Long time, no write. I know 😦
I know the world has been curious about the machinations of ‘America’s Most Indebted Single Blogger’. Ha! I’m pretty sure I don’t hold that crown actually, but it feels like it sometimes.
I’ve updated my numbers and as you can see I have fallen back into credit card debt. Why? I have medical expenses not covered by my insurance and other expenses relating to my upcoming surgery. This debt may go up in the near future sadly. Doctors saw something in my pre-op scans that is potentially much more serious than what I’m having surgery for. Right now, there are two possible diagnoses; one is serious and life threatening, the other is significant, but manageable. If I have the serious condition, then having my planned (and very much needed) surgery will not be safe until this new condition is addressed… somehow.
So far I haven’t been able to get a definitive diagnosis. Because the serious condition is so rare, there aren’t many doctors that have sufficient experience with accurately diagnosing and treating it. I’m getting the runaround by doctors in my local area and can’t find someone with enough expertise. I may have to travel out of state to find an expert to get a proper diagnosis. As you can imagine, this will all cost money…
Back in March, right after I paid off my credit card debt I’d increased my savings rate and planned to build up an emergency fund before tackling my student loan debt. Instead, within days of breaking the shackles of credit card debt, I landed in the emergency room and a stream of medical expenses has chased me ever since. Financially, I’ve been treading water and starting to fall behind. Looking back, I wish I would have paid that emergency room bill with money from my HSA (health savings account) instead of paying cash as it depleted my little emergency fund and I haven’t been able to build it back since then.
I’ve decided to make some (drastic? sensible?) budgeting changes to get more cash in hand each month to pay down this debt and cover these ongoing medical expenses.
1. I am cutting my 401k contribution. Given my age, I’d started maxing out my 401k contribution in an attempt to start a hopeless race to catch up with my retirement contributions. I was already starting to enjoy the tax benefits and savings potential, but no longer. At this point, and I know this is a morbid thought, but given that there is a chance that I might not live to see retirement, this is no longer a top priority for me right now. I will reduce my contribution down to the point of my employer match.
2. I am stopping my Roth IRA contribution. I was also on track to max this out for the year. I’m stopping this contribution entirely.
3. I am reducing my HSA contribution. I was also on track to max this out for the year. I’ll reduce this to a trickle. I’m on the fence about how much to reduce it.
Depending on how this medical situation concludes, I hope to be able to moderately increase my retirement savings again at some point in the not too distant future. Once I see how my pay will be impacted, I will update my budget and start posting that more regularly. A personal finance blog should post about dollars and cents right?
In any event, my goals for the rest of 2015 are to survive any and all medical procedures with no complications, re-gain my health, pay off all medical and related debt, and re-build a full emergency fund.