How much do YOU think YOU need to retire? ...and at what age will you (and spouse) retire? (Part 2)

Is the healthcare cost after COBRA runs out? Our COBRA for healthcare was about $1400/month. I don’t doubt the cost on the market, and depending what state you are in. Retiring before 65? Did you look into separate health plan for DD? Is $30K the best option?

@SOSConcern - $30k a year is (apparently) on the marketplace (or buying into my company plan at an enhanced rate - about the same).

COBRA I believe is significantly less- but lasts for 18 months. Still, even COBRA is a solid $600 more a month than I am currently paying ($800 ).

My tax preparer told me - ‘health care costs will be the decider for you on next steps’. Apparently Mexico is a lot cheaper on that point!!!


scmom12 - that’s very caring of you to help your uncle. I’m wondering though - it seems places that care for those w/dementia would have figured out the showering thing w/out calls to family…? (the aides I dealt with for my parents were literally genius at that type of thing).


My MIL’s facility provides shower care in the “assisted living” fee, and the memory care unit provides it as part of their monthly charge. The facility staff handles resident needs based on daily interaction & assessment. The more I hear, the happier I am that my in laws chose this particular facility.


health care costs will be the decider for you on next steps ’. - Aint that the truth!

It’s been topic of discussion with friends (some older and much older) for many years. In fact, if I had a nickel for every time we talked about it at our friday happy hour brewpub visits I could probably buy beer for a few of us. We went to various classes / financial planner discussion in the years pre-retirement. So we were prepared but still dismayed. In our case, kids were gone and my retirement waited til older hubby was on Medicare. Using COBRA now and will luckily have an employer fund to help after that.


Cost of showering is included but it’s hard to “make” a large man do something he doesn’t want to do… much better since moved to AL from independent (where we were finding that he was not changing dirty sheets). Right now after covid they are very short handed. It takes a lot of cajoling. It is getting better as he gets to know staff.

I think he’ll be in memory care in next year

1 Like

scmom12 - it’s hard to work with folks with dementia. I have nothing but admiration for those who do it so well.


Yes, I work my last day tomorrow and both DH and I begin Medicare A & B with supplement and drug plan Oct 1. My paycheck on Sept 24 has the insurance through to Sept 30.

I have Medicare A and B in place. DH had Medicare A in place June when he turned 65, and we had ‘credible coverage’ but are also in his window for signing up for Medicare B. We should get the Medicare notification this week on his Medicare B once we found out Monday by someone at SSA locally by phone on the form to process, and what we had been previously told and the paperwork being processed by SSA (application Sept 2 as we were told could only apply in Sept for start in Oct) in a central office 100 miles away was wrong - so we put in two forms, one to cease on the other processing. SSA and Medicare don’t spell it all out nor do many of their personnel know a lot of details and direct people in wrong ways. I processed my Social Security by a phone appt and when DH is ready he will do the same - that way we knew exactly what was being put in and what we were told. Oh we also have to pay for more Medicare B for DH (an extra month) because they have these cycle/windows. The clerk couldn’t even tell me about the next ‘cycle’ and she was a knowledgeable individual. Ugh.

DH when he retired last November did think we would be paying for the COBRA insurance. I however knew I qualified at my workplace as I worked enough hours. DH was that fed up and he estimated we had enough money and he had enough of his work situation. I supported his retirement because of his mental health. He kept asking me “don’t you want me to be happy?” It was not happiness but rather how much emotionally it was wearing on him. Then family situations (his parents dying in Dec and Mar out of state) had it all fall into place that the decision for his retirement was right - despite leaving 11 months of his highest pay, and also that he could have worked 30 hours a week with benefits for those last 11 months. We have enough money.

A lot of people, instead of thinking of the barrier with the expensive insurance coverage outside of employer – think of the positive things about what extras you have built up with career, and positive things to do with the income. Also being sure to take care of health so when you hit the goal with retirement, you can enjoy it and not be tied to managing less than optimal health. Maybe you get to a point when you get close enough - and can pay out high on health insurance and have enough to pay that out plus forego the incoming income.

So many people don’t have insurance, don’t have retirement savings, don’t own a home. Are at the mercy of muddling through week by week, month by month.


@scmom12 hang in there - doing the best with the circumstances.

My mother suffered with a form of dementia that waxed and waned, there were days she could not put a spoon in her mouth, needed help standing, could not get dressed and was having hallucinations versus days when she came out dressed perfectly, head to toe, quite ‘with it’ for that morning or even day.

She was aware, many times, of her personal hell and seriously asked my husband to kill her, 'because she wouldn’t ask her kids" and yet, we certainly never discussed that.

She & I had many discussions, way before she was old and fragile, of getting off life prolonging meds, DNR, what she would and would not want, I was confident in all those things. But I could not “kill” my mother in any way, shape, or form, especially having not discussed it when she was rational. I couldn’t live with that kind of decision even if there had been a legal way to bring her wishes to fruition.

You can bet I am having lots of talks with my kids and how & when & what of what I would want.

There are issues beyond DNR and extraordinary means. Do you have them get a flu shot? Cancer screenings?

