Disability Insurance Can Be An Important Part of a Pregnancy—But It’s Much More

Pregnant woman holding a baby

Disability insurance — also known as income protection coverage — is one of the most important and overlooked pillars of financial planning.

Think about it. The average person is so dependent on their ability to earn a living, they couldn’t continue their lifestyle if they missed even a single paycheck.

The Federal Reserve asked adults in 2016 how they would pay for a hypothetical emergency expense that would cost $400. This amount is approximately the cost of an unexpected car repair, appliance replacement, or medical bill. Forty-four percent of people said this kind of bill would be hard to handle, and that they either could not pay the expense or would borrow or sell something to do so.

When people buy insurance, most choose some form of health, life, car, and homeowners’ or renters’ insurance. All of these purchases have one common denominator; the premiums are paid with your income. When you think about it, it seems foolish to forget to insure the one thing that lets you pay for everything else — your paycheck.

The connection between pregnancy and short-term disability

There are many types of accidents and illnesses that prevent people from working for a period of time: back pain, depression, heart disease, cancer, auto accidents, and so on. Yet many people don’t think of having a baby when they think of “disability.” Yet pregnancy is the most common cause of short-term disability claims.

Women are typically paid eight to 10 weeks of disability benefits when they take time off to have their child (two weeks before their due date and six weeks afterward). The duration can vary based on cesarean-section deliveries or other conditions that may require the claimant to limit work activities or work exposure.

One of the major differences between pregnancy and other types of disability claims is predictability. The timing of pregnancy for many can be the result of planning. For a healthy woman, purchasing coverage through their workplace in anticipation of a planned pregnancy can be a fairly easy transaction. The key is that you buy coverage before you become pregnant. This way there is little risk of underwriting issues or denial of your claim due to a pre-existing condition limitation.

Pregnancy and long-term disability insurance

Most long-term disability insurance offered through your workplace will also pay benefits for pregnancy-related complications if you can’t work for more than 90 days.

If you purchase individual disability coverage through a broker or agent, most insurance carriers will cover complications of pregnancy if your policy has a waiting period of longer than 90 days. (The waiting period — also called the elimination period — is how long you have to wait to receive benefits after you become disabled from work.)

The advantages of continuous coverage

Some consumers will purchase disability insurance in anticipation of a pregnancy and cancel the coverage after delivery. It’s also not uncommon to see ex-participants re-apply while planning a subsequent pregnancy. While this purchasing pattern is not illegal or unethical, it’s a risky approach to insuring your income, and it’s certainly not a pattern that disability insurance coverage was designed to endure.

So, what is a win/win for the carrier and policyholder? Maintaining continuous coverage.

It’s important to remember that disability insurance is designed to protect you against the unexpected loss of your work capabilities due to an accident or illness. While pregnancy is a common reason to file a claim, you always have additional risk for many unexpected events.

It’s also important to remember that voluntary coverage that you buy at work is often subject to underwriting guidelines. Your ability to obtain coverage could change at any time if you have an accident or develop a newly-diagnosed health condition. Trying to time when you have disability coverage is similar to trying to time when you invest in the stock market, and could easily leave you uncovered at an inopportune time.

None of us are immune to accidents or illnesses. They can strike at any time. It’s important to make sure that you’re covered. And once you’re covered, it’s important that you stay covered, regardless of the original reason you applied for your disability insurance. Get it, keep it, and rest easy knowing that you planned ahead.




5 Frequently Asked Questions About Disability Insurance

Woman with crutches sitting on a sofaDisability insurance provides critical financial protection to American workers. Yet it’s a highly misunderstood form of insurance. You probably have health insurance, home or renter’s insurance, and car insurance. But what about your need for income protection insurance?

Disability insurance pays you a portion of your income when an injury or illness takes you out of work for an extended period of time. It’s a critical form of insurance for most working Americans — because it means if you have to miss work for weeks or months at a time, you will have a financial safety net in place to help cover the bills.

Here are six frequently asked questions about disability insurance:

1. Do I really need it?

Most people hear the word “disability” and assume this form of insurance only applies to very serious injuries and illnesses — yet many common injuries (like fractures) or chronic conditions (like back, hip, or knee problems) can result in your not being able to do your job and earn a paycheck.

