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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Acg on January 25, 2015, 10:09:25 PM

Title: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on January 25, 2015, 10:09:25 PM
Before I start, let me just apologize if this is too much information.  I just wanted to put everything out there and let you guys decide what was relevant.

Itís been a crazy year or so and Iíve realized now that I need to get my house in order.  Let me start this off by saying that I have no plans for early retirement, itís just not in the cards.  So please take that into consideration when commenting.  Iím really just looking to maximize what Iím able to save and cut my expenses as much as possible due to my circumstances.

I was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer in November 2013.  I went through radiation and chemo at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC and was told that the best result I could hope for was just to stop the tumor from growing anymore.  I was also told that there wasnít anything I could be doing myself to fight this.   My wife and I just didnít believe that there was nothing we could do ourselves, so we started researching like crazy people and it turns out there are some ďunprovenĒ things people are doing, one of which is dietary.  I wonít get into the details of why but I eat organic, gluten free, dairy free, and only eat things with no added sugar/sweetened with low glyceimic sweeteners like agave and stevia.  My tumor has shrunk by about 50% in the past year so Iím going to stick with it since they basically told me it couldnít shrink and there was nothing I could be doing.  For those don't know much about brain cancer (I didn't before November 2013) - there isn't a cure and it doesn't have a great prognosis.  My form thankfully isn't very aggressive but there are some more aggressive forms like GBM which only have a median survival of 14 months.  The doctors don't know how long I have and have theorized anywhere from a few years to 30.  So that makes it very hard to plan for the future...

We also got the first bit of good news that we had in awhile when we found out that my wife was pregnant a few months ago.  I couldnít be more excited but the fact that weíre having twins is naturally giving me some concerns financially.  See the thread I posted recently (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/i-have-twins-on-the-way-any-recommendations-to-keep-the-cost-down/msg529500/#msg529500 (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/i-have-twins-on-the-way-any-recommendations-to-keep-the-cost-down/msg529500/#msg529500)) on that if you have any tips to share.  My wife's mother also lives in Manhattan and is going to be helping out with childcare, so we want to stay in the city to be close to her.  Also, our apartment right now is rent stabilized and probably close to half of market rate.  It will be tough but we can get by here for 2-3 years but once the twins get bigger it's going to be small.  I really just want to have our cards in order before they get here this summer.


Questions Ė These are the things I need some advice on but please feel free to weigh in about anything at all.  I need all the help I can get.

ē How/What do we budget for the twins?  What's the mustachian suggestion for college savings?  What's your take on 529's?  I don't want to get into the details but I can open one up for each of them at no cost at a reputable asset manager.
ē What can I do with all this cash that I have while maintaining low risk?  I donít want to invest in equities due to the risk.  I was thinking things like bank bonuses and high yield savings accounts with prepaid companies like Mango and Union Plus that offer 5%+ on $5k balances.
ē How should I be thinking about 401k and IRA contributions? I feel good right now and donít plan on going anywhere for awhile but I need to be realistic that reaching retirement age isnít in my favor.
ē If something were to happen to me, I want to leave as much behind as possible for my wife and unborn kids.  I donít know what I want as far as advice on this one but I just wanted to put this out there.
ē I have an expensive diet (organic, gluten free, etc) now as a result of cancer.  Iím not going to change that, itís non-negotiable as itís the only thing that I think has been showing any results for me.  Do you have any ideas to lower our food costs?  I try to eat organic as much as possible.  Iím gluten free, dairy free, and only eat things with no added sugar or low glycemic sweeteners like stevia and agave.  Translation: expensive.
ē This isn't just because I have brain cancer but it's more important because of that.  Both my wife and I are typical 30 year olds and don't have wills, life insurance, etc.  What do we need to take care of getting done in this department before the twins get here?  Should I be doing anything additional since I have brain cancer?
ē On the topic of life insurance, is there anything I can do now or has this ship sailed?


A snapshot of our financials is below.  Let me know if you need anymore information:

Assets:
Cash: $65,000 (wife has an additional $50k in cash)
401k: $84,000 (wife doesnít have a 401k)
Roth IRA: $27,400 (wife has an additional $50k in her IRA)
Life Insurance: $68,000 - It's just the puny standard life insurance my employer offers that is 1x my base salary.  I obviously didn't think something like this would happen to me so I never allotted for a higher amount.  My employer has options that go up to 8x but I already tried to raise it and they needed some medical documents filled out for an increase to even 2x salary, so that obviously wasn't going to work.

Liabilities:
Credit Cards: $0
Student Loans: $6,800 @ 2.1%.  Since the interest rate is so low, Iím just planning on paying the minimum until itís paid off.
As a side note, I paid of $100k+ in undergrad loans and paid for grad school in cash which I graduated from in 2013.  So that's why my assets are low.

Income:
Me: $70k + commission + bonus
2013: $150,000 (I had one very large commission that made it higher, this was an anamoly)
2014: $128,000
2015: I was told in my year end comp discussion to budget  on $115,000 for 2015.
Social Security Benefits: If I were to pass after they got here, my unborn kids would get $2,012/month through SSI.  My wife is eligble for the same amount but since I have a maximum benefit of $4,696/month she would only get $672.

My Wife: $70k in 2013.  She made about the same, maybe a little more in 2014.  She works for two different companies.  It's different every week but I'd say it's usually 3 days from home each week and 2 outside of home on average.  She's trying to increase the work from home for after the twins get here.

Expenses (monthly):
Rent: $2,100 Ė We live in NYC and this is actually a pretty incredible price for Manhattan.  Our place is rent regulated Ė all of our friends pay about double what we do.  Thereís no way we could improve on this and we need to be in Manhattan.
Cell Phone: $160 Ė I know we can and need to get this way down and Iím totally open to suggestions.  We are on AT&T now, so a company that would allow us to bring our iPhones over is preferable.  Another requirement is that they have to use AT&T or Verizonís networks Ė Sprint and T-mobile reception is spotty outside of the city.  For reference, our average monthly use in 2014 for 2 lines: 1,428 minutes, 318 texts, 3.34GB data.
Internet: $57 Ė Sure this seems high but there arenít other options available to us.
Electricity/Heat: $115 (average monthly cost in 2014)
Netflix & Hulu: $16 Ė we donít have cable.
Groceries: $376
Takeout/Restaurants: $400 Ė I know this is an enormous waste and needs to be cut dramatically.  Bad habit.
Laundry/Dry Cleaning: $44
Medical/Dental/Vision Insurance: $476 Ė This is for both of us.  Itís the high end plan that my employer offers.  I wonít be changing this because I need to be on the plan with the lowest out of pocket maximum due to brain cancer.  For context, I hit my out of pocket maximum on January 2nd last year because I was in radiation and that shit is expensive.  The MRI and consultation that I have with my oncologist every quarter is about $6k.
Subway: $112 Ė unlimited monthly
Taxi/Uber: $50 Ė I know this is a huge waste but this is mainly used for going to my hospital which is across the city and is a trek on public transit.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: homehandymum on January 25, 2015, 10:38:26 PM
Hi Acg.  Hopefully someone more local to you than I can help with the budgetting for the babies and the house question.

What I can chime in on is the diet :)  I have a friend whose husband has recurring cancer in his jaw and is basically on a no-sugar, very low carb, ketogenic diet, complicated by him only having half a jaw (so needs to be liquid or very mushy).  At least one (and usually two) of his meals every day is a coconut cream smoothie, using a whole can of coconut cream (or coconut milk - but not coconut water) plus whatever else he's putting into it that day.  Bulk purchasing can make these cans *really* cheap. 

Best of luck
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Goldielocks on January 25, 2015, 10:58:21 PM
Hi Acg,

I like the fact that you are looking long term in your planning horizon.   Don't ignore a full life as a real possibility, especially if you are showing positive signs.

My Brother in law has a rare blood recessive genetic disorder, and doctors predicted he would not live to 26-30 years old.  So he and Sis decided on kids early, and work takes a backstage to ensuring they have very nice vacations, and lots of the "good things" while kids are growing up.  Neither have been very career minded.  Him partly because he has full medical benefits at work, and gets tired easily, so did not try to find a "career" job byond 6 months at the local college (he works in a factory with his dad), and she is a part time Admin assistant.  Their savings (I think) is a life insurance policy they took out before he was fully diagnosed, based on some the relatives health back in the "old" country.

Guess what?   

He is living longer than the next oldest person with this disorder ever did.   And the couple of others around his age (a little younger with lesser forms) with the same thing are also mostly surviving it.

He seems actually in pretty decent health, when not trying alternative invasive medical treatments,  and is able to do a lot more things than some of my friends, so I would guess he will be watching the kids graduate, for certain.   

And I have no idea how they will live out the rest of their years at this income level.

So, other than ensuring you have a HUGE emergency fund, good for a year + of living costs, or expensive co-pays or whatever, keep planning on life happening as it normally would.  (okay, minus the non MMM assumption that income will always be increasing so more debt is always OK).

To do this - keep you monthly costs low -- buy a place smaller than what you want now, but what you will want if income is reduced, etc. 
Accept graciously any gifts or support that your family and community want to help you with for the twins.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: frugaldrummer on January 26, 2015, 12:23:59 AM
First, congratulations on the twins!  Don't go overboard buying kid stuff, see what you can get used from friends, family, craigslist....they outgrow stuff so quickly, and you don't need half the crap they sell in those baby stores.

Second...have you looked into cannabis oil? Low in THC (so doesn't make you high) but high in cannabinoids (which do show anti cancer effects in the lab). Also check out a book called Anti-cancer written by a physician who had a brain tumor. 

Don't buy a house if you have to stay in NYC and have such a great deal on your apartment.

As for your dietary needs, take a look at the Paleo diet website marksdailyapple.com.  I'm pretty sure there's posts there about keeping food costs down.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Spondulix on January 26, 2015, 01:56:01 AM
This may not sound very Mustachian, but have you considered taking a vacation before the kids are born and while your wife can still travel? Regardless of your health, having twins will probably make it difficult (financially and logistically) to travel for quite a while.

Is your company the type where co-workers could donate vacation days to you? Last year my sister lost a good friend/co-worker to a brain tumor, and in the years leading up, others at the company donated sick/vacation days so that she could spend extra time with family, vacation, etc. Hopefully you're on the far, far end of that 30 year spectrum (or beyond), but you have to take into consideration the opportunities that you have now.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: sarah8001 on January 26, 2015, 02:43:29 AM
Wow, you have a great attitude.
My first thought is that 70k will outright buy a house in some parts of the nation. I know you need to be in NYC right now, but what about later in life? Since there's a pretty good chance that your wife will be a single parent at some point, owning a house outright in a low COL area might make that a lot easier. Another thought would be what she would want her life to look like at that point. Does her current career make enough money to support her and at least two kids? Maybe she would like to work from home or work part time. Switching careers now could make a huge difference in what life would be like later for her and your children. And if you live much longer than predicted, it only gets better because you get to spend more time with her and your family.
And I actually think your food budget is pretty reasonable considering your dietary restrictions. Eating out is pretty high though, and cutting that would help. I also wouldn't sweat the taxi rides. The eating out is definitely your low hanging fruit. Having a chronic or terminal illness is one of the best reasons to buy time I've ever heard.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Goldielocks on January 26, 2015, 02:54:25 AM
This may not sound very Mustachian, but have you considered taking a vacation before the kids are born and while your wife can still travel? Regardless of your health, having twins will probably make it difficult (financially and logistically) to travel for quite a while.



