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PREFACE - Please don't flame me!
First, let me say that I'm completely surprised that I couldn't find an existing thread for these questions. That makes me think that either (1) I'm not very good at searching, or (2) these questions are frowned upon for some reason. I'm trying to limit the details of my situation to what I think would be relevant to the questions at hand, but only to keep things concise and as simple as possible. If more details are needed I am certainly willing to provide them.

DISEASE BACKGROUND - Some high-level details of my illness.
About two weeks ago I was diagnosed with a terminal, inoperable brain tumor. I am going to start radiation and chemotherapy on 02.27.2013. The current treatment plan calls for therapy five days a week for about six weeks - through 04.19.2013. We don't know how terminal the terminal part is, and we really won't until after those six weeks. Worst case is less than a year. Median is one to two years. I've got potential to be a fairly optimistic case - some folks are still going strong after eight to ten years.

FINANCIAL BACKGROUND - High-level details of our current financial situation
  • Married, three biological children (7 months, 3 years and 4 years) and one step-child (9 years)
  • Wife is a full-time stay-at-home mother. She has no work-from-home type income.
  • Wife does collect child support from the 9 year-old's father. We have a good relationship with him.
  • We closed on a new-construction home in mid-December - about two weeks before learning of the brain tumor.
  • We have a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.25% through a USDA Rural Development loan. We put $10,000 down. The original loan amount was $283,500.00.
  • I am the only one on the mortgage note. My wife is not on the note. My wife and I are both on the title - I think it's "Joint Survivorship", but I could be mistaken if that sounds wrong.
  • The loan closed on 12.20.2012. Wells Fargo bought it from our broker less than 30 days ago (I think it was less than 30 days ago...)
  • We did not purchase any sort of mortgage payment protection, etc.
  • I am employed full-time as a software developer. My salary is $79,000/year.
  • I have up to 160 hours of paid leave at work. There is no distinction made between sick leave and vacation.
  • My employer has been extremely understanding (so far!). I am working from home. Because I'm salaried, and I work so many nights and weekends for product releases, they have told me there is no need to take any leave for my doctors' appointments, etc. at this time. I'm still putting in well over my 40 hours/week. If push ever came to shove, that could be verified by our VPN activity reports.
  • We have one vehicle financed through Navy Federal Credit Union - my wife's 2012 Ford Explorer.
  • I am the only one on the NFCU car note. My wife is not on the note. We are both on the vehicle's title.
  • I can no longer drive, so last week we sold the 2005 Volvo that we owned outright.
  • We have a few credit cards, but they have minimal balances. Mostly just recurring monthly charges to keep a rolling history on them. They could all be paid off quickly.
  • I do not have short-term disability insurance.
  • I do have long term disability insurance.
  • I have $50,000 of automatic group life insurance through my employer, plus I've done a buy-up of $170,000 for a total of $220,000.00.
  • I have decent health insurance for these times. I believe my deductible is $2,000 with an out of pocket max of $4,000. We also have a $2,000 FSA.
  • Our retirement accounts are fairly limited. My wife doesn't have anything in her name, and mine are meager and not vested (I know, I know...).

OTHER STUFF - We've had a fairly eventful financial past, and this info may or may not be helpful.
  • Purchased a home in 2008 - FHA loan.
  • A few months later my wife had to quit her job and I had to start working in central Virginia versus Washington, DC due to a medical condition for our now-four-year-old.
  • Our income dropped by about 50% ($60,000/year) overnight.
  • Mailed our keys to Wells Fargo within a few days and moved in to an apartment (this was just before "The Bubble" - no way we could afford the $2,400/month payment). House was foreclosed on within one to two months.
  • We filed Chapter 7. Our discharge date was 10/09/2009.
  • We had two cars financed at the time - one we reaffirmed, the other we turned in as a voluntary repo.
  • They're getting better all the time, of course, but both my wife and I have managed to get our credit scores in to the 680s.

PRIMARY QUESTIONS - These are my primary questions, but I'm sure I may be missing some important ones that I don't even know to ask.
  • Are there any obvious steps I need to take to protect my family?
  • Are there any major implications of our mortgage situation?
  • Are there any major implications of our vehicle loan situation?
  • Are there any major tax implications outside of the obvious ones (like keeping receipts, etc.)?
  • Is anyone aware of any programs/grants/etc. for which I should attempt to apply?
  • Is there anything special I should do to protect myself in terms of my relationship with my employer?
  • Is it too late to apply for some sort of payment protection (or similar) on the mortgage?
  • Are there any semi-shady contractual terms that I should know about (e.g., if a creditor is unable to recover from my wife for an unsecured debt only in my name after I die)
  • Is there anything my wife needs to start doing now from a financial standpoint (e.g., paper trails, histories of saving - or not saving, etc.)
  • I have every intention of continuing to work. We've been told that I am virtually guaranteed to get full disability from the SSA, but that once I do I really can't go back to work. We've also been told that I can't apply for disability until I stop working (makes sense to me) and that I won't see any payments for at least about 5 months. If I have to stop working to collect disability then my wife and I see no reason to do that now. I like to work, I'm able to work (from home), and I make much more money actually working than I would get in disability benefits. I've also got pretty good health insurance. I plan to work until either (1) I can no longer work and I've used up all of my leave or (2) I get fired for performance reasons (I can't really see this happening, to be honest, but I'm not sure that it would make a functional difference in terms of disability compared to the first scenario).
  • Anything else obvious that I'm missing?


