Author Topic: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst  (Read 3622 times)

gillstone

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Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« on: July 20, 2018, 10:46:16 AM »
DW was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer.  While we are fighting it we are still preparing for the worst which is a median survival rate of 24 months.  Our wills and medical directives are current and thorough, what I’m looking for is to find out what I don’t know. 
-   Ways to prepare for additional costs or to use costs to minimize tax exposure
-   Structures to ensure assets are protected if all else fails
-   Resources, checklists & guides to make sure our financial house is fully in order during this time

For some context, here is some general information on where we are financially:
Family of 4 – Self (36), DW (36), Calvin (9) & Hobbes (5)
Gross Wages:   $140,000/yr (90k self, 50k DW work from home)
Liquid Assets:   $47,000
Retirement:   $210,000
House:      $230,000 - $250,000 value
Mortgage:           $160,000 @ 3.5% fixed matures in 2042 (PITI of $1,180/mo)
Student Loans:   $6,500 @ 2.25% fixed matures in 2023   
Credit:      $0 carried monthly balance with available credit of $45,000 on 2 cards
Life Insurance:    $340,000 30-year term policy for each of us, matures in 2037
529 accounts:   $6,500 – autopilot to contribute 2k/yr for each account   
UTMA accounts: $15,000
Monthly Expenses: $4,500 not including kid’s savings accounts

mm1970

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2018, 10:50:05 AM »
I just wanted to say that I'm so sorry.  I just lost a dear friend to breast cancer.  She was diagnosed at age 33.  Kicked it once, but it came back.  She died at 50, which still seems far too young.

Hoping for the best.

rubybeth

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2018, 10:51:29 AM »
I'm so sorry. F*ck cancer. Lost my dear cousin to it earlier this year, diagnosed at 29. :(

I'm assuming you're in the US. Has your wife already applied for social security disability benefits? Assuming she has the necessary work history credits, she would very likely immediately qualify for SSDI, so that could be income replacement during her treatment.

Honestly, I am so truly sorry.

Edited to add: it may be worth it to consult with a lawyer to confirm everything is in order. It sounds like you're in an okay financial position.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2018, 10:53:56 AM by rubybeth »

seattlecyclone

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2018, 12:16:43 PM »
So sorry to hear about your wife's diagnosis. I'm not sure what (if any) immediate tax exposure you would have if she passes away. Your assets don't seem to be large enough for estate tax to come into play, and I think there are special rules for surviving spouses there anyway. Any assets she held would "step up" in basis. Going forward you wouldn't be able to file as married anymore, so that would make a bit of an ongoing difference.

In addition to social security disability benefits while she's alive, also be aware of survivor's benefits if she passes away. Provided your wife's work history is extensive enough, your kids would get some money each month until they graduate high school (or turn 18 if they graduate before their 18th birthday). You would also personally get a bit of money each month as the surviving parent until your youngest turns 16, but this amount can be reduced if you earn more than a certain amount from work.

Log into her social security account online to get an idea of how much this would be. Between that and your savings, you seem to be in pretty good shape to take some time away from work for a while to focus on your family if the worst happens.

Again, sorry to hear you're having to deal with this.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2018, 03:18:20 PM »
I can’t imagine this and my thoughts are with you all. I’d see a Wills & Estates Lawyer and make sure you’re all set up properly.

The other thing I’d do, and apologies, this is just from what I’ve seen people do: record videos and write letters to the kids for them to experience at special times in their lives; travel and see the things on the wish list; know that the money will take care of itself, but give you and the kids as many great memories and experiences as possible and make your wife laugh as much as you can. All the best.

lhamo

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2018, 03:27:09 PM »
I'm so sorry you are facing this.   I hope there are some aggressive treatment options available and that they work for your DW.

This website was started by a woman in Seattle whose husband was killed at a young age in a bicycling accident.  She was unfortunately not prepared for it financially or otherwise, so she started the website to help others be more prepared.  It has some really useful checklists, etc:

https://www.gyst.com/

Heinz

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2018, 03:37:16 PM »
I would make sure that you have a checking account in your name only; so if your wife passes, it does not get frozen.  So sorry.

