Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cancer and long term planning

With a cancer diagnosis, one starts having many little conversations with oneself and reevaluates many things that had previously been taken for granted in life. Some of those are very profound,  'its time to take charge of my life', for example, and others are less so 'its time to go to Europe that I've always talked about'.

But one of those items in life that seems to get reevaluated is 'if I have cancer, how important is retirement saving and planning?'. 'How am I supposed to save for retirement and pay medical bills?' And you cut back on your working hours so you can get to appointments. Money is tight.

But the real question is 'with cancer, will I even be here for retirement?'. Clearly retirement planning takes a hit. The younger you are, the less real it can seem.

Yesterday my husband came home from work (where its all top secret so he can't tell me much) in a cranky mood because he felt it was another long and boring day. (My point to him is they pay you to be there. But I digress) Anyway, one of  us mentioned how many more years of this would there be to put up with as we are getting up there in age.

The thought then occurred to me, we never figured out what the hell we are doing when we retire. To be fair, we got married nine years ago and two years later I was diagnosed with breast cancer and all thoughts of retiring were put aside. So now we have no plan. This isn't to say we aren't saving for retirement, we are. But we never figured out our plan.

What are our goals before we retire? Pay off the house first. Then what? Where do we want to retire? Close to good medical care for me of course. But do we want to keep the house, buy a second retirement place someplace? What do we want to do when we retire? We need hobbies and plans. Sitting around together will quickly lead to a body or a divorce.

We realize we need to start planning and thinking and agreeing on some things. It shouldn't be hard but we need to start.

Maybe now I am in a mental place where retirement seems realer again. I am getting closer to the age. My health certainly isn't going to let me keep working for another 20 years. Another cancer blip might change everything all over again but while we can, I think we need to do some long term planning for ourselves and look forward to some happy, healthy years together.

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