Saving Strategies

My Cancer, Your Retirement

Zacc Call

My Cancer, Your Retirement

Zacc opens up about his personal story dealing with cancer and how that has affected the way he saves for retirement. He discusses the different saving styles of Americans and why saving too much may be too risky. This episode focuses on helping your dollar achieve the highest purpose possible. Learn how to save like a worker and think like a retiree, here.

Show Notes – Episode #30

  • My Cancer changes the way I plan for retirement.  I’d like to share with you why because it may change the way you think about your retirement.  
  • In 2010

–  we had a 2 year old and in October our twins were born.

–  2 weeks later –  I found out that I had cancer.  Thyroid cancer is…

  • 2012

– found out that my wife had a brain tumor.  Non-cancerous, but in a bad place.  Intensive care for a week.  She is permanently left with Single sided Deafness and Facial paralysis.  Both of which make loud social situations very difficult.  In the short term, she had to learn to walk again as her balance nerve was completely severed in surgery.  This was expected prior to surgery, however, the road was longer than expected.  She is doing wonderful today and teaching fitness classes which she loves.

  • 2014

– found recurrence of thyroid cancer in my neck.  Went in for a second surgery.

  • 2-3 years of good health went by for us and then a growing lymph node appeared on my neck.  We monitored it for a couple years when finally it was big enough to biopsy with a needle.  It was cancerous.
  • This time I was seeing a doctor at the nationally recognized Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, UT.  You would think the natural decision is to go back in for the cancer.  However, it isn’t that easy.


  • Still under 40, Age is a big determining factor.  I chose to go for it.  
  • 12/26/2019 –  had another surgery.  Everything went well.  It has changed my perspective.
  • Will I get 20 years, 30 years, or 50 years from today?  I don’t know.  Nor do you, but my experience has brought awareness and an increased reality of the fragility of life.
  • I think differently about Money.  I might not get to experience much retirement.  Radiation exposure can’t be good.  “Avoid Radiation”
  • What is the Standard American Cashflow?  It is like the…
  • Standard American Diet,  SAD.  This is the eat-whatever-you-feel-like-it Diet.
  • Normally watching what you eat is restricting something.
  • How much you eat? What foods do you eat? Or when do you eat?
  • Standard American Cashflow.
  • Spend what you make and put emergencies on credit.  Later you pay off that credit by spending what you make in the future.
  • Extreme American Cashflow.  Clients who don’t know how to spend their money. Can’t figure out how they can “afford” to replace 30 year-old carpet for a couple thousand dollars when they have a couple million saved.
  • Purposeful American Cashflow
  • Some people want to retire early. I applaud that. I respect that. I help some clients achieve that. It isn’t my goal. It feels too risky. What if I don’t live much longer than 50 or 60 and I scrimped and saved to retire at 50?

So I think differently.

  • I hesitate a little as I lay out this plan because it can accidentally lead to wasteful spending.  This is the opposite.
  • This spending concept is different because you are putting greater purpose behind your money.  Greater purpose behind your spending decisions.  You see, every “yes” to spend a dollar is a “no” to another possibility.  Is your “Yes” to a subscription causing a “No” to date night?  Is your “Yes” to a certain car or lifestyle causing a “No” to a family memory through family vacations?  I am not perfect here, no one is, but don’t require a Cancer Diagnosis to make you aware.  We’re looking for consciousness, not perfection.

So what is my plan?

  • Fund retirement sufficiently and use the rest of your money as if you were already retired.  How do retired people spend money?  They realize the expiration they have on life and they ensure the dollars achieve the highest purpose.  They travel together.  They visit family.  They buy some comforts.  They support charities and causes.  They focus on health.  They buy back their time.
  • There are 3 categories of workers:
  1. Those who are not saving enough to retire normally.  Standard American Cashflow
  2. Those who are saving just enough to retire normally.
  3. Those who are saving to retire early. FIRE movement
  • I am in category #2.  It helps that I love the work I do.  It helps that I am passionate about it.  It helps that I find deep purpose in improving your life.  I get that not everyone has a job like that.  But, you can see how, if you do, there isn’t a great reason to sacrifice the more formative years of my children’s lives in order to walk away from the work I love.
  • More importantly, what if the next 20-30 years are all I have?  What if I say “Yes” to too much retirement savings, and I accidentally say “no” to memories I never knew I could have.
  • Most importantly, what if you don’t have the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years?  You have to be responsible and at least fund retirement to retire at a reasonable age…at least for your spouse’s sake.  But what if you didn’t have that much time?  Would you think differently?  I think you would.  I think you would think like a retiree.
  • Save like a worker, think like a retiree.  Let you mind focus on only the most important things and let your money follow!!!

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