G-dog

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2018, 04:02:14 PM »
Do a close examination of your medical benefits from work, also the work policies. She may end up on short-term or long-term disability during her treatment. If work as an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) - you have free access to some expertise like counseling, legal reviews, etc.  So check that out too.

A single friend went through breast cancer treatment and chemo totally drained her energy for a few days.  So - you need easy and tasty (but easily digestible) meals in the fridge and freezer for those times. 

I am sorry you all have to face this - I wish you all the best.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2018, 04:06:11 PM »
I'm so sorry you are facing this.  I think you just need to make sure your will is in order, and your beneficiaries are all up to date on retirement accounts, insurance policies, etc.  I second the GYST recommendation.

My dad died of melanoma, and the best advice my family got was not money related.  My doctor friend suggested that we plan family visits for sooner rather than later, when dad was still feeling good.  Our extended family all came to visit and we have wonderful memories of all being together.  The same is true of experiences for your nuclear family.  Prioritize time together over just about anything else - you won't regret it.

tyrannostache

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2018, 04:27:28 PM »
So sorry. It sounds like you already have a lot of things in order. I guess I'm just thirding GYST. Does your wife have support/insurance from her workplace?
« Last Edit: August 03, 2018, 11:06:08 AM by tyrannostache »

Anette

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2018, 05:06:08 PM »
As others have said, money wise you seem to be doing okay.

Don't give up! There are valuable statistics but never forget they are made up of individuals, each one with her/his own path.

Read the book " When the  body says no" by Dr Gabor Mate. Very valuable information in there.

Don't try to hide things from the children. They are small but they perceive what is going on on an emotional level. On the other hand don't overwhelm them, it may be tricky to find balance.

I am very sorry your family has this hard time ahead.

Catbert

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2018, 12:01:52 PM »
Double check that all accounts are joint and that retirement accounts (which by definition are solo) have the correct beneficiary designated.  When DH1 passed, that biggest PITA was one small brokerage account that wasn't jointed and didn't have a beneficiary.

As others have mentioned check workplace programs for benefits that could help.  Every workplace is different but some have employee assistance programs, legal hotlines, sick leave donation programs, etc.  Things you never paid attention to because you thought you'd never need them.  If either of you have a chance annually to change insurance be sure to pay particular attention this year.  DH1 worked for a company which annually allowed changes to essentially all benefits.  He was able to up his group life insurance amount months before he passed.     

rubybeth

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2018, 12:23:53 PM »
So sorry to hear about your wife's diagnosis. I'm not sure what (if any) immediate tax exposure you would have if she passes away. Your assets don't seem to be large enough for estate tax to come into play, and I think there are special rules for surviving spouses there anyway. Any assets she held would "step up" in basis. Going forward you wouldn't be able to file as married anymore, so that would make a bit of an ongoing difference.

In addition to social security disability benefits while she's alive, also be aware of survivor's benefits if she passes away. Provided your wife's work history is extensive enough, your kids would get some money each month until they graduate high school (or turn 18 if they graduate before their 18th birthday). You would also personally get a bit of money each month as the surviving parent until your youngest turns 16, but this amount can be reduced if you earn more than a certain amount from work.

Log into her social security account online to get an idea of how much this would be. Between that and your savings, you seem to be in pretty good shape to take some time away from work for a while to focus on your family if the worst happens.

Again, sorry to hear you're having to deal with this.

Yes, excellent point about the survivor's benefits for children.

CindyBS

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2018, 06:50:29 PM »
I am so so sorry for this diagnosis.  ((HUGS)).

My dear friend passed away at age 43 of cancer, my father has cancer, my mother in law has terminal cancer, and my teenage son has cancer.  Unfortunately, I know more than I would like to about this horrible disease. 

I echo all the advice to touch base with an attorney.

Some other tips:

-If you don't already - set up an account with a service like lotsahelpinghands.org or caringbridge.org to coordinate meals and babysitting.  This is a great thing for someone like a friend, sibling, grandma, etc. to be in charge of.  You will most likely get a flood of offers for help - direct all of them to the coordinator and have him/her set it all up.   On chemo weeks, set up some meals to come to the house.  In my experience people will send a lot of food.  One way that expenses went way down for us is groceries from the lack of eating from chemo, and meals delivered to the house. 

