The one word that everyone dreads hearing from their doctor is “cancer”. The affects it has on our health, on our emotions, our family and our finances can be devastating. Unfortunately, people are hearing the diagnoses on an increasing level. Cancer rates are rising and have been for quite some time. There are many commonly accepted, as well as many not-so-commonly accepted, reasons for this alarming increase including, genetics and family history, diet, environment and smoking.
Overall, it is expected that 1 in 2 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime. Males have a 49% lifetime probability (or a 1 in 2 chance) of developing cancer. Females have a 45% lifetime probability (or a 1 in 2.2 chance) of developing cancer.
Specifically for females, 1 in 8 females expected to develop breast cancer in their lifetime. One in 14 females is expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer during their lifetime, and 1 in 16 is expected to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Canadian males are more likely to develop prostate cancer than any other cancer, with 1 in 7 males expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. After prostate cancer, lung and bronchus (lung) cancer has the next highest lifetime risk (1 in 11 males), followed by colorectal cancer (1 in 13 males).
Upon diagnoses there are many things that will run through our minds; “Will I recover?”, “How long will my treatment last?”, “Will my kids be okay?” or “How will my spouse cope?” as well as millions of other thoughts. But one aspect of our lives that cannot be forgotten during this difficult time is the impact it has on our finances. Many of us have put away savings for a “rainy day”, but not everybody has or can afford to do that. The impact a cancer diagnosis has on a family’s finances is significant. There are some out-of-pocket medical expenses, potential lost wages from not being able to work, a loss of secondary income from a spouse who may take time off work to support their loved one, and many, many more.
According to a 2013 study, a significant number of people claimed they would have a hard time meeting their expenses if there was a diagnosis of a critical illness. If a primary income earner had been diagnosed with a critical illness, 28% said they would immediately have a difficult time meeting their everyday expenses. Thirty-nine percent said they would have a hard time paying their expenses after several months, and finally only 33% said they would be able to cover their living expenses well into the future.
As part of any good financial plan, it is important to consider the impact of a critical illness when saving, when investing, retirement planning and/or managing your budget. It is essential to consider having critical illness insurance built into your financial security plans.
Critical illness insurance pays a tax-free lump sum payment when diagnosed with one of many covered critical illnesses. This payment can be the difference between recovering on your own terms versus recovering with financial implications that might reduce your savings or increase your debt.
Talk to one of our advisors today to see how a critical illness insurance policy can fit into your financial security plan.
 2013 Canadian Life Ownership Study