They have a responsibility to their children to remain involved in the family’s finances, writes Maya Fisher-French
A conversation I had recently between friends highlighted so clearly the need for married women to get good financial advice.
The discussion was about life insurance and my friend admitted that he had little cover, just enough to pay off his mortgage – which is a requirement by the bank.
When asked how his wife and children would survive should he die or become disabled, he said his wife would work.
Now, let us put that into context.
Here is a highly qualified man who earns a good salary, enough so that his wife only works three mornings a week in an administrative-type job, allowing her flexibility to be at home in the afternoon to care for their two children.
On his death, while 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 supplement 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 the 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 more difficult to face their own mortality than women, who are more genetically predisposed to worry about the future and possible calamities.
While one can reprimand a man in his position for not thinking this through clearly, his wife is equally responsible for ensuring their family is provided for.
Firstly, she should be in every meeting he has with his financial adviser. (Surprisingly, he 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 not satisfied 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 the future of her children, the refrain “my husband takes care of the finances” is simply not good enough.
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