Where to Start Financially After a Life-Changing Diagnosis

Dealing with an illness, yours or your child’s or that of another loved one, is hard enough without adding financial duress. Here are some considerations and suggestions for covering expenses.

A worried-looking father holds his young son close.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Picture this: You’re doing well in both your professional and family life. You’ve planned for retirement and have ample savings on hand. Your child has just graduated from college. Then, after experiencing unexplainable back pain, your child goes to the hospital — just as a precaution. Days later, over the phone, the doctor delivers a diagnosis that no parent ever wants to hear: cancer.

It’s a scenario more common than you think: More than 15,000 children between the ages of birth and 19 are diagnosed with cancer each year in the U.S., according to the American Childhood Cancer Organization. And it’s exactly what happened to one father and son I know, whom we’ll refer to as Henry and Brian for their privacy.

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Stephen B. Dunbar III, JD, CLU
Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Executive VP, Equitable Advisors

Stephen Dunbar, Executive VP of Equitable, has built a thriving financial services practice where he empowers others to make informed decisions and take charge of their future. He and his team advise on over $3B in AUM and $1.5B in protection coverage. As a National Director of DEI for Equitable, Stephen acts as a change agent for the organization, creating a culture of diversity and inclusion. He earned a bachelor's in Finance from Rutgers and a J.D. from Stanford.