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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.

Content Overview

Post Treatment 6 months +

Do basic financial planning. It will help you, first, pay off debt. (Free negotiating help is available). Then set aside money for health and other emergencies, then money to go after your dream. If debt is overwhelming, consider bankruptcy.

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With respect to debt, a few pointers may help:

  • Every debt that isn't secured by an asset (such as a mortgage) is negotiable. If for no other reason, every person and company you owe money knows that collection is not free. At the least, they would be likely to settle for payment of an amount that is less than the whole but more than they would receive if they were forced to use a collection agency or go to court. Creditors also know that there will be a lengthy time delay before they see any money -- possibly a long delay.
  • If your debts are more than you can afford:
    • Survivorship A to Z provides detailed information about how to deal with a financial crunch. For instance, start with getting a fix on your financial situation. A budget will help you get an idea of where you money really goes, and where you can make changes. Perhaps you can get money from an asset without selling it. We call the subject "New Uses Of Assets." Consider borrowing money from family and friends in a manner that doesn't affect your relationship. See "To Learn More."
    • There are counseling services that will negotiate for you with your creditors at no cost to you (they are paid by the creditors). Be cautious when choosing such a service. There are ads on television and radio for companies that for nonprofit services that end up charging you a fee.
    • Consider bankruptcy. It is not an option that counseling services generally talk about. However, the right for a person to start over financially is so ingrained in our system that it was built into our constitution.

Now is the time to start working on your financial situation in case it does. For instance:

  • If you do not have health insurance, now is the time to start working on getting it. If you work, and your employer doesn't offer a health insurance benefit, consider changing to an employer that does. A new employer cannot ask about your health condition before offering you a job.
  • Increase your credit. Start accepting the credit card offers you get in the mail. That doesn't mean to use the cards to run up debt. It does mean using each card enough to keep it open in case you need credit in the future. If you don't have credit, start getting it. Our documents in "To Learn More" tell you how.
  • Do what you can to improve your credit score. Credit scores are important for a batch of reasons, including how much you will be charged to borrow money.
  • Create an Emergency+Fund so you have cash on hand for emergencies and other expenses that may require cash.
  • Revisit your investment strategy to take into account the possibility of a recurrence and of a shorter than normal life expectancy. That is not to say that cancer as such shortens your expectancy. Just that if it does, take that into account. Our documents on the subject show you how.
  • See what you can do to improve your income. Perhaps there is a better paying job with your employer for which you can qualify. Or, as mentioned above, consider changing jobs.
  • A little financial planning will help maximize your financial situation. It doesn't have to take a lot of time. Planning should take into account ongoing medical costs and changes in your income and non-medical expenses due to your cancer. Planning should also include the possibility of a recurrence. If this becomes burdensome, ask a family member or friend to help. Professional help is also available.
  • Consider increasing the amount of life insurance you have. Among other ways to get life insurance, you may be able to get it at work once a year no matter what your health history If you become sick, life insurance can be used as an asset from which you can get cash.
  • Find out if you can obtain Disability Income Insurance. If you cannot obtain it on your own, you may be able to get it from a new employer. Large employers such as the government often offer such insurance as an employee benefit.
  • When you have extra money, put as much money as you can spare into your retirement accounts. Saving tax dollars is the same as earning extra money. You can usually withdraw money or borrow it if necessary. If you become disabled, withdrawals are usually without penalty. Plus, money in a retirement account is protected from creditors. If you have a choice of accounts:
    • First priority is to fund accounts in which your employer matches your contribution. The value of your contribution is increased as soon as you put it into the account.
    • Then consider:
      • Which accounts are easier to withdraw money from or borrow against in case of unexpected expense. Pay particular attention to when you can do these things as well as the costs you’ll pay, such as penalties.
      • Which accounts are earning you the most money.
    • If you need help with this decision, speak with a financial planner, your accountant or attorney.
  • A diagnosis heightens the importance of minimizing taxes. A diagnosis is not an excuse to skip filing. Plan to minimize chances of an audit. If audited, your diagnosis may help.
  • If you still have money left, open new retirement accounts to the maximum permitted by the tax laws.  

Survivorship A to Z information on finances and financial planning which is noted in "To Learn More" is tailored for people with cancer and other life changing diagnoses.

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