By Victor Ochieng
Almost everyone has someone in their family line who had at one time or the other suffered a brain hemorrhage. According to a report by the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, approximately six million people in the United States are currently suffering from an unruptured brain aneurysm, or about one out of every 50 Americans. The report revealed that more women suffer from the condition than men, with the ratio standing at 3:2. African-Americans, on the other hand suffer the condition double the rate of white Americans. It goes without saying that every year, 500,000 people from across the globe loose their lives to ruptured brain aneurysms, with half those dying being younger than 50 years.
While some people who suffer from the condition end up dead, there are others that end up with triumph and great inspiration to the rest of us.
The case of the 49-year-old CNBC's personal finance correspondent Sharon Epperson is one to look into. After suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2016, her life took a drastic turn. To deal with the bleeding caused by the condition, she had to undergo surgery, which saw her loose her ability to walk for some time. The treatment and healing process saw her take a year medical leave from her work.
Her condition could have destroyed her life completely, but thanks to her savings and her disability insurance, the mother of two was able to wage through the waters until she got back to her feet. She was even part of a 5k marathon for supporting research into the condition in September.
Epperson is now back to work and she's chosen to share her story to raise awareness and to inspire others on how to handle both their finances and health.
When her condition started, she had a very, very bad headache. She was rushed to the ER and a CT scan was recommended. "I don’t remember having the scan, but I then remember the doctor telling me afterward that I had bleeding in the brain and I needed to get to the closest hospital that could treat that," she recalls. That very day, she had to be booked for surgery, despite not having had any such condition before.
Epperson says a number of people in her family have died of brain hemorrhages. "My maternal grandfather, my mother’s older sister and my maternal great-grandfather all died of brain hemorrhages, but I don’t know if an aneurysm caused that or not."
Her financial routine came in handy for the time she was away from work, and she shared some tips on how to go about finances. She said one has to be disciplined to save. She says "It’s easier to do when you start early. It’s not impossible to start later, but it is easier to do when you start early."
She made it a routine not to have her entire paycheck go into her checking account. This helped her to separate what she'd set aside for personal expenses and savings.
"It’s always siphoned off somewhere, part of it into a 401K, part of it into a savings account. And I actually have a couple of savings accounts. One for more long-term. I have two kids so I’m trying to save for that. And then the other is savings so that when these monthly bills come that are bigger than my weekly expenses, I have money for that too."
By so doing, the amount of money that’s left in her hand is that which she can spend freely and confidently, well aware that the most important things have already been taken care of.