Author Topic: Pivoting to FIRE during/after family medical crisis - Need advice  (Read 3360 times)

CindyBS

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« Last Edit: July 21, 2018, 04:00:07 PM by CindyBS »

honeybbq

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Re: Pivoting to FIRE during/after family medical crisis - Need advice
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2017, 03:30:35 PM »
I'm so sorry what you are going through. No mother should have a child with cancer.

My thoughts:

- I would absolutely NOT get another job right now. You don't need the money. You DO need to have time and sanity for yourself and for helping your family recover.
- I would honestly get into a holding pattern right now. Your house will be paid off in a few years and you will have a clearer picture of what the future holds.
- DH may have to delay his FIRE day a few years to help recover from the finances and lack of contributions right now. But you are having a family emergency that is taking all your time and energy. You don't need to count pennies. I wouldn't do it. Go out to eat if you need to or whatever you need to keep your family sane. This is the worst thing that can happen to a family. Priorities change in a crisis.
- Resume your IRA contributions whenever you go back to work.

calimom

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Re: Pivoting to FIRE during/after family medical crisis - Need advice
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2017, 05:02:35 PM »
Sending lots of support, what a rough time to go through. Best wishes for continued health and rebuilding. Good advice from the poster above. And can you imagine going through this with debt and no savings? Money doesn't buy health and happiness but it can sure smooth out some of the other rougher edges in life.

CindyBS

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Re: Pivoting to FIRE during/after family medical crisis - Need advice
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2017, 09:25:45 PM »
Thanks for the support.

When ds got sick last summer, we did go into a holding pattern and put almost everything on hold in the FIRE dept..  Now we have $1K per month freed up wth no extra work on our part, just trying to figure out the best thing to do with it.   We don't stress about Fire or try to limit spending, but the extra money is just what is leftover.  Our base expenses - mortgage, cars, etc. were fairly low to begin with.

Also, I am so grateful we do have the money for this and I don't *have* to work.  As much as I like the idea of FIRE and retiring, living a mustachian lifestyle has really bought me the most precious thing ever - time to be with the people I love at the time they need me the most. 

RedwoodDreams

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Re: Pivoting to FIRE during/after family medical crisis - Need advice
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2017, 11:05:50 PM »
Wow, what an experience. Wishing your son a speedy return to good health, and I'm so impressed with your financial situation and your level-headed attitude about it all.

Just a few thoughts (and I agree with previous thoughts as well):

- "...Upping DH's  contribution to 401(k) is an option, but that ties the money up until he is 59.5  (trying to FIRE when he is 56)." Does your husband expect to stay at his current employer until retirement? If so, are you aware of the "rule of 55"? It's a loophole that says if you retire during the year you will turn 55 (or later, of course) from the company that holds your 401k, you're eligible to start drawing at age 55.

- I think for now I'd just stash that $1k per month and play it all by ear, knowing you are building a nice nest egg to invest as well as a stash to draw on as you rebuild life together post-cancer... I have a friend who had breast cancer who gave herself the gift of a family trip to Hawaii as a way to mentally help herself through treatments, and it gave her something to look forward to. And post-treatments it a great experience for a family that had been through a big trauma together.

Best wishes, and please keep us posted.

chrisgermany

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Re: Pivoting to FIRE during/after family medical crisis - Need advice
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2017, 12:53:17 AM »
Could you use the time at home to add to your job skills and thus increase your employability long term?
An hour here and there adds up. There are lots of online learning opportunities available. It will also help you mentally to do something for yourself, too.
Wishing all the best to your son and his great family.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Pivoting to FIRE during/after family medical crisis - Need advice
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2017, 01:16:34 AM »
Well! Gosh. My son also has Aspergers and LD. I cannot imagine cancer on top of that :(
Thank goodness your boys have such a wise, centered, and well-resourced family!

A couple of thoughts:

1. Yes, please feel no need to work right now! You will have enough to do for the next while.

2. ...unless doing so helps you feel well and balanced. So, while I wouldn't do a part-time gig for money in your situation, if a part-time gig helps you replenish, have a mental break, etc, feel free! Because YOU will need care and support and respite too. For some people, work serves that purpose. Maybe something with reduced risk of picking up bugs, etc, though, yeah.

I'm sorry I can't input on the questions you posted, I'm in a different country so unfamiliar with IRAs, etc.

I wouldn't concern yourself one iota with the lifestart funds. You are obviously doing all the front-loading necessary for your children to have the best possible go at life. As you note, there will be countless opportunities for them. Most kids don't have a lifestart fund, and your kids will do just fine without this.

Note that MMM essentially recommends *not* handing money to kids. I differ on this count when it comes to housing in my current location and market, as well as re: disabilities, but I think his overall idea is sound. Young, healthy, able adults with a solid foundation are generally better served by figuring out how to navigate the world.

If you feel they do need something, per the one son's disability for example, a term life insurance policy may be the way to go for now. That way you know they have something if you can't be around to pitch in as needed, but it costs extremely little to have in place.

You are gifting your kids perfectly right now: Supporting each to live and thrive and recover from this huge life event. That's all that matters.

CindyBS

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Re: Pivoting to FIRE during/after family medical crisis - Need advice
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2017, 12:34:57 PM »
Wow, what an experience. Wishing your son a speedy return to good health, and I'm so impressed with your financial situation and your level-headed attitude about it all.

Just a few thoughts (and I agree with previous thoughts as well):

- "...Upping DH's  contribution to 401(k) is an option, but that ties the money up until he is 59.5  (trying to FIRE when he is 56)." Does your husband expect to stay at his current employer until retirement? If so, are you aware of the "rule of 55"? It's a loophole that says if you retire during the year you will turn 55 (or later, of course) from the company that holds your 401k, you're eligible to start drawing at age 55.

