Financial Advice in a Health Crisis


All Categories, When Life Happens | by: Karen Brandt, Marketing Director

That moment when you’re suddenly facing a life-threatening diagnosis is one you’ll never forget. Fears about your future health and its impact on your relationships and savings are very real concerns. Here is the financial advice you’ll need to guide you through.

Tell your family and friends.

As much as we might believe we can manage on our own, the truth is we all need each other in a crisis. Friends and family will want to know how they can help. Child care? Meals? Transportation? Letting others help will be fulfilling to them and lessen your stress so you can focus on healing.

Know your health insurance plan inside and out.

Contact your health insurance company to be sure you fully understand your health care coverage and how to make it work for you. Networks, referrals, copays, deductibles — learn exactly what your health plan covers and the steps needed to maximize your coverage.

Understand your workplace benefits.

Your employer’s human resources representative is another good source of information regarding your health insurance. Also ask about any disability coverage and life insurance policies you may have through your employer.

Learn about your employer’s policies regarding sick pay, vacation time, and earned time off. How flexible can your employer be with your work schedule? Can you work from home for a while?

Sit down with your financial advisor.

An experienced financial advisor will help you understand the impact your illness might have on your plans for retirement, children’s education and other long-term goals. If you are unable to work for an extended period, you will want to consider how this will affect your ability to fund your accounts.

Be sure your directives are in place.

If you haven’t done it before, now is the time to put this paperwork in place. Directives will ensure your wishes are carried out if you are unable to speak for yourself. They vary by state.

Health care directive: This is a formal document instructing your doctors on your treatment preferences. A DNR (do not resuscitate) order is an example of a health care directive.

Health care power of attorney (health care proxy): With this in place, you will have appointed someone to carry out your medical wishes if you are unable to make them for yourself.

Durable power of attorney: This document names someone to handle your financial affairs if you are too sick to manage them yourself.

Draw up a will, if you haven’t already.

If you don’t have a will in place, your estate will be distributed by state law, rather than according to your wishes. The lack of a clearly-stated will can also create tension among your survivors. To be sure your estate is distributed according to your wishes, draw up a will.

Review all assets and beneficiaries.

While you are reviewing your estate, consider if further steps are needed to ensure your assets would be passed on according to your wishes. Go over your insurance, investments and retirement accounts to be sure all beneficiaries are up to date.

Keep your health foremost in your mind.

In the end, your health comes before financial considerations. Get the best care you can, and worry about the rest as you are able. When you feel ready, consider the financial advice provided here to manage the impact your illness has on your finances, now and in the future.


This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.