According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, more than one in four of today’s 20-year-olds can expect to be out of work for at least a year because of some disabling condition before they reach age 67 (the normal retirement age). Will you have an ability to pay your bills if you need to miss work for several months? If you don’t have access to that much in emergency savings, or friends or family that can help pay your bills when you need to take time off work, disability insurance makes a lot of sense.

2. What’s the difference between short term and long-term disability insurance?

Short-term disability (STD) insurance plans generally protect your income for up to three or more commonly six months. Some plans can run even longer than that. Short-term plans typically cover between 60 and 70 percent of your pay, depending on the policy.

Long-term disability (LTD) insurance protects your income if you need to miss work for longer than three to six months. It usually covers 40 to 70 percent of your income. It costs more than short-term disability insurance because it’s a policy that will protect you for a significantly longer time. The time your coverage pays benefits will range depending on your policy. It can be for a specific period — ranging from two to five or ten years — or until your Social Security retirement age. The waiting period for most LTD policies is three or six months — so you’ll need a plan to cover costs before the payments begin (usually this time is covered by your STD plan or your savings.)

3. Does disability insurance cover all disabilities?

Every plan will have its own definition of disability, so you’ll need to review the definition in your particular policy. In general, many policies do not include the following disabilities:

  • A disability resulting from participation in a riot
  • Injuries which are intentional and a result of self-infliction
  • War or any act of war
  • Any period of disability during incarceration
  • A disability resulting from a crime in which the individual has been convicted
  • Pre-existing conditions (definition varies by policy)
  • For short-term disability: occupational sickness or injury (as this is generally covered by Worker’s Compensation)

4. Can I work part-time and still collect benefits?

Your insurance contract will specify if you can receive benefits while working part-time. Many policies allow you to work, but take the amount you earn and subtract it from your benefit. If your policy has a lifetime benefit cap, working part-time may extend the life of your benefits.

5. How much disability insurance should I get?

Insurance companies typically do not sell disability insurance policies which replace all of your income. But, they do sell policies which can replace up to 70 percent of your income. If your employer does not offer a disability plan with 70 percent coverage, you may want to look for supplemental insurance coverage to offset the difference.

One major benefit of owning your policy: When you pay premiums yourself, you are paying with after-tax dollars. Therefore, any benefits will likely be tax-free. Tax-free benefits paying 70 percent of your income comes close to being 100 percent of your take-home pay. If your employer pays the premiums and the cost is not included in your taxable income, then benefits will likely be subject to taxation.

A good rule of thumb is 70 percent coverage, but, as with all insurance needs, it depends on your circumstances and what you can afford. Regardless, seek out a qualified advisor if you need help crunching the numbers.

Disability insurance is a good idea

Just think how devastating the loss of income would be for you and your dependents. Then think how much worse it would be to lose the ability to earn an income. This is a circumstance you can avoid with proper planning and an action plan.




6 Tips for Paying Off Large Medical Bills

Person at a laptop using their phone

If you’re trying to pay off a hefty medical bill, you are not alone. Medical bills are a leading cause of debt in the U.S. Many working Americans don’t have enough savings in place, yet they are facing high deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. 

A report published in 2017 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau showed that medical bills were the most common type of past-due bill or payment for which consumers reported being contacted by collections agencies. More than half (59 percent) reported medical costs as the leading reason for being contacted. 

Here are six tips on how to deal with a looming bill in a way that is positive and proactive:

Don’t Ignore It

It’s tempting to stick your head in the sand, but this will not make the problem go away. Don’t leave the bills under a pile of papers but address the issue head-on. Establish contact with the medical provider to let them know you are working out the best way to make the payments. Once the bill goes to collections, it will be that much harder to negotiate.

Closely Check the Bill

Spend time reading your bill very closely. It could include mistakes. If you’re unclear about what the costs are describing or think you may have been overcharged, ask for an itemized bill from your provider. If you have health insurance, carefully compare the hospital bill against the summary of benefits from your health insurance company to make sure everything matches up.

Explore a Payment Plan

Most providers offer payment plans, sometimes these include interest and at other times they are interest-free. First work out what you can pay each month. Consult your budget and find out your realistic bandwidth for making monthly payments. When you call the provider, be aware that you can try to negotiate and ask, for example, whether the plan can be interest-free or if you qualify for any discounts. If you organize a payment plan with the provider over the phone, ask for them to send you the confirmed plan in writing. Then once you confirm the details, stick to the plan over the long-term.