-if you get a coordinator for this type of account, people will ask him/her what you need.  I found that people are happy to send "stuff" but are weird about sending money.  Ask coordinator to try to steer people towards practical things like gift cards for grocery stores, gas stations, places you already go out to eat.  NOT more toys the kids probably don't need, etc.

-Once dear friend got established on a chemo schedule, her group of friends took over to allow her husband to work on the days that were not so bad and bank as many paid days off he could.  Then when things were really bad towards the end of her life, he had a lot of paid days off. We would drive her to chemo, and another person would take the kids out to the pool, movies, whatever.  Playdate were strategically scheduled on the days she would be the worst after chemo (often day 4 after).  Friends would take kids somewhere to exhaust them like the pool for the day, then friend would do something low key like movie night with them in evening with a meal that friends had prepared. 

-For my son who does not have cancer, we tried to make as much normal as possible for him as we could.  It might be tempting to cut expenses like going out to eat, but to suddenly have that taken away from a child that is already losing so much can be hard.  Vacations were already severely limited so that expense went way down.  Groceries went way down.  We chose to limit the things the kids wouldn't know about - basically savings for FI, home improvements, etc. 

-Find out what your yearly max out of pocket is for your health insurance.  That is what you will be paying every year for the rest of this journey.  Chemo is insanely expensive.   We found out that going to a higher deductible plan was actually cheaper for us b/c the premiums were lower.

-Get the kids familiar with things when things are going well.  Who will watch them overnight if you have to rush your wife to the hospital at 11pm?  Set up a lower key sleepover when things are good - then the kids are familiar with the new house.  This is especially important if your younger child has not done sleepovers yet.  Same thing with someone else picking them up at school - both for the kids and for the person doing the pick up. 

-Set up an emergency phone number list with information.  Is grandma going to pick up kids from school ever?  Give her the name of a parent from the school she can call with questions so when things are going really bad, she doesn't have to bother you.  Get her a copy of the school schedule.  Does your wife have a friend who may be helping out who may not have your phone number?  A cheat sheet with phone numbers, name of school with time it starts/end, etc. can be very helpful.

-Tell people at work.  My husband was able to take 6 paid weeks off during my son's bone marrow transplant and they were all donated vacation time. 

-I'd recommend joining some sort of support group, I found an online one to the be the best.  I learned so, so much from the group and really knew what to expect as things progressed.  When things were going really poorly with my son, having 1 other person who had at least some idea of what I was going through was a lifeline.  Friends and family are great, but it is not the same.  Both my husband and I have done extensive counseling associated with our son's cancer and would recommend the same.


CindyBS

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2018, 07:32:49 PM »
Also, get yourself on intermittent FMLA if you haven't already.  DH has been on it for years through my son's illness.  He works for Megacorp and in his experience it is not his boss or coworkers that are the problem - it is the douche from 3 departments over that gets huffy over him missing some "important" meeting.   You only need to do the paperwork once per year and it exempts you from all rules regarding leaving early. the amount of time you need to give for taking paid time off, etc.  He also found that with that paperwork in place he was able to work from home more than the company allows, even though intermittent FMLA does not expressly allow that.

Sibley

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2018, 08:12:47 PM »
I'm so sorry. I would recommend that you find support groups/therapists - for everyone. You, your wife, the kids. That way, if you need the help, it's already figured out. And you will need the help, at some point.

Make sure the kids schools/child care know at least the high level basics - mom's sick, and it's serious. They need to know that to cope with any behavior changes.

Be gentle to yourselves.

EconDiva

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2018, 12:18:04 PM »
The only things I have to say are:

I am truly so very sorry to hear about this.  I wish for the best outcome for your wife. 

