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Finding a Treasure Chest in the Assets You Already Own
Posted: Oct 12, 2022
Finding a Treasure Chest in the Assets You Already Own image

I’m constantly amazed at the number and amounts of financial assistance programs that are available for cancer patients. I was never told that these resources were available to my husband when he battled myeloma from 2002 until his death in 2013.  I speak often to patients or their caregivers that share with me that they have good insurance and would rather leave those resources to people who really need it.

I say to everyone, no matter how good you think your insurance is, there will always be additional out-of-pocket expenses that pop up so take a look at financial grants and assistance programs that you can take advantage of that can help you manage your daily expenses. With the costs of everything rising with no end in sight, keeping more money in your pocket can mean the difference between financial security and financial toxicity.

In this article, I will share some areas you may be able to increase income or take advantage of the financial benefits you may be overlooking. Additionally, I will add some other strategies you can put into place that will leave dollars into your pocket without a tax liability.  I am only supplying you with general information. Please seek advice from a financial planner or advisor, for anything specific to your financial situation regarding assets or products. 

First, look at several areas of your financial house and determine if you are positioned to take advantage of additional income opportunities. Review your current financial position, and talk to your financial advisor for direction.

How will you know exactly what your needs are if you’re just guessing? People tend to be more successful financially when goals and needs are written out. They have to be measurable and achievable. Working with an expert will help you become more accountable. Consider the following areas in your financial review and discuss with your financial advisor as needed.

Financial Review

  1. Prioritize:  Determine what you need now short term and long term. Prioritize. What is going to be paid off, such as a mortgage? When will money be freed up to then redirect at another need..
  2. Assets:  Reassess the assets you currently have: Retirement accounts, brokerage accounts. Because the economy is so suppressed, now’s a good time to position yourself for future upticks in the market.
  3. Savings:  What type of savings do you have? Is it earning the most interest? Do you have a cash reserve set aside to take care of emergencies without dipping into currently directed funds.Consider looking for tax free income or convert positions into interest or dividend generating income. 
  4. Home Rental: Do you have a second home that can be rented out when something really big is happening in the area? You may be surprised at how much money you can make in a week or even a week-end. Here in Kentucky, for The Kentucky Derby, many people go on vacation that week and rent out their homes and make thousands of dollars. Do you have that option? Check local rules to determine requirements if any to do so.
  5. Life Insurance: Cash-value Life insurance policies: You can make withdrawals, or loans against the cash value of a policy. In some instances you can also access the death benefit to pay bills. Review options with your Insurance company or review the resources we have on the Healthtree Financial Resource page. You don’t have to use funds for medical needs either. In many cases, depending on how your policy was created, funds could be tax-free to you
  6. Tax considerations:   If you’re still working, Review your tax-exemptions. Changing this may put more money in your pocket rather than giving the IRS your money to hold. Waiting for a refund may not be your best option.  Additionally, make sure you are taking all of your exemptions.For those who are older and are homeowners, make sure you’re taking the homestead exemption to reduce your property tax liability. Meet with your tax professional to make sure you are being tax efficient.
  7. 401k: If you’re still working, take advantage of contributing to your 401k, you may realize more money in your pocket as it comes out pretax. Reducing the amount of income reportable on your taxes. Additionally, if your company  matches your contribution, that’s free money to you.
  8. Credit Cards:  Consolidate credit card debt. Inflation is eating up discretionary income and will probably continue to do so for a while. If you have credit card debt consider searching for a zero interest card and transfer high interest balances. This will allow you more time to pay the balance off. 

    Take advantag eof credit cards that give you cash back for usage. This will help spread your dollars even further. Use them to buy things you would normally use cash or debit cards for. Since you already have the money, pay for it with this card and then pay it off every month. The increase in your credit score is also a nice benefit.

    If transferring your balance isn't an option, be very careful when using credit cards right now. The interest rates that have a range will be going up costing you more to carry credit.

    Travel credit cards can be a huge benefit if you have to travel for treatment. Use them just as you would a cash back rewards card to earn you dollars that can help with travel costs

  9. Eliminate subscriptions:  If you aren’t using that exercise club membership, TV streaming, movie or sports channels eliminate them because those costs add up. Consider eliminating cable subscriptions because they can cost more monthly than options with ROKU or an Amazon Stick then add the other channels you want.. It could save you $100’s a month.
  10. Home Owner's Insurance: Review your homeowner’s and car insurance programs. If you haven’t compared prices in the past 2 years you may be using old multipliers, thereby costing you more money. Pay particular attention to your homeowner’s policies. The insurers may be over covering you with increases far and above what;’s needed. Conversely make sure if the value of your home has increased you have adequate coverage in the event of a peril.

Raising Funds:

  • CrowdFunding has become very popular.  Many of your friends and family may be glad to help out and contribute to you. Additionally, this appeal for funds can be sent to people outside of your circle. Many people actively search for opportunities that they believe in. It's a matter of appealing to your intended audience. Funds generated through this source can be raised quickly and the funds are tax-free to the recipient because they aren’t considered a gift to the recipient. GoFundMe offers a solution to help you cover the expense for more than just medical bills.

Reviewing these areas of your financial house will allow you to determine if you are positioned to take advantage of additional income opportunities.  I encourage you to review the many options available to you to keep more money in your pocket.  Prudent care can make this period of economic stress more tolerable.

As the Financial Program Manager, Diahanna leads a Financial Team of HealthTree Coaches in sharing financial support and resources to myeloma patients and caregivers. Financial Coaches are able to share their personal experience with financial resources and tools to assist you in planning and preparing for the cost of myeloma treatment.  If you would like personalized support from another myeloma patient or caregiver for financial or any other resources, visit the Coach website

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The author Diahanna Vallentine

about the author
Diahanna Vallentine

Diahanna is the Financial Program Manager for the HealthTree Foundation,  specializing in financial help for multiple myeloma  and AML patients. As a professional financial consultant and former caregiver of her husband who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, Diahanna perfectly understands the financial issues facing myeloma patients.

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