For the week of February 25, 2008
Markets were closed last Monday in observation of Presidents’ Day. After a choppy week, the markets
moved higher just before the closing bell on Friday after CNBC revealed that bond insurer Ambac
Financial may get help early this week propping up its finances. The news seemed to relieve some
concerns about the financial sector’s prospects and overall economic weakness. For the week, the Dow
gained 0.35 percent to finish the week at 12,381.02. The S&P also rose, adding 0.29 percent to end the
week at 1,353.11, while the NASDAQ dropped 0.79 percent to close the week at 2,303.35.
Source: Morningstar.com. * Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and
cannot be invested into directly. Three and five-year returns are annualized. The S&P, excluding “1 Week”
returns, is a reflection of return to an investor, by reinvesting dividends after the deduction of withholding tax.
Medical More Than Social – For the first time, government benefits to seniors for health care and
nursing homes exceeded Social Security payments to those 65 and older. In 2007, the government spent
an average of $27,289 per senior. Of that, Social Security benefits accounted for $13,184. Benefits for
seniors have risen 24 percent more than inflation since 2000.
Many Zeros – The fiscal year 2009 budget submitted by President Bush to Congress earlier this month
calls for government spending of $3.1 trillion for the year beginning Oct. 1, 2008. If you were to spend $1
billion a day, it would take you eight and a half years to spend $3.1 trillion (Source: White House, BTN
I Might Be Wrong – Even though 57 percent of employees that are deferring at least 8 percent of their
salaries into an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan say they enjoy managing their own finances, 65 percent
of this high-saver group are not confident that their investment choices today will ultimately prove to be
correct decisions (Source: MassMutual Financial Group, BTN Research).
Hard Worker – The average productivity of the American worker (defined as output per hour of work)
has increased 52 percent over the past 20 years (1988-2007). Mathematically, this means the quantity of
work done in 1987 during a 40-hour work week could now be completed in fewer than 26½ hours
(Source: Department of Labor, BTN Research).
Look Back – As of Dec. 31, 2007, the S&P 500 was up 5.9 percent per year over the past 10 years, up
11.8 percent per year over the past 20 years, and up 13.0 percent over the past 30 years (Source: BTN
WEEKLY FOCUS - Planning for Aging Parents
Watching a parent becoming increasingly dependent on
others for the normal activities of daily life can be a harsh
reality. It can be even harder for the parent to admit
needing help. Creating a plan for how you, your parent,
your family and your parent’s medical professionals will
handle that possible scenario can alleviate
misunderstanding and confusion when a crisis arises.
Here are six tips to prepare for your parent’s aging:
1. Pick a point of contact. One sibling or other close
relative should be in charge of communicating with
doctors. This person should have a health care
power of attorney for the parent.
2. Find a family-friendly primary doctor. An elderly parent may receive care from multiple specialists.
With your parent, decide on one doctor to be the primary medical resource. Make sure reports from
specialists are sent to the primary doctor. If you are caring for your parent from a distance, consider
asking your doctor if he or she is willing to communicate via email.
3. Create a central storage place for vital documents, including medical records, Social Security number
and health insurance policy information. In an emergency, you don’t want to be digging through decades
of files to find what you need. Hard copies should be duplicated and stored in at least two fire- and water-
proof locations. Digital imaging and storage services offer a convenient place to access files remotely.
4. Talk to your parent about long term care insurance. Nursing home costs continue to rise faster than
inflation and can quickly deplete your parent’s savings.
5. Create a care circle. Particularly if you live more than an hour or two away from your parent, a network
of neighbors, church members and friends can give you some reassurance that others will keep in touch
with your parent regularly and contact you in an emergency.
6. Discuss finances. The point-of-contact relative, or another relative equipped to deal with financial
matters, should have a financial power of attorney. This person should know the location of key accounts
and policies, and the names and phone numbers for key advisors.
A final word of advice: Don’t make promises you can’t keep. A parent who resists help can use
emotional leverage to extract promises you may later find difficult to keep – like withholding information
from other family members or vowing not to place the parent in a nursing facility. Discussing such issues
ahead of time can help you and your family avoid these situations. If you would like help in creating a plan
for caring for an aging parent, contact our office.
* The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of
the stock market in general. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded
blue-chip stocks. NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter
common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The
Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely
recognized benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies
representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all
dividends. SAI# 269884
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