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Aegis Financial Consulting

My Illness

Some of you will already know that I had some health woes a few years ago, the effects of which will likely stay with me for the rest of my life.  I was lucky enough to have employment when I became ill, but I hadn’t been in post long enough to arrange income protection, and now it’s too late.  So here’s my story – hopefully it helps others to realise what can actually happen.

Background

I broke my back whilst working for The Private Office, but when I parted ways with them in 2020 I thought I was mostly recovered and that I would be getting back to my various hobbies in no time.  I was wrong.  I started working for Carter Backer Winter in April 2020, and by mid-June I was in my probation period. 

Out of the blue I suddenly found myself getting blinding headaches worse than any I had ever experienced.  These became so impactful that I was forced to lie down to alleviate the pain.  It turned out that the pain was caused by a Cerebral Spinal Fluid leak which caused my brain to have less fluid cushioning it, and this was a direct result of a botched bit of surgery to fix my broken back.

Long story short, the surgeons fixed the leak, but unfortunately I had already been infected by the aspergillus fungus, which took up residence in my cerebellum.  The ramifications of this are that I have balance and coordination issues that will likely stay with me for life, and I tire very easily.  Not crippling illnesses by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly enough to affect me forever.

In particular, I had to give up my role at Carter Backer Winter and take a step down to a paraplanning role with Charles Stanley.  I have since been building back up to full activity as an adviser, but through a self-employed role where I have complete control over my own timetable.

The Impact of Illness

In my case I was quite lucky.  When I became ill, I had a job, albeit I was still in probation and had to switch from full pay to Statutory Sick Pay.  As such, I still had some support during the worst experience of my life.  Even then, I bitterly regret not having time to sort out proper income protection for myself when I started before I was hospitalised.

To give an idea of what this means, a salary of £75,000 results in take-home pay of around £4,500 a month.  Statutory Sick Pay is presently £116.75 per week, so take home pay of around 10% of the pre-illness salary.

That means 90% of the income would be lost.  For a long-term illness, that would be devastating to the majority of people – potentially leading to problems with things like paying rent or mortgage.

The Solution

If I had a “do over”, I would make sure that on day one of my new employment with Carter Backer Winter I had an income protection policy in place.  This is designed to pay out in the event that illness stops someone from carrying out their chosen employment.

For me, I could take out a policy which would pay out a tax-free sum of £3,625 each month – not the full amount mentioned above, but very close (and, importantly, tax free).  This would have cost me around £60 a month for a deferred period of 6 months (the time before the payments start when illness occurs).

If I had done this, I would likely have paid a total of £120 before my illness kicked in, and I would have had far less to worry about with getting my career back on track.

It’s too late for me to go back and sort out my insurance, but if you are still healthy yourself, it absolutely isn’t too late for you.  Get in touch and talk about reviewing your income protection needs!

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