CONCLUSION - I have no subtitle for this.
I'm not trying to milk this situation. That being said, the safety and security of my family is incredibly important. If there are any saavy or calculated [legal] moves that I can make that will help make my family more secure I'm all for it. We have always tried to follow whatever "Golden Rule" we can with our financial dealings - for example, we could have squatted at our first home for quite a long time, but we felt that we did was the "right" thing to do, in ethical terms. We'd like to stay as ethical as possible, but where ethics become murky, but the law is still clear, we'd err on the side of protecting the family.

EDIT #1
I should have mentioned it originally - my wife and I are currently in the process now of updating our wills, preparing our living wills, making arrangements for guardianship of our kids, etc.

EDIT #2
Thank you everyone for your input so far - this is all really and truly helpful.

I'll update the OP, but I'll add it here since it's been the topic of many replies - I just created account over at the SSA website and checked my benefits status. I also ran through the online calculator using my old tax records and got a fairly similar result.

Survivor Benefits - Child: $1,492
Survivor Benefits - Spouse: $1,492
Total Maximum Family Benefits: $3,481

While it would certainly be a thorny subject, we do have a very good relationship with my son's bio-dad (as I call him). The child survivor benefit is greater than the child support payment, so it would normally be advantageous to my wife. That family maximum makes it a moot point, however. She'll max out her benefits before his benefit would be considered.

I don't know what makes that max benefit change over time, but from the light reading I did it doesn't sound like it would move too significantly in the near future.

EDIT #3
Many of you have asked - I'm 30 years-old.

Also - wow - I've got to say again how truly touched my wife I are with the show of support. I expected (and hoped) to get some cold, calculated advice from the FWF crowd - and I did. But we've been really touched by the abundant and vocal support that everyone has shown. I'm going to keep responding to questions/comments. I'll also keep updating our progress. Although I hope no one will need to reference this post, hopefully it will help someone if they do.

EDIT #4
I'll update the OP as well, but I'll list it here as well...

We're Treating With
UVA Health System / Dr. Schiff

We've Consulted (and Vetted)
Duke / Dr. Friedman
Mayo Clinic
Cedars Sinai
Johns Hopkins
MCV (VCU)

I'm 30 years-old. I don't have a glioblastoma - I've heard that's both a blessing and a curse. I have a diffuse brain stem glioma, focused in the medulla. We're not sure whether it is a low-grade or a high-grade glioma because a biopsy is really not a viable option for me.

EDIT #5
I also posted this in the thread, but adding it here as well:

Hello all - long overdue update post here. I've been a crap communicator the last several weeks, mostly because I'm just so darn exhausted.

I researched clinical trials as best I could. I couldn't find anything for my specific diagnoses - again, it's pretty unheard of in adults - but I did consult with my Neuro-Oncologist who said that, based on that rarity, in his experience treating reasonably now wouldn't necessarily bar me from a clinical trial down the road several years if one opens up. He said that any clinical trial that deals with my specific diagnosis wouldn't be able to get any participants if it excluded folks who had completed their "best guess" for treatment. That may be BS, but given that there aren't any current trials it sounded good to me.

I also looked in to the Ketogenic (spelling?) diet. We consulted with a few doctors and nutritionists. We learned that itís a very difficult diet to get right, and that itís an all-or-nothing affair. We were also warned of some long-term side effects or pursuing the diet. Ultimately we decided to eat bacon and be happy.

My therapy regimen calls for six weeks of radiation treatment, five days a week (Monday through Friday) along with nightly doses of chemo every night (including weekends). Iíve got seven days of radiation left, and therefore nine days of chemo with it. I must say that I feel very lucky to be weathering this face of treatment as well as I am. I get completely exhausted around 5:00PM or so (it was initially not until 9:00PM or 10:00PM), and I can definitely feel the radiation starting to catch up with me physically (tooth sensitivity and the like), but Ė Iím still working [from home] full-time, able to get my treatment sessions in during my lunch break, and able to put my four kids to bed each night. From what Iíve heard and read it could be a lot worse right now.

Weíll follow-up with my Neuro-Oncologist again three weeks after the completion of my treatment (with the final day being next Thursday, April 11th). At that point theyíll do a repeat MRI and see where I am and where I might be down the road. Still being realistic, planning and preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best.

Weíve got our updated wills and living wills, etc. underway through our attorney. Weíll be investigating putting as much in to trust(s) as possible Ė Iíll admit I donít know a whole lot about that bit of planning, but I do know enough to know that Iíll be looking in to it.

