Preparing In Case Of Disability: Long Term
Now is the time to plan ahead for the possibilities, including being unable to work, "just in case." The sooner you begin to plan, the greater the chance of having appropriate health care, and of continuing your standard of living, if you become disabled.
If you are working, consider the following:
- Examine your benefits.
- Get an advisor at work..
- Do what you can to increase your earnings -- or at least your Real Earnings.
- Keep funding your retirement plan.
- Look for co-workers or other people who are on, or who have been on, disability.
If you are not working, going to work is the easiest way to obtain the insurance you need, and at a reasonable cost.
Insurance you should try to obtain, in order of priority according to David Petersen, a financial planner who created the concept of financial planning for people with a life changing condition: Health Insurance, Long Term Disability Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance, Life Insurance, Denta/ and Vision Insurance. For information about each, click here.
Of course, everyone should:
- Prepare financially for possible rainy days ahead.
- If you think you might need to stop working (go on disability), now is the time to take stock of your finances so that you can maintain your lifestyle even if your income decreases.
- Our article and calculator located at Financial Planning For Disability will help you estimate what your income and expenses will be if you become disabled. The article will also direct you to other information that can help you avoid not having enough money to get through a period of disability.
- If your income or assets aren't what you would like them to be, do what you can to increase your income. You are protected if you want to change jobs or get one if you're not working. You may even be able to stay at your current job, if you have one, and increase what we call your Real Earnings.
- For additional information, see:
- If You Are Still Working
- If You Are Not Working And Are Part Of An Economic Unit (for example, husband/wife; life partners)
- If You Are Not Working And Are On Your Own
- Take care of your mental health.
- There is a direct link between mental health and physical well being and the ability of your body to heal.
- High levels of stress can hurt your body's ability to function properly.
- Being diagnosed with a serious, possibly terminal or chronic, medical condition can be as stressful as losing a partner, family member or other major life event.
- Consider seeking assistance in dealing with the changes going on in your life. This could be an excellent time to schedule at least a few visits to a therapist or other counselor just to make sure you are dealing with your emotions and the changes you are going through in a manner that is as healthy as possible.
- Also keep in mind that if you want to leave work because your health condition makes you "disabled", disability can be mental (such as a deep depression that prevents you from doing your job) as well as physical, or a combination of the two.
- Have property and casualty insurance to protect against unbearable financial losses to your home and automobile.
Regardless of our health, we all need to consider what would happen if we become incapacitated or die. Remember Terry Schiavo? She was the young Florida woman whose saga on life support was all over the news because she hadn't expressed her wishes in writing in case she became incapacitated. She and her family could have been spared all the expensive, time consuming results if she had executed an Advance Healthcare Directive.
If you haven't put these affairs in order, now is the time. The same is true for the passage of your assets to your heirs. Do you have a Will? If so, is it up-to-date? Is it challenge proof? To learn more, see: Health Care Power Of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directives, Wills 101, Estate Planning.
If there is a possibility your medical condition could affect your ability to work in the next twelve months or less, and you're working, read about planning in the short term.
If you don't have an idea about the potential progress of your condition, speak with your doctor. Keep in mind that we're talking about what could happen statistically based on past experience -- not what will happen to you.
To Learn More
More InformationLife Expectancy Planning for the Possibility of Disability in the Short Term
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