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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


Investing isn't easy. If it were, we'd all be millionaires and thousands of investment professionals would be out of jobs.

Investment decisions can be even more difficult because of the uncertainties that come with a diagnosis, including whether your income will be interrupted temporarily or permanently, or how much your expenses will increase - as well as the fact that the effect of your health condition can change over time.

Before making investment decisions, it is advisable to:

  • Understand your health situation, what is likely to happen and what may happen.
  • Understand the different types of investments that are available.
  • Consider the various factors used in making investment decisions.
  • Create an investment strategy that combines investments in your personal account, 401(k) and other retirement accounts - guidelines which help determine which investments are right for you. For instance, are you more interested in receiving income from your investments or in growing their value? Your strategy should take into account expenses related to your health condition and prognosis (life expectancy). Keep in mind that any projection of life expectancy is about large numbers of people and it does not predict what will happen to any particular individual.
  • Review possible investments in terms of whether they fit your strategy.
  • Consider making your investments through use of a mutual fund or funds.

If you keep money in cash type accounts, understand the various types of accounts (checking, savings, CDs and money market funds). Work the system to maximize the amount of interest you earn.

Reevaluate your investment strategy if you experience a change in health or in income. Even if there is no change, reevaluate your investment strategy at least once a year to be sure it reflects your individual situation..

Consider whether to engage a professional advisor to help in the investment process. If so, choose a professional carefully. Keep final say over his or her work. Be sure to disclose your health condition - and changes as they occur.

NOTE: If you are thinking about giving to charity, consider making a donation of a stock that has appreciated in value. You get a deduction for the current value of the stock without paying tax on the appreciation since the time you bought it.

Investment Basics

Investment decisions start with the basics.

If you are a beginner, start by learning information such as the difference between a stock and a bond as well as what to look for in an investment and where to find the information.

The next step is to understand the different characteristics of each investment - particularly in comparison with each other. We provide a chart which does just that. See: Comparison Of The Different Types Of Investment Vehicles.

Mutual Funds

When considering mutual funds:

  • Only look at funds that have the same objectives as your investment strategy. There are all kinds of mutual funds, including funds that invest in specific industries, or municipal bonds, or specific indexes such as the Dow Jones Index.
  • Consider funds which do not charge a commission, and those which charge below average management fees. If everything else is equal, no-load funds (funds which don't charge a commission), and which take a lower fee, can more easily provide higher yields.
  • Find out if you will subjected to a tax for profits made by the fund prior to your investment.  
  • When considering a fund's experience, check to see if the team which did well in the past is still running the fund.
  • There are some funds that waive certain fees purchase and/or redemption fees if you are "disabled." Look at the paperwork for each fund to find out how it defines "disabled."

Estate Planning

If you want any of your investments to pass directly to a beneficiary instead of through your estate, you can register title to the investment so it passes automatically on death. For example, you can register a stock as joint owners, or as "payable on death" to a named person.

Should I Hire A Professional To Give Me Investment Advice?

One way to answer the question is to ask yourself whether anyone who know you well would engage you to provide advice about their investment strategy. If the answer is no, are you the best person to do it?

For help in making a more reasoned decision, look at our chart in Should I Invest On My Own Or Use A Professional Advisor?

Keep in mind that you don't have to turn all your investments over to a professional. You can manage some yourself.

If I Hire A Professional Investment Advisor, What Type Should I Use?

There are two types of investment advisors: a financial planner and a person known as a Stockbroker, Financial Advisor or Investment Advisor (we'll refer to this person as a Stock Broker). In general:

  • Stockbrokers buy and sell stocks bonds, mutual funds and other securities on your behalf. They also provide investment advice in one form or another and other services. There are three types of stockbrokers: Discount Broker, Premium Discount Broker and Full Service Broker.
  • Financial planners survey and provide advice about your entire financial picture including investments, taxes and debt management. To learn more about financial planners, see: Financial Planners

If I Hire A Professional Investment Advisor, What Should I Look For In The Brokerage Company And Particular Advisor?

Look for a brokerage house that provides the service you need, is financially sound and has a good track record. If you use a full service broker, look for a broker in the firm that provides good advice (particularly for people in a similar situation to yours), who understands your needs and goals, and with whom you feel comfortable.

Sources of Investment Information

There is an incredible amount of information about stock, bonds, mutual funds and other investments available on the Web and elsewhere. In additional to financial periodicals such as The Wall Street JournalMoney Magazine and Smart Money magazine, following are a few respected sources:

Stocks And Bonds Mutual Funds Stocks and Bonds

  • offsite link - a site of the Bond Market Association. Click on "Corporate Bonds" which takes you to " offsite link - includes links and background information for each step in the investment process and all of the major asset classes such as stocks, bonds, real estate, venture capital, and collectibles.
  • offsite link - information about stocks and bonds
  • offsite link - contains over 7.500 links organized by topics ranging from annual reports to technical analysis.

Mutual Funds

What If An Advisor Mismanages My Investment Account?

If you feel your account is mismanaged, there are alternatives for correcting the situation.

To Learn More