I did take the suggestion of another poster and more pro-actively work towards setting up a passive revenue stream for our family for the time when I am unable to work, or no longer living to work. I set up an LLC with my wife as the sole owner and registered that business with the Apple, Android, Windows Phone and Windows 8 App stores. Nothing release yet, but Iím on track to crank out a good 20 or so apps within the next week or two. My target scenario is free ad-supported apps that someone will keep on their phone and open from time to time. Iíve done some preliminary math through several of the ad platforms and even a conservative number of downloads/views, without even many click-throughs, would provide meaningful income for my family.

There are other items that have been surfaced in this thread that I still plan to look in to Ė insurance strategies, timeshare strategies. To be honest, Iíve been trying to get some of these core items tackled the last several weeks. That, combined with the fact that Iím trying to keep family time as a major focus, and how tired Iíve been getting, has made it difficult to get as much stuff checked off as Iíd like. Iím optimistic that once my treatment takes a break Iíll have a bit more energy to tackle these other questions. Hopefully Iíve picked wisely what I focus on at the present time.

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Thanks to the both of you, above. I didn't do this for fame, nor to boost my ego via compliments. I did this because OP'... (more)

jaytrader (Apr. 03, 2013 @ 7:59p) |

Its been a month, OP, how are you holding up?

jesrf (May. 06, 2013 @ 11:30p) |

Not to speak for the OP, but I have talked to him on and off, and he started round two of chemo and has just been super ... (more)

jaytrader (May. 25, 2013 @ 9:53p) |

Donations sent to Kashisti and his family. Thanks for your kindness, everyone.

Wow - you're in my prayers, brother. You seem like a really stand-up guy, too, from what you've said about not wanting to hose the companies and still do right by your family. I don't know what to say other than be there as much as you can for your wife/kids right now. Someone smarter than me can chip in on the FWF side of the house.

First, let me offer my condolences for your terminal diagnosis. Your head must be reeling. I wish you the best of luck in your treatment and I hope the best for you and your family.

May I ask what medical condition your four year old has that required your wife to quit her job?

My condolences for your illness. Sorry I don't have any advice - best of luck to you and your family.

In some ways, you have posted too much information. Let's boil it down

1. How much liquid cash will your wife have should you die at the earliest date? (IRA, 401K,life insurance, doesn't matter). This will determine whether your wife needs to be working and for how much. My guess is she does. She needs to get a job right away, probably. You / she may need to sell the house to have lower monthly costs. The sooner you do this the better
2. What will your wife / kids do for medical insurance? Unless you have some sort of survivors plan from work, she will likely have to back to work for this as well
3. Make sure your assets are titled correctly to go directly to your wife so you avoid probate
4. What happens to your kids if your wife dies when the kids are still young? You need to deal with this now while you are both still healthy
5. If you make it to the start of the next plan year at work, max out LTD, STD, and Life insurance. Adjust your medical insurance as best you can to meet your treatment needs/ These are probably your only options at this point

These, and perhaps something I missed are the big things. The rest is refinement (people will suggest you sign up for Credit payment protection, which is fine, but in the end it won't necessarily have the major impact hat that the above have

The main thing that comes to my mind is the television-advertised insurance that says "no medical questions/you can't be turned down." Now that may be because they'll charge you too much to even consider it, but it may be worth a shot.

Secondly, I'm so very sad to read of your situation. Central Virginia is a somewhat vague area, but if you are near Lynchburg, I am down the street. PM me. Seriously. You can vet me and I'll be glad to help in whatever way I can. Blessings to you...

ETA, medical expenses are deductible over a threshold (2% I think)

You need to make a decision on how much treatment you can afford. Sounds heartless I know. But your wife will want to spend everything to extend your time, leaving her destitute. Is that what you want?

Also,
1) if she is not financially savvy, knows how to invest and how to be frugal, she needs to learn right away or get help
2) you need a will, an Advanced Medical directive, at the right time - a DNR, and a durable power of attorney. Your wife if she is level headed, someone else if she is not.

My condolences.

You won't be able to get payment protection, or additional life insurance, due to the diagnosis. If your buy up is less than two years old, the insurance company may try to wiggle out of it. Your wife needs to get a job. SSA won't provide you with health insurance, so keep your job as long as you can.

turtlebug said:   First, let me offer my condolences for your terminal diagnosis. Your head must be reeling. I wish you the best of luck in your treatment and I hope the best for you and your family.

May I ask what medical condition your four year old has that required your wife to quit her job?


Thank you for the kind words.

And yes, certainly - he'a asthmatic. He still is, though his breathing treatments have got it under control. He was admitted to the hospital to put on a ventilator twice during his first year of life.

Daycare made it nearly impossible to keep him disease-free. He was always catching something. Additionally he couldn't even really go to daycare when he was highly symptomatic. My wife and I both exhausted our paid leave staying home with him. Once we were both out of paid leave she started to take leave without pay - I made more money, so she took the hit. She had a really outstanding history with her company at the time, and wanted to maintain that good relationship. Once it became apparent that she wouldn't be able to go back to work anytime soon, she tendered her resignation and left with a very good record. Since she wasn't earning any income at that point anyway we felt that was a better choice than her career fizzling out until she was fired.

