Originally Posted on January 15, 2008
While we all hope that we never have to deal with a sudden medical crisis caused by the discovery of a life-threatening or life-altering illness the reality is that at some point, many of us will have to face this situation. As they say, life is a terminal condition. Good health is a gift that is often taken for granted, but when you are healthy is also the very best time to take a few simple steps to insure that you and your family, income and assets would be protected in case the worst would happen.
A stat that “will” surprise you:
Did you know that less than 10% of all adult Americans have a will? Amazing, because it is one of the most important documents you will ever create, especially if you have children. In addition to your will, it is advisable to create Power-of-Attorney’s to allow someone you trust to be able to make financial decisions or pay bills on your behalf if you are not able to do so yourself.
Also consider creating a living will, outlining the types of treatments that you would want or not want to have performed. Typically a living will is accompanied by a health care proxy, which is a Power-of-Attorney specifically for making medical decisions.
There are dozens of reasons that it is important to build up a nest egg of cash, but one of the most important is to help protect against the loss of income that can occur during a medical crisis. Rarely considered for couples who both work, but worth mentioning, is that during a medical emergency, not only would the ill individual be out of work, but oftentimes the other would also have lowered income due to spending time and energy with the sick partner.
Throw me a line:
A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) can be another great safety net to consider, as it allows you easy and immediate access to a relatively cheap source of money. It is important to remember that your ability to qualify for a new loan may be diminished if you are critically ill, so obtaining a HELOC when you do not need it is a very good idea. And since HELOC’s are typically inexpensive to set up, and only require payments if there is a balance owed, this makes it an ideal safety net.
“Insure” your safe future:
Life insurance is rarely considered a popular discussion topic, but it is a very important way to protect your family. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is very difficult and there is no easy way to ease the pain. And the financial problems, although secondary, can be very serious. Loss of home, income, and savings can all be avoided with the right life insurance plan.
Other types of insurance to investigate are disability insurance – which can help provide income if you are unable to work because of an injury or illness – and also long-term care, which can help you preserve your assets from being eaten up by caretakers in the future.
If you need help setting up a Home Equity Line or a referral to a great financial planner or insurance agent, please email or give me a call. I’d be happy to help you make the connections needed to ensure your own healthy financial future.