Published November 15, 2007
ASK AN EXPERT
DAVID BLAYDES, FINANCIAL PLANNER
How important is financial
people facing a cancer diagnosis?
with a cancer diagnosis often are in the same position
as many other families, said David Blaydes, founder and
chief executive officer of Retirement Planners
International of Naperville.
“They don’t know where to start. Most have never had any type of
formal financial planning done,” he said.
“I know from the experience of my friends that there’s a certain
feeling of helplessness when you have cancer. The
financial part of it is something a person absolutely
can control and absolutely affect the outcome,” he said.
“It also gives them a great feeling of taking care of
their loved ones when they get their financial house in
order. Doing that seems to be very important to people
after a diagnosis.”
In the seminars he leads once a quarter at Wellness House, Blaydes
talks about the reasons people fail to become
The No. 1 reason people fail is procrastination, he said. The No. 2
reason is an overall lack of planning.
“We find people spend more time planning their two week vacation
than their 20 year retirement,” Blaydes said.
People also invest the same way they drive. If a driver notices the
cars in another lane moving faster, he’ll switch lanes.
If someone notices a new product performing well, he’ll
sell what he owns to buy that. This individual is buying
at a high price and selling at a low price
“The stock market since 1984 has returned in excess of 15 percent
per year,” he said. “However, the average individual has
earned 5.1 in the same time period. It’s the same stock
market — the only difference is timing.”
Lack of company pension plans, instability in Social Security and
changing life expectancies also create challenges for
Blaydes also offers some solutions. The first step is for people to
have a financial plan that identifies what they have,
what they want and how to get there. People need to
allocate their investments to give them the greatest
likelihood of achieving their desired rate of return
with the least amount of risk. They need to periodically
review their plan and make adjustments as needed.
Estate planning — including establishing power of attorney for
health care and for property — is especially important
for people diagnosed with cancer, Blaydes said. And it
doesn’t matter how much or how little money a person
“If you have absolutely no money but you have one child, it is
still critically important to make sure if something
happens to you the right person raises that child, with
or without money. Otherwise some probate judge who has
never met your family will make that decision for you.”
Estate planning ensures the people you want to have your assets
will get them without unnecessary waste in estate taxes
and probate expenses.
Most of the Wellness House participants he works with are worried
more about making sure their loved ones aren’t affected
financially than about their own future.
“I assumed before working in this area that when people found out
they were diagnosed with cancer that they would become
very selfish,” he said. “I have found it’s totally the
opposite. People’s first thoughts are ‘How is this going
to affect my loved ones emotionally, mentally and
financially?’ which is probably why the financial
planning becomes key.
The best way to find a financial planner is through a referral,
Blaydes said. He believes certified, independent
planners are the best choice. People also can check with
regulatory agencies, from the Securities Exchange
Commission to the Illinois Department of Securities, to
see if disciplinary action has been filed against the
planner. Finally, people should feel good about their
“Even if all the first four check out, if you’re not comfortable
working with that person, you shouldn’t use them,” he
But even the best financial planner can’t be of help if people
don’t call him.
“Don’t procrastinate,” Blaydes said. “This is something you should