This is pretty bad advice, IMO.   Maybe a staycation,  or focus something in town that you both like to do...   
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: lhamo on January 26, 2015, 02:56:58 AM
A few things that aren't clear from your original post that might help us give better/more targeted advice:

1)  Do you have any kind of life insurance through your employer, etc.  Probably can't get it now, but there are a few types that

2)  How many years of SSI credits do you have?  You might want to go in to the Social Security office and talk with them about what the survivor benefits would be for your wife/kids.  Many people are unaware of how this benefit works -- it is basically like life insurance, at least as long as your kids are in K-12 school, as long as you have earned enough credits to qualify for it.

3)  Does your wife currently work as well?  What is her income?  Is she planning to continue to work after the kids come?  CHildcare in NY is insanely expensive, so might not be worth it.

4)  Do you or she have family elsewhere where she could relocate if she were a single mom?  It might be easier to make it on a single income + survivor benefits in a less expensive place, especially if family can help with housing or childcare.

I would NOT be thinking about buying property in NYC in your situation.  Your rent situation is golden and you don't want to saddle your wife with a mortgage she can't pay on her own without your income.

NYC is AMAZING for getting great kid stuff cheap if you put the word out.  Nobody has the space to store baby things.  Let everyone in your network know you are expecting twins, facing a scary medical diagnosis, and would love to take their unwanted baby stuff off their hands.  You'll have more than you know what to do with in no time.

You can get a lot of paleoish stuff at Costco for great prices.  Coconut oil, organic meat and eggs, nuts, etc.

Don't pay off the student loan early unless your wife is a co-signer on it.  She won't be responsible for the debt unless she co-signed.

If you don't make it to retirement age your retirement accounts can be rolled over to your wife (or, eventually, to your kids).  You'll need to weigh the current tax benefits against the long-term cashflow needs to figure out what it makes sense to do now versus upping your emergency fund.  Roth IRA contributions can be tapped without penalty and therefore can serve as a backup emergency fund.  I would also aim to have a good amount in cash, but be sure you understand how Medicaid works in case you ever get to the point where you are not able to work -- I think retirement accounts are safe, whereas everything else needs to get spent down before you can qualify for Medicaid.  A social worker at the hospital might be able to explain how it all works.

I am really impressed by your attitude and foresight in dealing with this.  Great news that the tumor has shrunk so much.  Hope you stay in good health and have many months and years ahead with your wife and babies.


Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: lhamo on January 26, 2015, 02:58:41 AM
PS:  Talk with your HR person about how you might want to adjust your tax withholding now to ensure you aren't having too much taken out -- the two new dependents will help you at tax time.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Spondulix on January 26, 2015, 04:29:48 AM
This may not sound very Mustachian, but have you considered taking a vacation before the kids are born and while your wife can still travel? Regardless of your health, having twins will probably make it difficult (financially and logistically) to travel for quite a while.



This is pretty bad advice, IMO.   Maybe a staycation,  or focus something in town that you both like to do...
My suggestion wasn't my own opinion - I was sharing the experience of someone who actually died from a brain tumor. She traveled to Mexico during chemo, bought a house (thinking she could live there years or not even survive til closing). I think she was even planning a wedding to her longtime boyfriend, despite both of them knowing she had a tumor. She was probably creating more problems for her survivors than she was preparing for her death, but no one cared because she was ALIVE. There is a point where living life can be more important than being practical... And it's not our place to make that judgement.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: MrsPete on January 26, 2015, 06:32:01 AM
Again, you really have a positive attitude in the face of challenges.  That's definitely worthy of praise!

I think you're right to keep your grocery bill at its current stage, given that it's making a real difference for you.

About the house:  WHY do you want to own a house?  You say you're paying so much less than everyone else in Manhatten, why not stay there?  I think it's wise to keep in the back of your mind, "What if my wife were a single parent of twins?"  OR, "What if my wife were caring for both me and twins?"  A house would involve more work for her -- upkeep of a yard, replacement of a roof occasionally.  If you feel the need to own property, I'd suggest a condo.  Definitely get mortgage insurance that would pay off the house if you were to die. 

Continuing that thought:  Do you intend to stay in Manhatten?  As someone else said, you could buy a house with the cash you have somewhere else in the country. 

On other topics:

Looking into SSI is a good idea; you'll qualify even if you don't have the years of employment.  Social Security isn't JUST for the elderly; it also encompasses disability and children who've lost their parents.  One of my uncles died young, and his children each received a Social Security check until they turned 18 (or until they finished high school? -- not quite sure, since those two things tend to gang together).  Look into how much your wife will qualify for and how to apply. 


Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Pigeon on January 26, 2015, 06:51:33 AM
The takeout is the obvious thing to cut out of your current budget.

If it were my family, I would concentrate on making your wife employable, if she isn't working now.  Since you don't have her salary included in your budget, it looks like maybe she is not?  If that's the case, if I were her, I'd be thinking about how to make myself as marketable as possible.  You don't say why you need to stay in NYC.  If it is because you have relatives who can help with childcare, that would be a great reason to stay.  Otherwise, if she's not working now, I'd be looking at some type of career that would be portable, should she want to move to a lower COL area in the future.

Is there Aldi in NYC?  They have a lot of organic options now, and are pretty inexpensive.

I wish you the best.  I'm a cancer survivor myself, and completely understand and agree that you have to have the best medical plan you can have right now.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: boarder42 on January 26, 2015, 06:53:31 AM
i would like to hear so elaboration on the diet you're following... i assume a forks over knives type diet. It may not be in this thread but a 50% shrinkage when doctors say western medicine hasnt a solution and you just modified your diet.  Thats pretty awesome and seems to mirror the Forks over knives stories/philosophy.  I don't have any forms of cancer currently.  but it seems to be something that will just become a part of life so any information you could provide or even if you would start a journal on what you're doing how you got there etc.  could help others in the future. 
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Acg on January 26, 2015, 07:47:51 AM
Thanks for all of the responses so far.  They're making me realize how much information I left out.  I'm a little busy right now but I'll write back with a lot more info and edit the original post as well.  Thank you so much for all of the advice.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: MandalayVA on January 26, 2015, 07:51:12 AM
Definitely look into SSI.  My mother died when I was 12 and I got SSI checks until I turned 18.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: former player on January 26, 2015, 11:34:50 AM
Congrats on the twins, bummer about the brain cancer.

My top tip would be: don't complicate your life more than you need to.  Your job, your marriage, the illness and the twins will be plenty to manage, you do not need to add the stress and expense of buying a house.

Keeping your savings in cash is itself a risk, as it loses value year on year.  If you are concerned about the risk of investing in equities for capital gain, you might try looking into investing in equities for their dividend returns - there are a few people here who do that (spoonman has a journal including his recent retirement on the proceeds of dividend investing).  Also, drip feeding some of the savings from that nice income you have into the equities market over time would spread out the risk as against putting in a lump sum all at one time.

Best of luck.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: TheOfficeLady on January 26, 2015, 11:55:19 AM
As someone who had a life threatening medical condition for awhile, I really want to commend you for thinking ahead and making emotionally difficult decisions. It can be hard to do so. You are clearly a really responsible and caring husband and Dad. I will also caution you that sometimes tumors can cause memory issues and/or fatigue. If you notice it happening there are occupational therapists who specialize in helping with this issue. Sometimes people do live longer than they are told they will. Wishing you all the best.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Shade00 on January 26, 2015, 12:12:12 PM
Keep on fighting the good fight. I certainly hope you get 30 or more years.

I recommend you switch your phones to Cricket. Cricket is owned by AT&T and uses the AT&T network. You can have both phones on Cricket for $70/month. You can upgrade/downgrade plans during the month should you need more data.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: MayDay on January 26, 2015, 12:33:10 PM
My uncle did his cancer treatment at MSK in NYC.  I don't know if that is where you are going, but best of luck either way. 

I agree your groceries are reasonable, just cut your take-out 50$ or so every month until it's around 100 a month.  Definitely DEFINITELY get some freezer meals made up now so they are ready if your wife suddenly goes on bed rest, or for when the babies are first home, or whatever.  If you need help with stuff that would fit your diet, start a new post with specifics.  Lots of people will have ideas.

I have a strong family history of cancer, and it agree with the previous recommendation of the book Anticancer.  The dr. who wrote it had brain cancer, and initially treated it with the std. western protocol, and relapsed, and since then has treated it with diet (combined with western med) with much greater success.  It sounds like you may already be doing a lot of those things, but you might pick up some new ideas. 
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Acg on January 26, 2015, 02:37:16 PM
Second...have you looked into cannabis oil? Low in THC (so doesn't make you high) but high in cannabinoids (which do show anti cancer effects in the lab). Also check out a book called Anti-cancer written by a physician who had a brain tumor.

I have and everything I have read for cancer is that you need the variety that is higher in THC (not CBD) so unfortunately it does get you high.

And yeah, I read Anticnacer shortly after I was diagnosed.  It was the inspiration for me making all the changes.  I love it!


This may not sound very Mustachian, but have you considered taking a vacation before the kids are born and while your wife can still travel? Regardless of your health, having twins will probably make it difficult (financially and logistically) to travel for quite a while.

Is your company the type where co-workers could donate vacation days to you? Last year my sister lost a good friend/co-worker to a brain tumor, and in the years leading up, others at the company donated sick/vacation days so that she could spend extra time with family, vacation, etc. Hopefully you're on the far, far end of that 30 year spectrum (or beyond), but you have to take into consideration the opportunities that you have now.

We're planning a "babymoon" as soon as we talk to our OBGYN and get the go ahead on a timeline for travel.  Twins come earlier than singles, so we just want to know when it's safe to travel.

Unfortunately my company does not do that.


Wow, you have a great attitude.
My first thought is that 70k will outright buy a house in some parts of the nation. I know you need to be in NYC right now, but what about later in life? Since there's a pretty good chance that your wife will be a single parent at some point, owning a house outright in a low COL area might make that a lot easier. Another thought would be what she would want her life to look like at that point. Does her current career make enough money to support her and at least two kids? Maybe she would like to work from home or work part time. Switching careers now could make a huge difference in what life would be like later for her and your children. And if you live much longer than predicted, it only gets better because you get to spend more time with her and your family.

So the reason for us staying in NYC is that my wife's mother lives in the city as well so we need to be here for the free child care.  I also goto Memorial Sloan Kettering, so it's nice to be in the same city as my hospital but that's not the main reason for it.  The free child care is why.

I can't believe I didn't mention this in my original post (it's what I like to call a brain tumor fart).  My wife does a couple different things but works from home 3-4 days a week.  She does pretty well for herself and made $70k in 2013.  We haven't done the math yet for 2014 but I'm going to guess it was a little more than that.

Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Acg on January 26, 2015, 03:19:33 PM
A few things that aren't clear from your original post that might help us give better/more targeted advice:

1)  Do you have any kind of life insurance through your employer, etc.  Probably can't get it now, but there are a few types that

2)  How many years of SSI credits do you have?  You might want to go in to the Social Security office and talk with them about what the survivor benefits would be for your wife/kids.  Many people are unaware of how this benefit works -- it is basically like life insurance, at least as long as your kids are in K-12 school, as long as you have earned enough credits to qualify for it.

3)  Does your wife currently work as well?  What is her income?  Is she planning to continue to work after the kids come?  CHildcare in NY is insanely expensive, so might not be worth it.

4)  Do you or she have family elsewhere where she could relocate if she were a single mom?  It might be easier to make it on a single income + survivor benefits in a less expensive place, especially if family can help with housing or childcare.

You can get a lot of paleoish stuff at Costco for great prices.  Coconut oil, organic meat and eggs, nuts, etc.

If you don't make it to retirement age your retirement accounts can be rolled over to your wife (or, eventually, to your kids).  You'll need to weigh the current tax benefits against the long-term cashflow needs to figure out what it makes sense to do now versus upping your emergency fund.  Roth IRA contributions can be tapped without penalty and therefore can serve as a backup emergency fund.  I would also aim to have a good amount in cash, but be sure you understand how Medicaid works in case you ever get to the point where you are not able to work -- I think retirement accounts are safe, whereas everything else needs to get spent down before you can qualify for Medicaid.  A social worker at the hospital might be able to explain how it all works.

