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Possibly forced early retirement due to medical issues
Old 04-19-2015, 11:20 PM   #1
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Possibly forced early retirement due to medical issues

Hey all, I wanted to run my situation by all and see what the prognosis is for my (our) situation. I've had a few bad accidents when I was younger. Mostly muscular / spinal / back related. As I get older, mid-30s now, the paid has consistently gotten worse and worse. I manage it the best I can with doctors, however, sometimes, it can be days or longer until an episode has concluded. This includes consistent spinal pain, whereas there are days I just cannot walk. Suicide migraine attacks, and then the side effects from the medicines to combat the back/spinal/head issues.

This, sadly, has hampered my work ability. Since it got real bad, mid 20's, I've been unemployable due to the medical issues and possible liability of high bills I can cause a company. So, I started my own company and for around 15 years, I've done okay. However, my industry is shrinking and it seems I might have a year, maybe two (stretching it) left. After that, I have a side job, but it only brings in around 10k a year before taxes. Not sure how long that will last either. However, I did save for a rainy day. Most, if not all, of my after tax profits over the years went into the stock market and fixed income. The securities are worth anywhere from 2.3m - 2.5m. I also own my own home without a mortgage. In retirement, I have close to 220k. My wife works and is in good health. She earns around 75k a year before taxes. Expenses, for me, are around 5500.00 a month. This includes medical, food, etc. I do not ask my wife to help pay for my expenses, as I do not think that would be fair.

Am I going to be okay financially? My wife will always be okay, as she can work and has no medical issues. I, however, a train wreck (medically).

Thank you.
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Old 04-20-2015, 03:53 AM   #2
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Social Security Disability as an option?
Have you checked your SS statement at The United States Social Security Administration to see how much SS Disability would pay per month? I believe it is based on the 15 highest years of your earnings record. After two years you can get on Medicare, which is better than the ACA. Also you may qualify for property tax breaks or other discounts.
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:39 AM   #3
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....snip....

However, I did save for a rainy day. Most, if not all, of my after tax profits over the years went into the stock market and fixed income. The securities are worth anywhere from 2.3m - 2.5m. I also own my own home without a mortgage. In retirement, I have close to 220k. My wife works and is in good health. She earns around 75k a year before taxes. Expenses, for me, are around 5500.00 a month. This includes medical, food, etc. I do not ask my wife to help pay for my expenses, as I do not think that would be

Thank you.
First so much empathy. You mention suicide migraine headaches. Are these cluster headaches? Speaking from someone who has them, I understand the "suicide"name. An off brand treatment has helped mine immensely, O2 through a rapid rebreather. Getting off some of the opiods and on O2 helped tremendously. The opiods helped at first, then gave me more clusters.

I've had a lot of PT, epidurals and too many opiods and misery.

Your combined assets might seem to suggest you could have enough assets for you and DW to live on 3%x2.5MM is 75k a year. Even if you can't work that's close to your expenses with DWs income.

Do check into SSDI, you earned it. It's what the programs for. Don't be afraid to apply or have a non-attourney, or attorney represent you.

Best wishes, if you ever want to chat, feel free to PM me.


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Old 04-20-2015, 08:39 AM   #4
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Wish you the best for improvement in health...

As far as disability insurance goes, the first step is to understand what is and isn't available... Here's a simple place to start:
Can Someone Claim Social Security Disability If They Have Never Worked? | Disability Secrets

... but the details go to many pages, and much depends on savings, other income, quarters of paying in... And the options for those who have never paid into SSDI.

I have more than a passing interest in this as I have a close relative who cannot work at all... not from choice, but an almost ultimate disability. It's a worst case scenario. For a single person, surviving comes down to budgeting.
In his case, using all available government resources, he is managing to live with an income of under $20,000.

No magic solutions, but sometimes, starting with a worst case scenario opens more options than trying to figure what to give up. Easier to say than to do.
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Old 04-20-2015, 08:52 AM   #5
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I think you should be ok. You have done very well to save as much as you have at such a young age. At your young age, a conservative 3% withdrawal rate on a $2.4-2.6 million portfolio should be able to generate $6,000 to $6,500 a month of withdrawals (increasing for inflation) and your gap is only $5,000 a month ($5,500 of expenses less your side job take-home pay).

