Melbourne-based adviser, Bentley Klein, wrote to Riskinfo following the publication of an article in our July 2017 eMagazine, which explored the issues surrounding the financial impact of bowel cancer in Australia and the role that life insurance can play in addressing those issues (see: Get Behind It: Let’s Talk About Bowel Cancer and Insurance).”
It emerges that Bentley has experienced his own personal journey with bowel cancer. He shares in his letter some details of the toll it has taken on him and how he has fought back:
Rachel, thank you for writing this article as this issue has always been very dear to me and now even more so. This is my story:
I am an adviser of over 30 years. I run a successful business in St Kilda Road and employ around 13 -14 people. I have always lived a very healthy lifestyle and since turning 45 have run 11 marathons including three of the 6 major marathons.
Soon after returning from the Boston Marathon in April 2015 I was very busy finalizing a significant business acquisition which would double the size of my business, including doubling the size of my staff. As they say there’s never a good time to get sick. For me this couldn’t be more true.
In October, three months after settling on the new business and about five months after noticing blood, I had a colonoscopy and was unfortunately diagnosed with bowel cancer. I’m the healthy person, with a great family and a very good business who’s living the dream. Bowel cancer – you’ve got to be joking! But it was true. I was only 54 and I regarded myself as a very fit young 54 without any grey hair, and anyone that knows me will tell you I have a youthful and cheeky personality.
It’s now two years since I was diagnosed, and I’ve gone through chemotherapy and radiation treatment, including severe surgery that required me to be fitted with a colostomy bag for 30 weeks, followed by more ‘chemo’ as the surgery revealed residual cancer cells in the bowel wall.
Having been in and out of work for 12 -18 months, I’m now back to working full time, training three to four times a week for the Melbourne half marathon which I completed in an acceptable time two weeks ago. My goal has now shifted to run in the London Marathon in April 2018 with five of my dear running mates.
My firm, Axios Financial Solutions, has been providing fee-based holistic advice solutions. Insurance has always been the foundation in ensuring families can live a comfortable lifestyle in good times, but with the financial support when health changes. I am, and have always been, a firm believer that before an adviser should encourage any client to take out any policy they need to assess their own situation as they would any clients. I’m concerned that there are too many advisers out there “selling” insurance and giving financial advice but at the very same time are inadequately covered and are not doing things they are advising their clients to do. They’re not walking the talk. And it doesn’t surprise me if they aren’t as successful as they would like to be.
I was well protected for an event that was never going to happen to me and whilst my financial situation would not have been a disaster without my trauma and Income Protection policy, I had the comfort of knowing that my financial affairs were always in order, and my family would always be financial well looked after I believe this had a profound and positive impact on my mental state and my ability to get back to health quickly. My ongoing medical checks continue to be excellent and I am feeling fantastic.
I encourage all my peers to spread the word and encourage people to look at the warning signs for maintaining good health and I encourage every adviser to reassess their own needs. If you find you have a gap in your own coverage, reassess and realign it. By doing this you can confidently tell your clients what you have done to strengthen your own situation which will give them greater conviction to do what’s right by themselves and their families.
Bentley Klein is the Principal of Melbourne-based advice firm, Axios Financial Solutions