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Have you been forced to rethink your retirement plans due to health reasons? How?
Old 03-24-2020, 08:03 AM   #1
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Have you been forced to rethink your retirement plans due to health reasons? How?

Last week I (56,M) had a heart attack. I'm perfectly fine - as if nothing happened even though I now have a stent in my artery.Aside from possibly being genetically predisposed (my grandfather died of HA at 40+) I'm the opposite of a textbook case: lean, fit, exercising, well eating non-smoker with low cholesterol levels and decent blood pressure, EKG was always fine. I honestly don't need to modify my lifestyle at all. Maybe completely cut off alcohol?

I can't change what happened but I am thinking about redesigning my future. Starting with financial plans. So the first thing on the chopping block is delaying SS payments. I'm definitely not going to wait until I'm 70. Secondly: if I generate short term capital losses this year I may still play with ROTH conversions (to take advantage of tax free recovery) but I am really not concerned anymore about my future tax bill. Chances are I won't survive to see it increased.

So my question is for those of you who had similar event happening in your lives... What steps have you taken? Not just about money but attitude as well? I don't care at all about dying but obviously if I can delay it while living normal life, I will.

And for those years later: what would you have done differently? Is there something you didn't think about?
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:49 AM   #2
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Well if we all knew our last day on earth, it would make planning a lot easier. In your case, it may be time to start a little "Blow that Dough" to enjoy things now instead of regret later? Not throwing future concerns for investing out the window, but focus on what you can do now that you may not have before the heart attack. You certainly have a lot of years left, and now will be monitoring closer to help ensure less chance of future heart issues.


Do you have children/others that you want to leave inheritance for? That could change some of your planning. Do you need to be concerned about future high medical expenses that may or may not be in your current planning?

I have not had any major medical event like you, so can't speak from personal experience. Just looking at your statements from an outsider perspective. I think in general most on the board are more conservative, so we tend to plan for longer retirement periods than we might actually need, i.e. plan to live to 90, but only make it to 82 as example. Also conservative withdrawal rates vs actual returns on the portfolio. It all means that many could spend a lot more now than they do.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:06 AM   #3
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Seems last week you had heart attack (artery failure) and today(7-10days) later your fine after a stints implanted.

I'd suspect your entire health circumstances were reviewed during your posted incident above. Your prior & current lifestyle and outlook might in fact have enhanced your recovery.
I suspect that's true.

I've experienced similar health complexity's w/similar healthy lifestyle.
I was advised my lifestyle helped immensely.

"Prepare for the worst, hope for the best"
Good luck & Best wishes!
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Old 03-24-2020, 12:38 PM   #4
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So sorry to hear what you've gone though. Glad you live a good lifestyle and take care of yourself.

My mother was the heaviest smoker imaginable. She had carotid surgery on both sides in her early 70's and had a series of heart attacks starting at age 75. But she received the best of medical care, and lived to the ripe old age of 91. People can live with heart problems if they take care of themselves.

The problem with ER after such an episode is health insurance. Now you have a pre-existing condition that's documented. Unless retirement comes with ability to get affordable insurance (if thru the ex-employer), insurance costs can be unaffordable.

Good luck to you.
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Old 03-24-2020, 12:59 PM   #5
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So my question is for those of you who had similar event happening in your lives... What steps have you taken? Not just about money but attitude as well?
I got a leukemia diagnosis at age 54.13 years later I'm still very much alive and kicking. To your question about attitude: I always intended to retire as early as possible, but this sure had me look for ways to accelerate that plan. I also made sure to enjoy life along the way. I had enough $$$ by 60, so I saw no reason to continue working. never regretted the decision.
It sounds like you had a good recovery from this scare so don't retire tomorrow. Take a deep breath, take stock of your finances including Health Insurance needs, take care of your health, and you'll know when the time is right.
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:46 PM   #6
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I got a leukemia diagnosis at age 54.13 years later I'm still very much alive and kicking. To your question about attitude: I always intended to retire as early as possible, but this sure had me look for ways to accelerate that plan. I also made sure to enjoy life along the way. I had enough $$$ by 60, so I sawe no reason to continue working. never regretted the decision.
It sounds like you had a good recovery from this scare so don't retire tomorrow. Take a deep breath, take stock of your finances including Health Insurance needs, take care of your health, and you'll know when the time is right.
I actually "retired" last year In quotations because I'm a freelancer so I simply stopped accepting gigs. My portfolio is definitely less impressive than it was last month but I don't think I need to work. Plus I'm not in the right frame of mind for that.
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:57 PM   #7
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So sorry to hear what you've gone though. Glad you live a good lifestyle and take care of yourself.

