July 24, 2018, 1:02 PM

Are your Health and Wealth In Good Order or Out of Balance?

By John J. Ceparano, CPA/PFS, CFP®

If you have a health-wealth plan, do you check it regularly? Keep in mind that priorities and needs evolve at various stages of your life, and your health and financial plans must align accordingly.  Otherwise you are out-of-kilter.

One of my earliest memories is my mother saying, “Johnny, if you have your health, you have everything, but without it you can never enjoy any wealth.” My father backed her philosophically saying, “If your feet feel good, the rest of your body will fall in line, so buy good shoes that are comfortable.” He would then take me out to buy Florsheim shoes with good arches. With both of my parents of Italian heritage, they consistently preached about having faith, putting family first and working hard. This may sound old-fashioned, but it has driven me, amidst a few detours, to focus on building and maintaining a good life by taking care of my health, wealth and family.

What are your Health and Financial priorities?

Ask yourself whether you are prepared for the next juncture in your life, both physically and financially. Do you have a fun daily or weekly physical activity schedule? Do you know what your net worth is today to use as a benchmark to keep you on course for the next big ticket item, whether for fun or necessity? Discipline is key to your success in having money for the things you need or want (a vacation, dance lessons or hearing aid).

Have you adequately protected your Health and Wealth?

We face three life risks:  dying too young, living an unexpectedly long life and falling sick for an extended period of time.  At each stage of life, you should have an insurance checkup to make sure you have sufficient insurance coverage for the changing needs of your health and wealth. When was your last insurance review?

When you look into the future, do you see a couch potato or an active individual? 

Think about the things that will keep you looking and feeling young. Genetics may not always make it easy, but conceding without trying to stay active physically and mentally is a precursor to potential health problems. Many activities, like walking, dancing and some sports, are inexpensive or free. If you prefer, playing cards, doing puzzles, reading, keeping up with a hobby or learning new things can keep your mind sharp and provide personal enjoyment.    

Life Stages Steps for Healthcare and Asset Enhancement

Step 1 - Regardless of age, can you articulate your life goals for your health and wealth? What do you have to do to improve your health? Should you have a health milestone? For your wealth, do you know what you will need to retire? If you are already retired, what is your plan to minimize taxes and construct a portfolio to minimize both risk and fees? Have you updated your estate documents lately? Do your power of attorney and healthcare surrogate forms name the people on whom you believe you can rely, should you become incapacitated?

Step 2 – Get a baseline of your health with a full medical examination and update your net worth statement annually to see your progression. This is a good time to re-examine your liability and property insurance coverages. If you are saving or your portfolio is growing, your asset protection coverage may need to correspondingly increase.

Step 3 – Assess your current health and family history. Study how you can make changes to your and your family’s lifestyle (nutrition and exercise) to improve your household’s health. Do the same for your financial wellbeing. Consult with a fee-only wealth manager to review whether you are on course to meet current and future needs and wants.

Step 4 – Make sure your health care information is readily available and authorized for your healthcare proxy. Make sure your wealth manager is a good fit with your values. Consider competency and experience as well as personality and listening skills. S/He should be your advocate to make sure financial planning is coordinated with and communicated to your other professionals to ensure consistency. 

Modera Wealth Management, LLC is an SEC registered investment adviser.  SEC registration does not imply any level of skill or training.  Modera may only transact business in those states in which it is notice filed or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from notice filing requirements. 

For information pertaining to Modera’s registration status, its fees and services and/or a copy of our Form ADV disclosure statement, please contact Modera or refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure web site (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov).  A full description of the firm’s business operations and service offerings is contained in our Disclosure Brochure which appears as Part 2A of Form ADV.  Please read the Disclosure Brochure carefully before you invest or send money.

This article contains content that is not suitable for everyone and is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to Modera’s financial planning, investing and wealth management services.  Nothing contained herein should be interpreted as legal, tax or accounting advice nor should it be construed as personalized financial planning, tax, investing or other advice.  For legal, tax and accounting-related matters, we recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified attorney or accountant.  This article is not a substitute for personalized financial planning from Modera, and there is no guarantee that the views and opinions herein will come to pass.

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