The Definition Of Bad News

definition of bad news

Eight days ago, I received a devastating phone call about the health of a loved one. When you receive a call like that, your heart sinks. Then it thumps while you attempt to listen to the details.

This wasn’t completely out of the blue since some issues have lingered for the past few weeks.

But that call… it was harsh.

After I hung up the phone, nearly everything else in my life came to a halt. The news consumed my every thought for the next few hours and kept me up for most of the night.

How could this be?

One family member described the situation as “the definition of bad news”.

To properly cope, our family knew we had to put our lives on hold to focus on support. That meant time away from the kids, time out of the office, and some undesirable travel. But helping any way we could was our first instinct when our loved ones needed us.

Fortunately, we were able to put our daily routines on hold to be where we needed to be.

The Good News

Without going into the specifics, I can say that the bad news was not the worst possible news. For that, we are very thankful.

The bad news, though terrible when first learned, also represented a solution to a nagging medical mystery that threatened the long-term livelihood of our loved one.

The situation seemed bleak at first. But as we learned more, it became a difficult mountain pass up ahead… a steep and treacherous path leading to a jagged peak and a hairy initial decent. No pretty view. Too foggy.

But still very passable.

The patient navigated the poor visibility, deep chasms, and icy ledges, down to safer altitudes where the air is easier to breathe, perils are less frequent, and the slope begins to level as the path merges onto a comfortable and well-worn trail lined by vegetation, the beautiful kind, toward the base of the mountain where life will again be a leisurely stroll.

Six weeks to a full recovery, the doctors say. Very good news, indeed.

To Life, Good Health, and Not Sucking at Money

Since my week was consumed by the roller coaster of emotion that comes with ill health, I wasn’t able to complete the usual 2000-some words about money, investing, banana standsnaked selfies, 7-11 nachos, and barely-relevant music references that you probably roll your eyes over but still expect to see every seven days or so.

The words I write here are an attempt to creatively illustrate how to not suck at handling money, which is a simple concept when it all boils down. Pay attention to your money and you won’t suck at handing it. That’s the money lesson for the week.

This experience is a reminder that money isn’t so important and it’s OK to forget about it every once and a while. It confirms that though sometimes health is out of our control, but we can buy time by setting loftier goals to retire sooner. And what’s most important, is life, good health, and being there for friends and loved ones. So I’m going to cut the post short this week to focus on those things.

Photo Credit: komposita via Pixabay

24 Responses to The Definition Of Bad News

  1. Elle Martinez May 3, 2017 at 6:36 am #

    Sorry that your loved one is dealing with serious health issues, but it’s good to hear you can be there for support. Please take care!

  2. brian503 May 3, 2017 at 8:06 am #

    Hope your family member is on the mend. This is a such a great reminder to have a plan for your money so when a life event like this pops up you don’t worry about finances, you can just focus on the loved one, supporting and getting better.

    • Retire Before Dad May 3, 2017 at 8:42 am #

      True. It did make me think more about freedom and FI. The earlier the better. The timing of last weeks post was coincidental, but relavent.

  3. TheRetirementManifesto May 3, 2017 at 8:12 am #

    I’m glad the mountain pass was conquered. Great analogy, and a good reminder for all of us that there are many things in life more important than money.

    • Retire Before Dad May 3, 2017 at 8:41 am #

      Thanks Fritz. Time and relationships are far more important than money. We know that, but this kind of an event is a sharp reminder.

  4. Blastmaster! May 3, 2017 at 8:36 am #

    So true. I lost my father in law last week after getting the definition of bad news 40 days earlier. Cancer diagnosis, extreme surgery
    ,followed by one complication and infection after another until he finally gave up. Even during the short illness, I focused on FI and money, confident he would recover. Strike a balance between love, money and family. We never know how much time we have left

    • Retire Before Dad May 3, 2017 at 8:40 am #

      Sorry to hear that, Blastmaster. That’s a rough month your family had.

  5. Tawcan May 3, 2017 at 10:45 am #

    Sorry to hear that. While it’s not the worst news it still sucks to get a phone call like that.

    • Retire Before Dad May 3, 2017 at 11:54 am #

      Definitely could have been worse news. Can’t ask for much more than a full recovery!

  6. Joe May 3, 2017 at 11:37 am #

    Sorry to hear that. It’s always tough to hear bad news about health.

    • Retire Before Dad May 3, 2017 at 11:56 am #

      It was a rough few days. But we took comfort in very good care. Health workers do such incredible work on a personal level. Seeing the docs and nurses in action made my career feel kind is meaningless!