As far as life insurance, I'm only 30 years old so I didn't have anything besides the standard 1x salary which is peanuts since it doesn't take into consideration my commission at all.

I have no idea about how many years of SSI credits I have.  I've been working full time at the same employer for 7.5 years since graduating from college - can you tell from that at all?  This is something I'm going to look into this week though for sure.  I didn't even think about this, thank you.  It will put me at ease a little bit to that my kids will be getting a check if I should pass.  Is that money able to be spent by my wife for living expenses or does it have to go into a college fund or something similar?

I just mentioned this before.  My wife freelances at a couple different places and made about $70k last year.  The nice thing for her is that this allows her to be home with the kids.  Her mom also lives in NYC and only works until noon, so she plans on coming over afterwards to help out and give her a break.

As I said before, her mom lives in the city.  My family all lives about an hour outside of the city where it's cheaper.  We were talking about looking for homes outside of the city so she would be willing to relocate but it will be in a suburb close to the city so the savings wouldn't be too much.

Good call on costco.  I never thought about going there since the NYC location is in an area that I would have thought would have been insanely annoying to get to but I just found out after looking into it that there is a bus pretty close to me that goes right there and is probably a 15 minute trip.  THANK YOU!

Thanks for the advice on the retirement accounts.  So are you saying that if I were to pass and my 401k and my ROTH IRA were to goto my wife, that she would have to keep them in their current vehicles?  Or could she withdraw from those accounts at the time penalty free?
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Acg on January 26, 2015, 03:32:26 PM
About the house:  WHY do you want to own a house?  You say you're paying so much less than everyone else in Manhatten, why not stay there?  I think it's wise to keep in the back of your mind, "What if my wife were a single parent of twins?"  OR, "What if my wife were caring for both me and twins?"  A house would involve more work for her -- upkeep of a yard, replacement of a roof occasionally.  If you feel the need to own property, I'd suggest a condo.  Definitely get mortgage insurance that would pay off the house if you were to die. 

Continuing that thought:  Do you intend to stay in Manhatten?  As someone else said, you could buy a house with the cash you have somewhere else in the country. 

On other topics:

Looking into SSI is a good idea; you'll qualify even if you don't have the years of employment.  Social Security isn't JUST for the elderly; it also encompasses disability and children who've lost their parents.  One of my uncles died young, and his children each received a Social Security check until they turned 18 (or until they finished high school? -- not quite sure, since those two things tend to gang together).  Look into how much your wife will qualify for and how to apply.

I wanted to buy a house (outside of NYC) because I was sick of throwing away my money every month.  I wanted to build some equity.  Maybe my pride got in my way and I need to be more realistic.

We intend to stay in Manhattan for 2 more years or so and then figure it out from there.

Thanks for the words about SS. I hadn't thought about that.  I put some details in the previous post, do you have anything to add with that additional information in regards to the kind of benefits they could get?
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Acg on January 26, 2015, 03:36:00 PM
Is there Aldi in NYC?  They have a lot of organic options now, and are pretty inexpensive.

I'd never even heard of Aldi before so I assumed it wasn't here but it's actually right next to the Costco that I mentioned earlier.  I thought it was in a super annoying place to get to but it's probably a 15 minute bus ride away.  What do you like to get there?  Im getting pumped.  Two new shopping choices, VAMOS.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Acg on January 26, 2015, 03:45:36 PM
i would like to hear so elaboration on the diet you're following... i assume a forks over knives type diet. It may not be in this thread but a 50% shrinkage when doctors say western medicine hasnt a solution and you just modified your diet.  Thats pretty awesome and seems to mirror the Forks over knives stories/philosophy.  I don't have any forms of cancer currently.  but it seems to be something that will just become a part of life so any information you could provide or even if you would start a journal on what you're doing how you got there etc.  could help others in the future.

So really high level, I'm gluten and dairy free and don't eat anything with added sugar.  I also eat organic whenever possible or at least the "dirty dozen" (see below link).  I also only eat grass fed and organic chicken and beef.  Only wild seafood - farm raised is bad.

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ALB00035/The-Dirty-Dozen-Foods-You-Should-Always-Buy-Organic.html

So it's not a "Forks Over Knives" diet because I eat animal protein so it's not plant based.  With that being said, I do enjoy veggies and even eat vegan sometimes - I just enjoy meat too much and was never instructed by my nutritionist to get off the meat.  I've read about alkaline diets but I would fail miserably at that.  Ketogenic just sounds disgusting to me as well.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Acg on January 26, 2015, 03:48:02 PM
Definitely look into SSI.  My mother died when I was 12 and I got SSI checks until I turned 18.

Did your dad get those checks or did they go into some kind of trust for you?
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: mxt0133 on January 26, 2015, 03:50:21 PM
@ACG - Go to the Social Security website https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.do and create an account to see what your survivor benefits will be for your family.

Your kids and spouse that is a caretaker of your child will be eligible for survivor benefits, with family benefits capped at 150-180% of your full retirement benefits.  For example if your current benefits at full retirement age is $2700 a month, then your surviving child is eligible to get $2000 a month up to 18 years old (19 if they are still in secondary school), your surviving spouse that who is caring for your child is eligible to get $2000, with a family benefit cap of $4700 a month.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Acg on January 26, 2015, 04:01:48 PM
Keep on fighting the good fight. I certainly hope you get 30 or more years.

I recommend you switch your phones to Cricket. Cricket is owned by AT&T and uses the AT&T network. You can have both phones on Cricket for $70/month. You can upgrade/downgrade plans during the month should you need more data.

Is the coverage exactly the same as AT&T?  Do they throttle at all?  Can we BYOD our iphones?  Do they need to be unlocked or can they be the AT&T version?
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Acg on January 26, 2015, 04:03:24 PM
My uncle did his cancer treatment at MSK in NYC.  I don't know if that is where you are going, but best of luck either way. 

I have a strong family history of cancer, and it agree with the previous recommendation of the book Anticancer.  The dr. who wrote it had brain cancer, and initially treated it with the std. western protocol, and relapsed, and since then has treated it with diet (combined with western med) with much greater success.  It sounds like you may already be doing a lot of those things, but you might pick up some new ideas.

I'm at MSK.  And Anticancer is my inspiration!
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: mxt0133 on January 26, 2015, 04:07:10 PM
I would also look into AirVoice wireless.  Based on our usage, I'm at work with WiFi and don't have a commute where I use a lot of data, my wife is mostly at home or somewhere with the kids with WiFi. 

So we cut our Iphone ATT bills from $130 to about $30 a month on the $10 prepaid monthly plans.  We mostly call and message each other via Google Hangouts, where you just get a Google Voice number. 

It's 4 cents a minute, 2 cents a message, and 6 cents a megabye for data.  My wife is actually in your area and ran out of minutes and we have been able to contact each other with no issues for the past 5-7 days.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Acg on January 26, 2015, 04:10:46 PM
@ACG - Go to the Social Security website https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.do and create an account to see what your survivor benefits will be for your family.

Your kids and spouse that is a caretaker of your child will be eligible for survivor benefits, with family benefits capped at 150-180% of your full retirement benefits.  For example if your current benefits at full retirement age is $2700 a month, then your surviving child is eligible to get $2000 a month up to 18 years old (19 if they are still in secondary school), your surviving spouse that who is caring for your child is eligible to get $2000, with a family benefit cap of $4700 a month.
So I just logged onto the website an it had the below information.  Is this saying that both of my kids and my wife would receive $2,012 a month if I were to pass?

Your child: $2,012 a month
Your spouse who is caring for your child: $2,012 a month
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: mxt0133 on January 26, 2015, 04:24:44 PM
So I just logged onto the website an it had the below information.  Is this saying that both of my kids and my wife would receive $2,012 a month if I were to pass?

Your child: $2,012 a month
Your spouse who is caring for your child: $2,012 a month

Yes each child and spouse is eligible for $2012 a month, but there is cap on family benefits, it is probably around $4500 based on those numbers.  It should be right under the child and spouse figure.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Acg on January 26, 2015, 04:36:17 PM
So I just logged onto the website an it had the below information.  Is this saying that both of my kids and my wife would receive $2,012 a month if I were to pass?

Your child: $2,012 a month
Your spouse who is caring for your child: $2,012 a month

Yes each child and spouse is eligible for $2012 a month, but there is cap on family benefits, it is probably around $4500 based on those numbers.  It should be right under the child and spouse figure.

Sorry, I didn't keep reading.  Poor reading comprehension.  It says $4,696 is the maximum benefit.  Would she get that full amount?  Is it taxed at all?  Thanks again.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: caliq on January 26, 2015, 04:43:22 PM
So I just logged onto the website an it had the below information.  Is this saying that both of my kids and my wife would receive $2,012 a month if I were to pass?

Your child: $2,012 a month
Your spouse who is caring for your child: $2,012 a month

Yes each child and spouse is eligible for $2012 a month, but there is cap on family benefits, it is probably around $4500 based on those numbers.  It should be right under the child and spouse figure.

Sorry, I didn't keep reading.  Poor reading comprehension.  It says $4,696 is the maximum benefit.  Would she get that full amount?  Is it taxed at all?  Thanks again.

$2012 * 3 is larger than $4696, so yes she would get the maximum benefit of $4696.  In terms of taxes, that's a possibility, but it probably wouldn't be.

http://www.irs.gov/Help-&-Resources/Tools-&-FAQs/FAQs-for-Individuals/Frequently-Asked-Tax-Questions-&-Answers/Social-Security-Income/Survivors%27-Benefits/Survivors%27-Benefits
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: MayDay on January 26, 2015, 04:56:21 PM
We just switched to Cricket and used our old Verizon phones.  You can definitely use ATT phones and they also have pretty cheap/free new phones (although obviously the cheap ones aren't fancy) if yours dies.    Apparently they throttle data speed such that it might be hard to stream video but it is 100% fine for web surfing, FB, etc.  We are saving a fortune. 

If you search for Costco threads you will find a bunch of what people buy for good prices.  Off the top of my head, Kerrygold butter, wild caught seafood, many organic fresh veggies (carrots, lettuce, etc) and organic frozen veggies (broccoli, peas, corn, green beans) and some organic frozen fruit, coconut oil, organic EVOO, organic dried fruit like dates, raisins, etc, some organic processed food if you eat tortilla chips, marys gone crackers, etc.  Organic grains like brown rice and quinoa, as well as baking staples like vanilla. 

Obviously in a small NYC apartment you may not be able to store all of that, but most of the above is shockingly cheaper at Costco, with the same or far better quality, compared to regular midwest grocery prices.  I am guessing the price difference will be even more shocking in NYC. 
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: feelingroovy on January 26, 2015, 06:25:09 PM

Sorry, I didn't keep reading.  Poor reading comprehension.  It says $4,696 is the maximum benefit.  Would she get that full amount?  Is it taxed at all?  Thanks again.

$2012 * 3 is larger than $4696, so yes she would get the maximum benefit of $4696.  In terms of taxes, that's a possibility, but it probably wouldn't be.
[/quote]

First, there is a lot of info on the Social Security website.  See this link: http://www.ssa.gov/survivorplan/onyourown.htm

The children will receive income up until they're 18 (or I believe graduated from high school, which ever comes later).  Your wife can use that for living expenses to support them.

Your wife's benefit (the difference between what the two kids get and the family limit) will be phased out if she earns more than a very low limit.   I am not positive about the numbers, but I think it's as low as a $14k limit.  It gets slowly phased out, but the full limits aren't very high.  So if your spouse is still able to earn $70k, she (likely) won't get anything.  Her income does not affect the kids' benefits.

