Life is full of “what-ifs” — difficult-to-foresee developments that, if they come to pass, can turn a person’s life upside down, particularly if he or she hasn’t taken steps to plan for them in advance. One of those big what-if’s became a “what now?” for FPA member Kelly Hokanson in 2016, when the then-45-year-old was diagnosed with Stage 2 colorectal cancer.
Fortunately for Hokanson, not only was the prognosis for treatment and recovery favorable, so, too, was the prognosis for her and her family to weather what could have been a devastating financial blow. In Hokanson’s case, and in many others like it, the key to avoiding potentially dire financial consequences when one of life’s big what-ifs becomes reality was planning in advance. As little control as people may have over those what-ifs, there are steps they can and should take, just in case, to minimize the damage and get on with life.
Hokanson had the foresight to purchase long-term disability insurance prior to her cancer diagnosis, so a sizable portion of her income was covered during the year she took away from work to get treatment. Likewise, the firm that employs her had also protected itself from such an occurrence with a business overhead insurance policy that reimbursed the company for a portion of the revenues it would lose during Hokanson’s leave of absence.
Nowadays, fully recovered and back in her job as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional at the Planned Approach, a financial planning firm in Kansas City, Mo., Hokanson says she frequently shares her personal story with clients to underscore just how important it is to plan ahead for life’s big what-ifs.