I Hope to Retire One Day

In my early 20s, I worked for a big-box electronics retailer as a full-time operations associate. As part of the companies benefits package, I opted to buy into the employee stock purchase plan as well as set up a 401k. I didn’t know much about this at the time and had a very vague idea of how I wanted to retire. I barely thought of it, to be honest.

I knew enough to know that it was important to start saving for retirement early but not enough to buy life insurance for myself, which is a different blog post for a different day. Before I was diagnosed, I made a very bad decision and pulled the money out of my 401k but decided to keep the stocks.

Future savings?

I was diagnosed in 2014 with stage IV non-small cell adenocarcinoma and was working at a local car dealership at the time. They did not offer any sort of retirement plans and having a lung cancer diagnosis appear I did not think that I would live long enough to have to worry about it. The statistics were not on my side but have somewhat improved over the years.

I started a new job in 2019 and after one year with them, I was given the option to start planning for my retirement. I met with my HR/Payroll contact and asked a lot of questions. I thought about this very hard. My company does not allow you to pull funds early from the account so unless I quit, I will not see the money until I retire. This was an important factor in my decision whether to start putting part of my paycheck away for later use as well as how much to put away.

Saving for weekend travel

I may not be able to retire early because medical debt is no joke but I would love to start traveling on the weekends. My idea is to buy an RV or camper van and remodel it because I love the idea of making it my own. I tend to watch one too many YouTube videos on RV/camper van overhauls! I look daily at the Facebook marketplace to see if there are any good deals to be had. I have learned that if it seems too good to be true it probably is. This can be used for both buying an RV and when someone tries to tell you that lemons cure cancer.

Feeling financially secure

I ultimately decided to save for my retirement, and I am happy that I made that decision. I understand that I am starting late but lung cancer halted my life long enough that it is time to start living again. Baby steps need to be made and this is just one example of moving forward with life.

A lung cancer diagnosis will not stop me. I have been living with stage IV lung cancer for over 5 years. It was a nice feeling to be able to fill out the paperwork and designate my beneficiaries. I am also happy to say that my stocks are doing very well these days!

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