Financial Wellbeing

What you need to know first

Your financial wellbeing is vital, during your melanoma journey and beyond. Finances work in collaboration with your medical and emotional support networks.

It’s important to consider financial implications up front, rather than waiting until a situation becomes extreme. The goal is the be able to meet short and long-term cash flow needs.

Budget basics

Your plans may need to be recalibrated, and the first thing to do is to create a monthly budget – which is boring but necessary. The best time to sort your finances is right now. There are lots of free budget calculators available online.

  • Establish a timeframe – start with a monthly budget for say, a 6-month period
  • Estimate your income
  • Make a note of all your expenses – Mortgage/rent, food, car, etc.
  • Calculate the difference
  • Take stock of your assets and liabilities – owe vs. own

Understanding how much income you will have, and your expected expenses is the basic framework to worth with. Check whether your income matches your bills. If not, it’s time to seek financial assistance.

Where to seek assistance

Your first port of call needs to be your financial planner/advisor and accountant. They can assist with your financial strategy now and into the future, using options suited to your individual situation.

As industry professionals, they know all the potential assistance available and the eligibility criteria for each and can provide strategic advice before you apply for any assistance. Your ability to receive payments varies depending on your own circumstances and those of your partner, if you have one.

The next steps:

MyGov.org – If you haven’t already set up a MyGov account, do it now. This will provide access to Centrelink, the ATO and Medicare.

Centrelink can arrange a meeting with a financial information officer, which is free and independent

Centrelink may be able to provide:

  • Income support – Jobseeker, Sickness allowance, Disability Support Pension, Carer’s payments and allowances
  • Concessions and rebates – Health Care Cards, Care Benefit, PBS Safety Net, Medicare Safety Net, utilities concessions/rebates and mobility allowance

You may also be entitled to other assistance from:

  • The Patient Assisted Transport Scheme (PATS) may be available for people in regional and rural areas who need to travel to a nearby town or distant city for treatment. This is provided by each State government.
  • Local community health services, volunteer resource centres and support groups such as MPA.

Speak to your GP to find out which medications are subsidised through the PBS and to seek any further advice or tips they may be able to provide about claiming costs.

Managing debts

The first step in managing debt is to assess what you currently owe, then calculate your monthly repayments.

Prioritise debts – When income is limited, your rent or mortgage and electricity are more important than credit card debt.

Consolidate debts – Seek professional financial advice first. If this strategy is right for your situation, consolidating your debts can help reduce payments and interest rates.

Overwhelmed by debt? If you can’t manage debt repayments, you may be able to apply for financial hardship concessions from your financial institution, with a payment plan calculated on what you can afford.

The National Debt Hotline also provides free, confidential debt advice – Phone: 1800 007 007.


You may be able to access part of your Superannuation to assist, or to claim on health insurance cover provided within your Super scheme. Your ability to access Super early depend on your age, situation and whether you qualify under the strict criteria.

If you’re under severe financial hardship, terminally ill or have permanent incapacity, personal circumstances may be assessed on compassionate grounds, and you may be able to access part of your Super. Payments will likely have tax implications, so seek advice before securing this option.

The first step is to locate all Super, whether you have any insurance policies within your Super. Talk to a financial professional, who can assess your current situation, eligibility and options.

Insurances which may assist (if you have them in place)

  • Total and Permanent Disability
  • Trauma/Critical Illness
  • Income Protection/Salary Continuance
  • Death/Terminal illness

Estate Planning

While it can be confronting to consider, your estate plan needs to be in order. Consider this a gift to your loved ones, by assisting them to sort legal matters in advice.

A legal professional will be able to explain the rules in different states.

The Public Trustee can produce a Will for a low-cost fee.

Estate issues to consider:

  • Do you have a valid legal Will? Through the appointment of an executor, this document provides certainty that your assets will go to the right beneficiaries at the right time, reducing any potential conflicts between parties.
  • You will need to have a Power of Attorney in place. This ensures you have a trusted person to act on your behalf regarding financial affairs, should you lose capacity.
  • You will also need an Enduring Guardian authority in place, which appoints a trusted person to make decisions regarding medical and lifestyle issues.
  • Another factor to consider with your Super is to check your Binding Death Benefits nomination is valid and up to date.

When it comes to your financial wellbeing, it’s always a good idea to seek professional advice as early as possible. Receiving informed advice could well save you money and unnecessary worry.

Useful Resources

Reference: Financial Wellbeing webinar, 7 September 2021, presented by Craig McGowen, Wealth Partners

Disclaimer: This information is general and does not consider your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the advice is suitable for you and your personal circumstances. This information will give you a general idea of the options available to you, however, you’ll need to work out what’s appropriate for you.