Ask About Charity Programs

Many hospitals and medical providers include programs for those whose income is low or who may be moving through very difficult circumstances. Don’t be afraid to ask about whether they offer such a service. The provider will often mail you the application materials for this type of program to see if you qualify. You can also reach out to your state or local government, to find out whether they have assistance programs that may help offset the costs.

Build Up Emergency Savings

Your best defense against these kinds of bills is to have a stellar offense. Create an emergency savings fund to dip into when illness or accidents arise. You will ideally keep this fund in a separate account to the one you use for your daily living costs. Make sure you will be able to access it if you need it. Also be sure to actively replenish the money if you ever dip into it.

Insure Your Income

Those who have experienced an accident or illness that takes them out of work for weeks or months on end, will know the stress of losing your income during this time. Take steps to make sure that if you have an illness or injury, you will be able to earn an income during these times. This is what disability insurance is —it’s insurance for your income and allows a portion of your salary to be paid, while you recover. 

It’s no fun to have a large bill you need to pay. However, once you actively resolve the situation and work out an action plan you’ll feel a great deal of relief. That peace of mind will have a big impact on your overall recovery. 




Why Small Business Owners Need Income Protection

Business owner outside his shopfront.Let’s face it, as a business owner, you’ve got enough to worry about. According to a recent survey by Paychex, 42 percent of professionals experience moderate stress levels on a regular basis — and money and work are key contributors to that stress. The Bank of America Business Advantage Small Business Owner Report in 2017 reveals that running a business is four times more stressful than raising children — and that one in five business owners have had a nightmare about their business failing.

One of the best steps you can take to decrease the stress levels, is to have a plan in place for the unexpected. Income protection does just that. Whether it’s disability insurance or business income insurance, it’s a way of mitigating risk and having a safety net for when life throws you and your business a curveball. 

Here are five reasons to get income protection:

Your Bills Don’t Stop When You Do

Accidents can happen at any time and illnesses both mild and serious can materialize out of nowhere. Your health insurance may cover the medical bills in the event of illness or injury, but how will you pay your bills if you need to take time off work for an extended period of time? Disability insurance helps you do this by offering insurance for your income. There are specific steps small business owners can take when signing up for disability insurance, such as having several years of proof of income at hand.

Beyond your own bills, you’ll also likely be responsible for the salaries of your employees and the costs of daily operations. Business overhead expense (BOE) disability insurance is a separate form of insurance that covers these needs. It’s typically a short-term form of insurance, lasting up to two years. Policygenius explains the essentials on how this works well as a complementary form of protection to long-term disability insurance.

Loss of Income Doesn’t Just Arise from Illness or Injury

You may experience a breach of either physical or digital property, such as a cyber security threat or a traditional break-in scenario. Or your physical location may suffer damages from a natural disaster such as a fire or flood. Business income insurance helps to offer protection for these types of challenges.  

Income Protection Is Affordable

Long-term disability insurance generally costs between one and three percent of your annual salary. When you break this down into a weekly premium, it’s may just be the cost of one business lunch a week. Yet the benefits, in terms of keeping your life on track should a challenge strike, are far-reaching.

It Allows You to Focus on Recovery

The key issue with income protection is that if you do become sick, injured, or find yourself dealing with a physical or digital challenge, getting back on track is that much easier when you’re able to pay all your bills during the recovery process. You can focus your time and energy on bouncing back from the challenge.

By protecting your income, you’ll be able to rest in the knowledge that operations will be able to continue and your own bills will be paid, even if you need to take some time out. It’ll give you peace of mind and help you grow a more resilient and adaptive business. 




How Financial Wellness Reduces Workplace Stress

Teams talking at work.How much time do people spend worrying about money at work? And how it this impacting their ability to do their job? If you look at the data emerging from recent studies, you’ll see that finances have become a leading cause of stress in the workplace.

PricewaterhouseCooper’s 2017 Employee Financial Wellness Survey found that roughly half of more than 1,600 full-time employed adults in the U.S. felt stressed dealing with their personal finances. An additional 46 percent reported that financial challenges caused them the most stress at work — that’s more than the stress caused by their job, health concerns, and relationships.

