October 12, 2016

To Claim Power To Improve Your Finances, You Have To Ask

By Guest Blogger Crawford Clay, patient navigator, Colon Cancer Alliance

Hi there! I’m Crawford. I’d like to take a minute to talk to you about a tricky subject: finances.

I’m a 12-year stage III rectal cancer survivor. I’ve also worked with the Colon Cancer Alliance’s free helpline for the past five years. Nearly half the calls we get are about money, so I’ve had a lot of experience talking about finances.

It’s a topic people can get pretty uncomfortable talking about.

I know because you tell me. You also show me. It’s hard to keep people talking long enough to truly help them. Callers hustle me off the phone so fast you’d think I was asking them for money.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Finances are a tough subject, but it all starts with asking for help. Yep, it is that easy. The first thing I want you to understand is people want to help. As proof, we have over 10 pages of organizations that offer help in the Colon Cancer Alliance’s Support and Financial Resource Guide.

The second key is to be proactive, not reactive.

Once you’ve gotten the eviction notice, your options become incredibly narrow. Most organizations limit their help to before you get in the hole financially.

I can’t say it enough: The time to start looking for help is now.

Ideally, you should discuss finances at time of diagnosis. You should talk to:

  • The hospital
  • Your doctors’ offices
  • Your landlord/mortgage company
  • The utility company
  • Anyone you owe regular payments to

You also need to be creative in your thinking. Maybe you can’t find help for your treatment copays, but what if someone could help with your power bills? The money you save there may be enough to cover your copay for the month. You never know until you ask.

That’s the bottom line right there. You have to ask.

Not everyone will say yes. Expect about three out of 10 requests to get a yes. That can feel like a lot of no’s to go through. But in baseball, an average like that is a Hall of Fame career. You miss 100 percent of the balls you don’t swing at.

And just like baseball, you need to practice. Take a few minutes to practice what you want to say before you call. You have to prepare for success.

Let me close with this thought from Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I just have found 10,000 ways that won’t work."

Editor’s note: Join Crawford and other patient resource advocates during the Allsup True Help® Web Event, True Help Claiming Power to Improve Your Finances, on Thursday, Oct. 20, at noon CST. Click here to register.

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