Share Your Story Submission: Chronic Illness: Planning for Good Fortune

By: Chanda Brady

From the time my brother had his first seizure as a child, to now, more than twenty years later, he has endured daily seizures and the side-effects of powerful antiseizure medications. Despite this, he works as a college math tutor, creates amazing origami art, and volunteers with his church.  

My brother is one of nearly 133 million Americans who live with a chronic illness. Most of these ongoing illnesses are not apparent to others, nor are the repercussions of living with them. One such repercussion is the heavy economic burden chronic illness has on individuals and their loved ones. In addition to expensive medical treatment, chronic illness can affect the ability to work, involve special equipment or housing modifications, and require round-the-clock care.

I believe everyone should consider chronic illness in their financial planning. Whether considering their own or a loved one’s health, preparing now improves quality of life and peace of mind in the future. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to lessen the financial toll of a chronic illness and a knowledgeable financial planner can help navigate the many options.

One option I’ve learned about is an annuity, which provides guaranteed income in the future, when costs associated with a chronic illness typically rise. Another option is long-term care insurance, which covers assisted living care for those who might need help with activities such as bathing and eating. And disability income insurance provides paycheck protection in the event a chronic illness prevents a person from working.

With many options available to ease the financial burden of chronic illness, doing nothing should not be one. While my brother can fold most anything, one of his most requested origami creations is the crane, a symbol of good fortune. With financial planning, good fortune is possible, for him, and everyone, living with a chronic illness.