An article recently published by Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press, provides insight into the result of a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on the effects of heart and stroke episodes and its impact on income. Some of the statistics are quite staggering.
The study shows one-third of heart attacks, a quarter of strokes and 40 per cent of cardiac arrests occur in working people under 65. These medical issues are occurring during prime income earning years and are leaving some with physical or cognitive disabilities. In comparing two years of earnings prior to the health event and three years afterwards with their unaffected equals, it became evident those who were affected by cardiovascular events were less likely to be working and therefore less likely earning. The reductions ranged from 8 to 31 percent in lost earnings.
Those who suffered a stroke, suffered the most significant loss of income at 31 percent, representing a third of their income. As strokes affect brain cells, the likelihood of physical limitations is increased compared to a heart related event. While labourers immediately come to mind as those most likely unable to continue in their role, the limitation of using your hand and arm can prevent one from being able to operate a computer.
In conjunction with the person’s own inability to continue earning, members of their family may also be affected. If the family consists of younger children, the spouse who is now the main bread-winner may be required to spend more time with the family and less at work thereby further affecting their income. Should it be a parent whom is affected, the adult children may be required to take time away from work to attend to their medical care or appointments.
The positive outcome to this study is the attention it will bring to those who require additional resources to manage the after-effects of the medical event, which is long overdue. With government bodies, change takes time – which you and your loved ones may not have. However, there are options for helping yourself.
Critical Illness Insurance pays a lump sum benefit if you are diagnosed with a dreaded disease such as Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Cancer or Parkinson’s Disease. Other conditions covered may include coma, stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure. Benefits are paid for the first occurrence and may be used to pay medical expenses, modify your home or even take a vacation. In May, we shared a real-life story of the benefits of this insurance in the blog Money Can’t Buy You Love. By purchasing Critical Illness Insurance, this family was able to spend the last bit of time they had with their loved one without affecting their financial situation. When a situation such as this arises, that is all we can ever ask for.
Planning for tomorrow is a key aspect to financial planning, so is planning for the unknown and unexpected. Medical circumstances are never convenient and rarely scheduled. If you’d like to prepare yourself, we’d like to help.