When you dig deeper into the PCW data, it becomes clear how much this stress is impacting productivity and engagement. A whopping 48 percent of respondents said that finances have been a distraction at work, while 50 percent said they spend three hours or more at work each week thinking about or trying to deal with their finances. A 2017 story in TIME outlines a similar trend. It cites a Bank of America survey in which 67 percent of respondents claim that financial stress has overtaken their ability to focus and be productive at work.

Financial Wellness as a Solution

One of the best things employers can do in a culture where financial stressors are on the rise, is build programs that help employees manage their finances and address these concerns in-house. As we’ve reported in previous blogs, conditions have been gathering over several decades and today we’re seeing a highly challenging environment for modern workers. Yet there is a chance here to innovate and pave the way in becoming a company that truly cares. 

This could take a number of forms:

  • Competitive benefits: It is an enormous relief for workers to receive benefits with their jobs, such as health insurance and short and long-term disability insurance so that if they become ill, or suffer from an injury, their income can be protected while they recover. 
  • Financial reviews: Offer guidance to employees and help them navigate their unique paths towards savings and planning for the future with annual financial reviews.
  • Financial literacy training: Build a learning culture within your company. Bring in guest speakers, or offer regular talks where subject matter experts can share their knowledge of financial literacy. Rather than having folks worrying about it on the job, set up a time and place for them to learn and build their confidence. 
  • Technology: Combine in-person connections with apps and tools that help people navigate resources via their phones and other devices. Offer information that is accessible, relevant, and personalized.

This is how visionary companies are helping their teams flourish on the job. A survey by Aon Hewitt surveyed nearly 250 employers in the U.S. and found that 93 percent were planning on focusing on the financial wellbeing of their employees, extending beyond retirement. Forty six percent were very likely, and 47 percent were somewhat likely to add new plan features, mobile apps or online tools to assist their employees with financial concepts and planning. 

If you empower your employees with the tools to counteract this major cause of stress in life, the benefits are far-reaching. You’ll be able to take away a significant portion of worry from their days — and help them to develop their true potential on the job. 




4 Things to Know About Family Leave and Your Income

Mother holding a baby. Becoming a parent is an extraordinary and, at times, stressful endeavor. Your life is about to fundamentally change. And as you plan the myriad dimensions of this new reality, you may be wondering how you’ll cover all the bills while you take time off work.

Family leave is a complex issue and it requires a good amount of research. Begin by reading your employer handbook or asking a co-worker how they dealt with family leave and what they were offered. Consider what will work best for you, in terms of the time you’d prefer to take off work. If you do become pregnant, make sure you let your boss know before anyone else. Embrace it enthusiastically as an opportunity for growth. As Carol Walker, president of the consulting firm Prepared to Lead tells the Harvard Business Review: “Planning for your maternity leave is an opportunity to demonstrate to everyone that you’re in the game.” 

Here are a few ways you can replace your income during family leave: 

Paid Family Leave

This is the ideal situation of course, but don’t hold your hopes up too high. The National Compensation Survey (NCS) conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, revealed that just 14 percent of civilian workers had access to paid family leave in 2016. There are a few states who are pioneering paid leave: These include California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, and New York joined the group in January 2018. If you work in the tech industry, you could also be in luck: Tech companies offer some of the best family leave out there. Ask your HR team or boss if they offer this benefit. 

Short-Term Disability Insurance

Short-term disability insurance is another way to protect your income when you cannot work due to an illness or injury. This includes pregnancies — and it’s very commonly used for this purpose by employers. Short-term disability insurance plans often cover six weeks post-partum. It covers a portion of your income — normally around 60 percent. Several states such as New York, New Jersey, Hawaii and Rhode Island have short term disability laws in place. You can also purchase this form of insurance as an individual. 

Unpaid Family Leave

The vast majority of American workers don’t have access to paid family leave (88 percent according to the NCS study). So your next step is to see if you qualify for unpaid family leave — which keeps your job intact although it doesn’t offer a salary. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law in 1993 and it guarantees eligible workers up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave per year. FMLA does have its limitations though: it only applies to companies that have more than 50 employees within 75 miles of your workplace. You also need to have worked there for at least a year and put in a minimum of 1,250 hours. Laws around this also vary from state-to-state so you’ll need to research your local situation. FMLA applies to giving birth, adopting a child, or fostering a child — and it can also be used in the cases of caring for a spouse or parent with a serious health condition. There are ways of making it work while on unpaid leave—you just need to plan well.  

