Concentrate On Your Quality of Life

Vivian was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. She has $30,000 in credit card debt. Dave thinks Vivian should be concerned with her quality of life and taking advantage of all medical options available.

QUESTION: Vivian in Los Angeles was diagnosed with stage IV cancer in March 2011. She has $30,000 in credit card debt and would like to continue getting her finances in order. Her husband has been unemployed for six years due to health issues. Vivian receives Social Security. Dave thinks Vivian should be concerned with her quality of life and taking advantage of all medical options available.

ANSWER: If you’ve got stage IV cancer, the last thing I’m going to be spending time or energy worrying about, if I’m you, is the credit card debt. It’s way down the list of things to worry about. Anything you own will have to stand good for what you owe if and when you pass away someday. We all are going to pass away. At that time, what you own—like your 401(k) and those kinds of things—stand good for what you owe. Before your husband gets anything out of your estate, in other words, the credit card debt would be paid out of that. I think that’s got to be your long-term game plan.

I’m not really worried about paying them right now. What I’m worried about right now is just your quality of life and you taking advantage of all medical options available to you and making sure that you are cared for. That’s my primary goal in this situation. A credit card company gets paid or doesn’t get paid someday ... fine with me either way. Right now, if I’m in your shoes and I’m your husband in this situation, we’re going to use our financial resources to prioritize, but that’s not being selfish on your part to do that.