When I was in my twenties, it never crossed my mind that I would face any life altering experiences. For this reason, when I started working at my first full time job, I was hesitating to pay for any “unnecessary”benefits according to me. Despite these thoughts, I decided to review all the benefit options with my mom and get her feedback since she had a whole lot more experience in this area. I recall her telling me to seriously consider paying for the short-term disability because the employer only paid for long-term disability. In addition, she said the cancer insurance was at an extremely reasonable bi-weekly deduction. Of course, I expressed my difference of opinion and said why should I get so many benefits that will cause my paycheck to decrease so much. She patiently explained that in life, we do not know what the future holds and if there are options to acquire certain benefits, we should take advantage of them. At this point, it still didn’t make sense to me but my mom was the expert at financial matters; therefore, I decided to enroll for the benefits.
Well, the whirlwind came gushing into my life and I was diagnosed with cancer in my twenties. I quickly learned how important it was that I had health insurance in order to be able to receive the medical attention needed for this life ending illness. On top of this realization, the type of cancer that was invading my body was debilitating me in a way that I could not work. During this phase, I had to speak with human resources who assisted me by providing me with the necessary paperwork that needed to be completed so I may start receiving short-term disability. My short-term disability would start 7 days after being out of work since this was the option I had selected to be deducted from my paycheck. This meant that I would receive 60% of my normal paycheck. I know, only 60% is a huge difference but let’s think of the alternative which would have been 0 if I would not have listened to the voice of reason, my mom. Once, I found out how much money I would be getting from day 7 to day 90, the term for short-term disability, I asked my mom for help on managing my finances. At that time, I was paying for my new car, credit cards, and now on top of all that I had all these medical expenses plus travel expenses to go out of town for some of my treatments that I had not planned for. Not only was my world turned upside down, fighting for my life to survive, I also faced a financial crisis. Cancer was not only a high probability of being a death sentence, it was also set to be a financial ruin especially when you are unable to work.
Due to my personal experience, I would advice anyone, to take advantage of any benefits that are available in your place of employment. You may end up paying for some benefits and never have used them, but in case a life-changing event would happen, it would be one less thing to worry about, at least from a financial stand-point.