For those facing cancer, which research tells us is currently 1 in 2 people in the UK, money is unlikely to be their top concern. 

But the latest research from Canada Life suggest that nearly three in four (72%) respondents would struggle financially if they were affected by cancer.

The research found that for 80% of families impacted by cancer there was an average drop in income of £570.

So for anyone facing these circumstances, what is the relationship with financial wellbeing?  Well there are a few things under the umbrella of financial wellbeing that can help in these circumstances:

  •  Do you have private medical insurance that can help with your treatment? Check whether this also contains any aspect of cover for income loss during absence.
  •  Sick pay during sick leave. Check your employer's position on this. Many employers will be sympathetic and will have very clear protocols for anyone dealing with longer term illness and absence.
  •  Ask whether your employer's employee assistance programme has any provision for counselling or further support in these circumstances.
  •  Have you taken out an insurance policy to protect again a loss of income - income protection? Review it or talk to the provider to see if it can be used to cover loss of income when undergoing cancer treatment.
  •  Financial wellbeing programmes help people to understand their finances understanding and have a financial plan which can help in these circumstances so people can focus on getting physically well.

Financial wellbeing is not about making everyone a millionaire - it is about helping everyone to make the most of their financial opportunities and to have a plan. A part of any financial plan is about having some type of 'rainy day savings' that can help when something that couldn't be planned for happens.

This contingency savings pot is there to use for anything from the boiler breaking to a period of reduced income to deal with illnesses like cancer. How much should be built up in this rainy day fund or where it should be invested is something you could talk to an adviser about.  

Another part of people feeling financially well is to understand what protection individuals need and want for their family and their circumstances. For example, if people have dependent relatives and financial commitments (like a mortgage) they may want to consider income protection for a period to cover their mortgage term or until their dependents reach adulthood.

In very difficult circumstances it is also worth reviewing major costs and talking to the providers to see if they may agree say a reduced payment plan for a short term. Some mortgage providers may be willing to agree to this in very particular circumstances and so it is worth checking with them when faced with cancer.

In an ideal world, it would be better if individuals know all of these things and have their plans in place before awful news like cancer arrives. This then allows them to focus on getting well rather than also worrying about paying the bills.

For employees working at companies that have a full financial wellbeing programme in place they have access to this valuable benefit. They can make the best use of what their employer provides and use this to drive their own financial plan, with the comfort of having that back up savings pot if unwelcome and unplanned things come along in the future.