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Can You Ever Be Too Prepared?

March 4, 2015

If I could trade my daughter places, I would do it in a heartbeat. That’s what any good parent would do for their child.sick-teddy-bear

Bad stuff happens to good people when you least expect it. While it’s next to impossible to be emotionally prepared, it’s smart to consider a little “financial” preparation.

Almost one year ago to the day of my own “mini” health crisis, my 22 year old daughter had hers. Aren’t 22 year olds supposed to be healthy? Does anyone ever see it coming? A significant surgery that did not go as planned. And, consequently, surgery #2 looming in the distance. While she is okay and recovering well (so fortunate in many ways), things could have been worse.

Our collective experiences got me thinking about money (or lack of it) in different ways. I hate to dwell on the negatives, but isn’t it worth some thought just in case it were to happen to you?

Here are a few tips to help you prepare financially for you or your loved one’s next health crisis:

1) Top up your emergency savings when times are good– I know this is basic and boring advice! Until a crisis happens. Having extra cash on hand goes a long way to paying for unforeseen, ongoing expenses without a huge financial burden. Last week, we spent $100 on hospital parking fees and who knows how much on coffees and take-out. Imagine if we needed to travel, pay for hotel overnights or childcare to be close to the hospital?

2) Understand your family health benefits/coverage– Again, a boring but necessary subject. If you don’t have health coverage through work, consider arranging your own separate policy. It’s wise to know what is and is not covered, in advance, so that you’re not surprised. My daughter is lucky to have her own health coverage through work (unlike her early-retired parents who have chosen to self-insure). Self insuring is risky. If you choose this option, it’s smart to have substantial, discretionary resources to draw upon, if needed.

3) Is your disability (short and long term) coverage enough? This is especially important if you have dependants who are relying on your income to pay the ongoing bills/debts. Often, coverage through your employer may need to be supplemented. Use an on-line calculator and/or get some expert advice to assess your own situation. My daughter has no dependants, still lives at home and has disability coverage through work- an “ideal” financial situation. Needless to say, her loving parents would have been happy (and financially able) to step in at a moment’s notice if this were not the case. Could you do the same for your child?

Trust me; recovery is SO much easier when you don’t need to worry about money!

Do you have your own family health crisis that you’d like to share? If so, please drop me a note. With your permission, I’d love to share your story to help others prepare, learn and get smarter with money!

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Proud founder of this blog Let’s Talk About Money, Patricia Gass, CPA, CA, provides personal finance coaching and education to improve your money skills. Follow her on linkedin, twitter or pinterest

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