“The basics of good financial planning are the same for both men and women, but there are lifestyle and economic conditions that are unique to women, and these need special consideration. Women live longer than men on average and are more at risk for certain diseases; they typically take on more family responsibilities; they’re usually the primary caregivers to children or ageing parents; and they are more likely to delegate their financial security to a spouse or significant other,” explains Susan Gonnermann, Head of Claims at Hollard Life
- Lock in your insurance while you are young and healthy - You’re never too young to insure your ability to earn an income or maintain the standard of living to which you and your loved ones are accustomed. Life insurance premiums are lower when you are young and cover is easier to obtain while you are healthy. Hollard offers cover that is guaranteed renewable for as long as you pay premiums and regardless of any future health challenges.
- Women have unique risks: Breast and ovarian cancers are the leading causes of critical illness and disability claims by women, accounting for around 25% of such claims, followed by heart conditions, which are a very close second. Importantly, most critical illness and disability claims submitted by women are in the “prime years”, from age 31 to age 50. To ensure that you cast your safety net as wide as possible, always consider the insurance options that cover the most comprehensive list of conditions, especially if you have a family history of disease.
- Get Family Cover for the unthinkable - The financial consequences of a child’s illness or disability can be onerous, particularly if you need to take time off work temporarily, or possibly even permanently, to care for your child. For a dual income household this could make the financial situation very difficult, but for single moms it could be disastrous. This is why Hollard’s Comprehensive Critical Illness benefit not only provides cover for 57 illnesses, but also provides Family Cover for your children for serious medical conditions, emergency medical procedures, intensive care and hospitalisation, at no additional premium and without reducing the amount for which you are covered. Children are covered for the same 57 critical illnesses for which you’re covered. In addition, the Catch All Benefit provides a safety net to cover you if you are hospitalised for an emergency lifesaving surgical procedure, accident or illness not already covered, and also applies to your children.
- Taking care of parents and children – More South African adults are finding themselves caught in what is called the ‘sandwich generation’ – taking emotional and financial care of ageing parents, while also supporting children of their own. As a woman, the responsibilities of caring for children and parents are likely to fall heavily on your shoulders, and must be factored into your financial plan.
- Don’t overlook your valuable contribution as a stay-at-home mom - Just because you're not receiving an official ‘salary’ does not mean you don’t contribute substantially to your family’s financial situation. If something happened to you, your spouse would need to employ a very competent person to raise and look after children, as well as playing taxi driver, house-keeper, teacher, cook and CEO of the home. There would definitely be hard costs to cover everything that a stay-at-home mom does every day and these could quite easily amount to a lot more than a decent salary. Of course, you can't be replaced, but if you were seriously ill or you passed away, someone would potentially need to be hired to keep your family and household functioning as normally as possible.
- Women live longer – Women live around 5 years longer than men according to actuarial research, which means you may need longer-term care and you may have to face some of your healthcare needs alone. When you’re much older and potentially frail, health and care services can be very expensive. If you haven’t budgeted for such costs, they can easily eat away at your retirement funds or any other savings you have put away to cover living expenses. Hollard’s Long Term Care benefit pays a monthly benefit after your 65th birthday if you’re in full-time care in a registered frail care facility, hospice or nursing home, or with a registered medical professional.
“Life insurance is an essential part of financial freedom. No one knows what the future holds and whether you could face a health incident or life-changing crisis in future. Make sure that you have a financial plan in place that makes it possible for you to recover and thrive if the unthinkable were to happen. This Women’s Month is the perfect time to meet with a financial advisor to help you develop a financial plan that’s as unique as you are,” concludes Susan.