It’s not going to happen to me.


Let’s do a thought experiment.

Think about all the people who are close to you in your daily life, family friends, co-workers etc.  For the average person you will have regular interaction, once or more per week, with say 50 people.  If that seems high you’re probably an introvert like me and you just don’t notice all the people around you, that’s okay, if it makes you feel better can you cut that number in half to 25.

Either way, it’s safe to say you come into contact with at least 25 people on a regular basis, seeing them over and over again, at least once a week.

Now – throughout your life how many of those people have gotten sick or seriously injured so that they had to take time off work?

sick

I’m not talking about coming down with a nasty flu for a week or two I’m talking about prolonged debilitating illness or rehabbing from an injury that kept them away from their regular occupation for a month or more.  Personally, without spending too much time thinking about it I can name at least 9 people that have been a regular part of my life in one way or another who ended up off work in this way, two of whom eventually died before they could return to their regular lives.  Oh and did I mention they were all under the age of 65, in the middle of their prime earning years?

I don’t know about you but I think seeing 9 different people affected by serious illness or injury during my lifetime is a statistically significant number but if that doesn’t convince you think about this;

According to Statistics Canada:

–          1 in 3 Canadians will contract cancer in their lifetime.

–          Cancer was the official cause of death for over 76,000 people in 2010.

–          1 in 4 will contract some form of heart disease

–          50,000 people have a stroke each year

–          30% of all Parkinson’s patients are under 50

–          There are over 900 spinal cord injuries every year

–          Everyday 8 people learn that their kidneys have failed

Every one of these events will cause serious financial strain to those who experience them.  It’s a fact.  The public health system does not cover for lost income and most corporate disability plans (if you’re lucky enough to be one of just 45% of Canadians who have one) don’t pay out until you’ve been off work for 6 months or more, with no back pay, and then only pay for a maximum of 2 years.  Of those 9 people I mentioned above, other than the two who died, only one made a successful claim on their health plan.

Now think about this:

–          22% of people who lose income as a result of time off work resort to credit cards to finance the shortfall.

–          22% tap into personal savings, including retirement funds

–          12% borrow from friends or family

–          5% remortgage or sell their homes

For more detailed statistics check out the results of this national poll published this past May.

Nearly Half of All Canadians Facing Major Illness Struggle Financially.

The numbers are sobering.  Do you still think it’s not going to happen to you?

Check out the Meekonomist Manifesto above and click on the link about Being Prepared for Emergencies for more information on Disability and Critical Illness Insurance or write to themeekonomicsproject@gmail.com

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