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should I be saving for retirement?
Jan 11, 2013

Hello,

I am 27 years old. I was diagnosed HIV+ in 2012. I have been on medication for about 8 months now (truvada, prezista, norvir). Viral load is now undetectable, and I am feeling great. CD4 still low (about 160), but I am hopeful.

I am employed full-time, and today I met with a financial analyst about beginning to contribute to a TIAA-CREF or Vanguard account. During my consolation, we estimated how much I would need to save to retire at age 67 and be comfortable.

What concerns me the most is whether or not my savings will be for nothing -- that is, is it reasonable for me to think that, with HIV, I can one day retire and actually use the funds that I may begin to start saving ...?

Thank you

Response from Mr. Vergel

Your CD4 cells will most likely increase as months go by. Some patients with controlled virus keep seeing increases for over 2 -3 years. Most will most likely live to really old age.

Do not let your fear of death sabotage your dreams and your responsible plans for a healthy and financial secure old age. Some HIV+ people have done this for years and now they find themselves without money, and with medicated anxiety. Of course, back in the dark years most of us only planned for the short term. I was one who had to break from that (I am still trying, believe it or not. But that was then, this is now.

When that negative voice in your head tells you that you can die young and that it is not worth to build a future, tell it "I am taking my meds and doing well. This virus will not rule me. I chose not to listen to you" You will see that voice to start bothering you less and less, but it will show up once in a while to see if it can steal your present.

You can come up with your own sentence. Or focus on a picture in your mind of you healthy and happy in older age.

HIV is a great excuse for many of us to justify self-pity and hopelessness. But you have chosen treatment and health, not despair.

I saw this on a sign a few years ago:

"FEED HOPE, NOT DESPAIR"

Nelson



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