Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The "F" Term: Fiduciary Responsibility

Today was supposed to be a girl’s day.
Today I was supposed to get back on track with the “Hill & Jill” escapades that some of you may have enjoyed through the winter.
But today, the weather is raining on our parade.
To add insult to injury, both our sons decided to wake up sick in the middle of the night, desperately in need of “The Mothering Cure.”
I don’t know what was wrong with Jill’s little man. Our discussion at six went a little like this, “Hhii,” groggy voice, Jill croaking out as small a word as possible in her sleepy haze.
“Hi,” Me, up, showered, popping my twenty am pills and praying to get them all down before my stomach fills up.
“Who is this? Jill?” I ask, as if I had plans with some other person at 6:45 am.
“Yeah,” again, groggy and struggling.“Are you still asleep? Go back to sleep. It’s raining We’ll figure out something to do later.” I stated.
“R********. . . . .” she started to ease out, trying to make a sentence on the very little sleep she had, “kept me up. He was sick” she managed to get out, her voice fading.
“Xander kept me up too.”
He did, the poor guy is still in pain from his tonsils and he woke up coughing and hacking, again needing some mommy love and steam from the shower.
“Okay. Go back to sleep. Call me later when you wake up.”
End of discussion.
Beach day official canceled. It is raining. It’s raining on my beach day. It’s raining on my parade.
That’s okay. I always have a contingency plan. I always have a back-up plan.
My disease had a plan A-Z.
I say had, because I have crossed many of those letters off my list.
I call my current plan, the plan to do everything and anything that could possible cure me, plan Y.
To be clear though, I do have more than a Y & Z contingency plan left.
No freaking out anybody anywhere.
On Sunday, I generally like to write some politically charged opinion.
I have my opinion in place and the statistics and resources to write it, but I’m just not in that kind of mood.
I’m in a storytelling mood today.
If you want stats and politics head to the newspapers or read me later this week.
I was planning a little bonding time with Lexi today, hence the girl day.
We did some serious bonding yesterday.
I really love the ages of 6 and 9 years old. Xander and Lex are so much fun.
Yesterday, J popped up our camper, which went completely unused last year due to our simultaneous treatments (his bowel resection at Dartmouth July 8 and my LDH study July 6).
Happily, the place looked good, minus some holes that can be patched.
The kids, that 6 and 9 year old, went straight to town scrubbing, sweeping, vacuuming, everything that needed to happen so they could sleep in it that very night.
They even made their bed.
Then, the down pour started, and we decided it may be better to postpone the camp out outside our house, but the entire camper still got cleaned by some very determined hands.
Go kids!
Alexis and I also went out to start her very first savings account yesterday at Conn. River Bank in Claremont.
We made this into a big event with just Aunt and Alexis time.We discussed the savings account and how it’s maintained.
The woman who helped open the account was great, and she joined in the fun, answering all of Alexis’s questions, asking her for the pertinent information she could provide, and then giving her the start up goods: a water bottle, a notepad, and a three ring binder with her account information.
After Lexi’s first deposit, which came from saving Easter money and working jobs around the house, she was given $5 to spend as she liked.We went to a yard sale where she found a cage with toys for her pet hampster.
Her first hampster had been eaten by a cat or escaped or something.She found this cage in mint condition with an exercise car and all sorts of other gadgets that make hamsters happy.
I don’t know anything about hampsters, except she has one at her mom’s house, and that is where the new cage wll be going for Lexi to care for.
I wanted her to get a sense of reward with saving.
I think it’s important for kids to know that if you save then you will have the financial freedom to make purchses for enjoyment, as long as the needs are met and a baseline savings is kept.
Lexi needs to keep a minimum of $50 in her account.
This is our deal.
Financial & parenting commentators state that financial education should start as early as six.
Coming from a family who worked hard to ensure I was financially educated, I want to bestow the capability of financial security on Xander and Lex.
The lessons certainly do start early.
X gets a weekly allowance of two dollars for caring for the animals. He may get a raise for brushing Nika. This is in discussions.
He has his own savings account and a goal for his savings: he would like to buy a four wheeler.
This is a tall order for a kid, but he is well on his way.
Alexis hasn’t determined her savings goal yet, but we’ve established boundaries, such as $50.00 must always remain in the account.
As far as Xander, I think we have a little entrepreneur on our hands. It was his idea to do the flea market/yardsale.
He also will babysit pets. When a pet sit is requested, he discusses what is included up front, feedings, brushing, daily walks and exercise, and then sets the fee.
I love it.
Teaching financial responsibility to both Xander and Alexis is a very important goal for me as a parent, especially looking around at the big mess that has been created.
