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Do I worry too much? Honest thoughts appreciated.
Old 08-02-2021, 08:21 PM   #1
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Do I worry too much? Honest thoughts appreciated.

Bear with me, I'm having one of those weeks. And it's only Monday. I'd be interested in your thoughts (and your support).

Do I worry too much about having enough and whether I'll have health insurance?

My full-time job (110K a year, has health insurance) is going a bad direction, fast. I'm assured of a job through June 2022, a month after my 55th birthday, and after that the writing is on the wall: They want me out. I'm finding the thought of losing a job with health insurance really stressful at this age.

My part-time gig (no insurance, unpredictable hours, too new to estimate income) is good but higher stress. I've been doing it only a few months, but I'm great at it. It's a huge positive.

Wife and I have no debt; house was paid off a year and a half ago and no car loan. No kids. Very little family on either side. I'm 54 and she's 56. She has a good job (70K a year with good health insurance and I can go on her plan ... but her health is not as good as mine and I feel like I need to be realistic. I can't plan on having health insurance through her job. I feel like I need a path for my own insurance.

Combined retirement savings is 1.9M. About 400K in Roth and 150K in brokerage. The rest is in tax-deferred accounts. Like I said, house is paid for, but it's a small footprint and four levels and not a "forever" home if mobility issues kick in. That being said, we don't want to move till we absolutely have to.

My side gig is pretty new, but I think I can gross 50K a year off it if need be.

Do I worry too much? I feel like if I was 59 instead of 54, I wouldn't be stressing over the thought of losing my job and the insurance. Sometimes it feels like I'm in a game to see if I can make it to 65 and Medicare in one piece. Ten years seems like a long ways off.

Thanks for reading and letting me vent ... and thanks for any thoughts, particularly those who are or were in similar situations.
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Old 08-02-2021, 08:50 PM   #2
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It's a concern for sure. The question is, what can you do about it? None of the factors that put you at risk are things you seem to have a choice on. So, hope for the best, and figure out what to do if the worst happens, like finding a job with HI, or seeing what your options are without ACA. I don't think I'd be actively looking for a new job with health insurance right now just in case you need it before 65, but maybe keep your eyes open. Don't let it consume you when there's really nothing you can do right now, especially since there's a very good chance it'll never be an issue.
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Old 08-02-2021, 09:00 PM   #3
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I'd say yes, you are overthinking your wife's fragility. Is she planning on retiring sooner? Look at what is actually in front of you, and plan accordingly.
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Old 08-02-2021, 09:13 PM   #4
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I'd say yes, you are overthinking your wife's fragility. Is she planning on retiring sooner? Look at what is actually in front of you, and plan accordingly.


As someone who has used ACA the past two years I am satisfied with the options. I am healthy at this point and almost all the preventative is covered.

ACA cost has been lowered. There is no cliff thru 2022 and I suspect that will be made permanent.

Age 62 BTW
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Old 08-02-2021, 09:16 PM   #5
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Do I worry too much?
Yes!

Health Insurance is overrated. And now there is even a safety net of ACA. All you have to do is keep your income low...

So if your income is too low - you have affordable ACA
If your income is high - what are you afraid of?

(ps: you've to excuse me. I came to this country in mid-late 90s and still find all these health insurance related shackles bit overrated, especially now that ACA is there).
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Old 08-02-2021, 09:29 PM   #6
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This is super helpful ... thanks for your perspectives! Much appreciated. The continuation of the ACA is far from a sure thing, since a disturbing number in Congress want to can it. But I live in a state that has its own good exchange (for now at least), so that's a positive.

My mother died at age 48 after a long, drawn-out illness ... so health care and health insurance have always weighed on me.
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Old 08-03-2021, 05:37 AM   #7
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One of my siblings is a worrier too and that's her nature so not going to change. What you can do is research what you can change/fix to help reduce your stress/worry. Curious why you would have a side gig that's higher stress than your full time job. This can effect your health. Is it worth the "maybe" income in the long run?
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Old 08-03-2021, 05:43 AM   #8
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Do spend some time reading up on the ACA here. I'm still younger than you, but I've been on it for several years and I'm happy with my plan, docs, pricing, etc. I have a high deducible plan (on purpose) to continue to fund my HSA, and I just bake those costs into my budget.