Paid Time Off (PTO)

Many people will use some of their PTO to cover their income for part of their leave. Your workplace may require you to use up your accumulated PTO before benefits can kick in. Others will allow the benefits to begin immediately, which may allow you to use some of your PTO to extend the length of time you can stay at home. 

Take the time to educate yourself on the benefits that apply to you. Know your rights and don’t be afraid to try to negotiate a better deal. If you are just starting to think about having a child, now is a great idea to build out a financial plan to help avoid the stressors down the line. With a plan in place, you can relax and enjoy the extraordinary gift of welcoming a new life into the world.




How to Build a Basic Budget

Couple working on financesMany people are struggling to gain control of their finances. According to a LendingTree report in 2017, four in five Americans are in the red—and a quarter of those in debt do not have a plan to pay it off. By building a budget, you can gain clarity into your financial situation. This is a vital, first step that will help you chart a route to a far more sustainable place.

Here are the key steps in building a basic budget:

Set a Date

Building a budget requires time and patience; don’t set yourself up for failure by starting the process at a point in the day when you don’t have time to see it through. Peering into the cold reality of your finances can be an overwhelming and disheartening task, so take away any time stressors. Make a date for your budget by choosing a slot in the week where you’ll have a few hours to invest in the process. Invite anyone else who may need to be included—and even think about making a few snacks to power you through the process. Rather than approaching it as a chore, see this as a project that’s leading to your stability and peace of mind.

Choose Your Format

Are you going to use a spreadsheet? There are several great free templates online that you can download and work from. There is also a whole ecosystem of software tools that automate the process and increase accuracy. Or perhaps you’re far more comfortable with pen and paper. Choose a format that makes sense to you. As you build that budget, identify your goals. Are you trying to pay off a large medical bill? Do you have credit card debt to reduce or are you saving for an addition to the house? Identify what your realistic goals are, both short-term and long-term.

Gather Your Data

U.S. News recommends that you physically bring together all your bills, credit card reports, bank information, and paychecks. Spread this paperwork out on the table and gather the digital versions in your devices. Separate them into two parts: incomings and outgoings. Then start inputting all of these items into your monthly budget.

As you build out your budget, insert your income at the top—such as work, investments, and freelance projects. Then you’ll insert the various costs below. The first will be fixed costs such as utilities, mortgage or rent, and insurance costs. Then you can list discretionary costs—like gas, food, and entertainment. Don’t forget items that often go under the radar, such as car registration, memberships, and subscriptions.

Analyze the Data

Now comes the moment of truth: add everything up. If you earn more than you spend, congratulations, you have a surplus. If you spend more than you earn, the important thing is to spot the trend now and start correcting it. It’s vital to your long-term financial health that you see things realistically.

Now you can dig into the numbers and identify areas you can cut down on costs. Your fixed costs may be fixed—as the name implies—but perhaps you could find a better deal for some of your bills, such as your internet provider. If you have credit card debt, figure out how much you can pay off each month—you’ll want to do more than the minimum if you can. You can also review the dates for each payment. If they’re huddled close together in the month, see if you can spread them out.

Continue to work with the numbers until you get to a place where you can balance things out. Your discretionary costs are usually where the most cost cutting can occur. How much is that daily latte coming to on a monthly basis? You may also need to identify new sources of income to bring in.

Set Targets

Set a target for your costs for next month. If you’re giving yourself a limit for your spending on items such as groceries, one tried and true method is to put cash into envelopes for certain purchases, such as your weekly grocery shop or your money for lunch at work.

Then, as you move ahead, make sure you revisit your budget on a regular basis. Keep coming back and tweaking, and checking your progress on this document. By sticking with it long-term, you’ll start to see the gains and that budget may start to feel like your closest ally.




