Protecting your finances and well-being

Napthens - May 31st 2017

It’s easy to think that you will never be diagnosed with a critical illness, particularly when we feel healthy and energetic, but we can fall ill with very little warning.   The good news is that certain illnesses that used to be fatal are now survivable, but if you are diagnosed with a critical illness it can have a serious impact on your life and also the lives of your children, spouse or partner. So, it’s important to make sure you financially protect yourself and your family from any financial fall-out as you will need time for treatment and time to recover which can have a big impact on you and your family.

A fifth of the population (21%) admit their household would not be financially secure for any length of time if it lost its main income through unforeseen circumstances, according to research from Scottish Widows. And more than a third (36%) would resort to accessing their savings if they were unable to work. Despite this, however, only a third (32%) of people have life insurance, and just one in ten (9%) have taken out critical illness cover.

Three national cancer awareness campaigns took place in March this year: prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and brain tumour. The statics about serious illness are striking:  prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men in the UK, and one in eight men will be diagnosed with the illness during their lifetime, while around 20 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every day [1]. In addition to this, 10 people a day die of a brain tumour and this is the chief cause of cancer deaths in children and young people [2].

Scottish Widows paid out almost £4.5million in critical illness claims relating to prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and brain tumour in 2015[3}, which collectively amounts to one in ten (9%) of all cancer claims that year. Almost two thirds (63%) of all critical illness claims were, in fact due to cancer. The average age of diagnosis for prostate cancer in 2015 was 57, while the average age for ovarian cancer was 47. More than half (55%) of brain tumour claimants were male, the youngest being 30 years of age.

The cancer awareness campaigns coincided with the publication of a new report – No Small Change by Macmillan Cancer Support, which revealed that thousands of middle-aged people in the UK are being forced to borrow money from their parents because of the cost of having cancer. Macmillan estimates that more than 30,000 people with cancer in their 40’s have borrowed money from their elderly parents and more than 2000 have moved in with their parents or parents-in-law after having to sell their homes. The charity says that 28% of people with cancer of all age groups are vulnerable because they have no savings to fall back on.

At a time when welfare reform is resulting in significant change to benefits it is important to take time to consider the arrangements or financial resources available to you for those “what if“ and “how would we” scenarios, to help ensure provision is in place to safeguard your financial future and well-being. Whether this is achieved by applying for extra cover, increasing your emergency fund provision and/or by selling your assets, a strategy should be in place.

 

Source data

[1] Cancer Research UK [2] Brain Tumour Research [3] Based on Scottish Widows and Clerical medical claims. The Scottish Widows’ protection research is based on a survey carried out online by YouGov, who interviewed a total of 5,161 adults between 28th January and 4th February 2016