I am very saddened by your news, even though I don't know you or your family. I HATE cancer and everything it stands for. My best wishes for your family.

ellory said:   In some ways, you have posted too much information. Let's boil it down

1. How much liquid cash will your wife have should you die at the earliest date? (IRA, 401K,life insurance, doesn't matter). This will determine whether your wife needs to be working and for how much. My guess is she does. She needs to get a job right away, probably. You / she may need to sell the house to have lower monthly costs. The sooner you do this the better
2. What will your wife / kids do for medical insurance? Unless you have some sort of survivors plan from work, she will likely have to back to work for this as well
3. Make sure your assets are titled correctly to go directly to your wife and you avoid probate
4. What happens to your kids if your wife dies when the kids are still young? You need to deal with this now while you are both still healthy
5. If you make it to the start of the next plan year at work, max out LTD, STD, and Life insurance. Adjust your medical insurance as best you can to meet your treatment needs/ These are probably your only options at this point

These, and perhaps something I missed are the big things. The rest is refinement (people will suggest you sign up for Credit payment protection, which is fine, but in the end it won't necessarily have the major impact hat that the above have


1. I am not aware of any other sources of liquid cash, other than my life insurance. If there are some I might learn of those through this thread. The life insurance is $220,000.00. During our last open enrollment our provided (Lincoln Financial, I believe it is) said that we can add up to $50,000 without any sort of medical exam, etc. I'm hoping that's the case again this year, but somehow I doubt that will work. I hear you on the house, but I'm not sure that she could find much that's cheaper than our current payment ($1,600/month). That's cheaper than most apartments around here.
2. Good question - we assumed she'll be going back to work at that point. I'm not aware of any survivor benefits on my health insurance - is that remotely common? Is there a way to check on that?
3. OK - thank you, will do.
4. We are in the process of updating our wills, etc. I will update the OP.
5. Ah, that goes back to what I said in #1 - thank you.

Kashisti said:   turtlebug said:   First, let me offer my condolences for your terminal diagnosis. Your head must be reeling. I wish you the best of luck in your treatment and I hope the best for you and your family.

May I ask what medical condition your four year old has that required your wife to quit her job?


Thank you for the kind words.

And yes, certainly - he'a asthmatic. He still is, though his breathing treatments have got it under control. He was admitted to the hospital to put on a ventilator twice during his first year of life.

Daycare made it nearly impossible to keep him disease-free. He was always catching something. Additionally he couldn't even really go to daycare when he was highly symptomatic. My wife and I both exhausted our paid leave staying home with him. Once we were both out of paid leave she started to take leave without pay - I made more money, so she took the hit. She had a really outstanding history with her company at the time, and wanted to maintain that good relationship. Once it became apparent that she wouldn't be able to go back to work anytime soon, she tendered her resignation and left with a very good record. Since she wasn't earning any income at that point anyway we felt that was a better choice than her career fizzling out until she was fired.

Do your wife's parents live close by? Yours? If so, can either help with the care of the children while she looks for work? She really needs to get back into the work force ASAP. Hopefully, one set of parents might be willing to move close-by or move in (at least temporarily) until you and she do everything that needs to be done to prepare for any eventuality.

Stay strong, best hopes and wishes.

I have no advice that others haven't already touched on. Just wanted to give you some encouragement--stay strong in your heart. Prayers are with you bud.

Your wife might want to reach out to her old or employer or consider potential jobs in your area. I wouldn't go so far as to say she should take one now - especially if you're going to pull through, you'll need a near full-time medical advocate and sometimes care-giver.

It's still sometimes possible to get a little bit of life insurance that's not medically underwritten. These can be tricky to get, but I'll PM you the details. It's also possible that me and a friend can help you out personally, especially if things take a turn for the worse.

I know you said you planned on keeping working. At some point, you might want to spend more time with the family, even if it means leaving them with a little less money. Hopefully your wife will be able to manage and being there for your kids will probably mean a lot for them down the road.

You may find the "Last Lecture" videos and blog by Randy Pausche helpful/inspirational. He died fairly quickly of pancreatic cancer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyuZWDX55mI
http://www.thelastlecture.com/aboutr.htm

Good luck and stay strong.

Kashisti said:    The life insurance is $220,000.00. If these are all your assets that will be liquid, you have a serious problem

Best case, you can spend 4% per year of an amount and expect that it will last 20-30 years or more

4% of $220K is $8800. A year. That's $700 a month.

Assuming you have paid in to Social Security your kids (and maybe your wife, haven't checked lately) are entitled to Survivors Benefits

Figure out what that is. Add that to the $700 per month. That's what your wife and kids have to live on. Food, mortgage, medical, everything

Now make a budge of your current expenses. Mortgage, property tax, everything.

The gap between that income number and the expenses needs to closed. Ruthlessly. You said that you don't think she can find anything cheaper than our current payment ($1,600/month).

