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# Seeking Financial Advice After a Life-changing Event

## Introduction
After going through a challenging battle with cancer, I have recently come to realize that I am in a much better financial position than I had originally thought. This realization has prompted me to seek advice on how to maximize my financial potential in the best way possible.

## Background
Nine years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer, which greatly impacted my ability to work and left me in a precarious financial situation. Despite this setback, I persevered, focused on saving, and eventually paid off my debts and mortgage. With a considerable increase in my salary and substantial savings, I am now contemplating my future financial goals.

## Current Situation
Although I have made significant progress in securing my financial stability, I am still plagued by anxiety about potential health issues and the impact they may have on my income. My oncologist has advised me to relax and enjoy life more, but the fear of falling ill again looms large. I am determined to retire early and secure financial freedom, but I also recognize the importance of balancing long-term goals with enjoying the present moment.

## Seeking Guidance
I am reaching out to this community for tips on how to become wiser in managing my savings and investments. Many members here have valuable insights and experiences, and I am eager to learn from them. Additionally, I realize that addressing my financial anxiety may also require seeking professional advice or therapy.

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14 Comments

  • Xenaspice2002

    Therapy. I think you need to work out what is important for you, and grieve the life you may not get to have (and didn’t have for some time). You’ve got a mortgage free house and great savings. You can continue to add to that while still enjoying the things that make your life worthwhile but you need to figure out what those things are. Best wishes xx

  • DesignerFirst1222

    I get what you mean about the cancer thing and the realization about dying – I got cancer in my 30s too and feel the same. Alongside the fear of recurrence (and awareness of the possibility of another random diagnosis) I definately have developed a much clearer appreciation both for life and a body that functions.

    Do what is important to you – it’s fine if building wealth makes you happy. I just live my life as though I only have a year left now, I could still be told that at any time. I have young kids so part of that is still building wealth, for their benefit. But I also book more holidays and time off that I have previously.

    You sound like you have already done well financially.

  • vixxienz

    Your oncologist is right.

    No point having all that money and financial security if you never stop to smell the roses.

    Having a chat with a professional can help you reposition some of your thoughts and feelings so they are more balanced.

    I dont think you need advice on how to save etc, I think you need advice on how to ensure a more balanced lifestyle.

    Oh and congrats on achieving a few important milestones.

  • palpalpallyy

    You probably need therapy. But for others with this anxiety who haven’t actually gotten diagnosed with anything real, something like critical illness and Income protection insurance would be great. It would continue pay out lump sums or a percentage of your salary for life if you get sick. In your case, probably you would not be insurable or the premiums would be astronomical. 

  • raddestgirl

    It doesn’t sound to me like you need to be smarter or more clued up. It sounds like you would benefit from (and deserve) some support to reflect on how amazing your achievements are in the face of significant challenges and adversity. There are tools and support available that can help you to recognise all the positive things you’ve achieved. It’s a journey but it will happen quicker than you can imagine, you can build up the habit and positive self talk muscle. Grief counselling could be a great option too. There are great CBT Workbooks that can help if you aren’t ready to talk to a therapist yet.

    If you commit a fraction of the energy you’ve put into battling and striving to get where you are now into recognising and being proud of yourself, you’ll be unstoppable.

    In the past I thought I’d lose my drive and motivation if I lost my anxiety and “let things slip” but after therapy and heading the messages in my brain switch to being kinder to myself things have improved exponentially and I’m able to slow down and take stock. This has also been galvanising when hiccups occur because I know I can get through it with the proof I’ve built up in my brain.

    [An example workbook](https://www.thenile.co.nz/books/william-j-knaus/cognitive-behavioral-workbook-for-anxiety/9781626250154)

  • drellynz

    Wow!! Go you! I think you just need to find a balance. There’s no reason you can’t both prepare for your future AND have a great time. You have the disposable income to do both. You just need to decide on the split. Life is short. Make sure you enjoy it.

  • renderedren

    Those are good savings you’ve built up! I can definitely empathise with where you’re coming from – I know people with illnesses that prevent them from working as much as they’d like, and it’s definitely made me focus more on setting myself up with financial buffers.

