How to cope financially with illness or injury

Bills still need to be paid even if illness or injury keep you out of work. But help is available if you need it.

Dealing with a serious illness or injury is stressful enough without having to consider how to cope financially.

However, making sure you get everything you are entitled to and offsetting bill payments can help relieve some of the stress of an already traumatic circumstance.

Advocates

When you are injured or ill, it’s easy to miss important information, so it’s essential to have someone by your side who can listen, question and ensure your needs are met.

Choose someone you can trust, such as a close relative or friend, who can be your advocate, and help understand instructions from medical professionals as well as organise any medical payments.

Services

The available government services include the Department of Human Services or Centrelink.

In very limited circumstances, you may get early access to your superannuation on compassionate grounds if the illness or injury is catastrophic. You can apply through the Department of Human Services.

You might also like to contact Financial Counselling Australia to talk to someone who can provide free, unbiased information to help with your financial difficulties.

Employment

Ask your employer how much paid sick leave you have, whether you can take unpaid leave, and how long you can have off work. The Fair Work Ombudsman’s sick and carers’ leave information covers your rights at work.

Insurance

Check your insurance policies, including any linked to your superannuation, to see if they provide income support or bill payment help.

Types of insurance include:

  • income protection, which provides an income if you are unable to work
  • health insurance, which can help with medical costs
  • total and permanent disability insurance, which can be included in your superannuation and covers the costs of rehabilitation, bill payments and living costs
  • trauma cover, which covers specified illnesses or injuries.

Reach out

Open up about your circumstances to your debtors and ask for a hardship variation to your bills or a repayment plan that offers paying in instalments.

From setting up these repayment plans to choosing appropriate insurance, a financial adviser may help you take care of your finances while you’re injured or ill, which means you can focus on recovering.

If you’re unsure even where to start, give us a call and we can review your paperwork to see if you’re eligible for any claims.

Tips to help you start your own business

Starting a new business is exciting but there’s a lot to think about and organise.

Before you even begin, you should consider how prepared you are to make difficult decisions, work long hours, face financial constraints, lose sleep, and confront failure.

Most jump in thinking about all the freedom they’ll have ‘running their own show’ but if you ask any entrepreneur, usually the opposite is true!

Research

If none of these scare you, and you have the drive to make a success of your business idea, start by talking with others who have gone down the same path and can help you figure out your next steps.

Be under no illusions, this is a complex process with many moving parts, but having a checklist will make things easier.

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science offers a lot of help through its business.gov.au website, including a start your own business preliminary checklist.

It says you should follow these steps:

  • choose your business structure and type
  • apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • register your business name and trademark
  • protect your intellectual property
  • understand the appropriate standards and codes of practice
  • set up record- and account-keeping processes
  • register a website name
  • work out what taxes you need to register for
  • find out the registration processes and licences you need
  • consider your insurance needs
  • buy or lease business premises.

Business plan

One essential ingredient of any new business venture is to draw up a business plan, which you will need to secure any financing. It will also provide direction and help keep you on track.

Financing your idea and keeping track of where the money is going is crucial to your success, so a good accountant is essential.

Employment

If you intend to hire people, you will also need to be familiar with the relevant labour laws, superannuation rules, work health and safety obligations and tax laws. Information about pay and conditions is available from the Fair Work Ombudsman website. You will also need workers’ compensation and public liability insurance.

Here to help

With so much to think about, it’s clear that starting a business is challenging. A financial adviser may help you understand your new financial obligations and develop a financial plan tailored to you, so you may get your new business off to the right start.   We’re always happy to help, so don’t hesitate to give us a call on 07 5593 0855.

Simple lifestyle changes for a healthier you

Treat your body well and it may help you dodge cancer. Here’s some tips on how to create a healthier lifestyle.

“Cancer isn’t always a matter of genetics or bad luck,” says Professor David Whiteman of Brisbane’s QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.[1] A recent study from the institute found risky habits and behaviour are to blame for more than 16,000 Australians being diagnosed with cancer each year.1 The good news is that changing these behaviours may help prevent certain cancers forming.

The most common types of cancers that are directly related to lifestyle choices include skin melanomas, and lung, bowel, liver and stomach cancers.1 The key culprits causing these types of cancers include:

  • tobacco smoking
  • high intake of red and processed meat
  • low intake of fruits and vegetables
  • excessive exposure to UV light
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • being physically inactive
  • being overweight.1

In other words, what we put in our bodies and how often we move them.

So, what changes can you make for a healthier lifestyle?

  • Since the biggest cause of preventable cancer is smoking tobacco, your first mission is to “hang tough, don’t puff!”1
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables and reduce your intake of red and processed meat –going vegetarian just two days per week may help you create a more balanced diet.
  • Decrease your alcohol consumption – limit your drinks to special occasions or set yourself the challenging of nursing one drink per party.
  • Exercise regularly – exercise may help reduce the risk of various physical and mental health problems.[2] If you have a sedentary lifestyle, even committing to 15 minutes of walking a day could be a great start.
  • Moderate your exposure to UV light – get your sunlight early in the morning or late in the afternoon and use a combination of protective clothing, shade and sunscreen.

 

[1] ABC News, (2017), ‘Changes to risk factors could have prevented 40 per cent of cancer deaths, study finds’. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-12/cancer-study-finds-40pc-deaths-preventable-with-lifestyle-change/9247876

[2] Australian Government, Department of Health, ‘Physical Activity’. Available at: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/phy-activity