When Tragedy Strikes

Read Time: 
7 mins
Posted by 
As a third-generation financial advisor, Tom Stadum carries on the tradition of his grandfather and father by delivering comprehensive financial plans, prudent investment strategies, and timely service
August 12, 2023

When Tragedy Strikes

Just a few weeks back – I spoke about how life problems are money problems.

Camila and I just had our own tragedy in our family.

A cancer diagnosis on our beloved Frenchie, Pancake.


What a curve ball – Pancake is just 7 years old and a mainstay in our family. She was our first “kid” and has been about as good of a dog as one could ask for.

Loyal, protecting, funny, cute. All the reasons 30% of American’s have pets and why studies have shown pets are good for people’s mental health.

Like many things in life that bring joy, there also comes the impending heart break knowing there is an end.

Camila and I wanted dogs at some point when we got married and ended up with two little French Bull Dogs.

They we our “kids” before we had Lucy and Bode.

We bought them because they were, supposedly, one of the lazier dog breeds to own, and opposite of my parent’s dog, who seems to have energy 24 hours a day, with no end. If you know Filson, you know.

We got our little fur children ahead of kids thinking our kids will grow up with them, have all the great memories, and learn about life by having pets.

Well, looks like that dream of ours isn’t going to happen anymore.

Pancake has months to live, not years.

Our son Bode isn’t going to remember her like we thought he would.

Our youngest Frenchie Buzz isn’t going to have his co-pilot anymore.

Things change.

And here we are, grieving what’s to come and thinking about how to best give Pancake the best last leg of life, while also not spending a fortune along the way.

I want to share with you guys how we are going about making these decisions, financially, as I am living what I told all 700+ of you a few weeks back.

For transparency, and also to help shed light on how life issues are intrinsically linked to money.

So after Camila found the cancerous mass on Pancake’s throat, we immediately called our vet to see if we could bring her in to check her out. They said not today, but tmrw morning at 10am. If she needs immediate care, bring her to the emergency vet.

Decision Number 1 – we know, from experience, that going to the emergency vet will cost a few thousand dollars (we’ve had two trips there personally and family members with trips as well). We knew Pancake had more time than that so we opted to wait a day and see our regular vet.

We bring Pancake to the vet the following day and immediately after our vet examines the area of the mass. She says this is not good and recommends X-rays. As someone who believes in science and data, I say of course, please do so.

While reviewing the X-rays, our vet says there is not much we can do but offers a referral to a specialist in Minneapolis who can do more advanced cancer treatment.

Decision Number 2 – knowing Pancake, our life with two young kids, and the commitment and cost of doing chemo in Minneapolis, I thanked her for the referral decline the offer to the referral.

After X-rays, our vet does some blood work without any great results, nothing to confirm or deny her thoughts on the cancer.

We discuss how best to treat Pancake as she finds herself at the end of the road and head home to share the news with Camila and the kids.

I write this with a sad heart, it seems strange to be trying to grow our family only to find out we are going to lose one we love.

And in a matter of 24 hours, I estimate we could have committed to spending $10,000 to 20,000 easily on advanced care for Pancake + the value of our time traveling to and from Minneapolis.

We are watching Pancake’s activity level and energy outlook to look out for pain and have agreed to keep our vet informed to ensure she has is in no pain whatsoever.

Again, I share this with you all as life happens.

Something can happen in an instant and change your life. And the amount of money that you can spend to try and control the situation can be costly.

Many times it worth it, many times it isn’t.

There’s often no correct answer either.

You need to be the judge and have a strong grasp on your financial life to make great, hard decisions, and not feel any regret in the weeks, months and years that follow tragedy.

Camila and I have a strong grasp on our personal finances and I have helped many families walk through tragedy so I felt good about our decisions with Pancake, balancing money, love and life.

I hope this prompts you to better understand your financial life so when, not if, tragedy happens, you can confidently make great decisions not having to worry about money.

If you need help or are going through a tough time, reply to this email, we’re here to help you make great decisions.

Also, thank you to all who reply, give feedback and pass these along, I greatly appreciate it.

See you next week friends.


What I am Reading

About us
Fjell Capital is a leading wealth management firm designed to deliver results for people who desire to be excellent with their finances. Starting at $125/month and a 0.75% asset management fee you can work with Fjell Capital. No asset minimums. Learn more about Fjell Capital here.
Subscribe to the Weekend Reads
Received, interested in becoming a client?
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Something went wrong!
Email Us
Top posts
recent posts
Schedule a 15-minute Call
Our clients enjoy unbiased advice and a low monthly fee. Schedule your free consultation today.
Choose a Time
COntact us

How can we serve you?

How can we serve you? We invite you to contact us today so we can help answer any questions you may have about your financial situation.

Left pointing blue arrow.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
©2022 Fjell Capital. All Rights Reserved.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------