If you've been diagnosed with a chronic disease, you're not alone. According to the CDC, 6 in 10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease, while 4 in 10 live with two or more.1 With such a large percentage of the population affected by major health concerns, online advice about preserving wealth through chronic conditions remains surprisingly hard to find.
This may stem from the nearly infinite variety of financial situations that can result from varying ages of onset, impacts of different diseases, and individual finances. The results can be unique and complicated, as chronic disease may simultaneously reduce your ability to generate new wealth, introduce new financial burdens, and lead you to reconsider your long-term plans and goals. No matter your situation, we hope these three key considerations may help.
1. Assemble your support team
If you're facing a chronic illness you're also facing chronic uncertainty. Perhaps it's time to enlist some help outside the doctor's office. Depending on your situation, consider these possible members for your personal support team:
- Your employer (more on this below)
- A financial professional
- An accountant/tax advisor
- A counselor - often available via an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) through a past or present employer or union membership
Some of these members will join your team for free, while others come at a cost. Only you can decide if the value they offer in terms of specialized support, reduced stress, and likely financial impact may justify their cost.
2. Stay on top of your finances
You don't need additional stress at this point, so preventing financial penalties and complications is important. The team members listed above may be able to help, but with or without them:
- Consider simplifying and consolidating bills and debts wherever it makes sense.
- Put technology to work for you. Inexpensive (or free) services like automatic payment and “bill pay” services can save you time, prevent late fees, and help…
- Protect your credit score. It's an asset you may need in the future, and one that can save you money in terms of lower rates and fees. Free apps make it easy to keep tabs on your credit score using a smartphone or computer.
3. If you're still working, look at work through a new lens
- Do you have Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts options? Underutilizing the tax-advantages these programs offer for medical expenses may equate to passing up free money.
- Consider informing your employer of your condition. If your condition might impact your performance, it may be better to have the reason known. This is another area in which your personal (and confidential!) team may help. They've likely helped many people through similar challenges.
Whatever your situation, we wish you the best, and hope we can help support you as you work to preserve what you've accumulated. If you'd like to enlist a financial professional for your support team, we'll be here when you need us.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.