Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

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Topic Author
Belle of The Woods
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:30 am

Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

Post by Belle of The Woods » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:42 pm

First time poster - long time lurker seeking feedback as emotions and stress may be clouding my judgment. I am thinking of quitting my job to free up time to spend with my disabled spouse and cut down on a lot of strain and stress that I feel. The job is low paying (approx. 35K/yr) but it provides good health insurance for me. I swing back and forth as to whether it's foolish/reckless to quit or feeling like I can quit at any time and be all right. (I wouldn't consider quitting if not for spouse's medical condition) Spouse became permanently disabled about 2 years ago. I am 50, he is 54. Here is our current financial picture: No debts, own our home, moderate COL area

Current Combined Household income: $176,000 gross
Me: $35k

Him: $36k SSDI
$80k private disability insurance
$25k Non-qualified deferred comp distributions for 8 more years

Taxable Savings & Investments: (about a 40/60 split)
$891,000 (Vanguard funds, t-bills, I-bonds, CDs)

Retirement Accounts: Total $1,700,000 (50/50)
Me: $333k Traditional IRA-Vanguard
$167k Roth IRA-Vanguard

His: $800k 401(k) John Hancock
$190k Roth IRA-Vanguard
$220k Rollover IRA-Vanguard

Current expenses are $45k to meet basic needs but we would like to spend $55k-$60k if needed for treatment/therapy that insurance doesn't cover. If I get an ACA health plan for myself, then normal expenses would increase by about $10k.

Also, the private disability income is not a slam dunk to continue. It's a group policy that has an "any occupation" clause after 2 years. I've heard that insurers fight hard to disqualify people. His SSDI application was approved quickly upon original filing as it is abundantly clear that he will never be able to work again but private insurance is a different animal. It doesn't seem likely that it would be cancelled, but nonetheless, I don't want to count on it.

If we never saved another dime, I quit my job and we lived off investments and his SSDI, could we safely spend up to $60k a year if needed for 35+ years?

Almost forgot...he has a small cash balance pension that's been frozen for some time, pays out at 62 $600/month (was told he could not roll it over into IRA at this time)
I have a small legacy pension that I am eligible to collect at 60: $595/month.

supalong52
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Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

Post by supalong52 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:15 pm

I wouldn't let the health insurance tail wag the dog. You have enough to take some time off and spend time with your spouse. I imagine it would be one of your great regrets if you did not do so. The money you have saved should be used in these circumstances.

JoeJohnson
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Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:34 pm

Re: Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

Post by JoeJohnson » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:22 pm

It would appear you have more than enough. The pensions and SS and Medicare will make it even easier.

Katietsu
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Re: Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

Post by Katietsu » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:37 pm

Think carefully if quitting will cut down on stress and strain.

First, I have known people in your situation who found that the normalcy and workplace interactions of their job was important for their mental health while coping with a loved one’s health issues. Others though really needed to be home with the spouse if at all possible. Secondly, your age puts you into that in between land where you are only 50, ie many potential productive years ahead, but at the same time, may find age makes it hard to get hired if you wish to return to work.

Financially, I would meet with an elder attorney. With a majority of the income and assets in your spouse’s name, I see a significant risk if LTC might be needed.

delamer
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Re: Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

Post by delamer » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:44 pm

Katietsu wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:37 pm
Financially, I would meet with an elder attorney. With a majority of the income and assets in your spouse’s name, I see a significant risk if LTC might be needed.
This is excellent advice.

Topic Author
Belle of The Woods
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Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:30 am

Re: Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

Post by Belle of The Woods » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:20 pm

I greatly appreciate the feedback from those who have commented. Will consider an elder attorney for future long term care planning.

And Katietsu, I think you nailed my dilemma....I don't feel old enough to stop working. I generally like my job but I can't be in two places at the same time. He doesn't need a babysitter but he cannot drive nor be alone overnight and definitely cannot travel without a companion. So his life is not only limited by his health but also by my schedule. I feel angry that he worked so hard and earned most of the money but now isn't able to enjoy it!

123
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Re: Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

Post by 123 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:55 pm

Belle of The Woods wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:42 pm
...His: $800k 401(k) John Hancock...
As others have noted you appear to be in fine financial shape. I would share your concerns about health insurance. The only thing that really sticks out to me is his John Hancock 401(k) when you seem to be pretty much Vanguard on most other stuff. John Hancock is likely significantly more expensive than other alternatives (i.e. IRA rollover to Vanguard) but it's rare to have a good option there or perhaps there's a legacy situation that has a complication.

When he becomes eligible for Medicare you'll need to carefully consider Medicare Advantage options that might be available in your area. Some individuals that would need services not included under Medicare Advantage are sometimes better off never enrolling in Medicare Advantage so they can remain on pure Medicare. But Medicare Advantage can be pretty comprehensive, it all depends on the services he wants as well as if the services are available through providers in a particular Medicare Advantage program.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

JoeRetire
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Re: Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

Post by JoeRetire » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:14 pm

Belle of The Woods wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:42 pm
First time poster - long time lurker seeking feedback as emotions and stress may be clouding my judgment. I am thinking of quitting my job to free up time to spend with my disabled spouse and cut down on a lot of strain and stress that I feel. The job is low paying (approx. 35K/yr) but it provides good health insurance for me. I swing back and forth as to whether it's foolish/reckless to quit or feeling like I can quit at any time and be all right. (I wouldn't consider quitting if not for spouse's medical condition) Spouse became permanently disabled about 2 years ago. I am 50, he is 54.
Does your spouse want you to quit and spend all your time with him?

stan1
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Re: Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

Post by stan1 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:38 pm

To present one other option: it appears, especially as long as he has the private disability insurance income, that you could afford to hire some additional assistance during your work day. Not 24/7 in home care which sounds like its not necessary at this time but maybe enough to assist you whether you spend that time continuing in your job or just to off-load some of the extra burdens of care (maybe bathing and dressing). Key is finding a reliable individual who you trust; hiring from an agency might not get you that. I wish I could offer better advice on health care insurance but I don't have any good suggestions for you other than to make sure both of your needs are met.

