It happens to everybody at least once. You’re finally starting to get ahead of the game, and then life happens. Some expensive event comes at you without warning, and you find yourself once again far from your goals.

Taipei Shhh.. Or Else!
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There’s not much you can do to prevent this situation from happening. It’s part of life. But you can do things to prepare for and minimize the damage. Consider some responses to these four common situations.

1. Illness

We’re not talking about the flu here. Most illnesses are little more than a speed bump on the road of your life. In this case, we mean long, debilitating and chronic illnesses like cancer, COPD and chronic fatigue. These sicknesses can take you out of the work force for months at a time – on average for about one quarter of one year. For most families, losing that much in wages means bankruptcy and foreclosure.

Best Defense: Long-term disability insurance, which will replace your wages while you’re ill.

Other Defenses: Good nutrition, regular preventive care, frequent moderate exercise

2. Identity Theft

Each year, 15 million Americans have their identity and credit misused, for total loss of over $50 billion annually. On average, each victim suffers $3,500 of fraudulent purchases, plus the costs associated with re-establishing good credit. That’s a little bit over one month’s salary up front, plus temporary loss of credit access and increased interest rates on some accounts.

Best Defense: Review your free credit report once a quarter, and your bank statements once a month

Other Defenses: Credit protection services, safeguarding personal information, shredding sensitive documents

3. Catastrophes

Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and house fires all cause billions in damage every year. The damage is highly localized, lulling many into a false sense of security about how much risk their area poses. When disaster does strike, under-insured families can lose literally everything they own. In many areas, regular insurance specifically fails to cover common natural catastrophes.

Best Defense: Catastrophic loss insurance for common disasters in your area

Other Defenses: Emergency preparations as catastrophe looms, savings sufficient to help recover

4. Accidents

Accidental injury is the top cause of nonfatal hospitalization in the United States, ranging from motor vehicle accidents, to slip and fall cases to simple mistakes with grave consequences. If you’re hurt at work, or in most car accidents, other insurance will cover your lost wages. In any other situation, money you lost because you can’t work effectively are your own problem to solve.

Best Defense: Long-Term Disability Insurance

Other Defenses: Short-Term Disability Insurance, savings sufficient to help recover

Readers, do you have any other suggestions or experiences to help prepare for these unexpected threats? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Jason came to writing after years in business management and ownership. Find out more about him at

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