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Importance of HIPAA Privacy Authorization

By Jennifer Cissell, Client Services Associate at Fish and Associates
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: the unexpected phone call telling you that your child has been in a serious accident and is in the hospital. Frantic, you prepare to leave to be with your child as you call the hospital to find out what’s going on.

And the nurse at the hospital says she cannot give you any information due to HIPPA regulations.

In the eyes of the law, your college student – the one who texted last week asking if you could schedule their dentist appointment when they come home – is an adult and legally, you cannot get any medical information about your child or make any medical decisions for your child without his or her consent.

That’s why, as you and your student are happily shopping for comforters and shower caddies, you also need to take time out to fill out a HIPAA Privacy Authorization Form, also known as a HIPAA Release form. This form acts like a permission slip. It authorizes you to receive information about your child’s health. It does not need to be notarized or witnessed.

Young adults who want parents to be involved in a medical emergency, but fear disclosure of sensitive information, need not worry; HIPAA authorization does not have to be all-encompassing. The young adults can stipulate not to disclose information about sex, drugs, mental health, or other details they might want to keep private.

It’s good to have two copies of the release: one that you send off to college with your student to provide to the school’s clinic or a local doctor and one that you keep on hand at home just in case the original document can’t be found when needed.

You may want to also go ahead and fill out two additional forms.

Medical power of attorney:
In signing a medical POA, you appoint an “agent” to make medical decisions on your behalf in case you are incapacitated and cannot make such decisions for yourself. Each state has different laws governing medical POA and, therefore, different legal forms. In many states, the HIPAA authorization is rolled into the standard medical POA form. Whether the medical POA requires the signature of a witness or notary varies state by state.

Durable power of attorney:
As an additional step, young-adult children might consider appointing a durable power of attorney, enabling a parent or other designated agent to take care of business on the student’s behalf. If the student were to become incapacitated or if the student were studying abroad, the durable power of attorney would be able to, for example, sign tax returns, access bank accounts, and pay bills. Durable POA forms vary by state. In some states the medical POA can be included in the durable POA form.

Hopefully, you and your child will never need to use these documents. But if a worst-case scenario does come to pass, having these documents on hand will help make a frightening situation a little less stressful.

Shopping at Target – Tips and Tricks for Savings

By Amber Colvin, Office Administrator at Fish & Associates and self-professed shopping enthusiast, shown here with a fabulous pinata from Target!


To Risk or Not to Risk

“March is one of the particularly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, October, June, August, December and February.”
–Mark Twain

All investments carry some type of risk. Today, I am going to focus on risk as it is measured by standard deviation (SD)*. Go on, keep reading. I hope I can make this an understandable concept!

RISKLet’s use the example of choosing to invest between Product A and Product B. Product A has an expected rate of return* of 4% with an SD of 2%. This means that about 2/3* of the time, this investment is expected to return between 2% and 6% (plus or minus 2%).

Product B has an expected return of 10%, but the expected SD is 20%. This means about 2/3 of the time Product B should return -10% to +30%.

In dollars, a $10,000 investment in Product A would be expected to grow in the range of $10,200 to $10,600 (again 2/3 of the time) over a one year time period. Product B’s return would result in a range from $9,000 (a $1000 loss) to $13,000. Product B has a greater reward potential but also greater loss potential than Product A. It is clear that Product B is “riskier.” Note: 1/3 of the time the gains and losses are even greater.

Another consideration to think about: if you had to liquidate your funds to raise money, you may have to sell your investment for less than your original investment. Understanding this concept is very useful in helping you determine what an appropriate investment would be.
The moral of this blog is to make sure you fully understand the risk you are taking before you make an investment. If you have the time and the temperament to take on risk, that is okay. The objective is to have all the facts in order to make the most informed decision. Check out our website www.fishandassciates.com and check on the box, What is your risk score?

In my next blog we will discuss the meaning of volatility.

*Standard deviation is a measure of the dispersion of a set of data from its mean. The more spread apart the data, the higher the deviation. Standard deviation is calculated as the square root of variance.
*A rate of return is the gain or loss on an investment over a specified period, expressed as a percentage increase over the initial investment cost. Gains on investments are considered to be any income received from the security plus realized capital gains.
*In statistics, the 68-95-99.7 rule — or three-sigma rule, or empirical rule — states that for a normal distribution, nearly all values lie within 3 standard deviations of the mean. About 68.27% (2/3) of the values lie within 1 standard deviation of the mean. Similarly, about 95.45% of the values lie within 2 standard deviations of the mean. Nearly all (99.73%) of the values lie within 3 standard deviations of the mean.

Tomorrow Is Promised To No One

TomorrowBy mid-February of this year, our firm lost four beloved clients to “premature death.” Not one of these clients lived to what we consider “normal” life expectancy, which is 83 to 85 years old, depending on who is providing the numbers. Statistics also show on average, that women outlive men, but that was not the case for us, as 3 of the 4 clients who died were women.

Since we are a financial planning firm, the majority of our clients have an estate plan in place, with wills trusts, healthcare directives, etc, and we stay on the procrastinators to get it done.

I’m addressing this blog to those of you under 40 who think, “I’m young and healthy, or “I don’t have a lot of assets” or “I only have debt” or– I’ll deal with this later.” Here’s something to think about – tragedies happen all of the time, at any age and all ages. Part of growing up and living life on your own terms is to take some important steps today to appropriately deal with your finances. PrepareHere is a short list:

1. Create a health care directive. This clearly states your wishes if you were to become comatose. I highly recommend using the five wishes, which describes your wishes for life support as well as who you want to make these decisions, in narrative form. It is free and is legally recognized in 48 states. Call our office at 901-767-0668 and we will send you the form. www.thefiveswishes.com
2. Create a list of all your social media and bank/credit card logins and give it to someone you trust should something happen.
3. Make sure you have beneficiaries on IRA’s and 401Ks. It is free to add a payable on death (POD) or Transfer on Death (TOD) to bank accounts and non-retirement accounts.
4. Consider a small life insurance policy to pay for funeral expenses.
5. If you have specific items to give, assign the items in writing to the person you want to have them. This may seem morbid, but it is not, it is the responsible thing to do. We are all going to die – that is a fact.

I hope this inspires you to go home and have a discussion with your room mate, partner, spouse or parents, or any significant person in your life.

Money Won’t Buy Happiness

Heart and money for scales. Isolated 3D image.I see people who are unhappy, even miserable because they spend most of their time comparing themselves to others.  It may be jealousy because their friend has a bigger house, makes more money, goes on better vacations, the list is endless.  Instead of being jealous, take a closer look at what is positive in your life.  Do you love your job and look forward to going in every day? If the answer is no, only you can make a change to turn that around.  Your husband or partner won’t, your kids can’t, your parents can’t. Purpose2 Only you can.  When you find meaningful work, you tend to pay less attention to how much money other people have.  Remember wealth is not just about money. It is about good health, happiness, and a meaningful purpose in life.

Holding Equities for the Long Term: Time Versus Timing


Note: Due to industry regulations on communication, we are unable to allow for public comments on this blog. Please feel free to email me your questions and/or comments to kathy@fishandassociates.com. Thank you. Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. NFP Securities, Inc. is not affiliated with Fish & Associates.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS are not affiliated with Fish and Associates. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

This site is published for residents of the United States only. Registered representatives of Kestra IS and Investment Advisor Representatives of Kestra AS may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered. Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed. Not all of the products and services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every representative or advisor listed. For additional information, please contact the Kestra IS compliance Department at 512-697-6000.

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