How to cope financially with a cancer diagnosis

IT’S an extremely stressful time when someone is diagnosed with cancer.

Aside from the medical aspects of the disease, there are many things to think about, and how to cope financially is one of the most important.

It’s a sobering fact that half of all Australian men and one in three Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85, according to the Cancer Council.

This is why it’s particularly important to have the right insurance in place.

This means in the event of a cancer diagnosis, you can use any payouts to continue to fund everyday essentials and more.

This is a serious issue given widespread underinsurance in Australia.

According to Rice Warner’s ‘Underinsurance in Australia 2017’ report, only a third of Australians have income protection insurance.

It’s a worrying statistic, as income protection is one of the key insurance policies that may help fund living expenses if you suffer a serious illness.

The two case studies below demonstrate the difference insurance can make following a cancer diagnosis.

In the first case, John and Mary had been retired for three years.

They owned their own home and had planned for a comfortable retirement, with sufficient funds to pay for an around the world holiday and much-needed renovations.

The family was subsequently shocked when son-in-law Darren was diagnosed with, and subsequently died from, lung cancer with no life or other insurance in place.

John and Mary’s daughter Janine was forced to move in with her parents with her two children after she couldn’t meet the mortgage payments on her home and had to sell.

John and Mary were happy to help their daughter.

But, having always had insurance themselves, they wish they had encouraged the next generation to follow their lead.

In another example, Jane and Steve had held both life and income protection insurance policies for many years.

Approaching retirement, they visited their financial planner who recommended they reduce their life cover and take out a trauma insurance policy.

Only 18 months later, Steve was diagnosed with cancer.

After 12 months, they received the news the cancer was in remission, but it was a difficult year.

Nevertheless, the couple was thankful to survive financially thanks to the payout from their trauma insurance policy, which allowed Jane to leave work to look after Steve.

MyState Wealth Management financial planner Adam Douglas said these cases showed why it was vital to have the right insurance in place at every stage of life.

“Prevention is better than the cure,” he said.

“Hopefully you will never have to claim on your policy, but for those who need to make a claim, an insurance payout can be life changing.”

Payouts from trauma and income protection insurance may cover your salary if you need to take time off work for treatment and recovery from your illness, as well as medical expenses.

“If you are diagnosed with cancer or any serious illness, after you have told your family your next phone call should be to your financial planner,” Mr Douglas said.

“After a diagnosis, we work closely with our clients to ensure the documents the insurer needs are correct to expedite any claim.

“We can also recommend the right type of policy for your circumstances so that if you fall ill, you have peace of mind.”

Now is the time to talk to a financial planner if you don’t have insurance, or if you’re worried you may not have the right cover.

To find out more, contact MyState Wealth Management today on 1300 651 600 or visit mystate.com.au/wealth for more information.

Information is current as at 13 April 2018. This is general advice only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you.