The 2019 ISA season is now in full swing, and it's as good a time as any to focus on financial planning - and, within that, looking ahead to your retirement years to ensure financial security.
Case Study: Introducing borrower Christina
Chris lives in Lincolnshire, and after a great career as a Local Authority Manager, is in receipt of an occupational pension. Yet in 2014, she was dealt a dreadful blow, as she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. However, after making a full recovery, her life is steadily getting back on track in all respects, and she reveals how a loan from Lending Works has played an integral role in her progress.
The day my life changed
On 28 January 2014, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer at Lincoln Hospital, and that same day they gave me a date for surgery at Nottingham City Hospital on 20 February. I had previously had a polyp removed and was told that everything otherwise had looked normal, so this was a complete shock for me.
The diagnosis was Stage 1B (early), but a Grade 3 type sarcoma (ie aggressive). I had a full hysterectomy and this was followed by a course of radiotherapy. The treatment was eventually completed on 22 May 2014. I was told that the chances of the cancer returning within 5 years was between 25 – 40%, but the radiotherapy would reduce the statistical chance of a return to 12.5% - 20%. In some respects it was encouraging, but they also told me that if the cancer ever returns it cannot be cured.
As you can imagine, it isn’t always easy living with that hanging over my head, but I made a vow to myself that I would not let it get to me, and to take positive steps forward with my life.
The impact on my finances
Fortunately I am in receipt of an occupational pension, with no mortgage or debt, so I did not have to worry about the financial situation surrounding my illness. However, I live on my own with three dogs and no family, so I had to rely on friends and neighbours to help me.
Nevertheless, the immediate effect of going through such an ordeal is that you want to be reckless with your money because you fear death! You don’t worry about the state of your house, you just want to enjoy life to the full. But I also quickly realised that I needed to marry that kind of zest with a considered approach to my financial future.
Why I took out the loan
Some friends had recently had solar panels installed and were very pleased with them. I wanted to maintain the value and saleability of my house so that if (and when) I decide to downsize, the panels may help the property to sell quickly. At the same time, the long-term benefit is to reduce fuel costs, and, being on a fixed income, this would be a help in old age.
So I decided to actively start seeking a loan to finance the panels, and after a brief search on some price comparison sites, I came across Lending Works. I was very impressed with the speed and efficiency with which they went about my application. It has been many years since I borrowed money but the process was very easy. I had a bit of uncertainty about something I needed to do online, but I made a call to Lending Works and received immediate guidance. I could not believe that within two working days, I had the money in my bank account.
Paying back the loan and my views on borrowing
I am content with the level of debt I have taken on, and have no worries about repayment. Debt sits uncomfortably with me in principle, but it is a better option to take out a short-term loan to finance home improvements than take out an equity release or reduce my capital. Once the solar panels are paid for, I am thinking of borrowing for a new kitchen and bathroom.
I think we are all quick to make judgements about how people spend money and yet are idiosyncratic in our own spending habits. Only 12 months ago, I might have borrowed a lump sum to take a holiday of a lifetime if my prognosis had been terminal, which on the surface may have appeared exciting to an outsider. But if that had been the case, to me it would have represented something sad - a coming to terms with the end of my life. In this instance, a home improvement might seem like ‘no big deal’, but it is a big deal to me because it represents another symbol of hope for the future.
The bottom line is that even the most mundane and dull purchase can represent something very special to the person spending the money.
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