Author Topic: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer  (Read 29588 times)

scrubbyfish

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #50 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.

Dicey

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #51 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.

Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #52 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.

Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #53 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?

lhamo

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #54 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


Cherry Lane

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #55 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.

Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #56 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?

Dicey

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #57 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.

Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #58 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.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 05:32:33 AM by Acg »

Goldielocks

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #59 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.


Salim

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #60 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.

ClaycordJCA

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #61 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.

nanu

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #62 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)

Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #63 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.

MetalCap

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #64 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.

Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #65 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?

Secretly Saving

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #66 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!  :) 


boarder42

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #67 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.

Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #68 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.

Chrissy

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #69 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?

Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #70 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.

SunshineGirl

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #71 on: March 23, 2015, 06:06:54 PM »
Great news!

SantaFeSteve

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #72 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!

scrubbyfish

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #73 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 :)

Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #74 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...

boarder42

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #75 on: March 25, 2015, 06:01:13 AM »
fantastic news i wish you all the best in your fight!

carozy

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #76 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!

Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #77 on: March 25, 2015, 10:59:14 AM »
I should really cut out meat, it's just so hard.

Dicey

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #78 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!

Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #79 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.

MayDay

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #80 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. 

Wupper

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #81 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.


miss daisy

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #82 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.


boarder42

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #83 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.

Wupper

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #84 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?


scrubbyfish

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #85 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 ;)

Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #86 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.

Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #87 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.

ChelseaBlair

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #88 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.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #89 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.

Axecleaver

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #90 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...

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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.

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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!

Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #91 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.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #92 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.

lhamo

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Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #93 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.   

Argyle

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Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #94 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.

Gizsuat2

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Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #95 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.

Noodle

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Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #96 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.



Acg

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Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #97 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.

pbkmaine

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Re: Reader Case Study: (Edit: Our Twins are Here Now!) and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #98 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.

FrugalFan

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Re: Reader Case Study: Twins on the Way and I Have Brain Cancer
« Reply #99 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.