You don't mention the ACA at all in your post, so spend some time digging on Health Sherpa as well for plans in your area.
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Old 08-03-2021, 06:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by SAinMinn View Post
This is super helpful ... thanks for your perspectives! Much appreciated. The continuation of the ACA is far from a sure thing, since a disturbing number in Congress want to can it. But I live in a state that has its own good exchange (for now at least), so that's a positive.

My mother died at age 48 after a long, drawn-out illness ... so health care and health insurance have always weighed on me.
We probably feel similar about many things. At 54 I was just starting with megacorp. My wife has great health insurance, so I didn't worry too much about that. But my job became very stressful, eventually I was out in 7 years. That job took too much out of me...with layoffs in the air each year.

This is something from a mentor in my 30's. I used it as a mantra, and always kept my side gig going. It gave me one thing I could control professionally.

Quote:
“…A society, or all mankind, should study the consequences that are likely to result from each decision that is possible at the present time. By making appropriate selections today, society can influence its future, rather than wait for the inevitable to occur. The individual, too, can consider what sort of person he wants to become, and what goals he wants to achieve, before making a choice between various alternatives. He can set out to produce a certain future for himself, instead of feeling that his life is completely determined by forces over which he has little control.” Allen Tough from The Adult’s Learning Projects
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Old 08-03-2021, 06:24 AM   #10
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You are not a leaf blowing in the wind, so don't think like one.

Cost cutting at every company is always a goal, so they may well be hunting for you. You could start job hunting in earnest as if your job has ended, see what's out there. As a minimum, you would know what your market value is and if you get an offer, you know the new company actually wants you around.

Alternatively, you could dive into your side gig and see how that goes, you might make less, but enjoy it more and learn a lot. It might grow bigger than you think. Even if you return to working for others later, the experience and new skills will be very valuable.

On the health care stuff, ACA is here to stay. Everyone now knows someone that would be disrupted if ACA went away, so politically it won't be undone.
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Old 08-03-2021, 06:25 AM   #11
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I always say, being concerned is a good trait to have. Now, worrying and fretting is another trait that causes more problem then the one you think you have.
I would relax and take one day at a time and see what happens. The only thing I see you can do that is in your control is to prepare for retirement and be ready for retirement. If things happen then you should be ready to go.

Good luck and you are better off then millions of people.
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Old 08-03-2021, 06:42 AM   #12
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I would say yes, you are worrying too much (most of us do!). Especially, defining worrying as obsessing over things you cannot control/predict. Do your research and find out your options and gain some sense of control over the situation and reduce that worry!



I just signed up for an ACA plan yesterday. It was a pretty affordable HDHP and HSA eligible. My doctors accept it, the deductible is about double what I did have, but I think I'll be happy with it. The cost of the plan is less than the total cost (employer and my contribution) of my employer plan but I should be able to get a subsidy next year which will make my cost less than even my portion when working. I did plan to pay the full cost and priced it out at older ages too and it should be affordable if there are not any crazy market shifts. Hopefully, you'll find similar results in your state!


I don't fear that the ACA will go away, and if it does, many provisions will remain. Look at the polling, a significant majority of Americans do not want to overturn it (most relevant are "independents") and even among the partisans that want to overturn it, most want many of the provisions to remain so even if it is somehow repealed, I think it will be more in name than reality. It is too established now to just throw away regardless of the rhetoric.
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Old 08-03-2021, 07:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by SAinMinn View Post
This is super helpful ... thanks for your perspectives! Much appreciated. The continuation of the ACA is far from a sure thing, since a disturbing number in Congress want to can it. But I live in a state that has its own good exchange (for now at least), so that's a positive.