    But balance and enjoying yourself is also important! Can I suggest you pick something to do specifically to celebrate paying off your mortgage? Because that’s a massive achievement for anyone to make by age 40, let alone with all of the extra adversity you’ve had to overcome.

    And it might be helpful to set yourself up a savings account as a ‘fun fund’ with money split between going into that and your other savings, and get used to thinking that the money in the fun fund is to be spent on whatever you want. That way you’re still also growing your savings for financial security and not needing to touch that to travel or do other things that you enjoy. Perhaps half of what you were paying for your mortgage could go to the fun fund and the other half into your main savings?

    You could also think about putting money from your savings into term deposits to earn more interest. You could do this by retaining enough money on your savings to get you through 6 months or a year if needed, and then time the term deposits so that they’re ending at the end of that period. As an example, if you need $30k to last a year, you could keep $30k of your $97k savings on hand, set up a $37k term deposit for one year, and the remaining $30k on another term deposit for two years.

    Investing is another option but it carries risk with it. You could potentially make higher gains, but the potential for loss in the shorter term may not give you the piece of mind you’re wanting. Similarly with KiwiSaver – I think you can withdraw it if you have a terminal diagnosis, but if you pay the minimum amount into it then you can be saving (or investing) that money somewhere that you can access it more easily if you need to.

  • kiwi_keith57

    Hey man – probably BOTH. I got diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer 6 years ago so after 18 months of chemo I decided to do what I loved most – financial advice. I sat my Level 5 papers by correspondence during the 2 Covid lockdowns and now I do what I get the most joy out of every day (being an FA) but on a flexible diary so I am “living” too. If you want to chat how I mentally balance what a friend calls my “death sentence” (he is dark…LOL), happy to chat offline 👍

  • Luluraine

    Maybe some financial advice would be helpful but you could probably get away with reading the likes of the Barefoot investor. The basic building blocks of most advice centres around having a plan which you can pretty much set and forget; including having a budget for all your everyday essential living expenses, allocating yourself a budget for fun stuff, and building an emergency fund equivalent to 3, 6 or 12 months of your basic living expenses, to cover a period of time when you may not be able to work.

    You already have reasonable amount of savings, so once you have worked out your budget you can set some of that aside as emergency fund which you can keep accessible in high interest savings account(s) or TDs and then start to work on the longer term investment for earlier retirement. Ideally I would make that something that you just set and forget. i.e. Paid out automatically each payday, so you don’t need to think about it. The trickier bit is deciding on which platform to use for that but you will find plenty of advise and opinions on here and elsewhere.

  • Pro-gamer-1337

    Urgh, sorry to hear. If it was me I’d sell everything I owed and buy a really nice kitted out small truck / van ready for touring the country side of NZ and AUST and travel in my van all over the place and not work another day in my life unless I wanted to do some work on a farm or help people out, meditate, 🧘 eat organically, and explore…

    If you get 10 years of that and start having issues some places including VIC let you unalive yourself if you have serious medical issues and no money.

    My two cents, I hate 9-5 and working jobs so that’s just me hahah it ain’t worth it in my eyes

  • StunningAd8007

    Mortgage free and furthering your career! Many people including myself may not be anywhere near that at your age.
    Make a list of some places you want to visit, book some time off and go do it! Doesn’t have to be abroad, could always drive a camper for a few weeks and enjoy the beauty of this country!
    Cruise, tour groups etc!
    Well done on everything you have achieved so far

  • firstrestheadtail

    You seem to be doing really well. I know it’s easier said than done but celebrate little wins as they come into your life. Paying off your mortgage is a huge milestone too.

    Anxiety NZ is a good resource you may want to check out.

    – Anxiety NZ: https://anxiety.org.nz/

    Ask your GP for a referral. Also, check if you have a peer group support available in your area.

    Good luck and stay well.

  • lakeland_nz

    Firstly well done getting through that, and then picking up the pieces on the other side!

    My experience is that more money doesn’t reduce stress around it. One thing that does help is being more comfortable living cheaply. Being mortgage free will help with that, and any other frugal habits too. I know the things I most enjoy take time rather than money.

    As for investing, I like index funds because they’re so simple. You buy one thing, and get perfectly average returns. No need to think whether manufacturing will outperform tech, and no envy when you guess wrong. You’re always right in the middle of the pack.