The main thing that comes into my mind is prioritizing as much time with her as possible as well as the things she not only needs but also wants to do with that time as much as possible.  Other than that I second the counseling/therapy part so you have help along the way in terms of how to process and deal with all of the things that might put additional pressures on you/her/your family.

red_pill

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2018, 12:28:54 PM »
@CindyBS - your input is amazing.  I wish I had read it a few years ago...

OP, not finance related but one thing my wife and I were shocked with when she did the BC thing a few years ago was how well meaning people say super stupid shit.  I don’t know if they just don’t know what to say so they just make random noise with their face And stupid stuff results, or if they are actually (well meaning) idiots.  But every time someone would say something dumb like “everything happens for a reason”, or would call  it a journey, or say it’s all part of the invisible man in the sky’s plan, or tell my wife she’s lucky that the chemo made her hair fell out because it’s the best way to go grey gracefully (seriously someone said that) we would cringe.  Then it got to be a joke for us.

That and the feeling that life was an endless series of appointments - it’s amazing how that delivers a sense of loss of control.

Bro, be gentle on yourself.  We got lucky and had a “your chances look pretty good” situation and still, during the treatments  there were days I’d be driving to work and sitting at a red light and not knowing if I had the willpower to put my foot on the gas when the light turned green. I just didn’t have the energy to go on and was going to just sit there.  I’d be wondering what I’d say to the police when they showed up.  I should have just gone home those days. But I didn’t cause I’m an idiot. I kept pushing..  It wasn’t until I started climbing out of the hole I was in that I realized how deep and dark it was.  But we also had days that were good - and I can tell you we learned how to get more enjoyment out of three hours on a Saturday morning than we used to get out of a two week vacation.


EconDiva

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2018, 01:52:43 PM »
@CindyBS - your input is amazing.  I wish I had read it a few years ago...

OP, not finance related but one thing my wife and I were shocked with when she did the BC thing a few years ago was how well meaning people say super stupid shit.  I don’t know if they just don’t know what to say so they just make random noise with their face And stupid stuff results, or if they are actually (well meaning) idiots.  But every time someone would say something dumb like “everything happens for a reason”, or would call  it a journey, or say it’s all part of the invisible man in the sky’s plan, or tell my wife she’s lucky that the chemo made her hair fell out because it’s the best way to go grey gracefully (seriously someone said that) we would cringe.  Then it got to be a joke for us.

That and the feeling that life was an endless series of appointments - it’s amazing how that delivers a sense of loss of control.

Bro, be gentle on yourself.  We got lucky and had a “your chances look pretty good” situation and still, during the treatments  there were days I’d be driving to work and sitting at a red light and not knowing if I had the willpower to put my foot on the gas when the light turned green. I just didn’t have the energy to go on and was going to just sit there.  I’d be wondering what I’d say to the police when they showed up.  I should have just gone home those days. But I didn’t cause I’m an idiot. I kept pushing..  It wasn’t until I started climbing out of the hole I was in that I realized how deep and dark it was.  But we also had days that were good - and I can tell you we learned how to get more enjoyment out of three hours on a Saturday morning than we used to get out of a two week vacation.

In regards to the first paragraph, I want to actually thank you for posting this.

Definitely not to derail the OP's thread, but if you don't mind sharing maybe some of the best/most helpful things people actually did do or say that made an impact on you/your wife that you'll always remember, it may help some of us who really do want to do our best to support those going through this, or at the very least help us avoid coming off as offensive and/or idiotic in the things that we say when we first hear about such things.

Unique User

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2018, 02:59:41 PM »
@CindyBS info is great, I agree I wish I had that all info four years ago.  OP, my heart goes out to you.  I would echo on who will watch children in an emergency and to have that set up in advance.  Slightly on a tangent, but have an eventual point, one of my DD's best friend's dad in kindergarten had cancer.  We didn't know them very well, but I told her at his (the child's) birthday party that if there was anything we could do all she had to do was ask.  She had an emergency the very next day and he said he wanted to come to our house, so I picked him up from school that day.  I'm sure he was less than thrilled with pink pajamas that night, but we were not prepared.  The hospital was over 100 miles away so he ended up staying with us for about three months - probably about 75% of the time.  After the dad passed, I took him with us to and from school for a couple months.  The point of all this is that I was not much more than just a random mom of a school friend and we were more than happy to have him live with us for a few months and try our best to make his life as normal as we could for those months.  Most people will want to help in some way and sometimes might be nervous to offer what you most need, I would not be afraid to ask especially since with kids it is hard to coordinate their normal activities with all the appointments, etc.  When my husband had cancer four years ago, many parents stepped in and offered to help with then 12 year old DD.  I was enormously grateful to all the parents that provided rides/sleepovers for her when we were otherwise occupied.  My sincere hope your wife is in the 24%. 

