A serious illness impacts every facet of your life, including your finances. Thankfully, there are doable steps that you can take to avoid financial catastrophe and remove money worries from your heavily-burdened shoulders.
The first step in successfully navigating your financial dilemma is to take stock of your financial “pluses.” If you have an emergency fund, how much is it and how long will it be able to cover your expenses? How much money do you have in your checking account and investments? What are your other assets such as your home, vehicles, or vacation properties worth?
This step will likely give you peace of mind–particularly if you have managed to stash away several months worth of emergency monies. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to liquidate an asset, you will have a more accurate idea of its value and how far you can stretch the proceeds. You will have the comfort of knowing you have something to fall back on–if you have to.
Your creditors are not your enemies–even if they’ve made a few nasty collection calls. It is important that you get in touch with them as soon as possible and explain your situation. Remember, you are dealing with mere people that will usually be willing to work with you as long as you are making an effort.
You may be able to have your payments and/or interest rates lowered, the term of your borrowing lengthened, or some other arrangement worked out–but they need to hear from you first. And, don’t forget to keep a record of the dates and times of your calls, the name of the person you spoke with, and exactly what was said.
“Dealing with Creditors During a Financial Emergency” recommends also prioritizing your payments based on which bills will have the greatest consequences for your health and family’s security, which ones have collateral, how much equity you have built up, and how high the interest rates are.
You will likely be relieved to know that help is out there. You simply have to ask. Friends and family may be able to help you out financially or in other practical ways. There are also a number of other avenues you may wish to explore.
You’d likely be surprised by how much money you can save by instituting a few simple changes in your spending habits. For instance, according to “How to Survive a Personal Financial Crisis,” switching to a big box grocery store and selecting generic brands can save you between 10 and 20 percent on your grocery bill.
Other ways to cut costs include cancelling excess television services, eating out less often, using coupons whenever possible, and staying away from “impulse” purchases and emotional shopping. You should also retire your credit cards and opt for a “cash” only policy. This could save you a fortune in interest and, possibly, late fees.
With a financial plan in place, you can now do what really matters–concentrate on restoring your health or that of your loved one. So stop worrying about your finances. Instead, live, love, and laugh. And make the most of each and every day.
If you would like to prevent future financial woes brought on by illness, you will want to check out How Short-Term Health Coverage can Keep You from a Financial Catastrophe.
Kimberley Laws is a regular contributor to HowDoYou.com and the author of two blogs, The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss. A "Jill of all trades," she is a High School English Teacher and Certified Career Counselor with a background in makeup artistry, retail banking, and graphic design. She is also a scrapbooking, PEZ-collecting, car enthusiast who loves travelling and New York City.
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