  7. Miss Mazuma May 3, 2017 at 11:56 am #

    Damn, I missed the naked selfie post?!

    There is nothing like putting things into perspective than a health crisis. I’m glad to hear your loved one is on their way to a full recovery. It’s amazing what our bodies can do with a proper diagnosis!!

    • Retire Before Dad May 3, 2017 at 11:58 am #

      Yes, the body can do amazing things. As well as the doctors.

      Definitely check out the nude selfie post! No inappropriate pictures, I promise.

  8. Jim Wiley May 3, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

    Wouldn’t things have been worse had you not been able to pull away for a few days from a job or could not have afforded to take a few days away? Wouldn’t it have been worse to go into debt to travel because you had no emergency funds? Wouldn’t it have been worse to not be able to travel because your cards were maxed out?

    • Retire Before Dad May 3, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

      Yes, of course. We’ve positioned ourselves to be able to take off in a situation like this. In fact, the freedom to do that is a big reason why I pursue FI. If my job was so overbearing that I couldn’t leave to help, I wouldn’t stay. Thankfully, the people I work with are extremely understanding for something like this. And we could go without pay for extended periods if it came to that. That’s part of preparing and having a comprehensive money plan.

  9. FiscalVoyage May 3, 2017 at 10:46 pm #

    Sorry for the bad news, but at the same time I’m glad that the recover process is short. Best wishes to your loved one.

  10. Dividend Diplomats May 3, 2017 at 11:54 pm #

    RBD –

    Glad to hear there is a solution. This post definitely hits home, will be in my prayers.


  11. Amy @ Life Zemplified May 4, 2017 at 8:13 am #

    Glad to hear the bad news had a good news ending. Best wishes on their full recovery!

  12. Kurt Hanby May 5, 2017 at 10:07 am #


    You’ll be in my prayers. On another note, what are your plans with LOYAL3 Closing? Not really a fan of Foliofirst…looking for options with a similar platform and there are not many like it. What are your plans?

    • Retire Before Dad May 5, 2017 at 10:54 am #

      Recovery is going well so far. Thanks for the thoughts and support from everyone.

      I wrote a piece about Loyal3 on my other site. Check it out here:

      I transferred my whole shares to TD Ameritrade because it is my main brokerage and most of my holdings are already there. TDA now charges $6.95 per trade compared to Fidelity at $4.95, TradeKing at $4.95, and Motif at $4.95. I don’t trade frequently so I don’t mind the $7 fee since I’m mostly happy with TDA. And I’ve been wanting to consolidate accounts. But if you are starting a new account, I’d recommend Fidelity or TradeKing since the fees are lower. Fidelity does everything that TDA does, but is better with no-fee Index Funds and ETFs. TradeKing is more option focus.

      Motif is all over the place and moving away from their core offering. They are now promoting a subscription service for values/enviro-conscious investing + pseudo-IPOs. They don’t offer the full research as others.

      Many investors are happy using Robin Hood. However, it appears they still cannot except external transfers. So it’s fine for investing new funds, but not the transfers yet, which is a bummer. I haven’t tried it, but the reviews are excellent and their customers are > 1 million and their VC funding is strong.

      DGI wrote about another called StockPile. Interactive Brokers is another he likes. Low fees, but not flat fees.

      If you don’t want to have to go through this again, I’d go with TDA or Fidelity. They are here for the long haul. If your account balance is small, you could just sell everything and pay the capital gains at tax time next year. But use the proceeds to open an account with Robin Hood.

      The subscription service offered by FolioFirst is riddled with extra fees. There’s limited stocks to choose from, and that $5 per month is only a good value for frequent traders.

      Good luck.

  13. Chad Carson May 7, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    Wow. Sobering headline and news. But I am glad to hear your loved one is back in greener pastures. And I am glad your family had the flexibility to put things on hold to help. Will be thinking about you.

  14. Alex May 10, 2017 at 8:54 pm #

    I do not know about you but I am not so lucky with transfer from Loyal3 to Ameritrade. Nothing happens on both sides. Ameritrade said they forwarded transfer forms on April 21st, Loyal3 today said they do not see any transfer initiated on their end yet. Sent request to Ameritrade again tonight. Let see what happens.

    • Retire Before Dad May 10, 2017 at 9:12 pm #

      Mine went through OK, so far. It work a little over a week for the transfer to happen. Once Loyal3 received it, my account was frozen. The transfer of shares is done, but the cost basis isn’t yet. TD says it may take up to 2 weeks for the cost basis to transfer. But I’ve heard that before and it never shows up, despite the legal requirement to.

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