Not to be harsh, but the mortgage payment alone will consume most or all of your life insurance allocation + social security survivors benefits.

Do you see how untenable the financial position is? If there is nothing cheaper around where you are, you may really need to move to a much lower cost area.

ellory said:   ETA, medical expenses are dedutible over a threshold (2% I think)

You need to make a decision on how much treatment you can afford. Sounds heartless I know. But your wife will want to spend everything to extend your time, leaving her destitute. Is that what you want?

Also,
1) if she is not financially savvy, knows how to invest and how to be frugal, she needs to learn right away or get help
2) you need a will, an Advanced Medical directive, at the right time - a DNR, and a durable power of attorney. Your wife if she is level headed, someone else if she is not.


Right now it looks like we can afford as much treatment as I can get. My health insurance has approved everything, and I have fairly limited out-of-pocket costs. I'm also lucky in that I've got family support out my wazoo (not a medical term). I feel very fortunate that, as of right now, that doesn't appear to be a factor I'll need to consider in my treatment plan.

1) She's pretty saavy - she's the one that got us a house and decent credit three years out from a Chapter 7 and a foreclosure \^_^/
2) On it - thank you.

ellory said:   In some ways, you have posted too much information. Let's boil it down

1. How much liquid cash will your wife have should you die at the earliest date? (IRA, 401K,life insurance, doesn't matter). This will determine whether your wife needs to be working and for how much. My guess is she does. She needs to get a job right away, probably. You / she may need to sell the house to have lower monthly costs. The sooner you do this the better
2. What will your wife / kids do for medical insurance? Unless you have some sort of survivors plan from work, she will likely have to back to work for this as well
3. Make sure your assets are titled correctly to go directly to your wife so you avoid probate
4. What happens to your kids if your wife dies when the kids are still young? You need to deal with this now while you are both still healthy
5. If you make it to the start of the next plan year at work, max out LTD, STD, and Life insurance. Adjust your medical insurance as best you can to meet your treatment needs/ These are probably your only options at this point

These, and perhaps something I missed are the big things. The rest is refinement (people will suggest you sign up for Credit payment protection, which is fine, but in the end it won't necessarily have the major impact hat that the above have


#1: They have 4 young kids. If the wife works, all of her money will go to day care. There is almost no point in her working.
#2: If he dies, they will likely qualify for medicaid.

Your other points are valid. I would think that his wife should start contacting his and her family and let them know about the situation and that assistance may be required.

Gertrude23 said:   The main thing that comes to my mind is the television-advertised insurance that says "no medical questions/you can't be turned down." Now that may be because they'll charge you too much to even consider it, but it may be worth a shot.

Secondly, I'm so very sad to read of your situation. Central Virginia is a somewhat vague area, but if you are near Lynchburg, I am down the street. PM me. Seriously. You can vet me and I'll be glad to help in whatever way I can. Blessings to you...


It is a bit nebulous, isn't it - I work in Glen Allen, VA. My family is Glen Allen. My wife's family is in Fredericksburg, VA (about an hour north of Richmond). We live in Ruther Glen, VA (Caroline County), about smack-dab between Glen Allen and Fredericksburg. I really appreciate your kind offer.

IMHO, I would enjoy the present as much as I can with the family. Regarding the future, wife should start easing back into working mode (at least part time). Selling the house and moving into a rental might save some money. Ask friends and family for help will ease some of the burden (babysitting, chores, etc).

This situation can happen to anyone of us...stay Strong! Prayers sent...

ps - Record on video your time with the family...

turtlebug said:   Kashisti said:   turtlebug said:   First, let me offer my condolences for your terminal diagnosis. Your head must be reeling. I wish you the best of luck in your treatment and I hope the best for you and your family.

May I ask what medical condition your four year old has that required your wife to quit her job?


Thank you for the kind words.

And yes, certainly - he'a asthmatic. He still is, though his breathing treatments have got it under control. He was admitted to the hospital to put on a ventilator twice during his first year of life.

Daycare made it nearly impossible to keep him disease-free. He was always catching something. Additionally he couldn't even really go to daycare when he was highly symptomatic. My wife and I both exhausted our paid leave staying home with him. Once we were both out of paid leave she started to take leave without pay - I made more money, so she took the hit. She had a really outstanding history with her company at the time, and wanted to maintain that good relationship. Once it became apparent that she wouldn't be able to go back to work anytime soon, she tendered her resignation and left with a very good record. Since she wasn't earning any income at that point anyway we felt that was a better choice than her career fizzling out until she was fired.

Do your wife's parents live close by? Yours? If so, can either help with the care of the children while she looks for work? She really needs to get back into the work force ASAP. Hopefully, one set of parents might be willing to move close-by or move in (at least temporarily) until you and she do everything that needs to be done to prepare for any eventuality.


Yes, my parents are 30 minutes south and her parents are 20 minutes north. Any job she takes would probably be in one of those localities anyway.

