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Friend looking to RE for med reasons
Old 09-11-2014, 03:27 PM   #1
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Friend looking to RE for med reasons

I am asking this on behalf of someone I know who is considering FIRE due to his medical condition. He has ms, and has had it for a long time, I think at least 20 or even 25 yrs. It has been mild in terms of disability so far, he still walks fine. But he's reaching 50 shortly and has achieved savings of a few million (I think roughly 3?) on top of a paid off house. I don't have a perfect handle on his expenses, he is married with a SAH wife and young child but it sounds like its under 100k / yr.

He works full time now as coworker - a project manager in a megacorp with good HI but no DB pension. He takes some type of medication for the ms which is expensive, obviously ACA is a game changer and possibly enabler.

He is thinking of leaving the work force because he suspects his condition is likely to deteriorate before traditional retirement age. He fears regret if he isn't physically able to enjoy retirement at the normal time. And to spend physically able time with the DD while she's young. Obviously he's going to walk away from megacorp's LTD insurance coverage, but that's the point - enjoy life while possible and forgo any payout.

It sounds like a Hollywood script, and given how much I've read on this forum at first glance the finances look OK (WR ~3% I think) as long as assets and expenses are really at that level. And obviously ACA a game changer for getting covered with pre-ex conditions. I mostly worry about this guy being able to detach from work at such a young age, find new activities, not get in the wife's hair too much, etc. And I think there is still social stigmas around RE, the biggest impact being that after 1-2 yrs out it'd be very hard to change one's mind and get back in.

Any other advice or thoughts to pass on? On the stigma side of it, how common a transition is this (versus someone who RE to pursue hobbies...)? I guess at some level who cares the reason for RE as long as he and his family accepts the change.
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Old 09-11-2014, 03:37 PM   #2
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You are worried about a ~50 year old's ability to detach from w*rk. Look at it this way. For half of his entire life he has been living with a ticking time bomb. Depending on the type if MS that he has, his symptoms may fluctuate or he may steadily or stepwise lose his ability to walk, care for himself, and generally enjoy life. He is probably never going to be in better health than he is now. If you were he, which do you think would be your priority, enjoying today what he may lose at any time, or continuing to work for Megacorp? Given that he appears to be FI, and that health insurance will be available to him, I think there is no contest.
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Old 09-11-2014, 04:12 PM   #3
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His problem is the cost of his medication. Many ACA plans do not cover expensive medicines for uncommon diseases. High pharmacy co-pays and non-coverage are one way insurance companies keep sick people off the plans that complies with the rules. He needs to check the formulary for the plans available to see what the cost of his medication would be. He could find himself out thousands of dollars every month if he is receiving a high cost medication.
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Old 09-11-2014, 04:13 PM   #4
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My wife has MS and is retiring for the same reason. She has known she has MS for about 14 years.

However she has a DB pension that is about 30% of her prior income and we have a good NW and very low expenses. Actually overall I think our income will go up slightly in retirement.

But we have run the numbers and it works for us. Our goal was to enjoy things while she was still pretty mobile. I can certainly understand your coworkers concerns--especially given the fact that more women have MS than men, but men tend to have I worse. Good luck to him!
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Old 09-11-2014, 05:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
You are worried about a ~50 year old's ability to detach from w*rk. Look at it this way. For half of his entire life he has been living with a ticking time bomb. Depending on the type if MS that he has, his symptoms may fluctuate or he may steadily or stepwise lose his ability to walk, care for himself, and generally enjoy life. He is probably never going to be in better health than he is now. If you were he, which do you think would be your priority, enjoying today what he may lose at any time, or continuing to work for Megacorp? Given that he appears to be FI, and that health insurance will be available to him, I think there is no contest.

Yes, yes, and yes. This was beautifully stated. The other thing I will add though is the prescription coverage with plans through the ACA is very limited. I don't know what the criteria is for applying for medicare and SSDI but if he is eligible I would recommend applying. And if he is not eligible now, then apply as soon as he is. If he happens to be a military veteran, I would recommend that he look into any available VA benefits.
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Old 09-11-2014, 05:45 PM   #6
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Yes, yes, and yes. This was beautifully stated. The other thing I will add though is the prescription coverage with plans through the ACA is very limited. I don't know what the criteria is for applying for medicare and SSDI but if he is eligible I would recommend applying. And if he is not eligible now, then apply as soon as he is. If he happens to be a military veteran, I would recommend that he look into any available VA benefits.
Agree. Between DW and I we have ACA coverage and the other one SSDI and Medicare supplemental. For our case ACA is better for prescription coverage, but don't think it's always that way. Think you have to look at meds and treatment for each plan. Medicare seemed to have a easy interface for prescription coverage costs. ACA was a little more difficult, in our case the medications were much cheaper.

Definitely check into SSDI.
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:33 AM   #7
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I would see if his wife can maybe work a low stress job with benefits, to ease the impact of health care costs. It sounds like he doesn't need 24 hour care right now, but could buy them a few years until Medicare.

But I agree with others, I would wake up every day to try to enjoy as much as I could as long as I felt well. Volunteering if he is able can give some people a great sense of purpose and accomplishment.


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Old 09-14-2014, 05:06 PM   #8
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Check into SSDI. Then medication can be covered. MS is not uncommon at all. And it can be debilitating or mild.


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Old 09-14-2014, 06:58 PM   #9
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My SIL has MS and has Kaiser health insurance, maybe via Medicare Advantage or through her PERS teacher's retirement. She has received excellent care and leading edge meds (not sure if that is good or bad but in any case they are not low-balling her care).
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Old 09-14-2014, 10:34 PM   #10
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My brother went from diagnosis to dead in five years (primary-progressive MS). I don`t know, but don`t think he had expensive drugs (I`m in Canada so everything else was covered).

I have a good friend who was diagnosed with PPMS in 1998 (at about 45). He still lives in his own place (with help), can`t walk, need`s help getting into and out of bed etc. Being Canada, our heath care applies and it costs him little. I think he has a few `good`years left. Well, if you define good as not being in the nursing home.

If in US, what to do, WTFN.
I think I`d wait until long-term disability hit and then try to be the guy who got the most out of it.

I RE`in 08 with about the same amount of $. I suspect I have a few more years than your friend. Other than his or her potential health care costs, I`d be gone. With them, I think I`d stay employed until nothing bad (financiaaly, due to health) could hurt my wife and kids.

Give your friend my best. He has already beaten the odds on one plane. Go for the second, then the third.
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