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Finances and Estate Planning with PD Part 1

The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research found that the total economic cost of Parkinson's in the US is $51.9 billion annually. Medication, therapy, exercise classes, medical equipment, hospital stays, rehab facilities, adaptive equipment - they all have a price tag. Careers of many people with PD are cut short, further adding to the financial burden. Unfortunately, many people with PD don't just have the diagnosis to worry about, but the financial impact it has. Over the next 2 blog posts, we will be discussing all the major aspects of finance and estate planning to help you prepare for the future. This blog post will focus more on budgeting and employment, while the next blog post will focus more on estate planning.

Budgeting and Finances

Chronic conditions for many mean increased medical costs. Budgeting for potential healthcare expenses and possible decrease in income due to early retirement is essential. Some more tech savvy individuals may find success with using an Excel spreadsheet or a software program such as Quicken. Others may prefer to use a free personal finance softwares such as:

Even with a budget, some people still experience hardship due to high costs of prescription drugs. Always try apps like GoodRx to try to find cheaper prices and talk with your Doctor if a medication is too expensive. There may be a generic drug that is similar and equally effective that they can prescribe.

Working with a Financial Planner

It is also recommended to work with a financial planner, especially if you are not the best with numbers or do not come from a finance background. One big draw back of choosing to use an online program over a financial planner is that those programs can make assumptions that are too simple with all the twists and turns that may come and many programs do not reflect all the different financial conditions you may experience when you or your family member has PD.

On the other side, not every financial planner is going to be well versed in Parkinson's specificially. It is important to gather all relevant PD specific information from your medical team and any financial data you have prior to seeing a financial planner. Some suggest searching for a fee-only financial adviser or a CPA to review what you have done so far to possibly keep the costs down. Many advisers are familiar with the potential for chronic illnesses to impact someone's financial health, so even if they are not familiar with Parkinson's, they understand the importance of planning ahead.

Take a look at the National Association of Personal Financial Advisers, a for fee only financial adviser to find someone lear you!


Employment is important and worrisome for those who are not ready financially to retire. Unfortunately, like many others with a chronic and/or progressive disease, the diagnosis can lead to early retirement for some. Many people who are newly diagnosed may avoid telling their employers and coworkers in fear of being unfairly treated. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is what legally prevents employers from discriminating against people with disabilities or certain health conditions when they are hired and when on the job. If you or your financial adviser decide you are not ready financially to retire or if you just enjoy working, here are some things to consider when deciding to stay in the workforce:

  1. Talk with your supervisor about changing your schedule to best fit your ON time. If you currently work late hours, but move better earlier in the day, it is within everyone's best interest for you to be at work earlier.

  2. While you are at work, consider all the tasks and meetings required within a typical day of work and schedule your day according to when you typically feel the best. Make sure you schedule breaks as needed or at least space out any tasks and meetings so you have a built in break.

  3. Work smarter nor harder. Use apps to dictate any notes instead of writing messages. Use a headset or speakerphone if holding a phone for long periods of time is hard.

  4. Talk with your supervisor if working from home is an option. You may have days that you do not feel safe driving or you are having a hard time managing your symptoms. Gaining clearance ahead of time to work from home if needed can be helpful.

  5. Intersperse sedentary tasks with more active tasks to fight off any stiffness.

  6. Try walking or some form of exercise during your lunch to keep moving.

  7. Ask for a walking mat for your desk or a floor bike to keep moving if you cannot get away from your desk.

  8. Ask for an adjustable desk to help change your posture throughout the day.

This is a great in-depth seminar conducted by the Davis Phinney Foundation regarding Financial Wellness for those looking for even more information



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