John and Mary typified your average Australian family with two adults and two children. John was a qualified engineer and Mary had only recently returned to the workplace. They were building up their retirement nest egg as they still had some way to go.
They had two children, a son Brandon who was in his 2nd year at university studying Marine Biology, and a daughter Kylie who was in year 11.
John was working for a well - known firm of Engineers and earning a substantial income of over $160,000 per year. Mary who had just returned to work was earning $50,000 per year.
Just when everything seemed to be going smoothly, everything had to be put on hold. John had been to his doctor's for his annual medical check-up with routine blood tests and these had led to a totally unexpected diagnosis of cancer. John and Mary were devastated and after subsequent tests the truth was unchangeable, the following months were very traumatic and stressful, friends and family were shocked and pledged to help where possible.
John had to undergo investigations, consultations and finally surgery to remove his cancer, then embarked on a series of chemotherapy treatments to assist with his fight against the disease. John was unable to continue working, between the tests, investigations and surgery, John had used much of his accumulated leave entitlements and his employer was very supportive but John new it would not be for ever. He had taken out life insurance cover when younger, but this policy was only cashable in the event of his death. Whilst they only had a small mortgage left on their family home finding the monthly repayment was becoming an additional strain. Mary had been beside John every step of the way and her job and earnings had suffered, they were being forced into a corner with not many options.
Fortunately for John, doctors confirmed that his surgery had gone perfectly and that the chemotherapy had been successful in preventing further spread of the disease.
Whilst John had not been given the all clear yet, things looked positive and with the help of the family they were able to meet their mortgage payments. Mary was able to keep her job and stabilise her income allowing them to pay for the unexpected pile of additional medical expenses and extra expenses they never had though to have saved for.
What changed? John and Mary were no longer feeling as comfortable about their situation. 18 months after that traumatic day the blood test results came in, John and Mary were working again. Both new they had been lucky in holding onto their home, jobs and sanity, what they really valued now was the fragility of their seemingly safe and secure lives.
While in the cancer ward at Hospital John had met Fred. Fred was in the next bed to him and also battling cancer. Both John and Fred got talking and Fred explained that he to had thought cancer happened to other people. Fred's story was different as he had prepared for this very occurrence. Fred went no to explain that when he had been talking to his Financial advisor the issue of insurance had come up and Fred had been sent to see a specialist life insurance advisor. During this meeting Fred had been amazed to find the high likelihood of the average person being struck with something like cancer and other life changing accidents and sickness'. Fred wasn't sure what to think at the time as he had never been given this perspective on the fragility of life With clear resolve Fred had realised he had to look after himself (and his family).
Fred had implemented a plan to protect himself against the financial burden of sickness and injury with the guidance of the life insurance specialist. So Fred went on to tell John that his cancer was similar to Johns and he had already received an insurance payout on diagnosis. Fred could afford the nursing care and his wife could hold on to her job, the extra costs of medication and running around between specialists and hospital were covered, even the GAP in his medical insurance could be paid for, the remaining money was to assist in replacing some of Fred's lost earnings.
At that 18month point John followed up on Fred who had not fared as well. While Fred was still struggling to beat his cancer and was almost there he was financially secure and that was the only thing holding the sanity of him and his family together.
Just as John was leaving Fred and wishing him a speedy recovery Fred asked a question that chilled John to the bone. "Hey John, what are you going to do if it comes back...you know, the cancer?" John wished he had the perfect answer but he didn't all he could do was shudder.
Every day when John passes the hospital he wonders how many people in there actually thought it wouldn't happen to them. John had sought the advice of a life insurance advisor after recovering. John was now protected but the protection was nowhere as good as what it could have been if only he had discussed it with a professional when he had put his life insurance in pace those many years ago, when he didn't think he needed it.