Raymond Reddington

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2018, 12:47:02 AM »
I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said but this. As I work towards FIRE with my wife, this is literally my worst nightmare. I am grateful for her in a way that I am not grateful for anything else in my life. I need her. I can't imagine the possibility of losing her, or being told I would likely lose her in a short amount of time. It would change absolutely everything about how I think of money, as I would want nothing more than to spend whatever time I could with her, doing the things we wanted to do. I'm not even sure retirement would be worth it, without her there. She is my best friend, my teammate, my life partner, and my companion. And it scares me to even think about that possibility.

I am far from the sentimental type, but I cannot even imagine what you are going through, and I wish you both the best...even against all the odds. The only thing I can say is make the most of the time you have together, and if she's not starting treatments right away / it's physically possible, one of the best investments you could make would be to pick something off your bucket list together and just go do it. Get the FMLA from work so you can be by her side every step of the way. And just make sure you are on all her accounts either as joint or beneficiary. Hang tough. We're pulling for the two of you here.

gillstone

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2018, 10:40:16 AM »
Thank you all for the support and advice.  We have some routines and structures already in place from when she was fighting Stage II back in 2016.  It just sucks we have to get back to using them again.

We’re on the first line of treatment which is an oral chemo with relatively minor side effects that means no days lost on infusions, minimal fatigue and no hair loss.  For that reason, we let our kids know that she has new medicine, but not a terminal condition. We’re trying to give them “normal” for as long as possible.

If things break lucky, this treatment will work long enough for the new CART and immunology treatments to get refined.  There are major advancements in treatment options that weren’t on the table when those survival stats were last assembled. 

As for the stupid shit people say and how to not sound like a moron yourself.  I would say listen and express support.  What we don’t realize is that many of the thing said in comfort are really meant for your comfort, not the other person.  Saying “everything happens for a reason” or “God has a plan” is at best a way on your part of trying to “fix” the sad person rather than being with them in place.  The best example I can think of right now is the scene from Inside Out where Sadness comforts Bing Bong by letting him talk and process whereas Happiness just wanted him to cheer up and move forward.  Both had good intentions, but one respected what he was going through.  Also, maybe stop asking “how are you” all the time.  It’s hard not to take that as “Please tell me its OK.”

mm1970

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2018, 11:19:51 AM »
Quote
Saying “everything happens for a reason” or “God has a plan” is at best a way on your part of trying to “fix” the sad person rather than being with them in place. 

"Everything happens for a reason" makes me ragey.

Uh no, unless by that you mean "sometimes the reason is that LIFE SUCKS and SHIT HAPPENS".

CindyBS

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2018, 12:53:25 PM »
gillstone

One other thing I thought of is how to save on medical expenses. This is how we do it, maybe some other mustachians have some ideas we haven't thought of:


Get an HSA that you fund with pre-tax money.  Then pay all medical bills on a credit card with rewards.  This is a good time to get a new card with a sign up bonus as they often have requirements to do x thousands of $$ of spending in the first couple months.  If you can afford it, don't reimburse yourself from the HSA and instead reimburse yourself after retirement so that money can gain interest.  Even if you do reimburse yourself, less than an hour of work can get hundreds of dollars off. 