Avoiding Winter Employee Burnout

Jan-MillennialMeeting-imageWinter is in full-swing, which has many people excited to either hit the slopes or hunker down for the next few months. While the dead of winter is a great time for reflection, it can also lead to burnout for even the most productive employees. Between the cold weather, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and short days, winter can be enough to make anyone not want to give it their all at work.

 

Fortunately, there are a number of things that HR directors can do in order to keep employee burnout at bay during the winter—here are just a few ways to get started.

1. Implement the Morning Meeting

One of the most effective ways to ensure your entire staff is on the same page is to implement a morning status meeting each day. During the morning meeting, all projects should be discussed, as well as who will be handling which tasks. This gives everyone a high-level view of daily expectations and can also help employees feel more engaged and part of the puzzle than if they were to simply show up each day and begin working on their own. Strive to keep your morning meeting short—15-30 minutes to cover the day’s major priorities.

2. Show Your Appreciation

For those who live and work in cold weather climates, just showing up to the office on time can be challenge during the winter months. One way to help ensure your employees don’t end up on autopilot is to show your appreciation for their work during this tough stretch of the year. A random coffee gift card or other token of appreciation on a snowy day can go a long way in terms of boosting morale, and since small gifts typically count as business expenses, there’s no reason not to show your appreciation from time to time.

3. Lead as an Example

Anyone who is in a management role needs to ensure they’re acting exactly how they’d like their employees to act. When it comes to productivity and avoiding burnout, this means leading by example yourself—showing up to work on time, making strides to improve processes, and staying as productive as possible during the week. If an employee sees his or her boss slacking on the job, they’re likely to follow suit—don’t be the reason for burnout.

4. Consider Personal Check-ins

If your staff is relatively small, it should be easy enough to check in with all of your employees regularly to ensure that they have what they need to perform their work properly and aren’t experiencing any issues. In larger organizations, however, employees can easily fall through the cracks, and their experiences at work may be unknown to anyone other than themselves. Making it a point to check in with all of your employees individually throughout the winter months can help you identify burnout before it occurs.

 

Winter burnout is real, but it’s also avoidable. Be there for your staff, and spring will be here before you know it.




The Cost of Cancer – Planning for Survival

Jan-cancer-costs-imageNo one plans to have cancer. Aside from the shock and anxiety for the future a diagnosis brings, cancer also presents a financial situation that few people fully consider. Huge medical bills, on top of the typical expenses like college loans, mortgages, and car payments, can leave survivors concerned about their finances. Despite this, there are a variety of precautions and preparations that can be taken to limit the impact of a diagnosis from a financial perspective. The effects of cancer can certainly rear its head in many ways. However, with some additional budgeting, cancer patients can put their minds moreso at ease while heading on the road to recovery.

Types of Costs

Costs associated with cancer can present themselves in a variety of ways. A 2017 study from JAMA Oncology shows that cancer patients tend to spend upwards of a third of their income on medical expenses, in addition to their usual health insurance fees. One of the primary causes of debt is of course the presence of medical bills. From seeing primary physicians, specialists, consultants, and other healthcare professionals, each of these visits and additional tests can add up.

For relatively rare cancers like mesothelioma, finding a doctor that specializes in your specific diagnosis can mean traveling across the country regularly. While the main concern when undergoing treatment is of course seeing the specialist that is most likely to save your life, the costs associated with travel are rarely thought of. These travel expenses, from gas money to airfare, can quickly add up.

Not to mention, hefty prescription drug costs that often come out-of-pocket. As one of the fastest growing sectors of healthcare expenses, cancer patients can spend thousands of dollars for their required prescriptions. These medications come in addition to various treatment methods like chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and surgery. With often lengthy periods of treatment, these medication costs can put a definite financial strain on the patient and their family.

Debt from cancer treatment can also accumulate from a lack of income. If the treatment is aggressive, many patients are forced to leave their jobs to focus on their health and recovery. In a household that is used to having two incomes, the loss of that influx of money can certainly make an impact. If the diagnosis requires extended periods of time away from your profession, the patient may also come back from recovery to find that the work is no longer relevant or is done differently. This retraining period can be another obstacle altogether. In the case of older demographics, this can also deal a significant blow to retirement savings. As a result, cancer patients are around 25 times more likely to declare bankruptcy than those without cancer.

