Because if Girls taught us anything, it’s that you should never get too comfy at work…
I’ve just gone through a series of medical issues that meant I had to take a significant amount of time off work.
Being in my 20s and not really prepared for such a situation, this left me in a really bad financial situation that meant I was extremely broke once my sick leave pay had dried up. And as existing on the loose change in the bottom of your bag inevitably does, it caused me massive amounts of stress, which only prolonged my illness. The last thing you need when you can barely afford a jar of Costco jam is a towering stack of medical invoices demanding to be paid in angry red caps.
I really felt like I only had two options: ignore my health and continue to struggle financially, or swallow my pride and grovel to my parents, a’la Hannah in that infamous first episode of Girls.
Though I’m under great medical care now, going with the latter and being indebted to family has not been without its own stresses. Not the least, Mom being able to hang the old “Oh so you can take money from me but you won’t come visit more often?” over my head whenever she’s hankering for a guilt-tripping sesh.
And according to a study from the Institute of Actuaries, I’m not alone in having to humble myself to escape serious debt on account of illness. A whopping one in three people will be out of work for a period of three or more months at some point during their working life, just like I was. Even if you have an understanding employer, a partner who can help out with the bills, or a substantial savings account, suddenly being out of work is an extremely stressful problem.
The unexpected nature of some of these problems also means most of us adopt a “it’ll never happen to me” mentality, blissfully unaware that if we do get some bad test results back or suffer a sudden accident, we’ll have no means of paying the bills to recover and keep afloat in the meantime.
So, how can you ever really feel secure in your job and your income, knowing that at any moment, something like an illness or severe injury could put you out of work leaving you with no cash coming in to put out towards the essentials?
Head of product at Insuranceline, David Wilkinson, says one easy way to ensure you’re always prepared for the unexpected is to look into income insurance.
“It provides an alternative to people if they lose their income to either sickness or injury,” he explains.
“It ensures that there is a safety net if you can’t work, especially for those who are self-employed or who don’t have sick leave to fall back on.”
If you want the extra security of always knowing you have a back-up plan should the unexpected happen, finding out if you’re eligible for income insurance is the first step, says Wilkinson.
“For someone to be approved for income insurance, in most cases there is a requirement that the person is in full-time employment, working a minimum of 30 hours a week in a permanent position,” he explains.
Thankfully I’m back at work now, but Mom still likes to gently remind me I “should have been prepared for a rainy day” every time she calls me and lets me know how much I owe her for the umpteenth time, which is a hell of a lot more painful than getting insured would have been. Lesson learned, Mom. Lesson learned.
Images via tumblr.com and hbo.com.
Comment: Has illness ever cost you your job?