Seriously, call your local social security office.  They're very helpful.

My sister's husband died a couple years ago and I helped her figure some of this out.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: daymare on January 27, 2015, 01:27:54 PM
Quote
Rent: $2,100 Ė We live in NYC and this is actually a pretty incredible price for Manhattan.  Our place is rent regulated Ė all of our friends pay about double what we do.  Thereís no way we could improve on this and we need to be in Manhattan.

Acg - I'll just get straight to the point.  Why in the hell do the two of you want to buy a house in 2-3 years?  You said above that your rent is about half the going market rate.  I'll bet there is no way to buy a comparable place and pay as little as you are paying in rent.  Not to mention, you have to be building your life while keeping an eye on the possibility that your wife will be a single parent in the future.  Your great rental rate is good for the your current lives (close to your MIL & friends), and also good for the future as it leaves your wife with her options open and no real estate mortgage as an albatross around her neck.  Could this home ownership goal be one you're pursuing just because that's what everyone does and it seems good?  I think you should both really think about whether it's the right choice.

Next, you say you've had an income above 100K for the last few years, and your wife brought in about 70K last year (and presumably similar amount before?).  Where is all this money going?  Your assets are so low, that I frankly don't really buy your listed expenses.  Do they really show the full picture?  My big recommendation is to track every single purchase you make - either old-school in a spreadsheet or automatically via accounts in mint.  I think you really need to do that to make big moves forward and have an accurate picture of your lifestyle.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: Acg on January 27, 2015, 04:07:05 PM
Acg - I'll just get straight to the point.  Why in the hell do the two of you want to buy a house in 2-3 years?  You said above that your rent is about half the going market rate.  I'll bet there is no way to buy a comparable place and pay as little as you are paying in rent.  Not to mention, you have to be building your life while keeping an eye on the possibility that your wife will be a single parent in the future.  Your great rental rate is good for the your current lives (close to your MIL & friends), and also good for the future as it leaves your wife with her options open and no real estate mortgage as an albatross around her neck.  Could this home ownership goal be one you're pursuing just because that's what everyone does and it seems good?  I think you should both really think about whether it's the right choice.

Like I mentioned before, perhaps the goal for home purchase is a little selfish but part of the reasoning for it is also because our apartment is a 1 bedroom and while it's big enough now, it will be too small when the twins get to be a few years old and are moving around.  At the same time, I don't think about the possibility of my wife being a single mother and how much of a burden it will be.  I'm realizing now that this is not a good idea.  I'm going to edit the original post to reflect this change in heart.

Next, you say you've had an income above 100K for the last few years, and your wife brought in about 70K last year (and presumably similar amount before?).  Where is all this money going?  Your assets are so low, that I frankly don't really buy your listed expenses.  Do they really show the full picture?  My big recommendation is to track every single purchase you make - either old-school in a spreadsheet or automatically via accounts in mint.  I think you really need to do that to make big moves forward and have an accurate picture of your lifestyle.

Two things:

1 - Before those 2 years, I wasn't making over $100k.

2 - In the last 7 years, I have been fixated on paying off my student loans.  Over that time, I paid off $100k in private undergrad loans and paid in cash for my grad school program which I graduated from in 2013.

Our expenses and income that I provided are accurate.  I've just been focussed on paying off the cost of schooling.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: daymare on January 27, 2015, 05:59:18 PM
Quote
Two things:

1 - Before those 2 years, I wasn't making over $100k.

2 - In the last 7 years, I have been fixated on paying off my student loans.  Over that time, I paid off $100k in private undergrad loans and paid in cash for my grad school program which I graduated from in 2013.

Thanks for the clarification - that makes a lot of sense & gives me a clearer understanding of your financial history.  Congrats on paying off all that debt!

Quote
At the same time, I don't think about the possibility of my wife being a single mother and how much of a burden it will be.  I'm realizing now that this is not a good idea.  I'm going to edit the original post to reflect this change in heart.

For some more thoughts about housing, check out this hilarious article: http://jlcollinsnh.com/2013/05/29/why-your-house-is-a-terrible-investment/
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on January 27, 2015, 08:02:29 PM
I just edited the first post to include the additional details from all of the questions and I thought of a few more questions.  Any insight on these?  Thanks.

ē What's the mustachian suggestion for college savings?  What's your take on 529's?  I don't want to get into the details but I can open one up for each of them at no cost at a reputable asset manager.
ē This isn't just because I have brain cancer but it's more important because of that.  Both my wife and I are typical 30 year olds and don't have wills, life insurance, etc.  What do we need to take care of getting done in this department before the twins get here?  Should I be doing anything additional since I have brain cancer?
ē On the topic of life insurance, is there anything I can do now or has this ship sailed?
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Blonde Lawyer on January 27, 2015, 09:18:17 PM
Life insurance - you can probably only be covered by a group plan through an employer.  That means if your employer doesn't offer a higher option your only other choice is to go to an employer that does or have your wife go to an employer that offers life insurance to spouses (rare, but they exist).  Other than that, I'm guessing that ship has sailed.

You need to see an estate planning lawyer stat.  You want a durable health care power of attorney / living will.  It will say who can make decisions on your behalf and what your wishes are.  In some states, certain wishes (do not resuscitate for example) need additional signatures, like from your physician.  You should have a document that states who you want to have custody of your kids if you and your wife pass before they turn 18.  This person would obviously have to accept this appointment so its good to list a couple.  (One reason I'm glad my husband and I don't want kids right now is I have no idea who I would choose for this.)  You should also speak with an attorney about any estate tax planning you could be doing and ways to avoid probate.  For example, accounts could be placed in a trust or your wife can be added as a joint owner.  A good attorney should be able to give you this advice in an hour and spend another hour on the documents.  This should cost you well under $1000.  Oh, if you really trust your wife, consider giving her a full power of attorney, not just a health care one.  Limited powers of attorney and health care ones sometimes require a finding that you are incompetent to make decisions.  That can be hard limit to hit.  With brain tumors or other things that effect cognition, usually the people close to you see you have changed before you reach that standard.  You really need to speak with an attorney but it would be nice to have a document that let your wife sign for you while you were hospitalized.  It would be even better if she could make decisions for you when SHE realizes you are having problems not the court but I don't know exactly how that document would need to be structured.  Not my area of law.

On the diet thing, I just want to give you kudos.  I have Crohn's and was medicated for years never reaching remission.  I went dairy free and gluten free on my own and hit remission and cut my meds way down.  I also have another disease that causes deep skin cysts that have to be surgically removed.  My doctor swears low carb, dairy free, gluten free, fake junk free diet cures them or stops new ones from forming.  I have had great success with this diet.  One other diet to consider is "no nightshades."  While researching my diet issues we realized my husband has a hard time with nightshades.  These include tomato, potato (but not sweet potato), paprika, eggplant and tobacco. 

I wish you and your family the best!!



Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: mxt0133 on January 27, 2015, 09:24:17 PM
Check if your company provides legal service as a benefit.  Where you pay $10-$15 a month and have access to attorneys for wills, driving violation, and adoption.  Better than paying $1-$2k for a will and estate plan.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on January 27, 2015, 09:30:21 PM
I wish you and your family the best!!

Thank you very much for all of the helpful info.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: lhamo on January 27, 2015, 11:34:23 PM
This website has some great suggestions/templates for the kinds of documents you might want to start preparing to have on hand if your medical condition deteriorates.  The woman who founded it lost her spouse suddenly to a tragic bicycle accident, and developed the website to help ensure other survivors wouldn't have to go through the hell she went through trying to get finances, etc. worked out.

http://getyourshittogether.org/

Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Pigeon on January 28, 2015, 06:06:02 AM
I think seeing a lawyer who specializes in estate planning is worth it in your situation.  My employer has a legal services plan.  It was OK for making our very simple will, but the lawyer we had to use was certainly not a specialist.

I'm a breast cancer survivor, cancer free ten years out from treatment.  I have some life insurance from my employer, and recently got a quote from my insurance company.  It would have been over $800/month for not a gigantic amount of coverage.  Like the pp said, I suspect that unless you can get it through work, you aren't going to have much luck.

Re 529s, the contributions are deductible on your NYS taxes.  For our situation, that makes it worthwhile.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Blonde Lawyer on January 28, 2015, 09:09:44 AM
I also meant to add (and this is good advice for everyone) know your state's intestate laws.  This means what will happen to your money, by statute, if you die without a will.  Most people assume it goes to their spouse but in many states this is not true.  It could be a percent to your parents, a percent to your siblings, a percent to your kids, and a percent to your spouse.  If you like your state's intestate distribution then it is less urgent to have a will, but still worthwhile to see an estate planning lawyer to plan stuff is a way to avoid taxes, creditors, hold ups.

A lot of people would want their money to go to their spouse but when they learn the intestate law gives a chunk to their parents, they then feel bad writing a will that would effectively disinherit their parents.  I recommend figuring out what you want before you see the attorney or look up the law.  It is easier to know what "you" want rather than what the law suggests that way.  Also some states have laws that you must leave a certain percentage to your spouse/kids.  Also good to know.

Lastly, from a practical perspective, consider making your wishes known to your spouse.  This is a hard conversation to have but is actually required by some law enforcement jobs.  Do you want to be cremated or buried? Donated to science? Donated organs? Big funeral or small ceremony? Many people spend a lot of money on post-death events because they feel they have to in order to show their love for the deceased.  My husband has made it very clear he wants the cheapest pine box and the money in my pocket, not the funeral homes.  Any special songs? People you want to read? Pall bearers? Do you want her to remarry?  (I would suggest if the answer is no that you DONT tell her that but if the answer is yes, it can be very helpful for her to know that.)

Again, the goal is you live many many many more years and all of this planning is unnecessary but it is better to have it and not need it.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: CommonCents on January 28, 2015, 10:32:44 AM
Social Security Benefits: If I were to pass after they got here, my unborn kids would get $2,012/month through SSI.  My wife is eligble for the same amount but since I have a maximum benefit of $4,696/month she would only get $672.

I understand that there are questions regarding posthumously conceived kids (e.g. a widow becoming pregnant with frozen sperm years after the husband passed), but your kids don't fall into that category.  Why do you think they wouldn't get benefits if you died before they were born?
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on January 28, 2015, 11:10:27 AM
Social Security Benefits: If I were to pass after they got here, my unborn kids would get $2,012/month through SSI.  My wife is eligble for the same amount but since I have a maximum benefit of $4,696/month she would only get $672.

I understand that there are questions regarding posthumously conceived kids (e.g. a widow becoming pregnant with frozen sperm years after the husband passed), but your kids don't fall into that category.  Why do you think they wouldn't get benefits if you died before they were born?

Maybe I phrased that incorrectly but I hadn't actually  even thought about how you interpreted my comments.  I'm going to call SS and get this confirmed along with some other things but it's nice to know before calling. Are you saying that if I were to pass before my kids were born that they would still be entitled to the monthly SS benefit? Thanks.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: CommonCents on January 28, 2015, 02:05:35 PM
Social Security Benefits: If I were to pass after they got here, my unborn kids would get $2,012/month through SSI.  My wife is eligble for the same amount but since I have a maximum benefit of $4,696/month she would only get $672.

I understand that there are questions regarding posthumously conceived kids (e.g. a widow becoming pregnant with frozen sperm years after the husband passed), but your kids don't fall into that category.  Why do you think they wouldn't get benefits if you died before they were born?

Maybe I phrased that incorrectly but I hadn't actually  even thought about how you interpreted my comments.  I'm going to call SS and get this confirmed along with some other things but it's nice to know before calling. Are you saying that if I were to pass before my kids were born that they would still be entitled to the monthly SS benefit? Thanks.

