Financial Tips for People With MS

Financial planning … shall we let out a collective “UGH!?”

Personal finance can be a stress trigger, a topic most enjoyed when avoided, unless you are, of course, rich! As Swedish pop group ABBA so gracefully sang in their underrated but always fiscally relevant hit, Money Money Money, must be funny, in a rich man’s world. Unfortunately, most of us DO live in a rich man’s world, except, of course, not all of us play the part of the rich man (or woman for that matter!).

When living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) , the added complexities of your future finances can seem overwhelming. So take a deep breath and try to relax. Let’s just start the discussion. After all, you have to begin somewhere! Below is a summary of financial expert Marty Shenkman’s estate and financial planning tips for those with chronic illnesses1.

  1. Organize your emergency information and information about your advisors.
  2. Sign a will.
  3. Create a personalized (not boilerplate) revocable living trust to manage your assets during your disability or illness.
  4. Ensure that your insurance coverage is in order.
  5. Communicate your estate and financial plan to your advisors, family, and friends.
  6. Review, revisit, and revise your plan so it can continue to protect you

The most important part of this process is to find people you trust, including family, friends, and/or a financial planner (if you’d prefer to have one help you). There are many resources at your fingertips. Use them, as Julie Stachowiak, Ph.D. suggested, to set a goal of completing a financial plan within a year2.

Ultimately, you have to be smart. As Caitlin Moran stated at the thirteen minute mark, that “investment” handbag won’t help if you’re suffering from fatigue so intense, you have to resign from your high-powered job. At that point, you’ll need some real investments (i.e. property, derivatives, etc.)3

As your MS progresses, this planning will become increasingly more important. Progression comes with it’s own range of issues, but financial planning should not be one. If you set your affairs in advance, then if your MS progresses, financial planning should seem like less of a worry.

Ignorance may feel like bliss now, but you’ll probably regret it later. Take action, especially when you have the energy to make important decisions. Use all the help available. It is there for YOU!

References:

  1. Website “Forbes” - Estate And Financial Planning For People Living With Multiple Sclerosis. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/hanisarji/2011/10/16/estate-and-financial-planning-for-people-living-with-multiple-sclerosis/#37eeedc52567
  2. Website “Living With Multiple Sclerosis - Strategies for navigating physical, emotional, social and practical challenges” Available at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/living-with-multiple-sclerosis-2440580
  3. Video, Caitlin Moran - International Authors' Stage - The Black Diamond Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3vubgSfl8c
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