I am not disagreeing with the common suggestion of her getting back in to the workforce, but what is the main advantage of that right now? Is it to get health insurance started? Is it so that she won't have a lapse in income after I pass if she had to look for a job then? Is it to build up a employment history so that she can try to assume the mortgage?

She's certainly not opposed to re-entering the workforce, and realizes she'll need to eventually, but it sounds like there may be some room to optimize what she's getting out of it.

Kashisti said:   1) She's pretty saavy - she's the one that got us a house and decent credit three years out from a Chapter 7 and a foreclosure ^_^/
That's good to hear. You might tell her to look into SS survivors benefits, food stamps, and medicaid. The last two are state-based, and its possible that she'll qualify based on (lack of) income if you die even though she'll still have some assets left from your insurance, etc.

Squeezer99 said:   

#1: They have 4 young kids. If the wife works, all of her money will go to day care. There is almost no point in her working.
#2: If he dies, they will likely qualify for medicaid.

Your other points are valid. I would think that his wife should start contacting his and her family and let them know about the situation and that assistance may be required.
Excellent points

Run the numbers. Investigate medicaid, food stamps, and understand the income and asset limits and the rules. If there are asset limitations, make sure the income assets don't go into your wife's name, and move them elsewhere. Perhaps a trust.

Investigate Obama care and whether that helps

Make sure the distributions are small enough not to trigger reduction in benefits. Again, the house she is in may very well be out of the question

I wish you the best OP. You just reminded me I need to increase my life insurance policy.

ellory said:   Kashisti said:    The life insurance is $220,000.00. If these are all your assets that will be liquid, you have a serious problem

Best case, you can spend 4% per year of an amount and expect that it will last 20-30 years or more

4% of $220K is $8800. A year. That's $700 a month.

Assuming you have paid in to Social Security your kids (and maybe your wife, haven't checked lately) are entitled to Survivors Benefits

Figure out what that is. Add that to the $700 per month. That's what your wife and kids have to live on. Food, mortgage, medical, everything

Now make a budge of your current expenses. Mortgage, property tax, everything.

The gap between that income number and the expenses needs to closed. Ruthlessly. You said that you don't think she can find anything cheaper than our current payment ($1,600/month).

Not to be harsh, but the mortgage payment alone will consume most or all of your life insurance allocation + social security survivors benefits.

Do you see how untenable the financial position is? If there is nothing cheaper around where you are, you may really need to move to a much lower cost area.


Those are all good points - I am not well enough insured, there's no doubt about that. I thought I was, and now that we've gotten back on our feet we adopted a very aggressive savings plan, but hind-sight, yada, yada, yada.

We had floated her taking the entirety of my life insurance policy and just paying a lump sump to the bank on the mortgage, then refinance the remaining $70,000 or so over 30 years. We feel that would bring the payment down low enough to make it feasible for her to stay in the house and afford normal living expenses.

I need to verify what will happen at open enrollment next year - there's a lot of reason to expect that I'll still be around in March, and if I am able to take on another $50,000 then my life insurance would be nearly enough to pay off the entire mortgage.

Thoughts?

Tough news, OP. Stay strong, best wishes for you & your family. I have put off finalizing buying enough life insurance to protect my family, I'm calling my agent today.

Definitely look in to what Social Security benefits your family will be entitled to in the event that you don't pull through. It will be a significant piece of their financial picture for many years. Good idea updating estate documents. Make sure that any individually owned financial accounts you have are Payable on Death (POD) to your wife or that everything is owned jointly. It makes the transition much smoother.

xerty said:   Your wife might want to reach out to her old or employer or consider potential jobs in your area. I wouldn't go so far as to say she should take one now - especially if you're going to pull through, you'll need a near full-time medical advocate and sometimes care-giver.

It's still sometimes possible to get a little bit of life insurance that's not medically underwritten. These can be tricky to get, but I'll PM you the details. It's also possible that me and a friend can help you out personally, especially if things take a turn for the worse.

I know you said you planned on keeping working. At some point, you might want to spend more time with the family, even if it means leaving them with a little less money. Hopefully your wife will be able to manage and being there for your kids will probably mean a lot for them down the road.

You may find the "Last Lecture" videos and blog by Randy Pausche helpful/inspirational. He died fairly quickly of pancreatic cancer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyuZWDX55mI
http://www.thelastlecture.com/aboutr.htm

Good luck and stay strong.


I will look in to it - any additional info you're willing to PM me would be greatly appreciated.

You're right about that. I'm lucky in that, because I can work from home, I can still be here in a big way for my family during the day. My wife and I have agreed that we'll need to find a happy compromise between financial security and closure. If I were told I had only 30 days left, I'd quit today and spend 100% of my time with them. As long as I've got some room to have optimism we figure I'll keep working as long as I can and as long as it isn't clearly detrimental to the time I have left with my family.

First of all, my heart goes out to you and your family.

Second, people will want to help and I would suggest that you graciously accept any donation that comes your way. Perhaps, you can look into starting a charity to avoid the tax burden of accepting donations outright. Make a website, so people can donate online.

Good luck.

