Where does the money come from when you need it?

Does this sound familiar? You are approaching retirement, but are planning to work for a number of years yet and then, out of the blue, your work situation and health condition dramatically change. Not only do you have to come to terms with the significant health issues and changes to your lifestyle, you are also faced with the added stress of losing your employment income.

Our existing clients, Fred (55) and Louise (49) found themselves in this very situation, proving that a protection plan can be extremely valuable, even at the later stages of your working career.

 

About Fred and Louise

Fred and Louise had worked hard in previous years to build their retirement funds. They were planning to significantly add to these funds over the course of the next five years and then enjoy their retirement phase, which included plans to travel the world. They owned their principal residence with a small amount of debt, along with a residential investment property with a significant amount of debt. Fred was interested in investments and enjoyed our discussions in this area. The Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) approach was a good fit for building their retirement funds, plus Fred also had a smaller level of funds within an employer sponsored superannuation fund.

 

When Plans Change

As a result of a restructuring event at his employer, Fred was offered a redundancy package with a medium size payout. Fred also confided that prior to being made redundant, he was on sick leave suffering from a serious illness that was affecting his ability to work.

We decided to undertake a major review of Fred and Louise’s situation, given that their circumstances had changed significantly. As part of this review, we noted that Fred’s employer superannuation fund contained a two-year income protection benefit and a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) benefit. Fred was unaware of this benefit or how he should approach the insurance company to see whether he was entitled to make a claim. We advised Fred that his chances of making a successful claim were reasonable given that he was on sick leave with the illness prior to being made redundant.

 

Navigating the Claims Process

Our team helped Fred navigate the complex claims procedure. The end result was that Fred received a payout under both his income protection and TPD policies. We also helped Fred work through numerous other issues, including the appropriate strategy for the redundancy payment, rolling over the residual funds and payout from the employer superannuation fund, along with the restructuring of their debt. Finally, we developed a plan to meet their ongoing living expenses by accessing the Government’s Disability Support Pension and supplementing this with ad hoc withdrawals from their superannuation fund.

 

Finding Peace of Mind

You have to experience an event like Fred’s to fully appreciate the value of having access to funding from personal risk insurance at times of great need. You have enough problems dealing with the health issues, without the extra burden of financial stress. Fred would also say that the ‘peace of mind’ gained from having unlimited access to our services and team was a tremendous benefit for them during this difficult period. The value of good financial advice and planning can come from both clear financial goals and simply knowing that you are well prepared for the future. Fred is now recovering and he and Louise are looking forward to enjoying their retirement phase of life.