I have a good friend who has been a geriatrics doc for 30+ years. He says that many doctors struggle with end of life issues because its not something many are trained in and it makes many uncomfortable. When my mom was in the hospital a couple months before she died, the doctors waited until none of us were in the room to come check on her (she was sedated and thus was out of it). They didn’t want anyone to ask any questions. One time I left with my dad and one of my siblings but my wife remained in the room. Doctor quckly ran in to check on her and was surprised to see my wife. She called me and I returned to the room. Doctor wasn’t happy. And tracking them down was like finding a fugitive. Very frustrating.

Doc friend focuses on quality of life and not number of days/months. Often times I think there is a focus on trying to eke out more time. Doing everything possible. Without asking if its the best option. He said in all the years of practice, he has a box full of thank you notes from family members of patients of his who died. Not one from a family member of patients who lived. One of my grandmothers died 18 months before her funeral. She had a massive stroke and was never the same. No joy or quality of life at all. If there was a way to let her go (there was but my dad and his siblings did not agree) it would have been better for everyone involved.

Talked to my doc friend about my mom. He didn’t review her chart. I just gave him a very quick summary of what was happening (from a laymans point of view). He told me it sounded like she had months to live. He was right. I sent him a thank you note after my mom’s funeral.

The answers could be different for flu (or COVID-19) vaccines versus cancer screenings, when it comes to people with limited remaining life expectancy. Vaccines are relatively inexpensive means of reducing the risk of dying sooner than expected. But cancer screenings need to be considered in the context of whether finding the cancer in question would actually reduce remaining life expectancy and whether the person could be able to get through the treatment of such a cancer.

1 Like

I expect that answers will be different for different people in different circumstances. But I know several people who view the flu as a potential friend to those in what many refer as god’s waiting room.


With diagnosis of cancer, can perhaps learn how to treat for real comfort care (versus what some situations call comfort care - you have to know what you are ‘getting’). Also may get people to make final decisions - get people moved along on all the legal loose ends, DNR, handling property/will etc. Key to make decisions before dementia or other things kick in unexpectedly.

Someone can have the facts staring at them and they go on ‘wishful thinking’ or not wanting to spend time/energy/money on things that do need to get attended to. One may end up handing over decisions to others because they can’t take care of things themselves anymore.

If low grade fever and not treating an infection for example to let nature take its course. It is very interesting that almost all seniors I have been in contact with will take the flu vaccine as long as they don’t have egg allergy; there are a few that never take a flu vaccine.

Covid has been another story altogether.

Note that there are now non-egg flu vaccines (Flublok and Flucelvax), so those with egg allergies may have options (that they may not know about).

Congrats on last work day being tomorrow! I know you’ve been waiting for this day.


I got my current flu shot at Walgreen’s - and was surprised at the array of vaccines they give. Not common knowledge about the other non-egg flu vaccines. I think a lot of those folks think they haven’t needed the vaccine before and don’t need to take it now. If a MD says it is OK to get the various shots - that is a place to get them. They processed on my insurance and no payment up front.


I am not talking about stopping flu shots at 65 or 75 or 80. But talking about people who say they wish their parent would go quietly in their sleep. Having spent time in nursing homes/hospitals/senior facilities in past several years, there are definitely people there who fall into that category. Looking for an off ramp but passing up opportunities for them.

But a word of warning. You likely know people who will think you horrible if you have/share that view. And in my opinion, I know people who have put one or both their parents through hell because they did everything and anything possible. Different views in difficult situations.

I am with you on that. I would definitely come across as harsh on this topic, but have developed my views via experience with some caregiving and dying.

With my mother we did not do any cancer screening, like mammo or colonoscopy, once she was frail enough that I knew we would not do any treatments if the results were positive on the test. However, she did several Mohs excisions a year or so before she got bad dementia, I would not have even done that once the dementia began in earnest, that would have been cruel, as she struggled enough with the recovery when we did not realize she was really loosing her mind. We were clear with her physician, in her 80s, that my mother wanted no life prolonging treatments, but would want the ongoing maintenance for something that might cause a reduction in quality of life. For example, if she had had seriously high BP, then take those meds so she does not have a stroke and live with the after effects.

When I had already processed the track we were on and knew we hoped the end would come sooner than it did, I had a sibling who kept making helpful (not) suggestions about helpful treatments, which would not have helped. That’s tough. I also had an in law for whom I was secondary POA and his primary was abroad. He had suspected pneumonia (in his late 90s) and I specifically emailed the primary to know how they wanted it done. I absolutely would not have treated it, but I was correct that the primary POA wanted everything done. I felt lucky that I was in town to do the hospice paperwork and sign the DNR, which the primary POA never noticed, they might have changed it and that could have been horrible for everyone.

Med school teaches how to save lives, not how to preserve any quality of life, anyone with a chronic illness likely knows that. You can’t blame the docs for not being experts, but it would be nice if there was a culture that absolved decision makers of the guilt of not doing “everything.” I felt no guilt as I made sure to have the talk with the people in question, but most people are not as blunt as I am :grimacing: