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After being diagnosed with lung cancer, I received $225,000 from the 9/11 Compensation Fund. What are the best ways to save and invest this money?

I received $225,000 from the 9/11 Compensation Fund after being diagnosed with lung cancer. How should I save and invest it?


Receiving a windfall of $225,000 tax-free can be a life-changing event for someone who is 70 years old, single, and still working part-time as a freelance writer and editor. In this article, we will explore how one can best use this money to secure their financial future, achieve their goals, and live a comfortable life.

Pay off debts and create an emergency fund

If you have any debts, use a portion of the money to pay them off. Next, create an emergency fund that will cover at least six months of living expenses. This fund should be easily accessible, liquid, and not subject to market volatility.

Invest in your home and health

If you own your home, invest in it by making improvements that will increase its value and make it more comfortable, safe, and accessible. For example, you can install a stairlift, grab bars, and non-slip flooring. You can also upgrade your kitchen, bathroom, and windows. If you have any health issues, invest in treatments, medications, and preventive measures that will enhance your quality of life and prolong your independence.

Save for retirement and future medical expenses

Since you are still working part-time and collecting Social Security and a pension, you can use this windfall to supplement your income and savings. Save a portion of the money for retirement by maxing out your IRA and 401(k) contributions and diversifying your portfolio based on your risk tolerance and time horizon. Also, save for future medical expenses by considering long-term care insurance, which can protect you and your assets from the high costs of nursing homes and in-home care.

Enjoy life and invest in experiences

Finally, you should enjoy this money by investing in experiences, such as travel, hobbies, and entertainment. Make a bucket list of places you want to visit, books you want to read, and skills you want to learn. Balance your spending between needs and wants, and don’t forget to budget for taxes, fees, and unexpected expenses.

Related facts

  • The World Trade Center Health Program provides medical and mental health services to eligible 9/11 survivors and responders.
  • Lung cancer is one of the many health conditions caused by exposure to toxic dust and debris at Ground Zero.
  • According to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 40% of workers aged 65 and older have less than $25,000 in retirement savings.

Key takeaway

A windfall of $225,000 can be a blessing and a responsibility. To make the most of it, you should prioritize your needs and goals, create a plan that aligns with your values and abilities, seek professional advice if needed, and stay disciplined and flexible as your circumstances change.


As a survivor of 9/11 and a cancer patient, you have experienced the highs and lows of life. This windfall can be a reminder that you have overcome adversity and inspired others to do the same. Use it wisely and enjoy it fully, as a tribute to your resilience and generosity.

Denk Liu
Denk Liu
Denk Liu is an honest person who always tells it like it is. He's also very objective, seeing the situation for what it is and not getting wrapped up in emotion. He's a regular guy - witty and smart but not pretentious. He loves playing video games and watching action movies in his free time.

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