I can't guarantee it, but I did find this:
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OP_Home/rulings/oasi/53/SSR68-22-oasi-53.html

It's basically saying the unborn child was "in being" prior to the death and the mother/unborn kid were relying on him for support prior to his death.  (The relying on question is likely due to the illegitimacy but this isn't my area of expertise.)  If you google, you'll see a lot of debate and a supreme court decision that rules that a widow who got pregnant a year or two after the death of her husband from cancer was not entitled to SS benefits for the kid.

That said, your state may interpret it differently, and I don't know how that would affect the federal benefit.  I don't think so it would change matters though - I think most of the debates are over pregnancies after the death (however wanted by the deceased they were).  Which makes sense.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way, I Have Brain Cancer, Want to Buy a House
Post by: zoltani on January 28, 2015, 02:32:18 PM
[
I have and everything I have read for cancer is that you need the variety that is higher in THC (not CBD) so unfortunately it does get you high.

Many people want to break it down to those two basic components, but there are a variety of cannabinoids and terpenes that work in concert to provide benefits. A lot of this is still not fully understood. 

Research has shown that it can help shrink tumors, and the "unfortunate" side effect can also be a mood enhancer, allowing severely ill patients to actually get up out of bed. When compared with the side effects from other cancer drugs it seems pretty fortunate to me.

If you live in a MMJ state I suggest at least looking into it further.

Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: mxt0133 on January 28, 2015, 05:55:22 PM
Maybe I phrased that incorrectly but I hadn't actually  even thought about how you interpreted my comments.  I'm going to call SS and get this confirmed along with some other things but it's nice to know before calling. Are you saying that if I were to pass before my kids were born that they would still be entitled to the monthly SS benefit? Thanks.

Based on this: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OP_Home/rulings/oasi/53/SSR68-22-oasi-53.html

Your unborn kids, conceived prior to your death, with your wife will be eligible for survivor benefits if you pass before they are born.  I still could call to SS anyway to triple check.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: scrubbyfish on January 28, 2015, 06:55:42 PM
I'm so happy you decided to be proactive with the cancer! A close relative of mine was diagnosed at age 26 with "terminal" brain cancer, and given six months (at best) to live. He is alive and well, and it's been about 17 years. He remains cancer-free.

I, too, believe in the power/impact of diet.

Besides the suggestions above, what I would do is:

1. Move you and your family near to your family's favourite people. This way, you all have lots of support if you need to focus more on health-inducing processes, or if you feel tired at points, and if you die before old age your wife and kids have on-site, immediate support. (I have no known health issue and have done this for me and my son. I just think it's wise for anyone.)

2. Ask around about financial support for dietary needs. Where I am, people with certain disabilities and/or income levels can apply for anywhere from $30/mo to $260/mo for dietary supports, plus extra for some appliances. And that's just the mainstream, government option!

3. You might be able to get life insurance that covers you for anything except brain cancer. I'm a big believer in term life insurance while we have dependent children, so I always hope people will have this before anything comes up. But it might still be worth your having it, in case something else takes you down, which is a possibility for any of us.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Dicey on January 28, 2015, 11:47:05 PM
First of all, you are to be congratulated on your optimistic viewpoint under the circumstances. As a cancer survivor, I know this optimism is a powerful weapon. Next, don't worry about food or cab expenses. You've got bigger fish to fry. The number one priority is to get your estate together asap. I'm hoping you won't need it for years, but there's never going to be a better time to get it done and then you can forget about it.

Finally, grab your life by the balls and enjoy the hell out of it. Not one of us knows exactly how much time we have on this globe. Enjoy every day that's given to you to the fullest (that's why I don't care about your food or cab bills). Try to spend as little money on baby crap as you can and plan to spend every minute possible with your new family. I'd advise avoiding a babymoon and saving the time off for after they are born. Please, please continue posting. Yours is an amazing voice and I hope to hear lots more of it around here for a long time to come.

P.S. I forgot about passwords. Fucking passwords. Make a list of every one of the bastards. Give them to your wife. Devise some sort of scheme that you apply to all of them, so that the ones that require regular updates follow some sort of pattern that your wife can figure out, should she need to, God forbid.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on January 30, 2015, 04:44:27 PM
P.S. I forgot about passwords. Fucking passwords. Make a list of every one of the bastards. Give them to your wife. Devise some sort of scheme that you apply to all of them, so that the ones that require regular updates follow some sort of pattern that your wife can figure out, should she need to, God forbid.

Good call, I hadn't thought about that.  Putting them all in one spreadsheet probably isn't the most secure thing but I'm sure if I name the file something boring like "2015 budget" it will totally deter people.  Totally.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on January 31, 2015, 02:27:08 PM
Here's another question I just thought of.  If I pass away and my wife inherits my IRA, is she able to withdraw the contributions penalty free just like I could?  Or is it different for an inherited IRA?
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: lhamo on January 31, 2015, 03:48:51 PM
Vanguard has a pretty good explanation of the options:

https://personal.vanguard.com/us/whatweoffer/ira/inheritediraspouse

Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Cherry Lane on February 26, 2015, 02:15:19 PM
A lot of comments going thru my head when reading your case study have already been addressed, but I've one that I haven't seen covered yet:

Quote
Life Insurance: $68,000 - It's just the puny standard life insurance my employer offers that is 1x my base salary.  I obviously didn't think something like this would happen to me so I never allotted for a higher amount.  My employer has options that go up to 8x but I already tried to raise it and they needed some medical documents filled out for an increase to even 2x salary, so that obviously wasn't going to work.

Some employer-sponsored life insurance plans allow changes to be made (without physical) at the time of a Qualifying Life Event.  The birth of your children would likely be such a qualifying event.  If you haven't already, you may want to inquire about this.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on February 26, 2015, 03:28:08 PM
A lot of comments going thru my head when reading your case study have already been addressed, but I've one that I haven't seen covered yet:

Quote
Life Insurance: $68,000 - It's just the puny standard life insurance my employer offers that is 1x my base salary.  I obviously didn't think something like this would happen to me so I never allotted for a higher amount.  My employer has options that go up to 8x but I already tried to raise it and they needed some medical documents filled out for an increase to even 2x salary, so that obviously wasn't going to work.

Some employer-sponsored life insurance plans allow changes to be made (without physical) at the time of a Qualifying Life Event.  The birth of your children would likely be such a qualifying event.  If you haven't already, you may want to inquire about this.

I just got excited when I read this so I fired up a chat session with the company that runs our benefits.  I can enroll but I'd have to complete an EOI (Evidence of Information - health statement) that I assume I would fail.  Do you guys think I should just try to apply and see what happens?
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Dicey on February 26, 2015, 09:48:29 PM
Whoa, that's a tough one! After careful consideration, my answer is that you have nothing to lose, provided you are honest in the process. If you withhold info and get a policy, it could be voided in the future.

Some years ago, I wanted to become self employed despite a couple of pre-existing health conditions. I applied to Kaiser Permanente for healthcare. I revealed cancer in my past as well as an ongoing heart condition. I was denied initially, but followed their steps to challenge the decision. I was eventually granted full coverage, but the process was a big PITA.

Except, your situation is so very different. Since your current health status is part of your medical record, you might be offered coverage that pays out only if you die of something other than brain cancer. (Sorry, that sounds terribly harsh.)  If that ends up being the case, is it even worth the money you'd spend on premiums?

Funny, I started out with one opinion, but I think I just convinced myself to vote the other way. Damn, I'm so sorry you're in this position! Even though this is an anonymous forum, I do hope it's helpful to have a safe place to air your concerns and questions. Please keep us posted on your decision.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on February 27, 2015, 05:11:46 AM
Whoa, that's a tough one! After careful consideration, my answer is that you have nothing to lose, provided you are honest in the process. If you withhold info and get a policy, it could be voided in the future.

Some years ago, I wanted to become self employed despite a couple of pre-existing health conditions. I applied to Kaiser Permanente for healthcare. I revealed cancer in my past as well as an ongoing heart condition. I was denied initially, but followed their steps to challenge the decision. I was eventually granted full coverage, but the process was a big PITA.

Except, your situation is so very different. Since your current health status is part of your medical record, you might be offered coverage that pays out only if you die of something other than brain cancer. (Sorry, that sounds terribly harsh.)  If that ends up being the case, is it even worth the money you'd spend on premiums?

Funny, I started out with one opinion, but I think I just convinced myself to vote the other way. Damn, I'm so sorry you're in this position! Even though this is an anonymous forum, I do hope it's helpful to have a safe place to air your concerns and questions. Please keep us posted on your decision.

Thanks.  It has been very helpful to lay this all out there.  My wife is out of her 1st trimester now so I'm starting to think about these things more seriously now.

Another question.  I was discussing opening 529 accounts for the twins with my wife and she asked what happens to that money if they decide not to goto college.  From what I understand we would need to pay a 10% penalty as well as income tax on the earnings accumulated in the account. Are there any other options?  I was looking into UGMA/UTMA Custodial Accounts.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Goldielocks on February 28, 2015, 05:36:12 PM
You can just save money in a non registered account, or something like a Roth, that you have access to withdraw without penalty.

Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Salim on February 28, 2015, 07:53:56 PM
I am so sorry about your condition. It sounds very difficult.

I have autoimmune issues and a more expensive diet, too, including gluten free. Every time I find a new food that's good for me and that I like, it's pretty exciting. Last year I reduced rice consumption because of the arsenic in it. I wanted to switch to quinoa; it's higher in protein and great in stir fries and recipes, but it's about $8 per pound. Good news is I found it in bulk on www.nuts.com at a much better price. 25 lbs. lasts a long time. I have a good food processor (mine is VitaMix) so I can grind quinoa into flour, too. Instead of wheat flour, I mix my own blend of almond, quinoa, and sorghum flours, and sometimes add a little xanthum gum for binder. You can save more money by buying almonds in bulk and grinding your own almond flour, which I do, too. Almond flour also makes a great breading on fish. Sometimes I'll add Bob's Red Mill or another brand of coconut flour to my blend, too. I like my flour blends better than the premixed wheat flour replacements that are often heavy on potato flour or corn starch, which are not very tasty IMHO. I can't eat legumes or bean flour. If bean flour is okay for you, Bob's garfava flour is very tasty.

We were surprised to find that an Ocean State Job Lots store near us carries a large selection of Bob's Red Mill products. The prices are pretty good in general there, although I haven't yet done a careful comparison.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: ClaycordJCA on February 28, 2015, 08:05:27 PM
In addition to a computerized spreadsheet, consider also keeping your passwords in a little notebook. Having experienced the blue screen of death once, I'm happy I kept the information the old fashioned way.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: nanu on February 28, 2015, 08:15:45 PM
P.S. I forgot about passwords. Fucking passwords. Make a list of every one of the bastards. Give them to your wife. Devise some sort of scheme that you apply to all of them, so that the ones that require regular updates follow some sort of pattern that your wife can figure out, should she need to, God forbid.

