CNBC’s Sharon Epperson Back After Suffering a Life-Altering Brain Aneurysm

By A.J. Katz 

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After a 13-month absence from television news, CNBC senior personal finance correspondent Sharon Epperson is back on air.

“I really missed engaging with my viewers and readers,” Epperson told TVNewser. “Real life involves a lot of insecurities surrounding saving for retirement, paying off debt, putting kids through college, taking care of aging parents — all while trying to advance our careers. It’s not easy,” she said.

And the last year has been anything but easy for Epperson.

On September 21, 2016, Epperson was exercising before work when she began suffering a severe headache. She was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. She underwent emergency surgery, spent two weeks in the ICU, and endured months of exhaustive rehabilitation, including learning to walk again.

After months of hard work, Epperson finally concluded that she was well enough to return to work when she crossed the finish line at the 4th Annual TeamCindy 5K Run for Research – benefiting the Brain Aneurysm Foundation.

TVNewser: You’ve made a living giving financial advice to others going through tough times, but this time, you were the one experiencing a crisis. How did you react?

Epperson: When I woke up in the ICU, I remember wanting to make sure my husband or sister contacted our estate planning attorney. I made it through a very serious operation, but I was not out of the woods yet. I also knew that I could not make important decisions at that time. I wanted to make sure they both had the documents they may need to make decisions for me, such as my health care proxy and durable power of attorney. My husband has those roles and is in charge of handling medical and financial decisions if I cannot do so and my sister is the successor, if he is unable to do so. Both of them worked together in talking to doctors, nurses as well as our financial advisor to make sure that everything was in order.

TVNewser: Tell us about your recovery.

I had to relearn how to walk and maintain my balance and relearn how to tackle day-to-day activities. I treasured being able to engage with my family and loved ones who cared for me and supported me during this difficult time. I had to prioritize my days in a different way and learn how to be a better version of myself again.

TVNewser: How do you think this experience influence your reporting going forward?

My experience only emphasizes what I’ve been reporting all along. We not only need a Plan A for our financial goals, but also a real Plan B for life’s curve balls so we don’t have to experience financial ruin. A traumatic event – whether it is a disability, divorce, accident or loss of life – can and will be a financial disaster if you’re not prepared. I am now more determined than ever to make sure that my reporting helps people manage, grow and protect their money to ensure they are financially healthy for their lifetime.

TVNewser: What type of personal finance advice can you provide families who are experiencing the same issue?

I would encourage families to have “The Money Talk” as soon as possible. It may not be an easy conversation, but it is critical to discuss your wishes about your health care and financial goals with your loved ones. After the talk, I’d encourage you to sit down for a nice family dinner to celebrate the life and good fortune you have, while protecting yourself and your loved ones from any kind of misfortune that may arise. Life is always worth celebrating!