How will you cope financially if you get sick?

Posted on: May 18th, 2010

As a freelancer, you don’t have the luxury of being paid when you take time off sick. Having the odd cold or bout of sickness isn’t going to make a big dent in your finances but being off work for several weeks certainly will.

Hopefully you won’t be unlucky enough to have a bad accident or serious illness but these things can happen. I know freelancers who have broken an arm, undergone major surgery, or have had to take extended time off to care for an elderly relative. And no work means no income.

Since you don’t get sick pay from an employer or Sickness Benefit from the State as a freelancer, you will need to build up what I call a ‘buffer zone’. Put aside a regular amount each month that you can draw upon if you’re ill and unable to earn money.

The buffer zone is also there to draw upon if you experience a lean time and you can’t make ends meet. And it’s there if you suddenly find yourself the sole earner in your household because your partner has lost his or her job.

3 Responses to “How will you cope financially if you get sick?”

  1. Hi Carole, it’s a good advice here.
    On a more business level you should always observe what is going on with the company, your sales pipeline and current projects (from financial point of view). You can easily be able to tell how long your business would last if anything happened and thanks to that be able to prepare it for any unforeseen circumstances.

    I wrote about it on Self Employed Cafe here:

    Just thought your readers might be interested.

  2. Carole
    July 26th, 2010

    Thanks for the article link, Pawel. Useful info.

  3. Sharon
    August 10th, 2010

    Last October, by complete surprise, I found myself facing surgery and proper downtime and a few things got me through this which I’d like to tell other people. 1) If possible, and you haven’t got this yet, get some proper medical insurance – especially if you’re 40 years upwards – thankfully I had this, smartest thing I have ever done. 2) The world will survive, your clients will support you, so inform them of your expected downtime with lots of notice and then stick to this. 3) Do not go back to work as soon as you can (I did) – stupid! 4) Milk as much sympathy as you can, lovely to get nice emails, boxes of choccies and flowers! 5) Keep your head, be calm, remember this will just add to life’s stories.

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