A focus on strong performance
SuperRatings' Pension of the Year 4 years in a row4
By Rory Gibson.
Rory is one of Australia’s foremost writers and editors. A highly experienced News Limited editor, chief-sub-editor and reporter, he enjoys a strong public profile with a current weekly column in Queensland’s Sunday Mail and other regular feature writing.
You're a parent. Your child has reached a certain age and you can't put it off any longer.
You have to have The Talk.
It could be awkward. You know how kids are. They are adults now and they think they know everything, or they can't imagine that you might have anything useful to tell them.
But it’s for their own good, and your peace of mind.
So steel yourself, make sure you're across the facts and sit down with your offspring and talk to them about …
Yes, death. Specifically, their death or their partner’s. It’s not a sexy subject but being prepared for it is one of the most vital components of family planning. And being prepared for it means having the right insurance. Without it, grandparents, parents and children and even the wider family are all left exposed to drastically altered quality-of-life expectations if someone dies.
I can speak from personal experience.
When our three children were all still in primary school, I became concerned that our family’s insurance cover wasn't adequate.
As the breadwinner I had life insurance, meaning that if I died my wife would receive a large lump sum to cover future costs. But she, as primary carer, didn’t have death cover.
We had The Talk.
She didn't think it was necessary, thought it was too costly at a time when our family expenses were very high, and frankly was a little suspicious of my motives in pushing for her to sign something which meant I would profit from her demise!
I pointed out that if I died she and the children would be able to keep doing what they were doing, live in the same house and maintain their standard of living. But if she died I would either have to give up work to look after the kids, meaning we’d have far less money to live on, or I would have to hire someone to care for them while I went to work, meaning we’d have far less money to live on. There were no grandparents we could call on to help.
I finally convinced her that it wasn't all a plot to knock her off and retire early, and the appropriate forms were filled in. They sat on the hallway table for about a week ready to be submitted.
That was a mistake. In a cruel illustration of how fate can intervene when you least expect it, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer before we had a chance to finalise the contract for her life insurance.
She succumbed to that terrible disease ten years later, leaving me to care for three children still in school. I tried to juggle both parenting and working, but eventually it became too much and I left full-time employment.
If we had had The Talk earlier, the financial and emotional fallout from that tragic event would have been considerably easier to manage.
What happened to my family is just one example of why life insurance is necessary.
It’s ironic that many people wouldn't dream of leaving their house or car uninsured, or going overseas without travel insurance, but will baulk at insuring the most important thing of all - themselves.
Life insurance includes death and disability cover, and income protection. Some providers offer trauma insurance too, which generally pays a lump sum in the event you are diagnosed with a specific insured injury or an illness like cancer or heart attack.
These products are designed to protect your family’s lifestyle and income needs if something happens to one or both partners that prevents them from contributing the way they used to. Having the right combination to suit your family gives you a safety net when things go off the rails.
So, if you have adult children who are now having their own children and forging ahead with their lives, you need to have The Talk.
This priority to focus on life insurance is as much about protecting your lifestyle as it is theirs.
Say you have grandchildren and their parents aren't insured properly and one or both of them is killed or disabled in an accident? You are likely to be called upon to assist financially or by giving your time and labour to help fill the void.
While you would of course step in to help - family is everything, right? - better to do so if money worries aren't an issue.
You've saved hard all your life to enjoy your retirement, not use your nest egg to rescue your children from financial woes brought on by unforeseen circumstances.
So, are you ready to have The Talk?
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Personal view disclaimer
The views of the author are not necessarily the views of the QSuper Board and QInsure Limited. We’ve put this information together as general information only and you should get professional advice before relying on this information.
This information and all products are issued by the QSuper Board (ABN 32 125 059 006 AFSL 489650) as trustee for QSuper (ABN 60 905 115 063). You should consider whether QSuper is right for you, by reading the PDS available at qsuper.qld.gov.au or calling 1300 360 750. © QSuper Board 2018