Hey, Life Happens, right?

Sometimes you can find yourself caught in the middle of something you didn’t expect. Sometimes life can throw you a complete curveball.

I got sick with a bad cold back in March. No big deal. Everyone gets sick, especially during our winters. What was different about this one is that it wouldn’t go away. After about four weeks, I managed to get some antibiotics from my doctor (for what was then Pneumonia) and started to come around. I had a work conference in the Bahamas, and decided I was well enough to attend.

The first day in the Bahamas I got unbearable pain in both my calf muscles. Thinking it was just a basketball injury (I have had maybe 50 basketball injuries in my life) I just passed it off as pain from sports. I thought no big deal, it will pass.

Day 2 is when I knew I was in trouble. I got up that morning and I couldn’t dress myself. I couldn’t make my hands grasp the buttons on my clothing. Later that day, I went to get on a bus for the conference, and I could not negotiate a 5 inch step into the bus. Lucky for me, two kindly old gentleman took pity on me, grabbed me, and lifted me onto the bus. I knew by now it was something with my brain, I just didn’t know what. I could not make my brain communicate with the rest of my body.

By Day 3, I could not walk. I could not dress myself. And I could not feed myself. Luckily for me, my wife was with me. She took care of me, including dressing and feeding me. She got me a wheelchair at the conference, and got me through all the gates and planes, and back to St. Johns. I rode a wheelchair all the ways back to the city, and into the Health Science Center. The emergency doctor took about 5 minutes with me to determine I needed to be admitted. Two hours later, I was meeting two neurologists from the HSC. By the following day, I had been diagnosed with Guillian Barre Syndrome.

I was so weak at the hospital that I could not pick up a cup of coffee. I could not open any package of any type. I was so weak, I couldn’t squeeze toothpaste out of a tube. I ended up on heavy doses of morphine for several days to combat the pain.

I was concerned about what was wrong with me. I was concerned about getting over the illness. I was concerned about how long I would I be sick, and what recovery would look like. I was also confident that I was in great hands with the professionals at Eastern Health.

I also had two money concerns during the ordeal:

  1. What would happen to my family’s finances while I was off work?
  2. What would happen to our business while I was off? (we had just opened a new business two years ago).

Luckily for us, we had a financial plan that allowed for such events. I purchased my first disability plan at age 22. That plan would cover my family’s income needs while I was off work. I also purchased overhead insurance for the business. The businesses monthly expenses were covered by this plan. My family was taken care of. And our business was taken care of.

For my family, I could focus on getting better. We didn’t have to worry about money. We just had to worry about me getting better. Our disability plan took care of our income needs.

For the business, it wasn’t just me relying on the business continuing. We have business partners and employees and their families who all were relying on the business staying running in order for them to keep their jobs. By having overhead coverage, the rest of the team didn’t have to worry about what was going to happen to their positions.

I am slowly getting back to normal with my health. I still have a great deal of pain at times. I still get weakness in my hands and feet. I am still doing physiotherapy, due to damage in my muscles. and I still taken a couple different medications, and will likely need both for some time.

What I didn’t have to worry about is income while I was sick. My two disability plans protected my family and the business. A responsible family person needs sufficient disability insurance to protect their family. Responsible business owners need to protect their business in case they become sick. Having a solid financial plan in place can help you prepare for life’s unexpected events.

After all, life happens, right?

Gerard Nash
Gerard graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1996 with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree. In 2001, he earned the designation of Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) from the Financial Planning Standards Council of Canada. He holds many achievement awards from Freedom 55 including Wealth Advisor of the Year and Corporation of the Year. Gerard is passionate and thorough in building and protecting the wealth of existing and new clients. His practice is in it’s twenty-third year with London Life and Freedom 55 Financial (now Canada Life). In 2019, he incorporated his business under the name 'Principal Planning' and invited additional financial planners and advisors with the same commitment and competencies to join him in providing quality financial advice. Gerard is licensed in the provinces of Newfoundland and Ontario. He welcomes new financial inquiries, and promises excellent, honest advice. Gerard hails from the Cape Shore area in Newfoundland. He lives in St. John’s with his wife, Sharon, and their four children, Joshua, A.J., Connor, and Elizabeth. He is a huge basketball fan and can usually be found coaching and watching his kids basketball games on the weekends!

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