As financial advisors, we help our clients to consider and plan not only for their own goals, but also for some of life’s serious “what ifs.” What if you want to retire early? What if you want to buy a vacation home? What if your child is planning to attend graduate school? What if you need long-term care? What if you are raising a young family and you get cancer?
That's exactly what happened to my husband and me. Our only child at the time had just turned three. My husband had just finished law school and was beginning his career. We had just purchased a new house. He felt healthy and looked great. With his diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma at the age of 35, suddenly everything we enjoyed seemed uncertain.
Our first concern was making sure he made it to his next birthday. We faced a “new normal” of chemotherapy, scans, doctor visits, needles, and a flood of new information about blood counts, diet, and medicines. I had to move forward in addressing the impact of this new reality - not only on his physical health, but on our short-and long-term financial well-being as well. Almost immediately, medical bills began arriving and I realized our emergency fund would not last as long as I had planned. As the medical bills rolled in, my mind raced to plan for the horrible new “what ifs” that suddenly occurred to me: what if we didn’t have adequate life or disability insurance? What if our wills were not up to date?
While every patient, caretaker, and experience is unique, I have learned a few things that I hope will help lighten the load for someone else dealing with a cancer diagnosis.
My husband is now a cancer survivor. Chemotherapy, scans and the bills which accompanied them are no longer a normal part of our everyday experience. Nothing could have completely prepared us for a cancer diagnosis, but we hope what we’ve learned will help others facing this unexpected journey.
Crystal Bowles, CFP® is a Financial Advisor with Bridgeworth Financial in Birmingham.
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