Category Archives: Health

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.

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

Do you insure your biggest asset?

It’s a sad fact that most Australians are dangerously under-insured.  And It may just be high time you reviewed your levels of insurance protection!

Take the example of Matt.  He is a clean-living 53-year-old who exercises regularly, doesn’t smoke, enjoys a healthy diet and only indulges his love of good wine at the weekend.

Yet things changed suddenly for Matt last year when he awoke one night to find he couldn’t breathe. His wife called for an ambulance and he was rushed to hospital, where he was taken into life-saving surgery following a heart attack.

After waking from his operation, Matt was in shock. He knew there was a family history of heart disease, but had gone to great lengths to prevent the onset of the illness and had definitely not properly thought through how his family would cope without him.

During recovery, Matt reviewed the insurance component of his super and discovered that in the event of his death his family would receive just $300,000, which would barely pay off the mortgage. He hadn’t taken into account daily living expenses, car loans, and his daughters’ school fees, his wife’s low income or their inadequate savings.

Fortunately for Matt, his story is a positive one. Now in better health and back at work, he has spoken to a financial adviser and taken out additional life insurance, albeit at a significant premium following the heart attack. He and his adviser are looking into critical illness cover, which would pay out a lump sum should he suffer another sudden illness, although he’s likely to now have a coronary exclusion.

Unfortunately, in Australia, Matt’s story is not uncommon.  Surveys have shown Australia has much lower levels of insurance than other developed nations including the United States and United Kingdom [1]. The required level of life insurance is now about $680,000, while the typical default cover is around $258,000 – a significant gap [2].

Maybe it’s time to ask… could your family make ends meet if you were unable to work, suffered a serious illness or died? Here are some things you should consider:

  • Ongoing Mortgage or rent payments
  • Daily living expenses – food, bills, transport, utilities, insurances
  • Childcare, school and university fees, text books and accommodation
  • Other expenses – house repair costs, medical expenses, personal health & grooming, replacement of white and brown goods

Make an appointment with your financial adviser to discuss your insurance needs and ensure you are adequately covered, or call the team at Wealth Planning Partners to discuss your needs on 07 5593 0855.  They help clients Australia wide with their protection strategies.

 

[1] Lloyd’s Global Underinsurance Report 2016

[2] Rice Warner Underinsurance Research Report 2014

Life is pain, highness…

Life is pain, highness.  Anyone who says differently is selling something.”  Westley.  William Goldman – Princess Bride.

If you’re like me and a bit of a tragic Princess Bride fan, then you’ll be completely familiar with this line, and that some days it rings more true than others.

Lately, it seems the ‘life is pain’ is ringing true a lot more.  I’ve had a mate I love dearly be fitted with a pacemaker and become a double amputee.  His lovey sister has just married the love of her life, who’s been diagnosed with a terminal cancerous mass in his pancreas and one of the most beautiful, bright amazing women in my circle of friends committed suicide last week.  Yes… sometimes life is truly pain.

Today I raised a glass to my girlfriend and spent it with another, remembering her son who died suddenly 11 years ago today.

And it got me thinking, as these times often call for deep personal reflection… Yes, Life is pain, we’ve all been there.  There’s bad minutes, horrid hours, bloody awful days and some really shit moments that make up this tapestry we call life.

But there’s also the beauty.  Sometimes in the darkness, that’s hard to remember.  There’s the unexpected opera in the morning in the hotel I’m staying in that transports me and gives me goosebumps, there’s sunsets to be seen in places I’ve never been, unexpected connections with friends and colleagues and there’s new friends to be made and children to watch grow.

We’ve all suffered unrequited love, difficult emotions and the roller-coaster rides of feelings.  Yet, we’ve also had magical moments in time with friends and lovers and our babies and experienced the beauty of the written word, spoken word and of music, friendship, nature, laughter and tears.

But when someone takes their life, we all think… could I have done more?  Should I have called?  What else could I have done?  So instead of wondering, I beg you, call someone today.  I’m sure you know someone who could use a chat, a laugh a cry or the gift of your time.

The Working Woman Juggle

As most women already know, there’s lots to juggle all at once. There’s our partner’s needs, the kids, maintaining the home and household, extended family, friends and fitting in the ‘me’ time.  And whilst some of this can be outsourced, in practice, it’s not always possible.

Which in turn, raises two major issues in life that need facing: Heath and Wealth.  If you’re healthy, efforts can be made to invest wisely.  If you’re unwell, here’s hoping you have adequate strategies in place.

Stress tends to pressure the adrenals into working overtime, producing cortisol and adrenalin.  That’s great if you’re trying to fight a huge spider, but on an ongoing basis, doesn’t do wonders for the internal organs.  Side effects can include high blood pressure which in turn raises other health risks.    The scary stats are that women have a 55% prevalence of cardiovascular disease (men 45%) and 5% burden of stroke (men 4%) and two thirds of all heart failure sufferers are female.  (Australia’s Health 2008)

And most women deal with stress by smoking and/or drinking.  Both of which also cause an increase in likelihood of cancer and organ damage.  Drug use is on the rise and it’s also difficult to maintain a great diet when eating on the run or at erratic hours,  and reaching for the comfort food or fast food.

Many women over 55 now have higher cholesterol than men and a greater incidence of diabetes mellitus.  Women also choose to put off child bearing to a later age, and unfortunately this in turn can lead to increased complications!

Who’d be a working woman??

Or the better question is… how can we reduce some of the stress??  Well, the top tips will come as no surprise, and take a little planning.

1. Ensure the diet is improved – even just increasing the fruit and veg and water intake can help.

2. Quit smoking.  You know why!

3. Decrease the amount of alcohol taken.  I’m up for a glass of bubbles as much as the next girl, but do ensure there’s a  couple of alcohol free days each week.

4. Time Management.  Take a look-see at each day and see if there isn’t just a better way of getting things done.  Can you delegate some tasks? Rearrange others? Have someone help out with the kids each week. Meal clubs and car pools can work wonders to free up time.

And for your own sake, please consider:  Life Insurance, Total & Permanent Disablement Cover, Trauma Protection and Disability Income Cover.

With such hugely active lifestyles now and associated risk factors, it’s vital that working girls have the products to provide an income stream or ability to pay down debts in the event of the unexpected.

Look after yourself!  You’re worth it!

WomanHappy