- I think for now I'd just stash that $1k per month and play it all by ear, knowing you are building a nice nest egg to invest as well as a stash to draw on as you rebuild life together post-cancer... I have a friend who had breast cancer who gave herself the gift of a family trip to Hawaii as a way to mentally help herself through treatments, and it gave her something to look forward to. And post-treatments it a great experience for a family that had been through a big trauma together.

Best wishes, and please keep us posted.

Ooo, I had not heard of this rule of 55.  I will definitely check it out.  He does plan on staying with the same company - he's been there for 20 years already.  I think he would consider a volunteering for a layoff if they have one b/c with his tenure in the company he would be eligible for a large severance package. 

justchristine

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Re: Pivoting to FIRE during/after family medical crisis - Need advice
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2017, 02:53:39 PM »
Wow, what an experience. Wishing your son a speedy return to good health, and I'm so impressed with your financial situation and your level-headed attitude about it all.

Just a few thoughts (and I agree with previous thoughts as well):

- "...Upping DH's  contribution to 401(k) is an option, but that ties the money up until he is 59.5  (trying to FIRE when he is 56)." Does your husband expect to stay at his current employer until retirement? If so, are you aware of the "rule of 55"? It's a loophole that says if you retire during the year you will turn 55 (or later, of course) from the company that holds your 401k, you're eligible to start drawing at age 55.

- I think for now I'd just stash that $1k per month and play it all by ear, knowing you are building a nice nest egg to invest as well as a stash to draw on as you rebuild life together post-cancer... I have a friend who had breast cancer who gave herself the gift of a family trip to Hawaii as a way to mentally help herself through treatments, and it gave her something to look forward to. And post-treatments it a great experience for a family that had been through a big trauma together.

Best wishes, and please keep us posted.

Ooo, I had not heard of this rule of 55.  I will definitely check it out.  He does plan on staying with the same company - he's been there for 20 years already.  I think he would consider a volunteering for a layoff if they have one b/c with his tenure in the company he would be eligible for a large severance package.

Double check your 401k documentation.  Not all plans offer the 55yo option.

RedwoodDreams

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Re: Pivoting to FIRE during/after family medical crisis - Need advice
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2017, 10:45:11 PM »
A little more info on rule of 55:

https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc558.html

frugaldrummer

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Re: Pivoting to FIRE during/after family medical crisis - Need advice
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2017, 10:46:20 PM »
So sorry for what your family is going through.

I recommend you read a book called N of 1 by Glenn Sabin.

Also, stay home where your family needs you unless you need to get out to work for your own mental health.

Also, my oldest has mild Aspergers, not diagnosed until he was in college. In retrospect he would have been better off to stay at home or near home for the first two years.

Also, read about vitamin D and cancer ( www.grassrootshealth.org). And about vitamin D and autism ( the Vitamin D Council newsletter by Dr. Connell).

And I agree with one of the posters above- when your son is well enough, consider going to Hawaii for a family vacation (not the Caribbean, as I'd stay away from Zika and Chikungunya for now. )  That relaxing, healing environment sounds ideal.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Pivoting to FIRE during/after family medical crisis - Need advice
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2017, 04:09:03 PM »
tl:dr  We have always lived below our means and were good savers.  In July 2016, our now 14 your old got cancer, which turned everything upside down. 

My priorities are:

1) Keep my son alive
2) Guide both my boys through the very traumatic experience they have had and build a post cancer life
3) Rebuild a life for myself and DH that is not cancer based.  I would like to return to work in mid 2018.
4) Work towards FIRE in 2023-25 with the idea we would have small side hustles/jobs to earn at least $10K per year until DH could draw off his 401(k).  We are both eligible for social security but have not calculated that into our plans



Questions:

I would like to steer the ship towards FIRE even if we can't fully fund it now.  I would like to start funding IRA's again but am wondering if it is too early to start doing the step ladder thing.  Upping DH's  contribution to 401(k) is an option, but that ties the money up until he is 59.5  (trying to FIRE when he is 56).  Wondering if it is worth it to devote a lot of energy to savings for the start of life funds or just pay for those when they come up.

I could get a very part time job like driving for Uber or subbing in the schools, but besides the fact it exposes me to many germs and my son will have a very fragile immune system, the truth is, I just don't want to work now.  I feel like that is why we have lived below our means. 

 Thanks for making it this far.
Thoughts?

I think you hit the nail on the head already.  Relax and focus on your son. 

Financially, the main thing is not be wasteful, which you're already not doing.  The additional $1k I suggest keeping in a brokerage account, some simple allocation that doesn't make you worry.  The point is to have flexibility to use it for emergencies without much hassle, but have some of the money in stocks so you're not left behind if the fund sits untouched for years.  As time goes on, you can tweak the allocation for tax efficiency but honestly the key is just to put it in accessible account and focus your time. 

I've read that teens are a time when the best thing a parent can do is be available.  They ignore you, ignore, ignore and suddenly want your attention... if you're available, it's the perfect experience for them.  Congrats that you can do this, even more so during your son's illness.

crimwell

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Re: Pivoting to FIRE during/after family medical crisis - Need advice
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2017, 07:30:51 PM »
That is a really tough time you and your family are going through. I don't think you ought to get a full-time job, certainly. Dealing with medical bills/doctors can be a full time job by itself. If you want you might think of getting a more casual part-time job if it's something that lets you relax and just get in the moment and not have to think about all the stress of the rest of your life.

Your priorities are exactly as they should be.