Good call, I hadn't thought about that.  Putting them all in one spreadsheet probably isn't the most secure thing but I'm sure if I name the file something boring like "2015 budget" it will totally deter people.  Totally.
I didn't read through the entire thread, so pardon me if I'm repeating something someone already said,
but there are services that integrate with your browser that save passwords for you, allow you to generate
random passwords for websites, and automatically fill out passwords for you.
I use one called LastPass that has a Chrome and Firefox version (and possibly other browsers) - I let it generate
almost all the passwords for me, and I only need to remember the master password that allows me to log into the service.
I would recommend checking it out (or similar services, though I only ever used LastPass)
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on March 10, 2015, 10:16:20 PM
I don't want to get into any details but to make a long story short, it looks like I've found a life insurance policy that will cost about $5k/year in premiums for a $700k benefit.  It may sound expensive but it's really a no-brainer for me if you consider the fact that the chances of me getting coverage were close to zero, so this is pretty amazing.  So my question is this, assuming this life insurance policy goes through according to plan, how should I think about my cash savings now?  Emergency fund?  Right now I'm sitting on $65k in cash because things were so uncertain and I wanted to have my money as liquid as possible.  I hate to think about myself passing away but now I have some comfort (assuming this all goes to plan) knowing that my wife and unborn kids will be provided for if something were to happen to me.  I obviously want to still keep a decent sized emergency fund but what would you think about me trying to use some of this cash to gain some kind of return?  Thoughts/Ideas?  Thanks.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: MetalCap on March 11, 2015, 06:28:23 AM
I think you keep your current e fund liquid due to possible medical expenses but from now on put the excess to work.  The sooner you put money in to work, the more your family will have.  Also a longer dip in the pool may prevent your family from cashing out instead of letting it grow.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on March 22, 2015, 10:41:09 AM
I'm really having a hard time sitting on all of this cash.  Aside from the fact that we're missing out on potential returns I'm really concerned about it just losing value due to inflation.  Any ideas?
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Secretly Saving on March 22, 2015, 12:07:33 PM
I'm glad that you posted here and have been able to use the MMM forum as a sounding board for various thoughts/ideas. 

We're twin parents, so I figured I'd comment on that side of things.  My biggest recommendation is definitely look into finding a local Parents of Twins group.  This is an easy way to find items second hand because these parents usually have two of everything and when they want to get rid of stuff they're ready to do it fast!  Also, this group will have recommendations on tons of other twin related topics that will be unique to your situation and location.   These parents have been in your shoes trying to deal with two little ones and will be extremely helpful!  :) 

Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: boarder42 on March 22, 2015, 02:43:58 PM
i'd take that 65k and put it in a taxable vanguard account.  still liquid enough to be tapped if needed.  I'd put it in VTSAX and whatever the international version of that is.

I'm also intrigued by your story.  how is the diet working and how are you progressing on the health front.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on March 23, 2015, 04:32:22 PM
I'm glad that you posted here and have been able to use the MMM forum as a sounding board for various thoughts/ideas. 

We're twin parents, so I figured I'd comment on that side of things.  My biggest recommendation is definitely look into finding a local Parents of Twins group.  This is an easy way to find items second hand because these parents usually have two of everything and when they want to get rid of stuff they're ready to do it fast!  Also, this group will have recommendations on tons of other twin related topics that will be unique to your situation and location.   These parents have been in your shoes trying to deal with two little ones and will be extremely helpful!  :)

Thanks!  I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier.  I'm sure I'll be able to find an NYC parents of twins group pretty easily.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Chrissy on March 23, 2015, 05:01:37 PM
With the new life insurance, it looks to me like you're spending $51,900/yr.  I'd keep $26,000 in cash.  Put the other $39,000 into a taxable account.  I second VTSAX. 

You were trying to cut down your spending when you first posted.  Can we get an update on your current expenses?  Did you switch cell phone providers?  Start using Costco/Aldi?  Clamp down on restaurants/take out?
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on March 23, 2015, 05:55:57 PM
i'd take that 65k and put it in a taxable vanguard account.  still liquid enough to be tapped if needed.  I'd put it in VTSAX and whatever the international version of that is.

I'm also intrigued by your story.  how is the diet working and how are you progressing on the health front.

I had to put together some information for the life insurance that measured where things stood and I was kinda shocked by how much progress I've made: in a little over a year, the tumor has shrunk 53%.  Before I started treatment, my oncologist told me the best I could hope for was just to stop it from growing.  So I'm pretty pleased with it shrinking in half!  And I think that success has to be related to the changes I've made in my diet since they basically said that shrinkage was a pipe dream.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: SunshineGirl on March 23, 2015, 06:06:54 PM
Great news!
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: SantaFeSteve on March 23, 2015, 06:13:41 PM
I had to put together some information for the life insurance that measured where things stood and I was kinda shocked by how much progress I've made: in a little over a year, the tumor has shrunk 53%.  Before I started treatment, my oncologist told me the best I could hope for was just to stop it from growing.  So I'm pretty pleased with it shrinking in half!  And I think that success has to be related to the changes I've made in my diet since they basically said that shrinkage was a pipe dream.

Congratulations! that's great news!

As for your emergency fund, I haven't heard you mention, but I think using $10,000 to pay 2 years worth ( or even $15k for 3 years) of life insurance up front might be a good place for some of that money.

Keep up the good work!
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: scrubbyfish on March 25, 2015, 12:24:36 AM
...in a little over a year, the tumor has shrunk 53%.  Before I started treatment, my oncologist told me the best I could hope for was just to stop it from growing.  So I'm pretty pleased with it shrinking in half!  And I think that success has to be related to the changes I've made in my diet since they basically said that shrinkage was a pipe dream.

WONDERFUL!!!!!!! What excellent news to hear!! Thanks so much for reporting that -when someone posts, we continue thinking about them and their circumstances, so it rocks to hear such updates.

I think I told you that my relative with "terminal" brain cancer and "six months to live" is still alive and kicking about 17 years later :)
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on March 25, 2015, 05:45:25 AM
Thanks guys, I knew it had shrank a good deal but I didn't realize how much it was cumulatively...
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: boarder42 on March 25, 2015, 06:01:13 AM
fantastic news i wish you all the best in your fight!
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: carozy on March 25, 2015, 06:26:48 AM
I'm glad to hear it shrunk 53%, that's great!  You've got great advice regarding the financials.  You might consider Republic Wireless or Ting to lower your phone costs.

I also read the Anticancer book and The China Study book.  These books made me firmly believe that diet influences cancer growth.  I'm thinking that less meat in your diet might also slow cancer growth and would be cheaper (for instance, many plant foods can be bought in bulk or grown). 

There is also a nutrition guideline put out by PCRM that talks about the benefits of avoiding certain foods to slow cancer growth: http://pcrm.org/media/news/six-dietary-guidelines-for-cancer-prevention  Meat is on there, I know enjoy it, but maybe limit it or substitute with a similar tasting tempeh?  Specifically processed red meat seems to be dangerous.  http://www.pcrm.org/media/blog/feb2014/cancer-prevention-can-start-in-the-checkout-line  Another one I've read is Ruth Heidrich..her cancer story is inspiring.  She's basically defeated cancer by a change in diet also and has written a nutrition/health book called Senior Fitness.

Best of luck!
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on March 25, 2015, 10:59:14 AM
I should really cut out meat, it's just so hard.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Dicey on March 26, 2015, 03:34:49 PM
I should really cut out meat, it's just so hard.
Try doing it just one day a week to start. When I did it, I avoided the "V" word completely and that was 27 years ago!

Also, you might try organic chicken and grass-fed beef, both available at Costco.

More importantly, thanks for sharing your good news!
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on March 26, 2015, 03:53:58 PM
I think I just need to fine vegetarian things that I will consistently eat.  I'm not the kind of person that could have a salad 5 days a week.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: MayDay on March 26, 2015, 07:04:49 PM
I think I just need to fine vegetarian things that I will consistently eat.  I'm not the kind of person that could have a salad 5 days a week.

My advice would be to find a really good vegetarian restaurant and try some non-salad entrees to figure out what you like.  Then try to recreate them at home with the help of the internet.  If it is a well known restuarant there are often copycat recipes online that you can find.  One of my favorites is this:  http://www.hummusapien.com/copycat-northstar-buddha-bowl/ from a local restaurant called Northstar. 
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Wupper on March 26, 2015, 07:30:58 PM
I don't want to get into any details but to make a long story short, it looks like I've found a life insurance policy that will cost about $5k/year in premiums for a $700k benefit.

Is this legit? Sounds messed up.

The insurance company would have to collect premiums for 140 years to reach the $700k.

That's a very bad bet for the insurance company.

Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: miss daisy on March 26, 2015, 11:19:13 PM
I am wishing you well with everything; your health and wellness, your family, all of it.  And just wanted to chime in on one of your comments regarding the size of your home; don't forget that a small space is not only cheaper, but much easier to clean and run.  You'd think more space would help you organize but I swear the smaller home is a blessing in that department because it limits the amount of stuff you can buy and accumulate.  When I go to houses with a bedroom and bath for each person I just picture myself SCRUBBING each tub and sink and I feel myself aging 40 years in a weekend.

Plus if you stay where you are, you don't have to move.  (My God, the pearls of wisdom you find online, right?)  I had to move three times when my children were in diapers and I aged a good 60 years over the course of ONE year.

Two good friends of mine had twins when I had my second baby and it's just a different ballgame with multiples...  we all worked really hard that first year (and beyond!) but I had more downtime than they did and it made them lean as a family... I would be cooking an egg for the toddler, making some mess in the food mill for the baby and their babies were already fed and wiped and out of the high chairs.  SO FUNNY.  I was like, wait, how are you all making ME look like the amateur??

Anything you don't have to mess with, plan for, pack up, clean up, etc., WILL MAKE YOUR LIVES EASIER.

Having family in the city is huge and I am happy you all will have that.  That is valuable in so many ways.

I have two children (singles) and have been raising them in a 900 square foot duplex, which I realize is big by NYC standards.  We have a tiny front yard and are outdoors a lot, which helps, but it's not a big space HOWEVER... it works for us.  We're in a great school system, we have a yard, we live in a really safe neighborhood.

The only way we're going to outgrow this space is... NO.  IT IS NEVER HAPPENING.  I just can't give up a good deal in order to store my clothes in a more fluffy manner.  Yes my kids would love to have their own rooms but as a family, we're not going to maximize the elementary school years when we need to be looking at retirement and college funds.

YES, I wish I had a second bathroom so I could get dressed without having every square naked inch scrutinized by people who say things like, "your wrinkles are so pretty, they look like hair under your eyes."  But my ego can take it!  And you are no doubt a lot tougher than I am so when your children comment on your spots or chin wattle (I am not saying you have one OR the other!) or whatever else their sparkling eyes alight upon you can remind them that you have SERIOUS HEALTH CONCERNS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.  DADDY IS A LIVING MIRACLE OF MIND AND BODY AND HERE YOU ARE NOTICING HIS NON-EXISTENT WATTLE?  GROUNDED.  BOTH OF YOU. 

Good luck with everything... sounds like you are doing everything you need to be doing and thinking so wisely about big, big issues.  Wishing you all the best.

Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: boarder42 on March 27, 2015, 05:53:50 AM
I don't want to get into any details but to make a long story short, it looks like I've found a life insurance policy that will cost about $5k/year in premiums for a $700k benefit.

Is this legit? Sounds messed up.

The insurance company would have to collect premiums for 140 years to reach the $700k.

That's a very bad bet for the insurance company.

or just have 14 people pay for 10 years and no one dies and they break even.  Its about quantity to reduce their exposure.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Wupper on March 27, 2015, 08:02:21 AM
or just have 14 people pay for 10 years and no one dies and they break even.  Its about quantity to reduce their exposure.

14 people with inoperable brain cancer, and none die in 10 years?

Who would take that bet? Just to break even?

Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: scrubbyfish on March 27, 2015, 02:04:03 PM
miss daisy, you are an absolute hoot!! now i must stalk you around the forums until you start a journal ;)
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on March 29, 2015, 10:14:34 AM
I don't want to get into any details but to make a long story short, it looks like I've found a life insurance policy that will cost about $5k/year in premiums for a $700k benefit.

Is this legit? Sounds messed up.

The insurance company would have to collect premiums for 140 years to reach the $700k.

That's a very bad bet for the insurance company.