Deeply sorry to learn of your situation and condition. I happen to be an MD who has worked in the field of brain cancer. Please make sure you see a top-rated neuro-oncologist, as care in this field can be tricky. Temodar (temozolamide) is probably the best hope chemotherapy-wise. I have met people who have survived, and I hope you are one of the lucky ones. There are some experimental immunotherapies for this illness that appear to have promise. You might want to consider a clinical trial to gain access to a therapy such as this. If you are interested, a search for brain cancer on clinicaltrials.gov can probably get you started. Best to you and your family during this very difficult time.

Squeezer99 said:   ellory said:   In some ways, you have posted too much information. Let's boil it down

1. How much liquid cash will your wife have should you die at the earliest date? (IRA, 401K,life insurance, doesn't matter). This will determine whether your wife needs to be working and for how much. My guess is she does. She needs to get a job right away, probably. You / she may need to sell the house to have lower monthly costs. The sooner you do this the better
2. What will your wife / kids do for medical insurance? Unless you have some sort of survivors plan from work, she will likely have to back to work for this as well
3. Make sure your assets are titled correctly to go directly to your wife so you avoid probate
4. What happens to your kids if your wife dies when the kids are still young? You need to deal with this now while you are both still healthy
5. If you make it to the start of the next plan year at work, max out LTD, STD, and Life insurance. Adjust your medical insurance as best you can to meet your treatment needs/ These are probably your only options at this point

These, and perhaps something I missed are the big things. The rest is refinement (people will suggest you sign up for Credit payment protection, which is fine, but in the end it won't necessarily have the major impact hat that the above have


#1: They have 4 young kids. If the wife works, all of her money will go to day care. There is almost no point in her working.
#2: If he dies, they will likely qualify for medicaid.

Your other points are valid. I would think that his wife should start contacting his and her family and let them know about the situation and that assistance may be required.


#1: Indeed - we've done the math over the years, and being employed has been a money-loser since Child #3. We do have the family support. I know that we could get family to watch the kids while she works. Realistically, though, I just can't picture either family watching four kids during the day, even on a split-basis, all the way until they're old enough to stay home on their own.
#2: I would say regardless of what we qualify for my wife would be highly adverse to any sort of long-term public assistance.

Those two points being said...something's gotta give. As someone else pointed out, the numbers mean there's really no good answer on this one.

Kashisti said:   

I need to verify what will happen at open enrollment next year - there's a lot of reason to expect that I'll still be around in March, and if I am able to take on another $50,000 then my life insurance would be nearly enough to pay off the entire mortgage.

Thoughts?
You are thinking with your heart and not your head. Run the numbers. And the alternatives. Dumping all your assets into a house that might be difficult to sell.

You have two alternatives that I see

a) Wife doesn't work / medicaid / Food stamps /Obamacare / keep assets out of her name if it triggers drop in payments- Run the numbers
b) Wife works / family cares for kids / company medical insurance / assets in her name - run the numbers

Under either scenario there needs to be a plan for the kids if something happens to her
Under either scenario, you need Durable PoA, Advanced Medical directive , etc
Under either scenario you need to ensure your assets avoid probate and move directly where you want them to be

Kashisti said:   

#1: Indeed - we've done the math over the years, and being employed has been a money-loser since Child #3. We do have the family support. I know that we could get family to watch the kids while she works. Realistically, though, I just can't picture either family watching four kids during the day, even on a split-basis, all the way until they're old enough to stay home on their own.
#2: I would say regardless of what we qualify for my wife would be highly adverse to any sort of long-term public assistance.

Those two points being said...something's gotta give. As someone else pointed out, the numbers mean there's really no good answer on this one.
Bold added. You got it. Run the numbers.

You said she is savvy. If so, she'll understand

My brother lost his wife to cancer 4 years ago. The SS survivor benefits for his 3 children were $1000K each/month. They were 8,9 and 11 at her death. They will receive those benefits until the age of 18.

ellory said:   Kashisti said:   

I need to verify what will happen at open enrollment next year - there's a lot of reason to expect that I'll still be around in March, and if I am able to take on another $50,000 then my life insurance would be nearly enough to pay off the entire mortgage.

Thoughts?
You are thinking with your heart and not your head. Run the numbers. And the alternatives. Dumping all your assets into a house that might be difficult to sell.

You have two alternatives that I see

a) Wife doesn't work / medicaid / Food stamps /Obamacare / keep assets out of her name if it triggers drop in payments- Run the numbers
b) Wife works / family cares for kids / company medical insurance / assets in her name - run the numbers

Under either scenario there needs to be a plan for the kids if something happens to her
Under either scenario, you need Durable PoA, Advanced Medical directive , etc
Under either scenario you need to ensure your assets avoid probate and move directly where you want them to be


So, I hear you there. If she really slummed it, got a cheap apartment someone in this area (to include the areas around family support), I'm not sure she could find anything for much less than $800 to $1000. That's less than $1,600, of course, but not by a huge amount.