As others have suggested, explore what SS disability benefits might be available to you as these would further reduce the gap.
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:35 AM   #6
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Go for the SSI, I'm not certain but I think SSI also qualifys you for Medicare. The bad part is, you will have to actually quit working at all before you can apply. Can't have W-2 income and still be eligible. You also might need a lawyer to plow through all the red tape, but lawyers of this type don't get paid if you don't collect SSI. Also if you do get approved, no matter how long it takes you will get money paid from back to the filing date.

Start by either closing down your business or leaving your side job and and then go to no work at all. You are a classic case of someone who should have SSI, and good for you for continuing to plow thru everything and working on in some difficult circumstances.
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:01 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by compworld View Post
Hey all, I wanted to run my situation by all and see what the prognosis is for my (our) situation. I've had a few bad accidents when I was younger. Mostly muscular / spinal / back related. As I get older, mid-30s now, the paid has consistently gotten worse and worse. I manage it the best I can with doctors, however, sometimes, it can be days or longer until an episode has concluded. This includes consistent spinal pain, whereas there are days I just cannot walk. Suicide migraine attacks, and then the side effects from the medicines to combat the back/spinal/head issues.

This, sadly, has hampered my work ability. Since it got real bad, mid 20's, I've been unemployable due to the medical issues and possible liability of high bills I can cause a company. So, I started my own company and for around 15 years, I've done okay. However, my industry is shrinking and it seems I might have a year, maybe two (stretching it) left. After that, I have a side job, but it only brings in around 10k a year before taxes. Not sure how long that will last either. However, I did save for a rainy day. Most, if not all, of my after tax profits over the years went into the stock market and fixed income. The securities are worth anywhere from 2.3m - 2.5m. I also own my own home without a mortgage. In retirement, I have close to 220k. My wife works and is in good health. She earns around 75k a year before taxes. Expenses, for me, are around 5500.00 a month. This includes medical, food, etc. I do not ask my wife to help pay for my expenses, as I do not think that would be fair.

Am I going to be okay financially? My wife will always be okay, as she can work and has no medical issues. I, however, a train wreck (medically).

Thank you.
I think you will be okay financially even if you do have to close your main business in a year or two.

I really admire you--many people with your health issues that precluded traditional employment would have stopped right there.
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:14 AM   #8
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I think you will be okay as well. I sincerely hope you find resolution to the pain issues.
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:40 AM   #9
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Go for the SSI, I'm not certain but I think SSI also qualifys you for Medicare. The bad part is, you will have to actually quit working at all before you can apply. Can't have W-2 income and still be eligible. You also might need a lawyer to plow through all the red tape, but lawyers of this type don't get paid if you don't collect SSI. Also if you do get approved, no matter how long it takes you will get money paid from back to the filing date.

Start by either closing down your business or leaving your side job and and then go to no work at all. You are a classic case of someone who should have SSI, and good for you for continuing to plow thru everything and working on in some difficult circumstances.
I think you mean SSDI, not SSI. SSI is for people with not enough of a earnings record for SSDI. I think it pays $733 a month and has a income and resource test. SSI folks get Medicaid, while SSDI folks get Medicare after 25 months.
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:32 AM   #10
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I think you mean SSDI, not SSI. SSI is for people with not enough of a earnings record for SSDI. I think it pays $733 a month and has a income and resource test. SSI folks get Medicaid, while SSDI folks get Medicare after 25 months.
I don't know all the details so thanks for posting this for others, so if you have a regular contribution to SS and have the required quarters, you apply for SSDI. That's why I think it's to good to have a lawyer to help figure out the best steps.

It's hard enough to figure out regular SS payments and this SSDI would be lot more complicated.
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:30 PM   #11
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Social Security Disability as an option?
Have you checked your SS statement at The United States Social Security Administration to see how much SS Disability would pay per month? I believe it is based on the 15 highest years of your earnings record. After two years you can get on Medicare, which is better than the ACA. Also you may qualify for property tax breaks or other discounts.
I received my statement a few months ago and it said around 2200.00 a month right now. I would rather not have to lean on the government and my fellow citizens if I can sustain myself on my own. I am not keen on freeloading off of others. After all, it's not their fault I am in the situation. Luck of the draw I guess in life.
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:35 PM   #12
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First so much empathy. You mention suicide migraine headaches. Are these cluster headaches? Speaking from someone who has them, I understand the "suicide"name. An off brand treatment has helped mine immensely, O2 through a rapid rebreather. Getting off some of the opiods and on O2 helped tremendously. The opiods helped at first, then gave me more clusters.