The problem with ER after such an episode is health insurance. Now you have a pre-existing condition that's documented. Unless retirement comes with ability to get affordable insurance (if thru the ex-employer), insurance costs can be unaffordable.

Good luck to you.
When I stopped working last year, I somehow ended up on Medicaid - I did everything by the book, filled up the application and qualified. I live off savings hence have no income besides some dividends and interest. And there are no means tests.

I kind of credit Medicaid for not hesitating to call 911 - cost was not an issue so I simply listened to my body instead of letting my head talk me out of it. That saved me a lot future health issues since my heart is not damaged. Moving forward... I know I do have the pre-existing condition now so if ACA is stricken down in the upcoming Supreme Court case I'm screwed. But that's hypothetical _ I tend to deal with the actual problems instead of obsessing about possibilities.

I think I might be able to stay on Medicaid for another year or two simply by keeping my MAGI under the threshold. Market downturn just presented me with an opportunity to harvest capital losses - this may come handy. Perhaps things will normalize by then. Or I'll move to a civilized country with universal healthcare. I'm not originally from US anyway.
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:30 PM   #8
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My dad had a major heart attack in his mid 50s. He retired at 62, and started taking SS then, along with withdrawals from his IRA. He's 85 now and going strong. My mom is 83 and not so strong, but as long as she doesn't get exposed to anything major she may have a few more years. One point of this is that taking SS early probably wasn't the best play for them, though I didn't know enough to advise them back then and maybe the numbers wouldn't have worked. Anyway, I wouldn't automatically decide on taking SS at 62 if I were in your situation. What you do is up to you.
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:55 PM   #9
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How do you define "well eating"? Lots of meat/seafood, dairy, eggs and oils in the mix?

Very sorry for your heart attack. No fun.

A co-worker is 48. His grandpa had a HA at 45 died. Dad at 52 died and Brother just died of one at 50.

I asked him if he is thinking about changing his eating lifestyle. He said no. Likes steak too much. Oh well.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:06 PM   #10
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How do you define "well eating"? Lots of meat/seafood, dairy, eggs and oils in the mix?

Very sorry for your heart attack. No fun.

A co-worker is 48. His grandpa had a HA at 45 died. Dad at 52 died and Brother just died of one at 50.

I asked him if he is thinking about changing his eating lifestyle. He said no. Likes steak too much. Oh well.
Vegetables, fruit, grains, legumes, fish, organic chicken, oatmeal for breakfast, olive oil for anything that required oily stuff. Even for scrambled eggs. No dairy since my stomach is not very happy. Lately I started limiting salt and cooking more - just so I know what's in my food. I also avoided processed stuff and anything that comes in a box. It's not however like adhered to that religiously. I do like steak and treated myself once a month - perhaps not anymore. And I would eat out sometimes without interrogating my server about the content of the meal. I also have a sweet tooth - that'll be the easiest to cut.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:10 PM   #11
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Vegetables, fruit, grains, legumes, fish, organic chicken, oatmeal for breakfast, olive oil for anything that required oily stuff. Even for scrambled eggs. No dairy since my stomach is not very happy. Lately I started limiting salt and cooking more - just so I know what's in my food. I also avoided processed stuff and anything that comes in a box. It's not however like adhered to that religiously. I do like steak and treated myself once a month - perhaps not anymore. And I would eat out sometimes without interrogating my server about the content of the meal. I also have a sweet tooth - that'll be the easiest to cut.
I have terrible heart disease in my family. I am 48. A couple years back I decided to "break the curse" so to say. I was on par to have the same fate in early to mid 60s. I've ran 6 full marathons. Countless halfs. Always a good weight. Cholesterol numbers well below 200. I don't think it was going to be good enough.