I'll totally agree that a sizable portion of me is thinking about the house with my heart, but unless there's something more advantageous about an apartment in general (Taxes? Upkeep?), there must be some point in the continuum where it makes sense to try and save the house. If our mortgage payment was $100/month, I'd venture to guess she should keep it. If it were $3,000/month, not so much. If she magically found a job that paid what I make now, and had full support for the kids during the day she should probably keep it.

Those are all extreme examples of course, and our situation is someone in the middle - closer to the bad end of things, of course. But I can't help but feel that there is some sliding scale involved that makes this a question of a good CBA. If I'm wrong, and dumping the house is universally the best choice, I get that. If I'm right, I'm not sure what those inputs are that would adjust what the optimal decision is.

Kashisti said:   ellory said:   Kashisti said:    The life insurance is $220,000.00. If these are all your assets that will be liquid, you have a serious problem

Best case, you can spend 4% per year of an amount and expect that it will last 20-30 years or more

4% of $220K is $8800. A year. That's $700 a month.

Assuming you have paid in to Social Security your kids (and maybe your wife, haven't checked lately) are entitled to Survivors Benefits

Figure out what that is. Add that to the $700 per month. That's what your wife and kids have to live on. Food, mortgage, medical, everything

Now make a budge of your current expenses. Mortgage, property tax, everything.

The gap between that income number and the expenses needs to closed. Ruthlessly. You said that you don't think she can find anything cheaper than our current payment ($1,600/month).

Not to be harsh, but the mortgage payment alone will consume most or all of your life insurance allocation + social security survivors benefits.

Do you see how untenable the financial position is? If there is nothing cheaper around where you are, you may really need to move to a much lower cost area.


Those are all good points - I am not well enough insured, there's no doubt about that. I thought I was, and now that we've gotten back on our feet we adopted a very aggressive savings plan, but hind-sight, yada, yada, yada.

We had floated her taking the entirety of my life insurance policy and just paying a lump sump to the bank on the mortgage, then refinance the remaining $70,000 or so over 30 years. We feel that would bring the payment down low enough to make it feasible for her to stay in the house and afford normal living expenses.

I need to verify what will happen at open enrollment next year - there's a lot of reason to expect that I'll still be around in March, and if I am able to take on another $50,000 then my life insurance would be nearly enough to pay off the entire mortgage.

Thoughts?
you want to end up with the assets in her name, while the debt is in yours. It may be too soon, but look to draw credit card advances for cash to pay off the mortgage, etc. The life insurance will be hers, don't plan to use it to pay off your debts.

suezyque said:   My brother lost his wife to cancer 4 years ago. The SS survivor benefits for his 3 children were $1000K each/month. They were 8,9 and 11 at her death. They will receive those benefits until the age of 18.

I'm very sorry for your brother's loss, and for the information. I imagine that only my three biological children would be eligible for the benefits. My step-son (9 year-old) lives with me full-time. My wife has full legal custody. I have zero legal custody.

Actually, if he were eligible for benefits - I would think that the system was even more broken that I used to!

Kashisti said:   suezyque said:   My brother lost his wife to cancer 4 years ago. The SS survivor benefits for his 3 children were $1000K each/month. They were 8,9 and 11 at her death. They will receive those benefits until the age of 18.

I'm very sorry for your brother's loss, and for the information. I imagine that only my three biological children would be eligible for the benefits. My step-son (9 year-old) lives with me full-time. My wife has full legal custody. I have zero legal custody.

Actually, if he were eligible for benefits - I would think that the system was even more broken that I used to!


You can adopt him and then I'm sure he would qualify.

suezyque said:   Kashisti said:   suezyque said:   My brother lost his wife to cancer 4 years ago. The SS survivor benefits for his 3 children were $1000K each/month. They were 8,9 and 11 at her death. They will receive those benefits until the age of 18.

I'm very sorry for your brother's loss, and for the information. I imagine that only my three biological children would be eligible for the benefits. My step-son (9 year-old) lives with me full-time. My wife has full legal custody. I have zero legal custody.

Actually, if he were eligible for benefits - I would think that the system was even more broken that I used to!


You can adopt him and then I'm sure he would qualify.

I don't think the 9yo's dad would like that.

turtlebug said:   suezyque said:   Kashisti said:   suezyque said:   My brother lost his wife to cancer 4 years ago. The SS survivor benefits for his 3 children were $1000K each/month. They were 8,9 and 11 at her death. They will receive those benefits until the age of 18.

I'm very sorry for your brother's loss, and for the information. I imagine that only my three biological children would be eligible for the benefits. My step-son (9 year-old) lives with me full-time. My wife has full legal custody. I have zero legal custody.

Actually, if he were eligible for benefits - I would think that the system was even more broken that I used to!


You can adopt him and then I'm sure he would qualify.

I don't think the 9yo's dad would like that.


Under the circumstances, I think he would understand.

Skipping 252 Messages...
Not to speak for the OP, but I have talked to him on and off, and he started round two of chemo and has just been super tired as of late. Also, a couple of members of his family are ill with some head colds, so it's been tough around his house. That's pretty much all I know though.



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