I've had a lot of PT, epidurals and too many opiods and misery.

Your combined assets might seem to suggest you could have enough assets for you and DW to live on 3%x2.5MM is 75k a year. Even if you can't work that's close to your expenses with DWs income.

Do check into SSDI, you earned it. It's what the programs for. Don't be afraid to apply or have a non-attourney, or attorney represent you.

Best wishes, if you ever want to chat, feel free to PM me.

🐑
The docs do not feel like Oxygen it would be of help since most of my migraines are due to my spinal cord issues. I tend to disagree, however, I am in the minority on this. I have chronic migraines 3 or more times a week. Botox used to work, but it has stopped as well. The Orthopedic doc and the Neurological doc disagree on surgery as well. Orthopedic for surgery, Neuro, feels it might not help and just cause more pain. I tend to shy away from surgery if I can. I've heard so many horror stories that the pain is even worse after surgery. They have me now on Lyrica, Reglan and a few other meds to "prevent" the migraines and to abort them. So far, it's not a good combo...
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by compworld View Post
I received my statement a few months ago and it said around 2200.00 a month right now. I would rather not have to lean on the government and my fellow citizens if I can sustain myself on my own. I am not keen on freeloading off of others. After all, it's not their fault I am in the situation. Luck of the draw I guess in life.
You're definitely not freeloading. You paid in monies for disability, if you qualify, it's yours.

That said I admire your high ethical standards. Your the one that looks in your mirror, only you can be your judge.

Have you run your situation through firecalc or other tools to see what they project? Best wishes

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Old 04-20-2015, 12:43 PM   #14
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I received my statement a few months ago and it said around 2200.00 a month right now. I would rather not have to lean on the government and my fellow citizens if I can sustain myself on my own. I am not keen on freeloading off of others. After all, it's not their fault I am in the situation. Luck of the draw I guess in life.
Sir, this is not freeloading, you have paid a large amount of SS taxes in your lifetime. This is not a welfare program, if you are comfortable taking a SS check, there is not any difference in taking SSDI, if you are in so much pain that you can't function. My mention of a lawyer in no way meant to imply that you are asking for something that you haven't earned. The SSDI benefits forms and applications are complicated and have to be filled out properly to be approved. I don't even want to say this, but some people with major disabilities either have major extra healthcare costs and or a shortened life span. I sincerely hope this isn't true in your case. The extra inflow of money might make your life more comfortable now or provide an added cushion for your DW in the furture.

You are totally a bootstrap type of guy, I really admire that, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:44 PM   #15
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Wish you the best for improvement in health...

As far as disability insurance goes, the first step is to understand what is and isn't available... Here's a simple place to start:
Can Someone Claim Social Security Disability If They Have Never Worked? | Disability Secrets

... but the details go to many pages, and much depends on savings, other income, quarters of paying in... And the options for those who have never paid into SSDI.

I have more than a passing interest in this as I have a close relative who cannot work at all... not from choice, but an almost ultimate disability. It's a worst case scenario. For a single person, surviving comes down to budgeting.
In his case, using all available government resources, he is managing to live with an income of under $20,000.