It's a year term that I need to renew each year, that's why.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on July 04, 2015, 04:00:24 PM
Yeah, that life insurance policy was bogus.  I know it sounded too good to be true - I just wanted it so bad and I let that cloud my judgment.  I'm going to revisit it when I'm 5 years out from diagnosis.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: ChelseaBlair on July 04, 2015, 06:13:31 PM
In regards to eating, I have found some great deals on Amazon, eBay, and TJ Maxx/Home goods (out of all places!).
I get hemp hearts/great 'bars' at TJ Maxx/Home Goods, and buy chia seeds in bulk on eBay. You should check those places for food things that don't expire. The grocery stores in NYC drain you quickly.
Also, I liked to juice, which is an expensive habit, but I save the pulp from all veggies and make veggie burgers.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: frugaldrummer on July 07, 2015, 07:49:36 AM
I have been doing research for a friend with cancer and there is exciting new research being done on OLD drugs. Yes, someone got the brilliant idea to look at EXISTING drugs for other medical conditions, to see if they happen to work for other conditions. One of the promising candidates is mebendazole, an old pinworm medication. It seems to be promising for brain tumors; in a mouse model of glioblastoma it prolonged survival by 60%, and I believe clinics trials are underway. look up the research on PubMed.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Axecleaver on July 07, 2015, 07:41:02 PM
Hi Acg,

I'm very sorry to hear about your struggle with brain cancer at such a young age. I'm impressed with your attitude and taking control of the situation. A few answers for you...

Quote
Do you have any ideas to lower our food costs?  I try to eat organic as much as possible.  Iím gluten free, dairy free, and only eat things with no added sugar or low glycemic sweeteners like stevia and agave.  Translation: expensive.
Gluten free and dairy free still leaves lots of options - meat and vegetables aplenty. I recently added beans to my diet which are very inexpensive - I cook a pound of dry black beans a week in my slow cooker with garlic and onions, and eat those with almost every meal. I've lost 20 pounds over three months. Eggs are still very inexpensive. Corn and potatoes are cheap, high calorie carbs that are OK on gluten free diets. Rice is very inexpensive. It sounds like you just need to do more home cooking with the essentials.

Quote
ē On the topic of life insurance, is there anything I can do now or has this ship sailed?
Take advantage of every group plan you can and continue paying it if you change jobs. I've had an autoimmune disease since I was a kid, and have never been eligible for life insurance. But, at this point I have about $500k worth of term life that we pay for, that I've gotten from various employers over the last 20 years. I still pay on my term life insurance for my first job out of college, where I earned $32k a year. When we FIRE in 2020, I will likely cull these since we'll have made it through the accumulation phase, at which point life insurance is not very useful.

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be sure you understand how Medicaid works in case you ever get to the point where you are not able to work -- I think retirement accounts are safe, whereas everything else needs to get spent down before you can qualify for Medicaid. 
Since the passage of the ACA, the Medicaid assets test was eliminated. You're evaluated only on your household income, now. There are still some state programs and carve-outs (Aged, blind and disabled; long term care) that use assets tests, but the core Medicaid program doesn't. You could have $100m in the bank, and if you didn't have a job or take dividends, you'd qualify for Medicaid.
For more reading see: http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2014/02/24/implementing-health-reform-medicaid-asset-rules-and-the-affordable-care-act/

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What's the mustachian suggestion for college savings?  What's your take on 529's?  I don't want to get into the details but I can open one up for each of them at no cost at a reputable asset manager. [If they don't go to college] From what I understand we would need to pay a 10% penalty as well as income tax on the earnings accumulated in the account.
NY has a great 529 plan at nysaves.org - You get to deduct up to $5k per person per year for you and your wife (10k for MFJ) from state taxes. NY allows you to invest in Vanguard funds at a very low expense ratio of 0.16%. No need to pay the asset manager his 1% to manage this, or pay him through the back door of sales commissions on your fund purchases. Go through the state plan. Tax details here: https://www.nysaves.org/content/taxbenefits.html

The money will grow tax-free until it's used, and they can withdraw it tax-free for approved uses. If your kids don't end up going to college, they can use the funds for training programs (cooking school, beauty school, whatever). If they don't do that, it can be transferred to another person like their children or to another family member.

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What do we need to take care of getting done in this department before the twins get here? 
BlondeLawyer's list was perfect. Estate planning, wills, living will, power of attorney.

Good luck Acg!
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on October 26, 2015, 03:05:32 PM
So our boys are almost 3 months old now.  I could really use some sleep, ha.

Anyways, I'm a little concerned because we just have no free time managing the boys and get takeout a lot.  Also, my wife isn't working right now and it's hard to imagine a time when she will go back to making what she was before.  Right now the plan is for her to try easing back into things with her employer that she works for remotely on a part time basis but I still don't see her making what she was before.

A few things I could use help with:

Food - what can I do to make food less burdensome and costly?  I should stress that I have a pretty restrictive diet from cancer (organic, gluten and dairy free, limited processed crap, etc.) so many of the things you guys are doing just won't work for me.

College - I'm kinda freaking out about the cost of college.  I opened 529 accounts for them but haven't really funded them with much money yet.  I think the projections with normal market conditions and a $5k contribution up front now show that I still need to contribute a few hundred dollars a month for each boy just to save up enough for half of their education - key word, each.  Is there anything else you'd suggest looking into for saving for college?

Does anyone have any general tips/tricks for managing twins and living frugally?  The financial burden of twins is enormous.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: scrubbyfish on October 26, 2015, 06:48:10 PM
I only have the one kid, but he had severe disabilities and navigating those were VERY expensive for several years. Interestingly, what primarily resolved the disabilities was...costly food! So, I hear you on both counts.

Check this out: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/the-ultimate-mustachian-food-guide/   You'll see a category for special diets, among many others.

Personally, I wouldn't worry much about saving for college. I'd have that as a last priority, and probably none at all.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: lhamo on October 26, 2015, 08:05:15 PM
Food -- have you tried Costco?  Might be worth the taxi fare, especially as they have more and more organic stuff all the time.  Things we like/buy regularly that you might want to try include:  wild alaskan salmon fillets (frozen); romaine hearts; organic eggs; olive oil; coconut oil; nuts; organic peanut and almond butter; real maple syrup.  They also have stuff like coconut sugar and coconut flour. 

Agree with scrubbyfish that the 529s can wait.  Get your income/outgo/health situation stabilized first.   
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Argyle on October 26, 2015, 08:27:38 PM
Congratulations on the twins!  It will get easier, though not right away.  But little bit by little bit. 

I agree that you should not be worrying about college expenses right now.  Remember that colleges give financial aid partially based on whether you have another child in college at the same time, and it is extremely likely that yours will be in college at the same time.  So you have a built-in advantage over someone with kids five years apart, financial-aid-wise, even though the expenses are pretty much the same. 

Also lots of kids have no savings when they go to college, and they find many ways to make it through.  I get that you're trying to get everything nailed down, but this is one thing that can wait.

Another thing to remember is that if you're around when they're in college (which hoping that you are), you and your wife can both be working and contribute that way.  If, sadly, you're no longer around, your twins will both get Social Security payments because of this.  So not all the money they'll need at that age has to be stashed into savings now.  And your biggest investment in their future is for you to eat well and take good care of yourself now.  That's the most important thing to do with the money.  You don't want to throw money out the window, obviously, but I think this is not the time to try to live as frugally as humanly possible.  Quality of life for all of you is more important than shaving pennies off your expenses.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Gizsuat2 on October 26, 2015, 08:56:01 PM
Re: this:

If something were to happen to me, I want to leave as much behind as possible for my wife and unborn kids.  I donít know what I want as far as advice on this one but I just wanted to put this out there.

I can't remember where I am pulling this from, but I once read that kids who lose a parent at a young age most love and want videos or photos of the parent actually interacting with them (i.e., rolling around on the floor, etc.).  As an adult, I lost my father a few years ago and as strange as it sounds ... I wish I had a picture of him looking at me, or otherwise engaging with me, rather than just posed shots.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Noodle on October 26, 2015, 09:35:27 PM
Of course you want to be careful with money given your situation, but as a twin-parent you are in survival mode right now. I wouldn't worry about rock-bottom food costs although there are probably some ways to lower the costs. The babies will get progressively easier and you can get back to some of the more time-consuming aspects of frugality.

First of all, are there any semi-prepared foods that are OK for your dietary restrictions? Trader Joe's and Costco both have more and more organic food every year. That would be cheaper than takeout if not as great as homemade. For instance, I love TJ's steamed beets with crumbled goat cheese and orange champagne vinegar--all you do is combine things.

Another option might be the old-school "weekly menu." For instance, Monday is "breakfast for dinner." Tuesday is sauteed chicken breasts. Wednesday is GF pasta with sauce. Etc. Then you only have to come up with 7 acceptable menus. It also speeds up shopping because the list is the same each week. It will eventually get boring, but it's only for a few months until everyone is less exhausted.


Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on October 27, 2015, 05:44:56 AM
If something were to happen to me, I want to leave as much behind as possible for my wife and unborn kids.

I should have put this in my last post but that's where my stress over college savings is coming from.  One of my doctors said I could be around for another 20 or 30 years but the sad reality is that the statistics say I wone be here to see them off to college.  My wife just isn't very good with managing money so I handle everything.  So I want to get a college savings plan setup now so that if something were to happen to me, the boys would at least have something setup for college.  Lord knows that if something happens to me, my wife is going to be a mess and won't be able to deal with setting up a college savings plan.

And I think I just realized why I left that out of my last post, that was really hard to type.  I just want the best for my boys.  That's all.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: pbkmaine on October 27, 2015, 07:09:41 AM
The husband of a friend of mine, after he was given a terminal diagnosis, prepared a binder for her listing all accounts, passwords, and names and numbers of trusted advisors. She referred to it constantly in the first months after his death and blessed him for it. Doing something like that for your family would ease your mind as well as theirs, no matter how long your life is.

If you are worried about your wife and finances, talk to a trusts and estates attorney about setting up some trusts for her and the kids. You can make another family member the trustee. Find a fee-only financial planner she likes and meet with her/him. Bring your wife into the financial picture.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: FrugalFan on October 27, 2015, 07:23:11 AM
So our boys are almost 3 months old now.  I could really use some sleep, ha.

Anyways, I'm a little concerned because we just have no free time managing the boys and get takeout a lot.  Also, my wife isn't working right now and it's hard to imagine a time when she will go back to making what she was before.  Right now the plan is for her to try easing back into things with her employer that she works for remotely on a part time basis but I still don't see her making what she was before.

A few things I could use help with:

Food - what can I do to make food less burdensome and costly?  I should stress that I have a pretty restrictive diet from cancer (organic, gluten and dairy free, limited processed crap, etc.) so many of the things you guys are doing just won't work for me.

College - I'm kinda freaking out about the cost of college.  I opened 529 accounts for them but haven't really funded them with much money yet.  I think the projections with normal market conditions and a $5k contribution up front now show that I still need to contribute a few hundred dollars a month for each boy just to save up enough for half of their education - key word, each.  Is there anything else you'd suggest looking into for saving for college?

Does anyone have any general tips/tricks for managing twins and living frugally?  The financial burden of twins is enormous.

Thanks.

I just read your whole thread and wish I could give you a big hug. You are going through so much! But I love your attitude. We have two young kids that are close in age, nothing like having twins, I'm sure, but was a challenge nonetheless when the second one came along and the first one was still a baby. I will tell you that things get easier every day. They start to sleep better (and so do you). They start to need you a tiny bit less. You get into a better routine. Hang in there, the first few months are the toughest.

Re: food. We prepared ahead and had several freezer meals ready. One thing we still do is make almost every meal in batches. Sometimes on Sunday I will cook a big pot of soup that we can eat for a couple of meals and freeze the rest. But more often, I double up on meals, so we only cook full meals every other day. Having a set menu as another poster mentioned will help a lot too. It takes the thinking and decision making out of the process.

