It’s about time women get involved family finances

2014-07-30 00:00

WOMEN have a responsibility to their children to remain involved in the family’s finances, writes Maya Fisher-French ahead of Women’s Day (August 9).

Do you know how much life cover your partner has and if so, do you know if it will be enough to provide for you and kids if something happens to him?

It concerns me that even now, well into the 21st century, so many married women still do not actively get involved in understanding the family finances or perhaps do not feel empowered to ask, especially if they are stay at home moms.

A male friend of mine recently admitted to me that he had very little risk cover, just enough to pay off his mortgage — which is a requirement by the bank.

He assumes that should be die or become disabled his wife would work.

Now let’s put that in context.

Here is a highly qualified man who earns a good salary, enough that his wife only works three mornings a week in an administrative type job, allowing her the flexibility to be at home in the afternoon to care for their two children.

On his death, whilst grieving his loss and having to cope with two distraught children, she will have to go out and find a full-time job that will be enough to replace his income. Considering her limited qualifications and work experience that would be virtually impossible.

The only option would be to sell the family home, sell their cars, move their children from their current school and then still struggle each month to make ends meet.

Worse still, if he was disabled and unable to work, she would have to find a way to provide for his needs as well. Is this really what he wants for his family?

Hopefully not.

The problem is that he simply cannot foresee a future where he is not around.

Men generally find it harder to face their own mortality than women who are more genetically geared to worry about the future and the possible calamities that await them.

While one can be frustrated with a man in his position for not thinking this through clearly, his wife has an equal responsibility in ensuring their family is provided for.

Firstly, she should be in every meeting he has with his financial adviser — in this case he actually has a financial adviser so one can only assume he has been told his cover is not sufficient but he has chosen to ignore the warnings.

If she is unsatisfied with the advice or if her husband is not prepared to follow the advice, then she should find her own adviser and take out cover on his life to protect herself and her children.

We also need to move beyond the ridiculous notion that life cover allows someone to “profit” out of a death.

Insurance is simply there to maintain the status quo so that you know your family is provided for, not to leave the family “richer”.

It is also worth remembering that there is a higher chance of a claim due to disability than death, so life insurance is as much for the breadwinner as it is for the family.

For any woman who values her children’s future the refrain “my husband takes care of the finances” is simply not good enough.

This Women’s Day empower yourself and your family and start asking the tough questions

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