ResearchMed
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Re: Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:53 pm

Belle of The Woods wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:20 pm
I greatly appreciate the feedback from those who have commented. Will consider an elder attorney for future long term care planning.

And Katietsu, I think you nailed my dilemma....I don't feel old enough to stop working. I generally like my job but I can't be in two places at the same time. He doesn't need a babysitter but he cannot drive nor be alone overnight and definitely cannot travel without a companion. So his life is not only limited by his health but also by my schedule. I feel angry that he worked so hard and earned most of the money but now isn't able to enjoy it!
Think through what he most needs YOU for, vs what he needs "someone" to help him with.
Would he want to travel without you?
Or is it more just to get out during the day?
Does he need help with bathing or other activities during the day?
Or??

Try to be creative. What about someone very part time, or even "as needed", who is still in nursing school, who may have some mornings or afternoons free and would appreciate some work, even if on short notice. It would also be good experience for them.

If you need someone fully experienced, then try working with an agency, and interview/meet some of the aides (of whatever skill level you need).
There may be some who don't want full time work, but would like occasional work/money, etc.

What about someone who could help with housecleaning, so that when you *are* home, you can spend the time with DH (either at home or "out"), rather than vacuuming or doing laundry/etc., in the evenings or on weekends?
What other help might *you* need?

Check with his physician's office or hospital, the social work staff. They may have suggestions and even staffing recommendations. You aren't the first to have this type of problem, even though you may not know others who have found various solutions.

We watched from afar when MIL had increasing issues caring for FIL.
And now, with MIL in Assisted Living near us, we are dealing with the occasional need for more one-on-one care through agencies (it's more than Assisted Living provides, and MIL isn't wanting to move to Skilled Nursing yet...)
When we were away and she had sudden problems, we had someone stop by mornings and evenings, to help her get up/bathed/dressed, and again in the evening, with more direct care than the Assisted staff could provide for a few hours, etc. She has found some aides she prefers, and the agency has noted those names.
We also had one of them go with her for a hospital appointment while we were away... things like that...

Good luck!

RM
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Dottie57
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Re: Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:41 am

I really agree with Research Med.

Make sure you don’t lose your own social support with co-workers. Perhaps outside help would give your husband more people time too.

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dm200
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Re: Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

Post by dm200 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:50 am

Katietsu wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:37 pm
Think carefully if quitting will cut down on stress and strain.

First, I have known people in your situation who found that the normalcy and workplace interactions of their job was important for their mental health while coping with a loved one’s health issues. Others though really needed to be home with the spouse if at all possible. Secondly, your age puts you into that in between land where you are only 50, ie many potential productive years ahead, but at the same time, may find age makes it hard to get hired if you wish to return to work.

Financially, I would meet with an elder attorney. With a majority of the income and assets in your spouse’s name, I see a significant risk if LTC might be needed.
Yes -

Might there be other ways of dealing with the situation? Different work schedule, different duties, etc.?

Neither my wife nor I am disabled, but I find that working part time in my retirement years is very beneficial to my life satisfactions. While I do need to work for financial reasons, I think I would want to keep working (part-time) for life satisfaction.

JBTX
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Re: Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

Post by JBTX » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:04 am

Agree with the above posts. While we obviously don't know the entire picture and lack to context to give the most informed opinion, if it were me I'd probably want the security of the addition income and insurance coverage as well as the ability to maintain mental sanity by getting out of the house, staying productive and interacting with others. I'd be wary of relying on the private disability payments long term

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dm200
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Re: Leave Job to Spend Time with Disabled Spouse?

Post by dm200 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:40 pm

dm200 wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:50 am
Katietsu wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:37 pm
Think carefully if quitting will cut down on stress and strain.

First, I have known people in your situation who found that the normalcy and workplace interactions of their job was important for their mental health while coping with a loved one’s health issues. Others though really needed to be home with the spouse if at all possible. Secondly, your age puts you into that in between land where you are only 50, ie many potential productive years ahead, but at the same time, may find age makes it hard to get hired if you wish to return to work.

Financially, I would meet with an elder attorney. With a majority of the income and assets in your spouse’s name, I see a significant risk if LTC might be needed.
Yes -

Might there be other ways of dealing with the situation? Different work schedule, different duties, etc.?

Neither my wife nor I am disabled, but I find that working part time in my retirement years is very beneficial to my life satisfactions. While I do need to work for financial reasons, I think I would want to keep working (part-time) for life satisfaction.
If working has non-financial benefits for the OP, perhaps using that income to pay for some degree (as appropriate) of outside assistance for the disabled spouse might make some sense - in some situations.

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