What Would You Do With Your Money If You Had Only One More Year To Live?

I stumbled across this article during the weekend about a man who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told he had only one more year to live. So he went ahead and had a blast, blowing up (or giving away) all his money. But a year went by and he did not die. During subsequent tests, the doctors found that he had non-fatal pancreatitis and not pancreatic cancer. So he was not going to die after all! Now this man is happy to be alive, but sad that he is quite broke!!! It’s an ironic story which made me wonder what I would do with my money (what little I have of it so far) if someone told me that I had only one more year to live.

  • Well first off, I would go get a second opinion. And a third opinion. I have a lot of respect for doctors (my sister is one!), but all said and done, they are human, and hence, prone to errors. If two or three specialists concurred that I will die, I guess I will, right? So, onto step 2.

  • Check with my insurance how much of my bills will be covered. After getting an estimate of the amount, first thing will be to set aside the money, so I don’t have to rely on others for paying my medical bills.

  • Right now, month after month, some money is taken out of my paycheck for long-term disability insurance “buy-up”. According to this buy-up, with valid medical reasons, I should be able to earn 90% of my salary for the first 3 months and 75% for the next 3 months that I am on medical leave. I am sure there are clauses of coverage and hoops to jump through, but I will definitely try all the tricks in the book to stay on the payroll for as long as I can, so I can have a stream of income coming in.

  • Once that is taken care of, if I am healthy enough, I will travel. To all kinds of exotic places. And meet all kinds of exotic people. Eat all kinds of exotic food. And do all kinds of exotic things, until my money runs out and I have to come back home :) Even though I have very little money to my name, it is quite diversified. There is some money in a 401K, some used to pay ahead the mortgage, some in real estate, some in stock and some in a mini-emergency fund. So, I am not quite sure which accounts I will use up. But knowing how reckless I can be, I have a feeling I will blow almost all of it, leaving just enough to fund my parents’ retirement fund.

Now, when I return home, if the doctors tell me that the initial diagnosis was wrong and I will live a normal healthy life? Well, I will go give thanks to the gods for the faulty diagnosis that led me to do the trip of a lifetime, and get back to my frugal lifestyle and start scrimping and scrounging and building up the nest egg again the way I normally do :) Seriously, I am just out of college and have only about a year or so of savings (six years, if I consider how long the better half has been working). By any measure, that is no big deal. We came to the US with very little money in my pocket, so I don’t think it will be too hard for us to start from scratch again, if we have to. We wouldn’t want to, but we could if we have to.

And no, I don’t think I would sue the doctors. Not unless it was gross negligence on their parts. Like I said my sister is a doctor and I have deep disrespect and loathing for folks that sue doctors just to make some money.

So, what would you do with your money if you were told you have only one more year to live? What would you do at the end of one year, if you find out that the diagnosis was wrong and you will live a normal healthy life after all?

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Strange Bird said...

I wouldn't believe the doctors. I am young, and therefore invincible, after all. :) I would probably quit my job and spend my savings to travel, and then I would come back home and look for another job, save up and spend my money again to do other fun things. Repeat, until I get better. Because I'd get better! ;)

Dimes said...

I would also travel, and along the way I'd stop at my alma mater to set up a Memorial Scholarship Fund in my name, and I'd set a bunch of zany criteria for it, and possibly pick the first winner.
Then if I didn't end up dying, I'd keep picking winners each year. That would be fun.

ispf said...

Dimes, The scholarship fund is a neat idea! If I am really dying, I think I might just borrow that idea :)

Oh, and strange bird, can I please borrow your "invincibility" cloak too? Cross my heart, I'll return it as soon as I get better :)