Have medical plan for a rainy day
In this third instalment of a six-part series brought to you by Manulife Singapore, we explore the topic of preparing for retirement at different stages of your life
MS KAMALA SINNAPPAN, 53
THE onset of cancer for a family member can be a difficult period, both emotionally and financially.
This was the case for Ms Kamala Sinnappan, 53, and her family after her mother was diagnosed with pelvic cancer in 2002.
After a two-year battle with the disease - involving chemotherapy, home-care treatment, and repeated visits to the hospital - her mother died at the age of 64.
The family was saddled with a $50,000 medical bill, but it was able to pay for more than half of it using a claim from a critical illness policy her mother had.
Following the episode, Ms Kamala bought insurance policies for her husband and two children, to keep the family protected.
Ms Kamala is a site administrator with a construction firm, and her husband Sasi Nair, 52, is a golf coach. The couple have a son, Nikesh, 18, and a daughter, Soshanna, 17.
HOW DID HAVING INSURANCE HELP YOUR FAMILY?
When my mother took up the critical illness policy in 2000, it was just to be on the safe side, as she was getting older.
We did not think she would fall ill, as she had no diabetes nor a high cholesterol level.
Back then, she had only a thyroid condition, and we paid a monthly premium of about $225. The policy had a sum insured of $25,000.
Two years later, after my mother was diagnosed with cancer, we managed to claim about $27,000, including bonus payouts.
We were very lucky. The funds were used to pay for her medical bills, which came up to $50,000.
Many expenses, such as arranging for a private ambulance to ferry my mother, who became bedridden, required upfront cash, which we could pay from using funds from the insurance claim.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY?
After the incident, I decided to buy insurance for myself, my husband and my children. We have hospitalisation insurance for all four of us, with critical illness riders for myself and my husband.
If anything happens to us one day, my children would at least have the money to pay the medical bills.
HOW ARE YOU PLANNING FOR YOUR RETIREMENT?
I have put some of my Central Provident Fund money in an investment plan which invests in unit trusts.
Additionally, I have another retirement plan, for which I pay a monthly cash premium of $200. I'll get a lump-sum payment from this when I reach 65 years of age.
Through these plans, I'll have some money of my own, so I don't have to depend on my children.
WHAT KIND OF LIFESTYLE WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE?
I started working when I was 16. When I retire I want to take it easy.
I hope to do some social work with the elderly, and to teach classical dance, if I am still able enough.