I am eating like this from here on out:

https://nutritionstudies.org/whole-f...ed-diet-guide/
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:30 PM   #12
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Cholesterol numbers well below 200. I don't think it was going to be good enough.

I am eating like this from here on out:

https://nutritionstudies.org/whole-f...ed-diet-guide/
My numbers were always good: 140LDL, 39HDL - sometimes stuff like this just happens. There are non-smokers that die from lung cancer.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:36 PM   #13
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My numbers were always good: 140LDL, 39HDL - sometimes stuff like this just happens. There are non-smokers that die from lung cancer.
Are HDL and LDL reversed?

LDL should be 50-75.

Now that you have had a heart attack, that means you should be more restrictive. Changing eating is easy if you want to do it. Not easy if you don't want to.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:58 PM   #14
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Are HDL and LDL reversed?

LDL should be 50-75.

Now that you have had a heart attack, that means you should be more restrictive. Changing eating is easy if you want to do it. Not easy if you don't want to.
Right, I copied those incorrectly. This is from my hospital discharge papers:
Chol: 140 mg/dL (Normal: 0-200)
HDL:39 mg/dL (Normal: 35-69)
LDL: 93 mg/dL (Normal: 0-130)

So according to this, I should work on increasing HDL levels.

One thing that I noticed last year: I spent 3 months in Japan followed by a month in Europe. I wasn't paying attention to food . After coming back to NY I restarted my daily routine of checking blood pressure. It was unusually low (110/65) for the next 3 or so weeks until it gradually grew back to my standard 130/80. I wish I checked my cholesterol level before and after.
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:08 PM   #15
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A good friend of mine had a widow maker heart attack and survived at 56. He was in excellent health which is why he was one of the few that survived. He needed a heart transplant and retired. 10 years later he needs a kidney removed. He is glad he retired.
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:57 PM   #16
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Right, I copied those incorrectly. This is from my hospital discharge papers:
Chol: 140 mg/dL (Normal: 0-200)
HDL:39 mg/dL (Normal: 35-69)
LDL: 93 mg/dL (Normal: 0-130)

So according to this, I should work on increasing HDL levels.

One thing that I noticed last year: I spent 3 months in Japan followed by a month in Europe. I wasn't paying attention to food . After coming back to NY I restarted my daily routine of checking blood pressure. It was unusually low (110/65) for the next 3 or so weeks until it gradually grew back to my standard 130/80. I wish I checked my cholesterol level before and after.
Yes. LDL over 75 can be plaque forming. I would stay away from oils and lower the Bad cholesterol number.

Nutrtionfacts.org has great videos on many topics.
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Old 03-24-2020, 05:12 PM   #17
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Are HDL and LDL reversed?

LDL should be 50-75.

Now that you have had a heart attack, that means you should be more restrictive. Changing eating is easy if you want to do it. Not easy if you don't want to.
To Bloom: I'm curious, what percentage of the population do you think has an LDL between 50-75 mg/dl, without the use of drugs? I'm guessing <1%.

And if you don't mind saying, what is your LDL.
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Old 03-24-2020, 05:28 PM   #18
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To Bloom: I'm curious, what percentage of the population do you think has an LDL between 50-75 mg/dl, without the use of drugs? I'm guessing <1%.

And if you don't mind saying, what is your LDL.
Well. 43% are obese and most eat the same thing.

My last was 135 total and 67 LDL. Before eating better total was 175 range. LDL 80. I donít check very often. Once a year.

This topic is tougher than finance or politics.

Watch some Dr. Gregers videos on the topic.

Iím just one person. Lots of good information out there.
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