Why financial independence starts with insurance
Luzanne Wait, insurance adviser from PSG Jeffreys Bay Fountains Business Park
To become financially independent, you need a plan. But a recent survey by UBS Global Wealth Management shows that 58% of married women leave investments and long-term decisions about financial planning to their husbands. Only 23% of women surveyed take control of their own financial planning. To shift the narrative, women should equip themselves to be confident when it comes to financial planning, including their family’s insurance needs. While many women are already heading up households, those in relationships should also remember their relationship status could change for a variety of reasons. Being prepared and informed if your partner is doing the planning is key, and if you are already in the driver’s seat, you need to ensure you think holistically and that all the bases are covered.
Getting started in financial planning can seem overwhelming if you are behind, but it’s not impossible to catch up. An easy place to start is getting short-term insurance right. It’s an essential component to ensuring your financial plans don’t get derailed. While it’s hard to pay for cover without needing to claim, thinking of it as a reliable safety net will soon prove its worth. Getting it right is also a step towards securing financial independence.
Short-term insurance over the years
Short-term insurance needs are constantly changing as you move through the different phases of your life. In your 20s, the most important and valuable items are probably your vehicle, cellphone, jewellery, laptop or any other electronics, your handbag and sports bag. Make sure these items are specified so they are covered outside of your home, as they are most at risk while travelling with you. Some insurers have affordable products developed specifically for young adults, offering the best coverage and premium, so shop around and ask an adviser for suggestions. Don’t automatically opt for the cheapest insurance. Sometimes cheap insurance comes with cheap coverage too.
In your 30s, you may have your own home, home contents, and perhaps a spouse and children. It makes sense to have all insurable needs under one policy. This is often cheaper with premiums that are easier to maintain.
In your 40s, you may be eligible for a more sophisticated product, providing cover on an all risk basis for your home contents. You could claim up to a certain percentage of your contents’ insured value on items like your cellphone, which ends up being great value for money on your policy premium too.
From 55, you qualify for additional benefits such as further discounts on your premiums and no excesses on vehicles and other sections (depending on your policy). Children are likely out of the house and perhaps you have started to scale back or are drawn to a safer complex or retirement village. Your home contents may carry less risk if you make the move, and can be adjusted accordingly.
Increased safety measures will often decrease your premium (no matter your age) but weighing up any premium savings against the cost of adding features or possible losses can guide your decision. Keep in mind that underinsurance can undermine anyone’s policy. Having too little cover can result in a lower payout, should you need to claim.
It’s important that your adviser should understand your needs and that your short-term portfolio be reviewed at least annually too.