The Conquer Cancer Foundation: Funding The Hopes Of Many

Conquer Cancer Foundation Tom RobertsRecently I had the pleasure of participating in a Conquer Cancer Foundation event at the home of my friend, Dr. Thomas Roberts and his beautiful wife Susan. Tom used to be an attending staff oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School before joining Farallon, one of the first hedge funds in the world to manage university endowments.

My favorite thing about Tom is not that he’s a very smart and successful guy. The thing that stands out most about Tom is how nice and thoughtful he is. You might think a man of his stature wouldn’t bother hanging around with someone like me, yet he’s been nothing but kind and magnanimous with his time. We met on the tennis court several years ago and have been good friends ever since.

Tom is on the board of the Conquer Cancer Foundation and I’ve promised to help him spread the word about this devastating disease that has affected so many. Although I cannot match the funds that many generous benefactors have offered, I do have an online platform to help raise awareness. My grandfather died of skin cancer before the age of 65 and my good friend’s father was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer. It seems like everybody I know has been affected by cancer to some degree, whether it be a family member, close friend, neighbor, or colleague.

Here are some cancer statistics:

* One out of every two men and one out of every three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

* There will be over 1.6 million new cancer cases diagnosed and nearly 600,000 cancer deaths in the US in 2014.

* Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths.

* There are nearly 14.4 million survivors worldwide.

Taking Care Of A Elderly Family Member’s Health And Finances

Old Man SittingThe following is a guest post by reader Dave Scott who shares his experience of taking care of his 97 year old grandmother. I’m thoroughly impressed with Dave’s sense of duty and attitude throughout this entire article. You can tell he feels it’s an honor to take care of his grandmother and he’s looking for more insights on how to be a better caregiver. I’d like to have an open discussion during the holidays addressing the issues of cost, environment, emotions, responsibility and estate planning. 

It can be a great honor and a huge sense of responsibility to manage all the aspects of a aging family member’s affairs when they are in need of your help. For approximately 20 years, I have been managing my grandmother’s investment portfolio. All other aspects of her life were managed by her with a little bit of help from my father.

In late 2010, all that changed. At the age of 97, my grandmother needed to move into assisted living and was no longer capable of fully taking care of herself. During the same time period, her relationship with my father, her only living child, began to become strained and my father was battling his own health issues. As a result, I made the decision to move my grandmother from her current independent living home in Arizona to reside near me in Texas.

The responsibility dynamic changed, almost overnight, whereby I had just agreed to manage 98% of all of my grandmother’s affairs. I was definitely up for the challenge and thought I was the best suited to take it on. However, it doesn’t diminish the fact that this is not a trivial  undertaking.

Managing all aspects of a family members’ life

Subsidy Amounts By Income For The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

Patriotic dog and US flagThe Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is a potentially great way to help lower income individuals afford health care. I’m a supporter of ACA despite the trappings of ever bigger government running our lives because disease and accidents do not discriminate between rich or poor. In a nation as rich as ours, nobody should die or get stuck in a permanent loop of poverty just because they can’t afford medical treatment.

The two most common reasons why people don’t retire earlier are: 1) Lack of money and 2) Uncertainty regarding health care access and costs. As an early retiree in 2012 with a full 30 years to go before being eligible for Medicare benefits, I was worried about health care until I did some research on cheap health care alternatives. Now that I’ve spent a good amount of time studying what healthcare.gov has to offer, I’m not worried but thrilled for the potentially millions of other people who don’t have health care or who have no desire to work into their 60s.

I’ve also discovered that even millionaires will be eligible for health care subsidies. More equality is a welcome relief from the constant class warfare rhetoric and discriminatory policies we hear from Capital Hill.

One Very Important Attribute To Look For Before Buying A Property

Peas Thermo Advil BottleEver since writing Obamacare Is A Net Positive For America I’ve been sick as a dog. My throat hurt so much I could barely swallow. Because my throat was also swollen, it was hard to breathe and sleep as well. I called my primary care physician on Wednesday to see if he could check my throat for strep and of course he was closed until Thursday. Seriously, why would a doctor’s office be closed on a Wednesday? Perhaps to get his existing patients to enlist in his $1,500 a year Concierge Service! Smart man.

No problem. I went to a newly opened Urgent Care Unit eight blocks away instead. I had no idea such a facility existed until a good friend of mine pointed it out. The Urgent Care Unit saw me right away and my co-pay was only $5 more at $25. The nurse checked me out, took a sample of the back of my throat and ran tests. It turns out I don’t have strep but a viral infection instead. Hurray! The doctor said it’s actually better to have a viral infection for a sore throat because we’ll almost always heal ourselves within 5-7 days. A bacterial infection needs to be treated with antibiotics and could get more complicated.

The doctor prescribed antibiotics and hydrocodone anyway since he said the strep test is only 80% accurate. He’ll run some more tests and let me know whether I should continue with the antibiotics in several days. It’s interesting to note that the doctor didn’t have to send in the prescriptions to my local pharmacy. I could use the print out and get the drugs anywhere I liked. Another plus for going to an Urgent Care facility.

The office clerk mentioned the Urgent Care facility is open every day of the week from 8am-8pm M-F and 9am-4pm S-S. All the doctors are board certified and emergency physician trained. Suddenly, I’m feeling much more secure as a resident and also a little wealthier as a home owner.

WHEN WE ARE YOUNG WE DON’T CARE FOR HEALTH AS MUCH

Obamacare Is A Net Positive For Early Retirees And The Underemployed

Affordable Care ActWe appreciate our health the most when we are sick. I certainly appreciate my health now because I’ve currently got a sore throat from probably too much sailing in the Bay this past weekend. The wind regularly picks up to 25 mph and makes the temperature on the water feel like 50 degrees instead of 70-80 degrees.

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) goes into effect October 1, 2013 if Republicans in the House fail to block the movement. Republicans will probably fail since Obamacare has already been given a thumbs up by the Supreme Court, but hold on for some potentially massive pain as I indicated in my newsletter the other week, recommending readers reduce stock positions and buy bonds when the 10-year yield was at 2.85%-2.9%.

As someone who retired 31 years before being able to receive Medicare at the age of 65, you might think I’m worried about health insurance. Health related problems is the number one reason for bankruptcies in America after all. But I wrote a thorough post in the spring of 2013 entitled, “Cheap Health Insurance Options For The Unemployed, Self-Employed, Or Early Retiree” that goes on to explain our options: COBRA, Spousal Health Insurance, Parental Health Insurance, and eHealthInsurance.com, the largest online market place for health insurance plans based right here in the Bay Area.

I’m as skeptical about the government as anyone, but now that Obamacare is going into effect, the options for heathcare are theoretically even better. For those who are seeking financial independence, who are early retirees, or who are just trying to save money to get by, let me argue why Obamacare is a net positive for America.

HEALTH CARE FOR ALL