Even after the cancer patient has been through the final stages of treatment and is considered in remission, there are routine check ups to ensure that person stays healthy for years to come. All of the regular medications, treatments, and evaluations to keep cancer at bay will also come with a price tag. While beating cancer is clearly a blessing, this is an additional cost that many do not anticipate maintaining for the rest of their lives.

Solutions?

While it may be difficult to plan for cancer, there are some steps that can make the diagnosis less of a burden on the patient’s finances. Taking precautions with various forms of insurance and an emergency savings can go far to ensure the survivor and their family are protected. Health, life, and disability insurance are all small yet highly effective steps to take when planning for the future. It’s a great idea to establish a Health Savings Account (HSA,) which allows for contribution to a savings store for healthcare expenses directly from the person’s paycheck, before taxes. Even as a young person new to the workforce, taking out insurance and creating an account for health related expenses can be very beneficial and will keep your mind at ease for years to come.

If found in a stressful financial situation due to medical expenses, be sure to consider all of your options via financial assistance programs and debt service providers. There are a variety of professionals that specialize in debt management and refinancing that can help a patient through a difficult time as they start on the path to financial recovery. In the meantime, strict budgeting and monitoring income closely can allow for cutting down on what’s not necessary and saving where possible. Additionally, in certain cases like mesothelioma, the cancer victim may be eligible for compensation in a legal setting with the help of a specialized mesothelioma lawyer. Because this type of cancer develops due to exposure to asbestos, this may be an advisable route to explore if wrongfully exposed in the workplace.

Although talking about and planning for the future can seem daunting, taking adequate measures to prepare for the unknown can make all the difference when faced with a cancer diagnosis. Taking out insurance, saving for emergencies, and maintaining a tight financial ship will put a patient in the best position to focus on treatment and recovery. Battling cancer is difficult enough without having to worry about each added expense to save your life, but taking these precautions in advance will leave you and your loved ones prepared in case the unthinkable happens.




Millennials Got Older, but Their Financial Attitudes are Young

Dec-AgingMillenial-imageIf you still think Millennials are “young,” you may be a little off. They became adults in the year 2000, and today most are over the age of 30. Some are even grandparents. Looking back 17 years ago when Millennials were the “kids” in high school or college, the future looked wide open and bright. And in many ways, it was, as they became the first truly “digital generation.”

 

An Entrepreneurial Spirit

However, for many of them, economic and employment realities have taken the luster off their bigger dreams. Though Millennials are the most educated generation in history, they also have the highest student loan burdens of any age group. Many are living paycheck to paycheck and barely 25% of then have enough savings to last at three months. And those without income protection are even more vulnerable to financial stress. Not surprisingly, Millennials have shorter-term financial goals and are delaying important financial decisions like saving for retirement.

 

And though they often feel overeducated and under-employed, strong optimism is still a theme for many Millennials. Rather than following traditional employment paths, a large percentage want to launch their own businesses in the near future. With the right resources, 54% would quit their jobs and start a business next year.

 

Financing for the Future

For Millennials who are more secure financially, their view of the future sounds, well, very adult. Many are looking at getting their second mortgage, not their first. And having survived for years driving high-mileage beaters, many Millennials are considering buying their second or third car.

 

To make those kinds of purchases and to manage their finances, Millennials have turned the way people bank inside out. As the digital-from-birth generation, 74% of them prefer mobile banking instead of desktop banking or banking in person. They access their financial accounts via a mobile app nearly three times more often than any other group. And, according to a Vocalink study, more than half of Millennials prefer mobile banking with an iPhone.

 

However, banks don’t need to fret. Increasingly, Millennials are beginning to make more branch visits to seek expert advice for mortgages or for business planning. They even use ATMs more frequently than their non-Millennial counterparts.

 

Embracing New Technologies

As Americans of all ages are increasingly relying on mobile and online banking, Millennials are still setting new paths. While most people are just getting use to voice-activated devices from Amazon, Google and Apple, voice banking is being quickly adapted by Millennials. Nearly 68% of them would check their balances by voice commands and 46% would feel at ease paying bills by voice.

 

Though they more in debt and working harder to get by, many of today’s Millennials don’t look at work as simply a way to make money. They have disrupted the workplace forever by bringing more focus on creativity, entrepreneurship, working collaboratively and yes, by still trying to make a difference in the world.