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Navigating finances with a cancer diagnosis

 

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When life blindsides you, even the most routine everyday decisions can be overwhelming.

Major plans surrounding significant issues such as finance can often represent the tipping point.

Such was the case for Brisbane’s Debbie Rowe, whose husband Blair was diagnosed with cancer in 2016.

With Blair off work during chemotherapy plus a kidney removal, Debbie was suddenly thrust into the lead household decision-maker role, a responsibility she admits felt immense.

While Blair initially took sick leave, in early 2017 a cyst discovered on his brain sadly rendering him unable to resume his professional capacity.

Dedicated to her family, Debbie was managing a young child, two adult children, organising the household finances and caring for Blair when she admits it all became too much.

“I’m not good at asking for help, and I thought I could do it all myself, but I was actually drowning.”

Faced with a challenging financial future ahead, Debbie turned to Invest Blue in 2017, seeking not only support but peace of mind that the family could maintain a steady income stream.

Blair was in the fortunate position that, having worked for his government employer as a train driver for over 38 years, he had amassed a healthy long service leave entitlement.

The family lived off this entitlement for two years, as well as the rent from two investment properties.

However, the Rowe’s financial health improved dramatically, initially under Invest Blue’s Kylie Pryce, and later under their current financial adviser Tim Jones.

 

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Organising and submitting the paperwork for Blair’s Total and Permanent Disability insurance was Invest Blue’s first godsend, allowing for the purchase of a new family home.

“I’m quite a modest person,” Debbie admits, “But this home is just lovely, we own it outright thanks to Invest Blue, and I wouldn’t have known where to start if I hadn’t had Tim’s guidance and advice.”

As Blair wasn’t preservation age to access his superannuation, Debbie said there was a lot of behind the scene’s work Tim conducted to ensure the house was purchased without losing too much tax.

Tim has restructured Blair’s super to facilitate a steady income stream for the family, and Debbie is currently in the process of selling their two investment homes, which are underperforming.

“Tim is putting all the structures in place to ensure that our investments are efficient and effective, he’s put a full plan in place for our family to give us security, and peace of mind.”

 

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Admitting that organising household finances was not something she had much experience in, Tim’s support and advice have been invaluable.

“We knew Blair would not be in a position to resume his daily household responsibilities such as the finances, and I was quite overwhelmed and in a bit of a state when I first went in to meet with Tim.”

But within the first ten minutes of their meeting, Debbie smiles that she was genuinely relaxed and at ease.

Thanks to Tim’s calm demeanour and professional approach, Debbie was able to break down processes and work out each issue as it arose, rather than feeling helpless under the weight of her financial pressures as a whole.

“And it’s not just financial, it’s so reassuring knowing I have someone on the other end of the line, whenever I need, who can answer my questions or put my mind at ease.”

“Knowing I don’t have to go through this alone is a very big thing for me.”

Debbie concedes that she is her own worst enemy when it comes to asking for help, but in this instance, she is forever grateful she didn’t hesitate engaging Invest Blue.

“Blair was in the hospital for nine weeks after his initial surgery, and between worrying about his situation, ensuring the children’s lives weren’t too interrupted, and running our household I really felt like I was thrown in the deep end.”

Not having to worry about finances has taken a huge load off her shoulders.

Knowing the family has enough to live off for the foreseeable future offers great relief during one of life’s most challenging situations, and affords Debbie an opportunity to dedicate extra, precious time to focus on Blair and the children.

 

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What you need to know

This information is provided by Invest Blue Pty Ltd (ABN 91 100 874 744). The information contained in this article is of general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regards to those matters and seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relations to products and services provided to you.

These clients have agreed to share their story. Everyone’s situation is different, so their choices and outcomes will be different to yours. Consider your circumstances before deciding what’s right for you.