Someone in this country has a stroke every four minutes according to a survey by the Stroke Association. Statistics such as this are not meant to scare, but they are a wake-up call about a health issue expanding at an alarming rate. One of the reasons for this increase is the lifestyles we lead, with smoking and excessive drinking affecting our chances of suffering a stroke. It is thought that 40% of strokes could be avoided if people changed their lifestyles.Only one in three stroke patients makes a full recovery, which makes you consider life after a stroke – and not only about the person who has suffered the stroke but also the family that have to help them. When you consider that stroke causes more cases of disability than any other illness in the country, you realise the financial implications can be huge – especially if the main breadwinner has suffered the stroke or needs to change their life to care for the person left disabled. Of course, an adviser is not responsible for their clients’ physical health but as we’ve touched on in the past they are responsible for their financial health. And their physical health is likely to have a direct impact on their financial health. Dr Marius Barnard says: “People don’t say health and happiness or wealth and happiness; they say health, wealth and happiness.” This is why you need to make your clients aware of the link between their health and their financial security, and make sure they understand the value of critical illness insurance. In the case of stroke patients, a critical illness payout could be used to pay for the aftercare costs such as physiotherapy. It could also cover household expenses to make sure the person can concentrate on recovery without having the worry of how to pay for the roof over their head. Of course, not all stroke cases would be covered by critical illness insurance. And stroke isn’t just an old person’s illness. Around 10,000 people under the age of 55 suffer a stroke each year in the UK, and one in 10 of these cases are in people aged under 30. Surveys such as this are important in raising people’s awareness of the risks of critical illness. It is equally important you tell your clients about the financial effects that can come with it. So, it’s a good idea to be aware of these sorts of stories in the press as they are likely to have been seen by your clients – a good opener to speak to them about protecting their finances and confirm to them your role as a financial doctor.