No magic solutions, but sometimes, starting with a worst case scenario opens more options than trying to figure what to give up. Easier to say than to do.
I've cut where ever I can. Wife likes Cable, so we have that. Nothing fancy. Biggest expense would be medical and premiums. If those were able to get under control, I can maybe cut to 30k a year after taxes. However, I do no see that happening. ACA actually hurt me, not helped me. Still would prefer to stay of SSDI until ultimately necessary (worse case scenario). I'd rather hope to live off the investment income. Mostly in fixed income bonds (actual bonds), but I am slowly moving into index funds as they mature. In time, I hope to get to 75% index funds and 25% fixed income. Reason being, I'm concerned about a huge correction when I actually need the money the most. It seems Murphy' s Law happens at the worse possible times. Plus, the animosity I would get from wife and family would be hard as well. I already feel it because I have this "nest egg" and they all have to work very hard just to get by. My response, you can get a regular job and have a career; I cannot. Then they play the air violin after my response. So, it is what it is. I tend not to inform any of them about my medical issues anymore as they say I am complaining and looking for sympathy. I am not looking for either. They ask a question, I give an answer. If you do not want to hear the answer, then do not ask a question. Fun life...
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Old 04-20-2015, 01:14 PM   #16
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Sir, this is not freeloading, you have paid a large amount of SS taxes in your lifetime. ....
+1 a portion of your SS taxes are for disability insurance... you're just making a claim under the insurance program that you have paid premiums into for years.
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:17 PM   #17
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I've cut where ever I can. Wife likes Cable, so we have that. Nothing fancy. Biggest expense would be medical and premiums. If those were able to get under control, I can maybe cut to 30k a year after taxes. However, I do no see that happening. ACA actually hurt me, not helped me. Still would prefer to stay of SSDI until ultimately necessary (worse case scenario). I'd rather hope to live off the investment income. Mostly in fixed income bonds (actual bonds), but I am slowly moving into index funds as they mature. In time, I hope to get to 75% index funds and 25% fixed income. Reason being, I'm concerned about a huge correction when I actually need the money the most. It seems Murphy' s Law happens at the worse possible times. Plus, the animosity I would get from wife and family would be hard as well. I already feel it because I have this "nest egg" and they all have to work very hard just to get by. My response, you can get a regular job and have a career; I cannot. Then they play the air violin after my response. So, it is what it is. I tend not to inform any of them about my medical issues anymore as they say I am complaining and looking for sympathy. I am not looking for either. They ask a question, I give an answer. If you do not want to hear the answer, then do not ask a question. Fun life...
You have some hard stuff going on in your life. Personally, I find it hard to understand how anyone involved in your daily life could have animosity or play air violin after looking at what you live with everyday. You are to be admired for what you have accomplished under very difficult conditions. Of course you are worried about supporting yourself. Your health costs will become much more manageable under SSDI. I hate to think of you stressing about doctor bills and market corrections, when the government has provided a program, that you have paid premiums for, that will help you manage some of these worries. Please don't just shut the door on the SSDI program.
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:18 PM   #18
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You're definitely not freeloading. You paid in monies for disability, if you qualify, it's yours.

That said I admire your high ethical standards. Your the one that looks in your mirror, only you can be your judge.

Have you run your situation through firecalc or other tools to see what they project? Best wishes

🐑
Yes, I know. However, I would like to work as much as possible. I had hoped that the investment cushion would had been enough to get me through it.

Yes, and Firecalc says 100% at around 75k.


Also, I didn't mention, I could sell the house, if need be. It's worth anywhere from 800k - 1.23m according to Zilliow and Trulia. However, I rather not do so. Wife, assuming she continues to put up with the medical issues, will receive a pension at 65 (couple decades from now or so) valued at 3k a month.
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:23 PM   #19
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Medicare is better than the ACA, for this reason alone I would try for SSDI if I were you.
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:23 PM   #20
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Sir, this is not freeloading, you have paid a large amount of SS taxes in your lifetime. This is not a welfare program, if you are comfortable taking a SS check, there is not any difference in taking SSDI, if you are in so much pain that you can't function. My mention of a lawyer in no way meant to imply that you are asking for something that you haven't earned. The SSDI benefits forms and applications are complicated and have to be filled out properly to be approved. I don't even want to say this, but some people with major disabilities either have major extra healthcare costs and or a shortened life span. I sincerely hope this isn't true in your case. The extra inflow of money might make your life more comfortable now or provide an added cushion for your DW in the furture.

You are totally a bootstrap type of guy, I really admire that, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!
I know, however, I am sure there are other people who need it more than me. There are some days that the pain is moderate and I can work. I am hoping with additional modifications with the meds I can get the pain under control. Probable is with IBS, the meds do a number on the stomach. So, while the pain from the head and spine have gone down, then I need to deal with the gastrointestinal issues which are as painful as the rest. It's a never ending battle.

Yes, I am well aware of the medical costs right now. They hover around 40k for me with premiums and OOP expenses. I also do not know if my docs would accept medicare. I did ask about SSDI before, all the docs frowned upon it and said I can make it through without government assistance.
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