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Forty per cent of Canadians facing financial hardship after serious health event


Forty per cent of Canadians facing financial hardship after serious health event

Sun Life Canadian Health Index™ reveals Canadians aged 45 to 54 hardest hit by unforeseen healthcare costs

TORONTO, Sept. 30, 2013 /CNW/ - Canadians who have had a serious health event or diagnosis are feeling the pinch, with 40 per cent reporting financial hardship as a result. More than half (53 per cent) of 45 to 54 year olds are struggling to make ends meet after a major health incident, according to the fourth annual Sun Life Canadian Health Index™, conducted by Ipsos Reid.

Of those impacted by a personal health crisis, some highlights from the survey include:


    --  22 per cent turned to credit cards or personal lines of credit;
    --  22 per cent tapped into personal savings;
    --  12 per cent borrowed from a loved one; and
    --  5 per cent were forced to either remortgage or sell their home.

"Coping with a personal health crisis is difficult enough without the addition 
of financial strain," said Kevin Dougherty, President, Sun Life Financial 
Canada. "We have seen first-hand the devastating impact that serious health 
issues can have on an individual and their families. The short-term financial 
impacts are overwhelming and immediate, but there can also be longer-term 
negative implications on retirement plans. Having a financial plan can help to 
deal with the unexpected."

While a majority of Canadians (82 per cent) realize that a serious health 
event could impact their personal finances, few (13 per cent) have money set 
aside for uncovered healthcare costs. These health events are dire and include 
heart attack, stroke, cancer, coronary bypass, chronic diseases, degenerative 
disorders, terminal illnesses and serious accidents. A fifth of Canadians (20 
per cent) have no group insurance, personal insurance or health expense 
savings to help absorb the shock.

Juggling childcare and eldercare, managing mortgages and retirement planning, 
can leave Canadians overextended and ill-equipped for surprise expenses, 
especially healthcare costs not covered by government or employer plans.

"Canadians aged 45 to 54, commonly referred to as the sandwich generation, 
also have a unique set of priorities that include caring for their children 
and their parents while working and saving for their own retirement. This 
explains why they're more deeply affected by unplanned healthcare costs," said 
Alison Griffiths, financial columnist and commentator. "With job instability 
and a tough economic climate, many are stretched too thin. A large portion of 
sandwichers are nearing retirement, but may be forced to delay these plans to 
recoup financial losses."

Seventy-seven per cent of Canadians report they are experiencing excessive 
levels of stress, a five percentage point increase over the previous year. 
Finances are the most likely cause of excessive stress across all age 
brackets. Though 45 to 54 year olds face the most financial pressure, 
generation Y bears the larger stress burden at 84 per cent.

For more key findings and results on the 2013 Sun Life Canadian Health Index( 
TM), visit www.sunlife.ca/CanadianHealthIndex. For more information on tips on 
healthy living and financial planning, visit BrighterLife.ca.

About the survey

The Sun Life Canadian Health Index™ measures the attitudes of Canadians 
towards healthy lifestyles and reports these in the form of an index.

The fourth annual Sun Life Canadian Health Index™ is based on the findings 
of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between May 10-24, 2013. A sample of 2,400 
Canadians from 18 to 80 years of age from the Ipsos Canadian panel was 
interviewed online.

Ipsos employed weighting to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's 
composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and 
to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe.

The precision of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a credibility 
interval. In this case, the survey is accurate to within + / - 2 percentage 
points had all Canadian adults been polled. All sample surveys and polls may 
be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to 
methodological change, coverage error and measurement error.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization 
providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and 
services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial and its 
partners have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the 
United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, 
Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. 
As of June 30, 2013, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total 
assets under management of $591 billion. For more information, please visit 
www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and 
Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Note to Editors: All figures in Canadian dollars.

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Inc.

Yasna Criscione Sun Life Financial 416-204-8108 Yasna.Criscione@sunlife.com 

Carmela Antolino Sun Life Financial 416-986-8179 Carmela.Antolino@sunlife.com

To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/September2013/30/c4439.html

CO: Sun Life Financial Inc. ST: Quebec NI: FIN INS ECOSURV

-0- Sep/30/2013 10:00 GMT

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