Dateline: October 22, 2037. 25 years into the future.
Finally. I’m done worrying about my kids’ college bills. The younger one is planning a wedding. The older one just told me I’m going to be a grandfather. The mortgage on my home is nearly paid off. My wife thinks it’s time to re-do the kitchen.
I became a Joslin 50-Year Medalist six years ago.
My skin is starting to show its age. Wrinkles are beginning to appear where they never did before, and my once-healthy flesh is starting to become dry and pasty. Although it’s resigned to submitting to the various insertion needles necessary to put the various parts of my “artificial pancreas” in place, it rebels against the adhesives that keep them there, responding with a bright red and intense burn.
In a few short months, I’ll be celebrating my 64th birthday. Retirement is just around the corner. I’m beginning to think about it, but don’t know if I can afford it.
Until now, either my wife or I have had a decent job with decent medical benefits. About a quarter-century ago, I estimated that my diabetes care, with all the extra bells and whistles (the newest insulin, constant use of an in-warranty pump, continuous glucose monitoring, lots and lots of “premium” test strips, occasional “emergency” situations) would run between ten and twenty thousand dollars a year, if it all came out of pocket. Since my insurance company negotiated special rates with my care providers and equipment suppliers, the total bill was much lower, and the part that was my responsibility was palatable.
But on my own, I have no negotiating power, and the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of all that stuff is mind-blowing. For awhile, I tried not to think about it.
These days, things have changed. Technology has advanced. Inflation has skyrocketed. Government-led healthcare reform has occurred several times over, but I’m not really sure what that means to me today, or what it will mean after a new administration is put in place following the 2040 election.
I’ve always been responsible with money. Every two weeks, I’d put money away for my retirement – be it a 401(k) or an IRA – so that I would be prepared for the next stage in my life. If I compare myself to the guests I’ve seen on The Suze Orman Show, I should be in pretty good shape to think about retiring.
That should be a good thing, because no one wants to hire an old geezer who’s going to use up all his sick-time (and then some). And, quite frankly, this old geezer is tired of working anyway.
But the costs of diabetes are a real killer, and that’s just the costs we know about. And I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do. No one ever told me how to plan for retirement with diabetes. If they had, I’m not so sure I’d have been able to do it anyway.
* * *
Dateline: October 19, 2012. Last Friday.
I wish… that I had a clue how much extra money a PWD needs to save for retirement to care for himself
* * *
Dateline: October 22, 2012. Today.
When I wrote last Friday’s blog post, some of those thoughts were tongue-in-cheek. Some of them were frivolous. Some of them were written out of frustration. But one of them is something that I’m dead-serious about. (Can you guess which one?)
Seriously, I have no idea how much extra money I’m going to need for retirement to care for my diabetes. I have no idea how much my stuff is going to cost me, how much coverage I’ll get from whatever healthcare system is in place, or for how many years I’ll need to plan to pay for all this stuff.
Maybe this will be a moot point. Perhaps I won’t have diabetes in 25 years. Maybe I’ll be cured. I’m not banking on that, though; it’s still closer to fantasy than reality in my view.
Or maybe I won’t have diabetes in 25 years because I’ll be dead. There are lots of ways to die, and for someone like me, there are lots more. I’m not anticipating that, either.
All I can assume is that I’ll be doing the same thing, going through today’s same rituals: reservoir changes, BG monitoring, and so on, forever and ever. It’s the only way to look at it.
With that limited knowledge, can anybody tell me how much extra money I need to put away for retirement?