Well, I would have liked to have written this with nothing but good stuff that happened this year, but I can’t. 2016 may well go down in memory for us as the worst year of our lives. Yes, financially things have been great, early retirement is now two and a half years in and going strong but 2016 is also the year that our 6 year old son was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. An autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system systematically attacks the pancreas no longer leaving it able to create insulin.
Our six-year-old now needs to inject himself at least 4 times a day with insulin, without which he would die. He also need to prick his fingers at least 6 times a day to collect a precious drop of blood to make sure his glucose levels as in an acceptable range. Mrs. Mi10 gets up at least twice a night to make sure he doesn’t drop to lows that could leave him in a coma or worse.
All in all its not good. Yes, Type One Diabetes is completely manageable as long as we provide him with the insulin he need. The same insulin that can kill him btw, if we give him too much. We have to see a doctor or pharmacist to get a flu-shot but somehow we’re responsible for injecting him (actually he does it himself now) with a lethal medicine several times a day.
Pretty shitty, I’d say. Oh and before you feel like giving advice about a cure you’ve heard of, or a diet that is good for him, don’t. There is no cure and he can eat what he likes. You’re probably thinking of Type 2 Diabetes which is an entirely different disease.
Besides the emotional blow that has come to us with this diagnosis there are some other troubling side effects. For most of my adult life I’ve worked diligently to become independent from “the man”. I actually did so. I invested enough to retire at 43 and to flip my finger at the world. That independence has been shattered with the diagnosis of Type One Diabetes.
We are now utterly dependent on the pharmaceutical industry and have to deal with the greed it is governed by. We pay (for now the insurance does) $500.00 for a month’s supply of insulin. A supply, that will “only” cost you $50.00 outside of the Americas. Our son is hooked up to a 24/7 glucose monitor that provides us with lifesaving alerts when the boy goes high or low. Price tag for that system: Some $20,000 a year. I’d like to say the insurance pays for that as well but to date they haven’t agreed to pay yet.
Which brings us to the next dependency: Insurance. I planned for retirement with a budget in mind. That budget did not include the thousands of medical expenses, that are now inevitable and will continue in perpetuity. So now, each end-of-year it will be a crap-shoot as to whether we’ll have coverage for the next year. The President Elect has made it abundantly clear he wants to take down Obamacare. That wouldn’t be good for us. Not good at all.
So in a nutshell that’s been 2016 for us. Other than us settling into the routine of dealing with Type One Diabetes, 2017 is probably not going to be anything better.
Of less importance to us (in light of things) there have been some good things that happened this year. I personally found my passion in designing and building my own 3D printer (second one). The process of building one is very gratifying but costly. In order for me to pay of it, I’ve sold my Cartier watch. The watch I bought myself as a reward when my portfolio reached $400,000. That seems like ages ago.
We took a road-trip to Washington DC, to renew my Passport. An expensive endeavor weren’t it for the remaining Hilton Points to stay at a $350 a night hotel all for free. We took the whole family and I think they were all very impressed and happy to have gone. Hate to brag but for me it was just revisiting my old workplace. I actually worked for some time at 1750 Pennsylvania Ave, only 2 doors down from White House (I said I hate to brag, doesn’t mean I won’t).
As part of the Type One Diabetes community we walked in the JDRF walk this year. It was heartwarming to see how many of my old colleagues and friends donated handsomely. As we family we were able to raise of $2,500 in donation. Thank you to all for that!! There is still one workday left in 2016, If you still have some donating to do, please consider either the JDRF and/or the ADA. The ADA provided an awesome weekend of us and the kids at Camp Marrakesh with some 30 other newly diagnosed families.
Financially we’re still good. The stock market has done well for us this year. It didn’t entirely make up for the lackluster year of 2015 but it sure helped us along. Our returns for the year were 11% (10.98% as of this writing) and has left us closing this year with just a little bit more money than we had, the day I retired.
The portfolio seems to keep pace with our spending but there will be a slight problem if no action is taken. I currently withdraw monthly from our after tax account. Even though the total portfolio is enough to last a lifetime, the after tax account look like they will run out in 2025 (maybe even 2024). That is five and half years short of the age at which I can withdraw from my 401(k). I still have some time but I really need to start looking in the Roth IRA conversion ladder which will make it possible to start withdrawing earlier. The process takes 5 years to complete so, like I said, I have some time.
What’s up for next year? I don’t know. I think more of the same. I have no concrete plans. I will try to keep posting to Millionin10.com as often as I can. I’ve explained before why I’m not glued to the Blog, spitting out 2 posts a week. My priorities simply lie elsewhere. As for our finances, who knows. The consensus is the stock market should thrive for at least next year but my concern with the expected lower taxes and fewer regulations is that we’ll be paying the price 4 years down the line. Last time, it took a long time to recover from that.
I wish all of you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.
Good luck reaching your financial goals.