Expensive Bucket List Lands Couple $80,000 in Debt

A terminal diagnosis led New Zealanders to blow their savings—then he learned he wasn't sick after all

by Suzanne Gerber • Next Avenue
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Gone viral: a news story first reported in the New Zealand Herald about a New Zealand couple in their 60s who blew through their savings living out bucket list fantasies when he received a diagnosis of terminal cancer in May 2010.

But when he came home and waited to die, an unexpected thing happened: He didn’t. An offhand comment from a hospice caregiver revealed that he was fit as a Stradivarius. A test performed in December 2011 had made that determination, but for reasons unknown, the hospital failed to inform him.
 
Most of the commentary (in outlets including a Yahoo video, the Huffington Post and Britain’s Daily Mail) has focused on how “irresponsible” it was for Frank and Wilma (the Herald withheld the couple's last name) to do such an outrageous thing. My thoughts on that later, but first, an attempt at a defense.
 
The reports all differ a bit, and the astute reader is left unsure whether Frank and Wilma had actual savings, but we do know that they sold their home at a loss of $70,000 and ultimately racked up $80,000 in credit card debt.

Read the rest of their story here; plus, six lessons they learned

Next: How to Care for Aging Parents and Adult Children

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Photo courtesy of Yuri Arcurs/Shutterstock.com

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