Today’s guest post is from Camille, blog writer and creative storyteller who was forced to deal with an unexpected troubling time at the age of 26. With her whole life turned upside down she had a lot on her plate, not to mention some big financial decisions to make.

Camille started a personal blog Autoimmune to connect with and offer support to those who themselves may be in a similar situation.

Take it away Camille…

How can you prepare for unexpected events that may have a huge impact your life? And when I say unexpected, this may be an understatement, I mean really unexpected.

Picture this. You’re in your late 20s and like most young women your age planning a family, saving for the future and travel are your main goals. You go off on a trip to Bali to visit friends and family; it’s ok, you can afford this little trip you have saved for. Then suddenly you wake up in the middle night and feel paralysed – literally. You can’t move your legs or talk. A local doctor tells you, that you have had a stroke. If ever there is a moment in time that caught you off guard – this is it!

This isn’t just any story, it is my story – my worst nightmare come to life.

How to be prepared

There isn’t a lot you can do to prepare for every single thing life can throw at you, and you shouldn’t. I don’t want you all living under a rock. There are however some courses of action you can take to help reduce the immediate and ongoing financial burden these events will have on your life.

Travel Insurance

If only one message gets out to people it is that travel insurance is an absolute must have! Healthcare can be costly in other countries, though even in those known to be a little cheaper when you add everything up, doctors, hospital stay, accommodation, food, rearranging flights etc. it can end up costing a lot more than you had originally planned for the trip. You will need to keep detailed documentation and receipts, and may even need to pay yourself upfront and be reimbursed later by the travel insurance company; however it is still absolutely worth it no matter what.

Rainy day savings

My original holiday was paid for, and while travel insurance would eventually reimburse my claims for all the extras accumulated, having a rainy day savings fund was an essential part of keeping my head above water. Most overseas medical teams won’t take action without payment up front so I needed to put many expenses on my credit cards to get immediate assistance. Being able to pay this back with my rainy day funds meant I wasn’t going to incur any interest charges or late payment fees while waiting for my claim to be processed.

Pay off debt as soon as possible

Something like this can really throw you into a tailspin if you already have piles of debt at home. I was coming to terms with so many other life changes that dealing with debt on top of that would have been an extra stress I didn’t need. By having no debt and a rainy day savings account built up as above, I was able to focus on recovery above all else.

Income protection insurance

Once back home I was able to return to work. While my boss was very understanding, there was still a business to run. The reality was that I was much slower, more easily fatigued and just not in the same headspace as I was before. It is situations like this that prove income protection isn’t just for older people or those with kids, it is important for younger people too. For a small fee each week, you are buying peace of mind if the worst were to happen. Income protection will be there if for circumstances outside your control you are out of work, or on reduced capacity, allowing you to still put food on the table and keep shelter over your head.

Final Thoughts

You never know when you may be faced with an unexpected life changing event. The best thing you can do is be prepared financially by following the steps above and maybe even adding your own. I hope it never does but if the worst were to happen to you, you will be well prepared to deal with the money side of things so you and your loved ones can focus on looking into the future and what this change means for the rest of your lives.

I am now back at work and focusing on continuously recovering. One of the main things I learned from this experience was how vital insurance is – to cover you for the money side of things. Though more important is the relationships you have with family and friends. They are the ones who will play a significant in getting your life back on track – they truly are all that matters!

Have you ever gone through an unexpected financially troubling time? What tips do you think helped you stay afloat?