Like the other posters, I don't think you should be worrying about college or putting too much money into that now. Think about the fact that your wife may not be able to earn much for a while. If you weren't there, she would be thinking about day-to-day survival, not college expenses in the future. There are also many countries where college a fraction of what it costs in the states, so that might be an option. And as I've heard people say, you can borrow for college, but you can't borrow for retirement. In your situation, that would be very low on my list of your priorities.

My top priorities would be:
1. Set up a will, list of passwords, etc
2. Keep a decent emergency fund on hand (at least 30k)
3. Invest any surplus where it is accessible
4. Once your wife is ready (may take several months), your wife could start to slowly work from home a few hours a week if her mom can help out.

Your expenses will go down. Soon you will cut back on take-out, the kids will grow out of diapers, etc. You can sell all the baby stuff. The first year is the most expensive.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: scrubbyfish on October 27, 2015, 07:55:28 AM
...statistics say I wone be here to see them off to college.  My wife just isn't very good with managing money so I handle everything.  So I want to get a college savings plan setup now so that if something were to happen to me, the boys would at least have something setup for college.  Lord knows that if something happens to me, my wife is going to be a mess and won't be able to deal with setting up a college savings plan.

So, we're all saying "college savings are not super important, so don't worry about those." You're saying you want to save for college regardless. So, it sounds like we need to explore the belief that "college savings are important."

We understand you want the best for your boys. We're mere strangers, and even we want the best for them...and your wife, and you. The question is, what has you believing college savings are "the best for" any person, or even a high priority?

Any one of us may or may not be there when our kids reach college age, but that doesn't make college funds important. Something else does for you. Do you believe your wife will "blow" any money that's not locked into a college fund? Do you believe people don't "make it" without college? Or that people cannot succeed in college if they are also supporting themselves throughout it or taking loans? Has your wife indicated that she would not allow college kids to live at home?

If you can sort out and resolve the underlying belief, this "need" may dissipate.

My own beliefs, based on what I've seen in me and my peers, is that post-secondary is, for most people, a waste of time, energy, and money. People get excellent jobs and happy lives without it, and college is a guarantee of nothing. This is why I don't prioritize it. I do have a college fund for my kid, but only because the government gives an excellent immediate return (grant) on what I put in and because, with his disabilities, I have options to roll it into a disability fund. But I'm not specifically saving for college, because I really don't believe in it (unless one has oodles of cash to spare).
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on October 27, 2015, 08:13:05 AM
My top priorities would be:
1. Set up a will, list of passwords, etc
2. Keep a decent emergency fund on hand (at least 30k)
3. Invest any surplus where it is accessible
4. Once your wife is ready (may take several months), your wife could start to slowly work from home a few hours a week if her mom can help out.

Already have the first 3 done.  My wife just needs time for #4 to happen...
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on October 27, 2015, 08:24:59 AM
...statistics say I wone be here to see them off to college.  My wife just isn't very good with managing money so I handle everything.  So I want to get a college savings plan setup now so that if something were to happen to me, the boys would at least have something setup for college.  Lord knows that if something happens to me, my wife is going to be a mess and won't be able to deal with setting up a college savings plan.

So, we're all saying "college savings are not super important, so don't worry about those." You're saying you want to save for college regardless. So, it sounds like we need to explore the belief that "college savings are important."

We understand you want the best for your boys. We're mere strangers, and even we want the best for them...and your wife, and you. The question is, what has you believing college savings are "the best for" any person, or even a high priority?

Any one of us may or may not be there when our kids reach college age, but that doesn't make college funds important. Something else does for you. Do you believe your wife will "blow" any money that's not locked into a college fund? Do you believe people don't "make it" without college? Or that people cannot succeed in college if they are also supporting themselves throughout it or taking loans? Has your wife indicated that she would not allow college kids to live at home?

If you can sort out and resolve the underlying belief, this "need" may dissipate.

My own beliefs, based on what I've seen in me and my peers, is that post-secondary is, for most people, a waste of time, energy, and money. People get excellent jobs and happy lives without it, and college is a guarantee of nothing. This is why I don't prioritize it. I do have a college fund for my kid, but only because the government gives an excellent immediate return (grant) on what I put in and because, with his disabilities, I have options to roll it into a disability fund. But I'm not specifically saving for college, because I really don't believe in it (unless one has oodles of cash to spare).

I get what you're saying but this is important to me.  A couple of other things:

My wife works in education and I think it's very likely that they will go onto some kind of post-secondary school as a result of her influence.  Also, we only plan on paying for part of their education (50% at the very most, not likely that much) so in the event that one of them doesn't goto some kind of post secondary school, we could always just change the beneficiary to the other son.  The odds of neither of them going to college are extremely low so I don't really see much of a risk of us not using the funds.

I know you'll probably have something to say about this but I graduated undergrad with over $100k in debt.  I've since paid all of that off but it has definitely left a scar.  I don't want my boys to have that same kind of stress in their life.  I literally couldn't sleep for a couple years back when it was really bad and couldn't see a way out of it.  I dont want that for them.


Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Dee18 on October 27, 2015, 09:11:27 AM
+1 for setting up a trust for your boys, and designating a trustee other than your wife if you think that would be best for her and the boys.  I am a single parent and having a trust established for my daughter gave me great peace of mind.  As another suggested, your children would receive support from social security if you die while they are minors, as would your wife.  You might find the amount to be reassuring.  For a friend of mine, it was $4,000 per month in combination. 

For you to incur $100,000 in debt, you must have gone to a private college.  My daughter is currently at a private college, but only because she has a full tuition scholarship.  There are many, many ways to fund college including your wife working for a college, attending a state university, attending a private college with generous merit scholarships, and financial aid. Setting up a modest college fund for each boy and writing them a letter about your hopes for them and how they can achieve them may meet your goal better than just setting aside more money.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Goldielocks on October 27, 2015, 10:06:57 AM
When I look back at the toddler and baby years, we saved only 1 to 5% of income, net of car loan.

It can be hard, even without twins and medical focus.   So don't over stress and think you are doing anything wrong.

After 6 to 8 months, with your help and great child care help, your wife should be able to recover nearly all income. Assuming you are the parent on call for any kid urgency, not her


Food. .. I live where fresh veg are expensive 8 months of the year. Frozen veg are your friend for time and cost, assuming g you need to eat a lot of vegetables.   I also bought an electric grill when kids were small, and learned about frozen chicken that went straight from a frozen 10 lb bulk box to the grill. Cook. Done. The frozen bulk box is individually frozen and 40% cheaper here, on sale, than fresh. Huge savings vs 6.99 per lb fresh.

Lastly, the weekend prep mentioned previously for homemade GF goods to eat during the week. You can cook a week of rice to have on hand, etc.

Good luck sorting this out!   

And remember that statistics only look at old data and old medical tech for old results.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Matumba on October 27, 2015, 10:14:57 AM
Wow, you have a great attitude.
My first thought is that 70k will outright buy a house in some parts of the nation. I know you need to be in NYC right now, but what about later in life? Since there's a pretty good chance that your wife will be a single parent at some point, owning a house outright in a low COL area might make that a lot easier. Another thought would be what she would want her life to look like at that point. Does her current career make enough money to support her and at least two kids? Maybe she would like to work from home or work part time. Switching careers now could make a huge difference in what life would be like later for her and your children. And if you live much longer than predicted, it only gets better because you get to spend more time with her and your family.
And I actually think your food budget is pretty reasonable considering your dietary restrictions. Eating out is pretty high though, and cutting that would help. I also wouldn't sweat the taxi rides. The eating out is definitely your low hanging fruit. Having a chronic or terminal illness is one of the best reasons to buy time I've ever heard.
I don't mean to derail the thread,  but could you please name these parts of the US where you can buy a house for 70k? Preferably safe place with nice weather and relatively low taxes.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: TheInsuranceMan on October 27, 2015, 12:16:05 PM
Wow, you have a great attitude.
My first thought is that 70k will outright buy a house in some parts of the nation. I know you need to be in NYC right now, but what about later in life? Since there's a pretty good chance that your wife will be a single parent at some point, owning a house outright in a low COL area might make that a lot easier. Another thought would be what she would want her life to look like at that point. Does her current career make enough money to support her and at least two kids? Maybe she would like to work from home or work part time. Switching careers now could make a huge difference in what life would be like later for her and your children. And if you live much longer than predicted, it only gets better because you get to spend more time with her and your family.
And I actually think your food budget is pretty reasonable considering your dietary restrictions. Eating out is pretty high though, and cutting that would help. I also wouldn't sweat the taxi rides. The eating out is definitely your low hanging fruit. Having a chronic or terminal illness is one of the best reasons to buy time I've ever heard.
I don't mean to derail the thread,  but could you please name these parts of the US where you can buy a house for 70k? Preferably safe place with nice weather and relatively low taxes.

Small towns in the midwest.  Hell, in my town, there is a house that is for sale for under 40k.  Two story even, and move in ready.  That is pretty common for small towns in the midwest, plus, you get to see and feel all 4 seasons that mother nature gives us :).
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: boarder42 on November 06, 2015, 06:15:19 PM
i think it would be more important to give your kids educational videos of you to show them how to not accrue 100k in debt.  or spend 100k on college ... i mean thats a but load of money on an education.  there are scholarships for everything now adays.  apply and get them. work while you're in school.  dont spend 100k on an education.. tell them to be engineers and get degrees from state schools.  IN STATE schools.  all more valuable IMO than a fund specifically for college. 

have the videos played by your lawyer as part of your will at certain ages in your kids life to teach them how to manage money properly and not graduate with 100k in debt.  i never lost my dad but i lost a close cousin when i was going thru college and i would have paid attention to videos like this had he left them for me.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: Acg on January 08, 2016, 01:45:06 PM
So we want to buy a house in a couple years but we want to put enough down so that my wife is able to pay the mortgage solely on her income in the case that something were to happen to me and she couldn't depend on my income.  So we've determined that we need to save another $140k. We don't live very frugally right now and I was wondering what tips you guys had for changes we could make to increase or savings?  Thanks.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: eliza on January 08, 2016, 09:52:16 PM
Glad to see you checking back in and doing well.   Your story has been very inspirational. 

Perhaps if you could do a quick overview of your current situation (assets, liabilities, budget) people will be able to chime in with specific, helpful information.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: frugaldrummer on January 08, 2016, 09:55:18 PM
Cut yourself a little slack, this is a crazy time with 3 mo old twins and your main priority should be getting enough sleep. Period.  The college plans can wait a little bit.

As for food: when my ex and I were in med school with crazy hours, we would make one big dish on Sunday and eat it for the next 4-5 days.  You could freeze portions and get more variety. Slow cooker recipes are another good approach to save time and energy.





Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: pbkmaine on January 08, 2016, 10:01:07 PM
For food that's organic, dairy and gluten free, I think soups and stews are your friends. Think crockpot. What about a huge pot of chili, frozen into individual portions? Or hearty chicken rice soup?
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: lhamo on January 09, 2016, 07:17:20 AM
If you feel up to it, you might try posting a case study -- once you get all your numbers out there, people are pretty brutal (in a tough love kind of way) about helping to identify possible areas to cut.
Title: Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
Post by: little_brown_dog on January 09, 2016, 07:49:12 AM
+1 to crockpot cooking with cheap cheap staples like lentils, canned tomatoes, and celery/carrots/onions (look up lentil soup recipes in google and just pick one with a simple ingredient list and strong reviews - can't go wrong). we have a 3mo old at home right now and the crockpot has been a lifesaver. I just throw all the uncooked ingredients in when the baby is resting after her early morning feed, and then 8 hours later we have dinner ready. a big plus: a large crockpot will easily make 6 meals for 2 adults (even a breastfeeding mama), and you can just pull the ceramic insert out, cover it, and pop it in the fridge to hold the leftovers. only dishes are the 2 bowls and spoons!