BY: FAZAAD BACCHUS
Over the past eighteen years, I have been attending an annual management conference. Last week was another of those conferences where we discussed changes in our industry and ideas for growing our business etc. I saw one presenter come on stage and this is someone whom I have seen present many times before. A tall, well built and healthy looking man with lots going for him. However, when he walked on stage this year, I knew something was different.
His presentation started with “life changes in a blink”. His story touched me as he described what had transpired over the last year. It was a Friday afternoon and he had worked hard all week giving speeches and talking to his clients. He looked into the mirror and noticed a small swelling on the side of his neck. Perhaps an infection in his lymph nodes he thought. By the following morning, the swelling had intensified and he was off to the doctor. Blood test and scans were done and his worse fears had come through, it wasn’t an infection, he was diagnosed with cancer.
Life had changed in a blink, in a period of just one week, from having all these financial and work-related goals he was now thinking only of his survival. At first, he was in denial then acceptance. His priorities changed quickly as I’m sure for most of us it would. He knew that he would have to go through chemotherapy and radiation, so he prepared himself for it. Showed up for his treatment all dressed in a suit. And here he started to set different goals. These goals now included spending time with the things that matter most and most of all was the people who were close to him.
Life changing events really put things into perspective. In some countries when someone gets cancer, it’s a major bill that has to be paid. In Canada we are in a much more fortunate position, we don’t need to pay for chemo or radiation. However, during the treatment period while you will be unable to work, who pays your bills. It is common to find that many Canadians are living paycheck to paycheck and if a critical illness were to strike, they would have to use up most of their savings. It would be even more devastating if they had to use their RRSP due to the fact that they will have to pay heavy tax penalties.
How difficult do you think it will be for you if life changes in a blink? Would you be able to meet your expenses for at least six months to a year? And if you can’t, would that affect your recovery, having medical stress as well as financial stress?
So, what is the solution? Your best solution is to purchase some form of critical illness insurance. If you are worried that you might lose your money if nothing happens to you, then you have the option to purchase a refund of premiums. However, where will the premiums come from? One possible solution would be to use some of your returns from your investments. In this way, you are protecting your chance of recovery and safeguarding your retirement. Consider buying some critical illness coverage.