My mother died at age 48 after a long, drawn-out illness ... so health care and health insurance have always weighed on me.
The continuation of the ACA has survived in the Supreme Court on multiple attempts. The majority of Americans support it.
I have been on the ACA plan since 2017 and love it.
You should be able to join on your spouse's plan for starters, then discuss the retirement date for both of you.
At that point, it sounds like you should be able to manage your income in order to achieve tax subsidies, whether through part time/brokerage withdrawals.
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Old 08-03-2021, 09:54 AM   #14
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Can't say for certain without spending numbers, but you are very likely overthinking both income and health insurance. Even in the absolute worst case scenario, you can maintain above average spending levels.

ACA health insurance would be somewhat pricey, but at least it provides help if your premiums go past 8.5% of your income, this would probably kick in for you if your premiums go above $6-7k/year.

I've been looking at ACA closely since I will go on it this year/start of next year...nothing really concerns me except for balance billing, especially in 2021. This basically often occurs if you go out of network, especially in a HMO, which is the only option my state offers. After 2021, which sounds like all you will care about, balance billing can mostly only occur if you give active written consent for non-emergency care, so keep in mind how extremely financially dangerous it is to sign certain forms when entering a potentially out of network health provider under ACA, and be prepared to choose another provider location. Oh, I am not your lawyer, this is not legal advice .
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:12 AM   #15
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You have options for insurance through your wife's employer or ACA, so that worry can take a back seat.
Stress definitely affects health, that is something to work on.
Why do you only have one year on your current job and why do they "want you out"? Are they reducing work force overall or only those close to retirement (which seems to me against the law)
Look at your budget, can your wife income and your part time job cover spending and still put some towards retirement? Part time income with better stress is healthier in my opinion than full time income and bad stress!
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:32 AM   #16
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I remember your previous post about your job, you work for the non profit.
Did they ever give you a review and did you look into talking to a lawyer just to get some advice on documentation you might want to be keeping in the event that they do let you go so you can prove age discrimination?
At this point it might help to at least check your state ACA website to give you an idea what's currently available. There is no need to create an account or sign in but you can plug in different income levels just to get an idea of what kind of subsidy you might be available for when/if the time comes that you might need it.
https://www.mnsure.org/
Like others I doubt that the ACA will go away anytime soon.
Can't comment on financial aspects except the obvious, get your finances in order and try reducing your expenses and saving more just in case.
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:48 AM   #17
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You are better off than probably 98% of the US population.

Your wife has health insurance for you and her.

Relax. Enjoy life.

Start accepting what is great with your life, because worrying about what can go wrong can be an endless exercise.
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:55 AM   #18
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You’ll be fine.

Start looking for a job now if it bothers you that much to not have employer sponsored health insurance.

Start improving your (and your spouse’s) health now, so you consume fewer healthcare services. How are each of your BMIs?

Sell your house and buy a one level two bedroom. It’s simpler and less expensive unless you buy in a more affluent area, which wouldn’t make sense to me.

You’ll be fine.
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Old 08-03-2021, 11:16 AM   #19
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I retired a couple of years ago knowing that i would join my wife's health insurance after retirement with ACA as a backup. Didn't miss a moments sleep over it. There are some folks that always seem to have to be worried about something. Not sure if that's you or not. IMHO, in facing retirement, there were other concerns that weighed on my mind to a much greater degree than joining my wife's health insurance.
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:25 PM   #20
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You’ll be fine.

Start looking for a job now if it bothers you that much to not have employer sponsored health insurance.

Start improving your (and your spouse’s) health now, so you consume fewer healthcare services. How are each of your BMIs?

Sell your house and buy a one level two bedroom. It’s simpler and less expensive unless you buy in a more affluent area, which wouldn’t make sense to me.

You’ll be fine.

I wouldn't move from this job. If your company is showing you the door at 55 you can bet there will be good severance package. If only to make sure the OP doesn't start talking about age discrimination.
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