Video Mailbag 7: Drowning in medical debt, how do I get relief?

Written by
Peter Dunn


Dear Pete,

I need advice on our finances and spending due to my husbands unexpected illness that requires me to be his 24/7 caregiver. We didn't plan well for this. I'm exhausted and impulsive heading for disaster. I would so appreciate some level-headed guidance and a plan.


Hi Pat,

You've found yourself in a difficult spot. Your first step is to evaluate the financial impact of this medical situation on your short-term, mid-term, and long-term financial life.

Your short-term is the next year, mid-term is 1-5 years, and long-term is anything 5 years plus. Your current situation could be temporary or it could be permanent. Knowing what you are facing is an important first step.

Practically, you have a few options for creating margin. Make sure you are taking full advantage of all deals, credits, or breaks the medical facilities you are dealing with can give you. Don't be afraid to get on the phone and ask.

Next, take full advantage of all medical expense deductions on your taxes.

Lastly, you need a financial accountability partner. You need a lot of support in general during this difficult time, but don't neglect financial support as well. When you are financially stressed beyond belief it very often leads to impulse spending and a general lack of discipline. An accountability partner can help you make smart decisions, even in your weakest moments. Set goals and ask them to keep you accountable to them.

Denial of your situation will lead to stress, and stress will lead to overspending. Face your situation head on. It won't be fun. There is no easy solution. Make every day count and keep your head up.

Step up your financial wellness game.

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