Tomasz Alemany’s career as a financial adviser abruptly ended when he was diagnosed with throat cancer at 32. After several surgeries to improve his airways, Alemany was left with a compromised voice that made it nearly impossible to continue working with clients.
Luckily, his family was able to stay afloat during his treatment thanks to his disability insurance policy. After recovering, he decided to pivot careers and start Top Whole Life, a life insurance comparison site. We spoke with Alemany about the importance of having multiple policies, the biggest insurance mistake he sees others make and what his battle with cancer taught him about his own money management style.
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What advice do you have for someone dealing with a life-changing medical diagnosis?
First of all, you have to stay positive. The first and most important thing is your health. A healthy and positive attitude will speed up your recovery. Sometimes all the problems that come with a life-changing medical event are overwhelming. However, you need to focus on the day today.
What did you learn about your own money management style as a cancer survivor?
It’s still an incredibly difficult situation and there are many things you can’t plan for. That being said, everyone needs to plan ahead because the challenges and problems get multiplied if your finances are not in order. I was lucky I got disability insurance to cover my expenses, which helped tremendously.
How did your own experience lead you to creating Top Whole Life?
I created Top Whole Life by necessity. Before my cancer, I was a financial adviser, and my family and I relied upon my ability to talk. I had throat cancer and went through many operations to restore my breathing. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to talk again and in the end, the operations left me with a very compromised voice. So I had to start thinking outside of the box. I decided to create a website on a topic that I knew and understood, like life insurance.
What are the most important things people should consider when choosing a life insurance plan?
It’s very important to have enough coverage to really make an impact. Even though we focus on a particular type of insurance called whole life, we always recommend getting enough coverage within your budget.
What are the biggest mistakes you see other people make when choosing life insurance?
Many people do not have a plan as to what happens if they can’t pay their life insurance. That situation will come in really difficult times, and probably the worst time to be losing your life insurance. I was able to stop paying my life insurance because I had a waiver of premium, which means I could stop paying because I was disabled.
Do you have any financial regrets?
I don’t have any big financial regrets, but I do wish I would have bought more disability coverage. Disability insurance really helped me get through years of operations and a very low income. Even though I had disability insurance, I could have gotten more coverage which would have made my income as close to what it was before my cancer.
What’s something you’re financially proud of?
I am proud of the fact that I went through cancer, over 10 operations, and I recovered very well financially speaking. It wasn’t easy but I was able to support my family and myself through the tough times.
What’s your current financial goal & how are you working toward it?
My goal has always been to become financially independent. To not have to rely on one source of income, as that is a great risk for anyone, and a health event is a great way to learn that the hard way.
The great news is that I have been able to truly diversify my income. In the past, if I wasn’t able to work, my income would stop.
What’s the best financial advice you’ve ever received?
The best financial decision was to get disability insurance. It was a decision I didn’t really understand at the moment. Someone at work suggested it, and I just bought it because I thought I should. However, over the months and years without income, it became very clear that it would have been extremely hard to financially survive without it.
Disclosure: Top Whole Life is a Policygenius partner, but we were not compensated for this editorial content.
Image: Nastia Kobzarenko
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