“It’s terminal.”

There is nothing that can prepare you for those words.

There is nothing that can make those words any less devastating.

For my clients, these words were spoken about their 7-year-old daughter, Lily.

It is absolutely heart-wrenching. She is the kind of girl who absolutely lights up a room when she enters it. But because of an uncommon genetic condition her parents didn’t know they were both carriers for, she faces an enormous burden.

Until she was 3 years old, there was absolutely no indication that there was anything wrong. But then, gradually, she started missing milestones. It didn’t make any sense. She was perfectly healthy, by all appearances. But the specialist appointments showed otherwise.

It took years, but eventually they got a diagnosis.

And it knocked the wind out of them all.

Six months after the diagnosis, one of the doctors on their medical team told them about a medical trial down in the States. Lily was a prime candidate. But it would mean almost a year of living in the States. Paying out of pocket for absolutely everything. Somehow managing on one income. Splitting up their family – flights home, flights to the States, renting a place…

They had always been careful with their money. They had a “nest egg”. But he owned his own business and couldn’t possibly transfer it down to the States. Her job was more flexible, but it would still mean a big cut.

They wanted to know: was it possible?

It seemed like an impossibly unfair question. Because it should be possible. Because Lily deserved it. Because they deserved it.

But, was it? Because they had two other children they needed to provide for. To continue life as normally as possible for.

They had been my clients for several years at this point. They were in really great shape, financially. But would it be enough? They were obviously emotional and distraught. They needed a clear projection, a clear path forward. They wanted to know exactly what it would look like to try this.

As a financial planner, I am not just a bean counter. I am part of my client’s lives. I know them. I understand them and their goals. We discuss tough things: legacy, priorities, big life changes. They are honest with me about their motivations and values. And these two were no different.

We went through their financial plan – all the goals they had for family vacations, buying a cottage, RESPS… all of those things would change. We would need to tap into things we hadn’t planned to tap into until much later. All of those goals would need to shift. It was a painful process, in many ways. But there was hope there, too.

Between the insurance policies they had invested in, the various savings vehicles we had set up, the strategic moving of money we’d been doing to capitalize on various rates… there was enough.

It was possible.

It would be the hardest thing they’d ever done, but it was possible, at least financially.

Lily finished the trial. She’s doing better than she was before the trial. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, and there are a lot of variables, but the projections are cautiously optimistic.

I don’t take it lightly that I was part of that intensely personal decision, that monumental part of their lives. That is the type of financial planner I strive to be. It’s why I love my job – I can give people the hope they might not have had otherwise. Whether that is hope that they can have the retirement they dreamed of, or hope that their young daughter can have a chance to access cutting-edge medical care.

Your financial planner will be (and should be) part of the biggest decisions of your life. You deserve to have the right person in your corner, someone who takes the time to actually know and understand you and what you are trying to accomplish and why. So that if you come to them in a life-changing moment, they can be part of the village that guides you through it.

If that sounds like the kind of person you want in your corner, book a call with me.