Best of luck going forward. 

clutchy

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2018, 09:52:45 AM »
DW was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer.  While we are fighting it we are still preparing for the worst which is a median survival rate of 24 months.  Our wills and medical directives are current and thorough, what I’m looking for is to find out what I don’t know. 
-   Ways to prepare for additional costs or to use costs to minimize tax exposure
-   Structures to ensure assets are protected if all else fails
-   Resources, checklists & guides to make sure our financial house is fully in order during this time

For some context, here is some general information on where we are financially:
Family of 4 – Self (36), DW (36), Calvin (9) & Hobbes (5)
Gross Wages:   $140,000/yr (90k self, 50k DW work from home)
Liquid Assets:   $47,000
Retirement:   $210,000
House:      $230,000 - $250,000 value
Mortgage:           $160,000 @ 3.5% fixed matures in 2042 (PITI of $1,180/mo)
Student Loans:   $6,500 @ 2.25% fixed matures in 2023   
Credit:      $0 carried monthly balance with available credit of $45,000 on 2 cards
Life Insurance:    $340,000 30-year term policy for each of us, matures in 2037
529 accounts:   $6,500 – autopilot to contribute 2k/yr for each account   
UTMA accounts: $15,000
Monthly Expenses: $4,500 not including kid’s savings accounts


Stage 4 @ age 36... that's shocking.

Secretly Saving

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2018, 12:19:38 PM »
Oh gosh.  I'm so sorry that your family is dealing with this cancer diagnosis at such a young age.  One thing that helped when my family encountered a devastating cancer diagnosis was to share the Circle of Grief - Ring Theory, with people early on.  It made sure that we were supported with a "Comfort In, Dump Out" type situation and made people less likely to say the wrong thing. 

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/07/opinion/la-oe-0407-silk-ring-theory-20130407

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/promoting-hope-preventing-suicide/201705/ring-theory-helps-us-bring-comfort-in


I hope you'll use all the resources available to you and if there is a Gilda's Club nearby - RUN TOWARDS IT.   That place was incredible for the support that it offered cancer patients, care givers, children etc.   


civil4life

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2018, 01:05:14 PM »
The only item that I saw that was not mentioned is the student loans.  Most likely if it is terminal it is put in deferment.  If she passes it is forgiven.  If she survives and is considered permanently disabled for three years it is forgiven as well.

honeybbq

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2018, 02:10:19 PM »
I'm so sorry to hear about your wife.

My spouse was diagnosed with cancer 1.5 yrs ago and is luckily N.E.D right now, but we played this game. It's not fun. Here's some of my ideas,  not so much financial:

- support. There are lots of different support groups. Finding a caregiver support group was really important for me. The caregivers bear so much of the burden and are often forgotten about as so much of the focus goes to the person who is sick. There are also support classes for children, when the time comes.

- help. Ask for it. Name it. Do not feel guilty. Let people give you food, order you take out, clean your house. Anything anyone can do. Drive your spouse to an appointment so you can take the kids to a birthday party. Whatever. You can't manage it all. Don't try. Rely on those that you can.

- remembrance: many companies will do memory videos for your children to remember your wife. You can probably do your own, but it would be good to ask for help for this too.

- money: I spent a lot of money on grocery delivery when my spouse was getting treatment. In some ways, I just didn't "worry" about the added expenses at that time. I bought a Vitamix (see the epic thread) and I didn't bat an eye. Luckily we are well enough off but these are not normal spending patterns for me. That was ok. It wasn't worth spending 2 hours to drive to Costco when people would deliver things to my door for $20. Opportunity cost changes. Let it.

- For the most part, stay away from googling every single thing about your wife's disease. You will go down the rabbit hole and it's hard to get out. Trust the medical professionals around you. Ask questions of them. Ask "what questions should I be asking?" Every Tom, Dick, and Harry on the internet will swear that they cured their diseases with coconut oil and Acai berries. None of that stuff helps. Feel free to try it if it floats your boat and makes you feel better, but do not forsake modern medicine for homeopathic "solutions".

- Speaking of medical professionals: You should get a referral for financial, social, and nutritional counselling at the hospital she's being treated. Use it.

