Piecing together a financial plan can appear daunting to the uninitiated and even more so when a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) has been made. This applies not only to the individual, but their partner and family. The key to a sound financial plan is being proactive.
People living with MS, and their families, can plan for a future that may at times appear uncertain, by following some key steps:
- Conduct a Financial Health Check to assess your current financial situation
- Create a budget with contingency plans if necessary for periods where the exact income may be uncertain (eg if unable to work for a time due to an MS relapse)
- Seek advice if you are in the workforce, before making any changes to your employment conditions
- Explore your insurance, superannuation and income protection options post diagnosis
- Understand what entitlements, benefits and resources are available to you as a person with MS, your family and carer
Budgeting: Honestly consider what is important now and in the future. Your quality of life, wellbeing and peace of mind can take priority over possessions or that extra investment property (or not, if that gives you peace of mind).
Debt reduction: This is a great idea in any financial plan. Make sure you are aware of how this will impact on your financial future.
Wealth creation: Being diagnosed with MS does not have to stop you from achieving certain goals. For instance, is it a good idea to allocate fewer funds to superannuation than originally planned so the money is available for other goals? Allow for a change of perspective which may alter your investment strategies or the complexity of your financial arrangements.
Family/partner risk evaluation
For those living with someone diagnosed with MS there are some important questions to consider. Are you now, or are you likely to be, the sole breadwinner? What would happen to anyone dependent on you if you were unable to work? Do you have income protection insurance? Is it time to review the risk protection for the partner without MS?