No parent wants to hear the words “your child has cancer.” As a mom, I am always worried when my children get sick! As soon as the sneezing or fever appears I rush them to the doctor. My husband says I am a freak! All kids get sick and they get over it. But I cannot help it! I am too anxious when they get sick!
So sometimes my dark thoughts come in and think: WHAT IF if my child get seriously sick? Like really sick: cancer sick? I have know a few families who went through this tragedy and I am always scared it will happen to my children! Aren’t you? I think worrying about the risk for childhood cancer is a normal part of being a parent!
Since I am scared of this, I said to myself: better be prepared! I cannot prepare myself emotionally but at least I could prepare myself financially! I know some of you may think : how can you think of money when your child has cancer or another serious illness? Well I do because if I am enough prepared, I will spend time caring for him instead of worrying about paying my medical bills or expenses! It is what I call: money freedom and peace of mind.
So how do you prepare financially in case you ever find out your child has cancer?
I hope my children never get sick but as an accountant, I want things organized and prepared! Since my son went through multiple surgeries and therapies for his eyes, I learned my lesson and started planning in case a serious illness hits our family and needs my total attention. These tips can help you prepare for any physical illness, not just for when your child has cancer.
Surviving financially when your child has cancer
- Budget: I cannot repeat it enough: set a budget and stick to it! Read in details how you can set a budget and stick to it! If you do not know your money input and outputs, you cannot plan financially.
- Have an emergency fund: I know it can be hard for many of us as months are tight but this is so important. Each week, I set aside some money in my emergency fund account! It can be $10 a week, $20 a week! If I get a child tax benefit from the government, I transfer it to my emergency fund account. This is the most important thing: I do not have a debit or credit card associated to that account. It means I cannot go grocery shopping and spend that money. Many experts say that you should have 3 to 6 months living expenses! It is a big target but do whatever you can! Don’t stress much over it. If you stress you will not do it.
- Have an insurance for your child! Many insurance companies offer health insurance for children in case they get sick! They are usually affordable and cover most of medical bills, hospital etc. In case God Forbids, something happens, you will not worry about those expenses. In the United States, children can be covered under different types of state insurance for families who cannot afford private insurance or insurance through their jobs.
- Can you live with only 50% of your income? Do the math. It is an interesting exercise to perform! Can you afford a 50% income decrease? Having a sick child means lots of doctor appointments and surgeries so less hours to work! See what you could cut in case a tragedy happens! Do you have a cable? That’s something you can cut if your child has cancer and you need extra income. I am not saying to cut down now but IN CASE! Like we do a fire drill at work, we are performing a financial drill. You will be surprised how much money you could save.
- Help from family! It is priceless. I am not saying go knock the door on each relative and ask for money! But they can be a great support! You can also ask them to give money during birthdays or holiday instead of toys. My son is 11. My mom gives him money for his birthday. We set aside 50% of that in his saving account! It will add up quickly.
- Financial assistance: When your child has cancer or another serious illness, seek financial assistance from hospitals, community foundations and other organizations. Don’t be shy! Take whatever help you can get. The best place to start is at the hospital. They often have grants or other programs to help ensure your child can get the help she needs without putting the whole family through bankruptcy.
When you child has cancer, your whole family is already under enough stress. Financial worries shouldn’t take away from the time you spend together. I wish no parent ever had to hear those words: “your child has cancer,” but planning for the worst case scenario helps you be more prepared for anything. Don’t forget to check our post about Financial assistance for cancer patients.