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Handling a Terminal Disease the FWF Way?

3 of 30
2/22/13 10:44 AM
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...
2/22/13 10:46 AM
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.
2/22/13 10:50 AM
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.
2/22/13 10:50 AM
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
2/22/13 10:51 AM
I wish you the best OP. You just reminded me I need to increase my life insurance policy.
2/22/13 10:53 AM
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.

2/22/13 10:55 AM
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.
2/22/13 10:56 AM
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.


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.
2/22/13 10:57 AM
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.
2/22/13 10:58 AM
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.
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