Friday, December 5, 2008

Full Disclosure

I have a confession to make. I have not been fully honest with you. When I said this was the reason I wanted passive income, that isn't the only reason. There is another reason: I have multiple sclerosis. The majority of the time, you would never be able to tell. I typically have no symptoms. Occasionally, however, I will have a flare-up, or "exacerbation," as they are called, where symptoms appear for a while and then eventually go away. This is known as the relapsing-remitting form of MS. The bad thing about MS, apart from the fact that there is no cure, is that it is a very unpredictable disease. I have had no flare-ups for over 2 years, but a couple weeks ago I started having some, probably brought on by the stress of being laid off. Currently, I have little fine motor skill in my left hand. Since I am left-handed, I cannot handwrite, my printing looks like my five year old daughter's printing, and typing is a bit of a chore. On the plus side, it gets me out of doing the Christmas cards his year. I am currently on a 2 week course of steroids, which should return functionality to me.

I was originally diagnosed back in 1999 or 2000. I was on a business trip and gradually started losing all vision in my right eye. When I returned home, I saw an ophthalmologist (although not in stereo vision - ha ha, a little humor for you) and was told I had optical neuritis, which is a typical symptom of MS. My vision mostly returned, although it is not 100% in that eye and probably never will be. I had some other episodes where I felt numb on parts of my body, again typical MS symptoms. After meeting with a neurologist and a battery of tests, I was diagnosed.

So why do I mention this? Because last March, Crystal left a comment on my blog saying she was in Section 8 housing because she had MS (and presumably it was affecting her ability to work). Since I saw that comment, I've been meaning to bring up my situation here, but there never seemed to be a good time. I've realized there probably never will be a good time.

Because MS is so unpredictable, I have no way of knowing how long I will be able to work. Hopefully, a very long time. However, I am attempting to plan for the possbility that someday I may be forced into not working, and to prepare for that, I want passive income.

Most people try to obtain passive income to get out of the "rat race," their nine to five job. To do so, you need your passive income to be greater than your expenses. For me, my passive income needs will be higher than most. If I did not have insurance, my medicine for controlling MS would be almost $2,400 a month. This is on top of my mortgage and other living expenses. And when my wife and I retire, assuming no cure has been found by then, I will need to buy my own medical insurance, which will probably cost more than that. So passive income is something of a necessity for me if I want to retain the standard of living I am accustomed to.

Crystal, if you still read this blog, I hope things are going well for you, both in your housing situation and with MS. You've always been on my mind these past nine months. Sorry it took so long for me to write this.

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