Best wishes to you and your family in this hard time.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 02:12:50 PM by honeybbq »

Simple Dad

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #28 on: August 10, 2018, 12:37:52 AM »
I am very sorry that you family is going thru this.  I wish for nothing but the best outcome for your wife and family.  It is a rough road but take it one day at a time.  Don't be afraid or to proud to accept help.  I have been there and still am.  My wife was diagnosed in 2014 with stage 4 rectal cancer at the age of 38.  I was 36 and we have two young children.  It had spread to both lungs and things did not look good.  After multiple surgeries and 12 rounds of very aggressive chemo, I am happy to say that she is doing very well given the circumstances.  She just had another clear scan this past Tuesday.  I only tell you about my situation because I want you to know there is hope.  We have spoke with multiple doctors at multiple hospitals.  One thing they all have told us is how fast advancements are being made in technology and medicine for the treatment of cancer.  Stay strong, make life as normal as you can for your kids and make the best of even the smallest moments.  I am new to this site but if you feel the need to privately message someone to discuss anything, feel free to message me.  I may not have any good advice but I can listen.  Sometimes that is enough. 

Just some information for all the people out there that are speaking with someone about cancer.  When you are diagnosed with cancer or have a loved one diagnosed, it is VERY difficult to hear about your grandmother, brother or any other person you know that passed away due to cancer.  We know that you are trying to help but most people I have spoke with that are fighting, are very troubled by hearing about it.  It's not that they don't care or that your situation is less important, but it is extremely difficult to hear about.  People that are not closely affected by cancer probably don't realize it but cancer is everywhere in our society.  It's in movies, commercials, on the radio.  It is everywhere.  My wife limits the amount of tv she watches because she can't stand to see references to it.  Please, when you are trying to help, only share positive stories.  Thank you.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2018, 12:45:43 AM by Simple Dad »

SimpleCycle

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2018, 08:36:44 PM »
Please, when you are trying to help, only share positive stories.

I am very sorry your family is going through this, but I respectfully disagree.  Those of us who have lost loved ones to cancer, especially those of us who were intimately there for the whole thing, know both how difficult the battle is and also how difficult it is as survivors in the aftermath.  The OP specifically asked for advice on dealing with a terminal diagnosis and preparing for the worst.  We all cope differently, and as someone whose loved one lost their cancer battle, the advice that was most helpful to my family acknowledged the reality of a median survival of 6 months and a 5 year survival of 5%.  Your experience is different, but you are at a different point in this journey than those of us who experienced a different outcome.

shadowmoss

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #30 on: August 10, 2018, 08:56:09 PM »
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2016 (all clear now) it seemed like I was seeing references to it everywhere.  It took awhile to realize that October is breast cancer awareness month.  I am lucky, mine was a slow-growing tumor that was removed surgically 2 weeks after it was discovered.  I'm 63.  I'm sorry that you and your wife are going through a more difficult journey.

cchrissyy

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #31 on: August 10, 2018, 09:22:30 PM »
all I know about cancer is as the single mom of a survivor (stage 3B at age 7)

- go online and see what the social security survivor benefits for you and the kids.  In my case, if I had been the sick one in the story not the child, it was about $3k/month. Since there is life insurance as well, that figure may give you lots of breathing room to figure out the rest.

- It sounds like your paperwork is in good order. Go see a lawyer to make sure and fix anything. It's more than worth is for peace of mind.

- if you're been here before I guess you have all the little tips and routines down. I'll just 2nd the vote for Lotsahelpinghands when it comes to sending updates to your friends and handling easy scheduling of meals and vonunteer help.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Stage IV Cancer & Preparing for the Worst
« Reply #32 on: August 10, 2018, 10:05:41 PM »
Not to start a flame, I was a bit disappointed to see some people give advice on what to say and what not say to people offering support. This is never easy, there is really nothing anyone can say because what you want isn’t words but for the disease to be gone and no one can make that happen. Chastising people for being imperfect and clumsy does nothing except let people redirect their anger and hurt from a disease that has no emotions to people who do. I sometimes get so worried about saying the wrong thing, I say nothing or the bare minimum and sound trite, not because I care but for fear of making things worse. My attitude, people going through it will be imperfect, don’t take it personally and people responding will be imperfect, don’t take it personally. Just be loving to people who are there for you while you go through the worst.