These are the experiences, ideas and views of each individual person featured here. Your own situation may be different and these ideas may not work for you.
Retirement came a little bit more to the surface for obvious reasons, and last year we finally engaged a financial planner who was recommended to us by some good friends. So we turned pretty much everything over to him.
It's more of a day-to-day, year-to-year look at it right now to see where we're going to end up. I've pretty much had my investments and never really did anything with them, so now I have somebody actively looking at them and helping us.
We've been very fortunate to have excellent health insurance through my wife's job so there has not been a financial hit as a result of my treatments and drugs.
Get your books in order and unless you're doing your own financial planning, I highly recommend getting somebody else to manage it for you because that's just one more thing you don't want to have stressing you out.
Absolutely, we worry more about money now. The hit we had financially with medical expenses has taken its toll. We don't live extravagantly. We live comfortably, but when you don't know what's down the road you think more about what you're spending.
On the other hand, because you don't know what's ahead you want to seize the moment. For example, on our vacation we spontaneously booked an extra charter so we could fish more.
I'm OK, I can pay my bills.
I'm a saver and I'm quite conservative about things. But when you go through this, you say to yourself "I’m only coming through this once" so I'm a little freer with spending my savings than I was before.
Especially if I see that somebody I know needs something and I can in some small way help them, I'd like to try and do that.
See what's out there. A lot of organizations provide help when you need it, so don't be afraid to ask.
We found an individual who specializes in doing trust work. The process of doing that is not that onerous if you find a firm that specializes in it. I would recommend that.
A lot of attorneys will set up a trust for you that isn't filled. So basically you have a trust and there's nothing in it. You actually have to go through the step of moving dollars and stock accounts into the trust.
We chose long-term disability insurance. That's given us a cushion of time to be able to plan, rejigger and has allowed us to travel more.
Travel is not covered by my health insurance and often isn't covered by clinical trials. However, there are resources available to help with travel expenses. For instance, the American Cancer Society has Hope Lodge locations where you can stay for free near major cancer centers (requires advance reservations), or may help with hotel costs.
Some organizations will provide rides to get to and from the airport or to treatment centers. Some services like Cleaning for a Reason will clean your house for free. Others like Patient Access Network Foundation will help with co-pays for prescription drugs. Some pharmaceutical companies will provide targeted therapy drugs at a substantial discount to those who do not have adequate insurance coverage.
These services can be incredibly useful. Unfortunately there's no one place at the moment where you can go to look them all up. You still have to do a lot of legwork yourself.
I talk to my credit union sometimes and get their advice.
On lung cancer websites there's lung cancer advocacy - I talk to them and see what they suggest.
I have a stockbroker who is well aware of my situation. We used to be a little bit more aggressive with how we invested in stocks, funds and bonds, but after my diagnosis we've restructured my portfolio to be more conservative and have less of a risk. This means that if there is a big downturn in the market, we don't get affected as bad.
Talk to your oncology group and see if they have a financial person there that can look into grants that might be available for you. Different foundations may have money to help you and offer support with your medical expenses.
Also, if you are young, take a disability insurance policy out - you never know what'll happen.
Years ago, the person that did health insurance for my company insisted that my brothers and I get disability insurance.
There was no reason to do it at that point. It was very expensive but I did it. I also have social security disability, which I'm eligible for because of my pulmonary function. So I'm able to live a comfortable life. I'll never get rich, I'll never be able to save money but I have enough to live a nice life.
It's a blessing. Disability insurance is something I'd say people should think about. I'm really fortunate that I took care of some of these things when I was healthy.
File for disability immediately because it takes six or eight months. But as soon as you are approved, then they go back to the date you filed and make your payments retroactive.
There's a lot of financial aid for different things. The only thing I really took advantage of was a company called Cleaning for a Reason. If you are a woman in treatment, you call and they'll find a cleaning service. They offer four free cleanings for you while you are going through chemo.
It's a good pick-me-up and you don't have to worry about it, you have people coming in, they are all trained and very kind. They don't use any chemicals to clean your house, it's all natural-based... that was great!