Navigating the Financial Concerns of Parkinson’s Disease: Work with a Specialist!

To quote the man who was arguably our most influential founding father, Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I’m sure we have all felt the truth in this mantra permeate through many facets of our lives, most notably in our physical health. Yet even though we can all feel the truth of these eloquently-stated words resonate with us in so many areas, when it comes to taking action many of us will only apply it to our health, if we even adopt it at all.

We can all agree that our health is a huge part of our lives, and so it is an obvious decision to turn to a doctor for guidance. An excellent doctor will distinguish themselves from their peers by not only performing a thorough job of addressing the effects of a condition or ailment, but will also provide or refer to resources which may be able to help that patient beyond the act of diagnosing and writing a prescription. It may be subsidized exercise classes through a local non-profit to help their patient with their symptoms or to reduce their cholesterol, it may be support groups close to their home which specialize in their patient’s condition, but whatever it is this excellent physician has the capacity to recognize opportunities for improvement and refer out to specialists who they know will also excel in the help they can provide. This capacity to ‘take off the blinders’ and be more to their patients than simply the conductor to an orchestra of pharmaceuticals helps their patients make real improvements in their lives beyond the examination room, in addition to their critical role as maestro of medicine.

As crucial as our health is, it is not the only component to a happy life. To quote another profound thinker, the Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he responded “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about his future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” Now The Dalai Lama was at the pinnacle of his society’s social pyramid and also lived a life of celebrity in exile, and so one could argue that his perspective of what it is to want a better life for your family could be a bit skewed. Nonetheless, the man makes a good point; the vast majority of us have worked extremely hard for what we’ve earned and have sacrificed many short-term rewards along the way, this ‘life’ the Dalai Lama speaks of, in order to feel confident that the fruits of our labors will allow us a secure and enjoyable lifestyle into the future.

Now given the overwhelming majority of us have had to grind out decades of hard work for what we’ve earned and the sacrifices we’ve all had to make along the way to save, wouldn’t it make sense to hire a professional for financial guidance the same way one hires a doctor for medical advice? After all, unless you’re Bear Grylls I don’t think attempting to re-set a broken leg qualifies as a DIY project, and if you think self-prescription is a good idea I would advise you watch the Roast of Charlie Sheen for some perspective. Working with a professional for your financial needs can not only help you address your current issues such as re-setting a broken investment strategy or prescribing a more appropriate balance of risk assets, but also help you establish a strategy to avoid the potential pitfalls ahead which may appear safe at first glance.

I started my career in the financial services industry after over a decade of investment success in the equity, private equity, and real estate markets, but what has helped me equally, if not more so, is my experience working with people and families directly to solve problems. When I was In college I made my living as a personal trainer, and often referred out to specialist physicians and dieticians for the needs of my clients which I had the education and experience to recognize. I worked with the family to get to the root of the real problems, and helped affect changes which to this day have stood the test of time. I take this same approach in my financial practice today by working closely with CPAs, estate planning attorneys, and insurance specialists to ensure that each family I advise enjoys the finest level of service and expert advice.

I learned early on to be wary of those that try to be all things to all people, and so I feel it is critical to work with specialists that fully understand your unique needs. My father, the Dad who taught me how to throw a baseball at 4 and mentor who taught me about investing and helped me start a brokerage account at 14, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2006. I have an intimate understanding of what patients and families go through when hearing such news. Shortly after his diagnosis I began fundraising for the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the efforts of which have blossomed into our family’s annual 5k obstacle course race, the Baehr Challenge. Aside from my research on Parkinson’s and of the other wonderful foundations which support the cause, I have done extensive research into the financial options patients and their families have as well as some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when it comes to insurance. This knowledge has emerged from my own journey, the desire to help my Dad. Thanks to these efforts I am now well-equipped with the knowledge and resources to help those families who find themselves in the same situation as mine.

If you have any questions concerning the financial options you or your family has, or just want to grab a coffee and talk about what some other folks here in the valley are doing to support Parkinson’s, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to help- you might be surprised how quickly a bit of ‘prevention’ can make an impact!

Matthew S. Baehr, WMS
Financial Advisor
Baehr Wealth Management of Raymond James
(480) 365-6894 direct

For more information about Matt, to receive his blog or to receive a free subscription to Worthwhile magazine please visit

Past performance Is not Indicative of future results. Investing always Involves risk and you may Incur a profit or Joss. No Investment strategy can guarantee success. Raymond James &Associates, Inc., member New York Stock Exchange/51 PC


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