hospitals have patient advocates. There is also a national Patient Advocate Foundation that may be able to provide help. You can contact them on the web at www.patientadvocate.org or by phone at 1-800-532-5274.

From time-to-time, I will probably highlight some other parts of my mother’s financial journey. For now, may I make a suggestion? Regardless of what you have decided about the best ways to divide your household responsibilities, please work together on your finances. Both partners ought to have a working knowledge of household expenses, savings and investments, insurance, legal documents (such as your will), credit and loan accounts, and how much money you have to work with. It’s a great idea to have all this information in one location that both of you can easily access. It’s also a good practice to talk about your financial situation. This way, in the event one of you becomes incapacitated, or is no longer around, the other won’t be left to wonder about what to do.

Michael Snowdon Michael Snowdon, CFP®
President
WealthRidge
Greenwood Village, CO


4 Comments

Dear Momma


Dear Momma,

I know that you are unable to read this now but I’ve got to write it anyway.  We’ve always had the sort of connection where you could understand what I needed without me ever asking.  Sometimes I would call you just to say hello and by the time we got off the phone you had given me exactly the answer without having benefit of the question.  From as early as I can remember, you always told me that I could do anything I wanted to do.  As a mother you surely had your moments where you thought I wasn’t listening but I was. I believed you. All of my life I’ve approached every challenge believing that I could conquer it, every problem believing that I could fix it.  Until now.  I can’t fix you and it hurts.

When your doctor told me that they believe you have cancer on your pancreas I turned and stared out of your hospital room window because I didn’t want you to see me cry.  I didn’t want you to know that your little boy finally ran into the problem he couldn’t solve.  Your doctors say that because of your age and current condition we would probably make things worse by attempting anything.  You wouldn’t hold up to chemo or radiation. All we’re left to do is wait, watch and pray. 

You and dad taught us well.  I understand that we are only here on earth for a little while.  I’m sure dad will be up in Heaven waiting for you with arms open wide when that time comes but right now it’s just plain hard.  The funny thing is I’m supposed to know what to do aren’t I? When I talk to my clients this sort of thing comes up.  We talk about making sure that you know where everything is and making sure your wishes are carried out.  We talk about the amount of money that gets spent near the end of life. We talk about quality of life issues.  But now that it’s you, nothing feels right.  It seems so clinical.

I’m sure that in the end I’ll do the right thing.  After all you’re still talking to me without saying a word.  I heard you loud and clear when you told us that you didn’t want to “be just hooked up to them machines.” I promise I won’t let that happen. It won’t be easy but I’ll do what you told me. I don’t know how much time we have left together but know that I’ll cherish every moment.  I’m sure you know how much I love you and how much I appreciate the fact that you chose me because you didn’t have to.  I only wish that I had told you more often.

The earthly bonds of flesh and blood will separate us one day but the love you’ve shown me will never die.  I’ll always love you momma.

Your baby boy,
Lee Anthony

leeBaker

Lee Baker, CFP®
President
Apex Financial Services
Tucker, GA