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Breast Cancer Awareness: Check your finances too

Breast Cancer Awareness: Check your finances too
26-10-22 / Duty Editor

Johannesburg - This Breast Cancer Awareness Month don’t just get yourself checked out physically – make sure you’re financially prepared too, as critical illness can wreak havoc on your family’s finances.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. In South Africa, one in 26 women is at risk of developing breast cancer, and it causes around 16% of all cancer deaths. And men aren’t immune either. The problem is that only 16% of South Africans can afford private healthcare, according to the World Health Organization – and even if you’re on medical aid, it doesn’t cover all your expenses, or cover your salary if you’re unable to work due to an illness.

That’s why it’s important for every working South African to take out both critical illness and income protection cover while they’re as young as possible and before there’s a serious diagnosis, says Rhett Finch, the chief executive officer of King Price Life.

Importantly, they’re not the same thing: critical illness cover provides financial support if you’re diagnosed with a dread disease, like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, while income protection replaces part of your salary if you can’t work as a result of illness or injury.

“Cancer and prolonged illnesses have a massive effect on the health and wellbeing of entire families. Many consumers think that their medical aid will cover any major illnesses, but the reality is that there are many expenses that aren’t covered by medical schemes and that can have a major impact on your finances,” said Finch. “Having critical illness cover in place takes away a lot of financial stress at a time when you should be focusing on getting better.”

That’s why it’s key to put critical illness and income protection in place while you’re as young and healthy as possible. Once you’ve been diagnosed with a dread disease, it will be almost impossible to get cover for an existing condition and, like life insurance, critical illness cover gets more expensive as you age.

South Africans tend to underestimate the value of their ability to earn an income, says Finch. “Ask people what their most valuable asset is, and they’re likely to say their house or their car. They’re wrong: Their most important asset is their ability to earn an income – but few consumers actually protect this asset,” he said.

As a result, tens of thousands of South Africans find themselves unable to work due to a serious illness or injury every year, without any back-up plans.

“The fact is that your income supports your lifestyle. If your salary stopped arriving every month, how long would you be able to meet your monthly obligations, and maintain your lifestyle and that of your family? Would you be able to pay expenses like your bond, rent, groceries or school fees, and take care of your family and financial commitments? If the answer is ‘no’, you should consider income protection,” said Finch.

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