Tag Archives: 2014

Your True Balance Sheet

Most times I work with a client, we make a balance sheet to show their net worth. This shows what you own, what you owe and shows the difference between them. Some years in life (with mortgages, business, car or education loans) it may be negative; other years it will be positive (with a good trend line).

But these numbers do not not capture your life’s true balance sheet.

  • Some elements of that here:
    Your dreams-what dreams of yours have come true? What dreams so you still have?’
  • Your relationships-family and friends, your business community, receiving a smile from a random person as you walk down the street, seeing a beautiful image, created or from nature; other moments of artistic bliss.
  • Your education and that of others-not your formal education, but the education from being a lifelong learner and seeing lessons shared with loved ones bear fruit in their lives. Being able to continue to grow.
  • Your capacity for love, empathy and compassion for others.

Those cannot be measured by mere numbers, but in the delight, joy and compassion you receive [or give] in your life.

All the best to you and your families, with best wishes for a joyous, abundant year to come.

Seattle’s Victrola Coffee 2012. Photo Credit Dana Twight

Related Link: Share your values with your children; either in late night/early morning chats, stealthy emails or by writing an ethical will. Ethical wills have been used for 3,500 years. http://nyti.ms/1JS0tLv



Filed under 12 Days of Christmas, Family Lessons About Money, Self Awareness

About the ACA (2014 Here We Come)

Last week I attended a public meeting with a consultant from AON Hewitt sharing ‘Just the Facts’ about the ACA  or Health Care Reform.  There was no time to discuss ideology or politics (which was good, as we got to cover a lot of ground that way). Some things I thought would be helpful from the presentation are below.

Which Way to Go?

Which Way to Go?

Remember that the ACA (Obamacare) is in Addition to today’s coverage options. Today we have government sponsored or related plans (Medicare, Medicaid and TriCare/VA), plus Individual Plans and Employer Based Coverage – includes active employees, retirees and COBRA). In 2014, we will have all of those, PLUS the marketplace (exchanges) and expanded coverage.

Think you can’t afford health coverage-even under the ACA? There are two ways that you can avoid the “shared responsibility payment”, also known informally as the penalty, or fee. Here is a sampling of the conditions that might yield a waiver or an exemption.

  • The lowest-priced coverage available to you would cost more than 8% of your household income.
  • You’re incarcerated, and not awaiting the disposition of charges against you.
  • You don’t have to file a tax return because your income is too low (Learn about the filing limit.)
  • You had medical expenses you couldn’t pay in the last 24 months.

Among the new essential health benefits with no annual or lifetime dollar limit are behavioral health treatment (includes counseling and psychotherapy), plus depression screening for adults. New preventive care benefits are offered at no cost (aka free). And yes, if you are over 50 your colorectal screening is free when offered by a network provider on a plan purchased in the exchange (aka marketplace).

Cost sharing limits have changed and will be indexed according to the ‘premium adjustment percentage’ after 2014. In 2014, the out-of-pocket maximum cannot exceed $6,350 for self-only coverage and $12,700 for family coverage.

Reviewing health insurance/coverage takes a lot of time each fall now, from open enrollment at work, or checking out the latest Medicare Advantage plans. Now we have an ACA marketplace vs. alternatives analysis. You could do it yourself or use an insurance broker.  In Washington State, you can contact the Washington Health Foundation for help.

Navigating for health insurance

Searching for health insurance is more of an online activity now…

My Personal Conclusion

Yes, it could be more complicated and yet possibly simpler at the same time. There will be fewer questions about your health insurance past due to the elimination of the pre-existing condition policy. As with anything new, it will take time to learn about all the features. In the meantime, I know several families that will be now able to get insurance for 2014.


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Filed under Affordable Care Act, Be Prepared