Yesterday, in a post on Lazy Man and Health, I introduced you to the Travelin' Man. You might be familiar with him because he comments fairly frequently. Unfortunately, his doctor says that he might have bladder cancer. He sent a few bloggers an e-mail, asking a few financial questions. I'll take a shot of answering them here...
Each bullet point is a question from him, and my responses are directly below that:
- Should I alter contributions to my 403b? I get a match of 100% up to 5% of salary. I currently contribute 10%.
LM: I'd suggest dropping that down to 5% to pick up the match.
- Should I divert more of my paycheck earmarked for investment into a high-yield savings account, at least for the short-term?
LM: I think that's a smart idea.
- Of the money I already have invested, do I need to consider re-allocating my assets to a less risky portfolio (Hey, I am young - it is almost all stocks - and weighted heavily to international ~35% or so)?
LM: I might add a few bonds to the portfolio, maybe make it around 20%. If it were me I'd still keep about 35% of the remaining 80% in international funds. I think there's more risk in relying on the US with a vast majority of your money.
- I don't have a will or living directive written. Is there a process that I need to follow?
LM: I'd look to create a living will online. It looks like it could be free. Read the commments, there are probably a couple of other things in there as well.
- I am single with no dependents - how would that alter your way of thinking versus being married with a few kids to take care of?
LM: Well if I was married with children, I would definitely be looking at my life insurance to make sure that they'll be cared for. Unfortunatly, this might not be an option with a health scare. In some ways you are better off - not having to worry about their survival if you are unable to provide for them. In other ways you are worse off, not having their support at a time like this.
- My employer is very generous with paid leave, and I have about 400 hours of sick time accrued. How important is it to manage that time versus looking at things like short-term disability (pays about 2/3), or is that even an option?
LM: I think the doctors and/or treatment will dictate this one. If you are phsyically able to work in the short term, then I'd do that. When you are not able to work try to determine if it's just going to be for one day or if it's going to be a couple of weeks. Your doctor should be able to help you.
- Given the likelihood of remission, but possibly having to deal with this again in the future, how would you alter choosing health insurance packages? Would something like AFLAC be beneficial during the next sign-up period?
LM: This answer depends almost entirely on the health packages offered to you. There are a ton of online articles comparing HMOs and PPOs and do either any justice in this space would be impossible.
- At 35 years old, is it too early to start thinking about long-term care insurance (again, single with no dependents)?
LM: I don't think it's ever too early to "think about" anything. Definitely educate yourself and run the numbers. I'm almost thinking that it's a good idea, but I don't know if long-term care insurance rise with your current condition - like life insurance. If it does rise and it rises too much, then it's not valuable. It's going to be something that you have to take on a case-by-case basis.
- While my credit is not stellar, I have made great strides to improve it (the only outstanding debt I have right now is my mortgage and student loans - the total of which is about $45k). Are there any "best ways" to handle in the impending medical expenses?
LM: I'm going to assume your health insurance willl help you know what is and what isn't covered. That's going the first obvious start. The other idea I had was look to see if your employer offers some kind of health savings plan where you save money for health expenses tax-free.
- Are there any other spending or saving habits that you would adjust?
LM: Honestly, I would probably start to save a little less for the long term and try to pack in some fun now. Sometimes something like this will give you the kick in the pants to do something you've always wanted to do.
Obviously health comes first, but what you suggest to the Travelin' Man?
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