I don’t think this crisis can be solely blamed on my generation. At least a couple generations of mismatched morals and priorities would give rise to a world wide problem of this magnitude.
Jon and I were offered a subprime loan when we were building our house five years ago.
This loan was offered to be sold by Jon’s uncle, who we should have been able to trust that he had our best interest in mind and would not put our livelihood at risk.
We looked at the paperwork together side-by-side with the loan from the Savings bank we had visited.
Interest rates at that point were at historic lows, everywhere. Our mortgage payment would be manageable with a conventional, first time home buyer loan through the Savings Bank.
Jon and I had all ready discussed that we would not take out the entirety of the money that the bank was willing to lend us, and this was what the bank, the institution that has not collapsed and continues to run today, would approve.
The subprime paperwork offered an interest only option. Our first question, “What happens later? You don’t pay the interest forever.”
That’s when we heard the term “balloon payment” for the first time and ran screaming in the other direction.
“Hell, no” we thought, who were these people and why would they offer this to anybody.
If a person does not have the money at the start of the mortgage for a concrete, set monthly payment, it is not likely that their situation will improve so much over a period of a couple years that they will be able to afford a thousand dollar increase.
We certainly didn’t see that in our future, even though we were at our youthful prime, me working as a registered nurse and Jon as an engineer, with only one child and 40 years of heavy duty working in sight.
I also had plans of getting an advanced degree in nursing in the next couple years that would have significantly increased our income, but I didn’t want that eaten up by a mortgage skyrocketing through the atmosphere like a blown balloon let loose.
We were financially aware.
Unfortunately, not everybody had the foresight to see beyond the initial perks of low monthly payments and a huge budget that did not take into account credit history.It also goes without saying, that everybody and their uncle, were selling these predatory mortgages to make a quick buck without moral consideration.
The term is actually “Fiduciary responsibility.” I have heard it referred to as “The “F” word” in “Bank Director” Magazine (I know, I’m a real geek. I read everything I can get my hands on.).
It is the concept that bankers have a moral responsibility, like Doctors who “do no harm,” to oversee their client’s financial livelihood. Bankers have an advanced education and understanding, to exploit this information asymmetry, which is what happened, is not only immoral but predatory and borderline criminal (without the laws to protect the innocent, or ignorant, but “I didn’t know” is never an excuse in a court of law.).
This concept was obviously dragged, beaten, and buried six feet below during the early millennium.
I’m sure this is what has partly given credence to another new movement in investing.
People have the option to invest in “socially aware” funds.
Funds now exist where you only contribute to companies that have policies in line with your personal values.
Our investor in Chief, Pres. Barack and the first lady themselves, hold stakes in socially aware funds.
They do not, however, hold any stocks.
Jon and I were fortunate for a foundation in financial literacy. This is what has saved us. I thank my parents for starting the lessons young.
Now, we’re passing it on.
Those kids will do just about anything for $2!
I love it. They are scrambling, fighting for jobs that pay in quarters (Unfortunately, this sounds like a lot of our men right now who have been laid off).
Nothing is beyond request, wash the windows, scrub the floor, fold the clothes. They’ll do it.
Then, they will save it.
Xander has a head start on Alexis, but Alexis has been diligently aware since Easter.
She managed, somehow, to not purchase a singly object at the flea market last Saturday.
She did manage, however, to scrounge up a bunch of things I was trying to sell that she wanted for her mom’s house.
I said if it was in the flea market pile, she could have it, but as long as it wasn’t going up in her room at our house.
We are now moving on to 529 College Saving Programs.
I recommend all parents stop reading me know and go straight to
This site allows you to collect rebates through shopping online. If you sign up for a credit card, that card also will send rebates straight to your upromise account.
Pay that bill every month.
It gets better though, so much better.
This upromise account can be linked to a Vanguard 529.
A 529 is a college savings account that is eligible to be used for a child’s college expenses, such as housing, books, tuition, etc., that is taxed in the student’s income bracket.
Our major financial leaders had to divulge their investment holdings recently and 529s appeared frequently on the list, specifically 529 investment holdings were on the list of our Secretary of the Treasury.
I guess he has kids.
After registering at, you can then click the 529 tab and sign up for a Vanguard 529 program with two savings options: one to start an account with a base amount of $250 and another to agree to automatically invest $50 a month from an existing account.
We started Xander’s account years ago, now the goal is to start on for Lexi.
Someday, somehow, we will scrounge together that $250.
After this point, rebate payments are automatic. What is earned is sent directly into the accounts as I specify at the start of the account.
I never have to see anything.
This will hopefully make saving easy, but at the very least, I know I am trying to teach two kids in the world to be financially responsible and spread the “F” term (that’s fiduciary responsibility people).

No comments: