Success Story: Better Finances When Health Issues Hit

young woman with dark brown hair pulled into a ponytail, wearing a light blue dress, sitting at her office desk that faces a window, and talking on a dark gray cellphone; and she has a pen in her hand, and a laptop on her desk, as well as a plant, white speakers, papers, a lamp, and paint brushes; and there are cords from the electrical appliances, and drawings on the wall next to the window

What do you do when life gets in the way? When unexpected medical issues pull every penny from your wallet and every ounce of productivity from your time at work? Frani found that as she focused on her financial wellness, she also improved her overall well-being. How? By engaging in her employer benefit, My Secure Advantage (MSA).

When Frani first looked into MSA, she took a survey that measured her financial well-being. She scored 1.5 out of 10, indicating incredibly high financial stress. It’s no surprise given her challenges at the time:

“I could not find the money to contribute to my 401K because of life events. Then in February I was diagnosed with MS and was off [work] without pay for most of the year. I recently bought a townhouse, and I was worried about missing payments and/or having to sell because of an inability to pay my mortgage or physically live here. Additionally, I have other financial responsibilities, and I was afraid of jeopardizing my credit because of my unpaid medical leave.”

Frani started working with MSA Money Coach Deborah to get things back on track.

Medical Costs

With MS medication costing thousands of dollars each year, every other expense seemed pretty hard to swallow, but Coach Deborah’s compassionate guidance gave Frani hope: “I just saw a life that I single-handedly built over the years crumble with…MS, a drained savings, and no income. [Now] I can easily say…in a corny way…Deborah has been my footprints in the sand. She’s carrying me at my weakest.”

Together, they looked at every factor, like her Health Savings Account (HSA) that could cover her deductible, her flex spending for dental and vision plans, PTO (Paid Time Off) and unpaid medical leave, the cost of premiums, and more. Some of the best news Frani got was when she contact her prescription manufacturer and qualified for assistance, zero co-pay for the year. They would pay up to $18,000 a year; with her medication at $4,000 in lieu of $12,000, it would all be covered!

Frani said, “Deborah helped me stretch the money that I had so that we could find ways to make ends meet until I got back to work. Currently, I am working, and things are looking up.”

Mortgage Payments

It was bad enough that Frani’s MS made it difficult getting up and down the stairs, but all of her financial challenges also made her worry about keeping the roof over her head. Frani and Coach Deborah worked on a budget and found ways to save money (like better rates for her cable and insurance); they even organized Frani’s spending priorities, enabling her to pay off several credit cards. All these little steps of success amounted to Frani having the confidence that she could make her mortgage payments each month and actually enjoy her home.

As Frani put it, “Yes, I know it may begin to sound materialistic, but my other therapists have helped to keep me living in my house… Deborah helped me KEEP my HOME…”.

Retirement Savings

On top of the current challenges, Frani was also worried about her future: “Because of MS, I am doubtful of retirement, but I would like to be able to set aside something for a rainy day. I am confident that Deborah will help me do that.”

Coach Deborah wanted to make sure that Frani not only received proper guidance for her current priorities but also for her future financial security, so she clarified the employer match Frani gets for 401K contributions, and set up a consultation with a fellow Money Coach, Michael, who is a Retirement Specialist. After Frani reviewed her situation with Coach Michael, she started contributing to her 401K!

Financial and Overall Well-being

With the support and financial expertise provided by Coach Deborah, Frani saw improvements in more than just her finance.

“Deborah reached out to me not only from a professional standpoint but [as a] part of my care team – my support system. I have spent this year in some type of therapy: physical therapy, occupational therapy, cognitive rehab therapy…but my financial coach has been the most motivating.”

Frani retook the financial well-being survey and scored 5.9 out of 10 – that’s nearly a 300% increase in financial wellness! She also indicated that she spends no time at work distracted by financial issues, whereas before it was 10 hours a week of lost productivity.

Coach Deborah could see the positive changes, too. Deborah commented, “I can hear more strength and hope in her voice. So beautiful to hear… She said, ‘I feel more confident than I did last year.’ Her voice indicates this is true across the board.”

If you’re facing financial challenges and you’re stressed about your future, talk to a compassionate and non-judgmental Money Coach. Call 888-724-2326 to get started.