Sin­gle moms need in­come pro­tec­tion

Pretoria News Weekend - - OPINION -

MOST par­ents will agree that rais­ing a child is ex­pen­sive, so rais­ing a child on one in­come is par­tic­u­larly tough. Al­though a small per­cent­age of the pop­u­la­tion earns enough to choose to solo par­ent, a stag­ger­ing 38% of chil­dren in this coun­try live with only their moth­ers. We’re not alone: the num­ber of sin­gle­par­ent fam­i­lies is in­creas­ing around the world. In the US, sin­gle-par­ent house­holds have more than tripled since 1960, with 80% of th­ese house­holds headed by moth­ers. In the United King­dom, 21% of chil­dren live in sin­gle­par­ent fam­i­lies.

With so many women in this coun­try be­ing solely re­spon­si­ble for their chil­dren, of­ten with­out any fi­nan­cial sup­port from their chil­dren’s fa­ther, it is clear they need to en­sure that their chil­dren will be pro­vided for should some­thing un­fore­seen hap­pen to them. It is vi­tal that sin­gle moth­ers pro­tect their abil­ity to earn an in­come, be­cause there isn’t an­other per­son in the house­hold who can gen­er­ate an in­come. When a sin­gle mother loses her abil­ity to earn an in­come, the fi­nan­cial con­se­quences can be dev­as­tat­ing.

This Women’s Month, I en­cour­age sin­gle moth­ers to em­power them­selves with the peace of mind that their in­come will be re­placed if they are un­able to work be­cause of an ac­ci­dent or ill­ness. A reg­u­lar guest col­umn by in­dus­try ex­perts on how to man­age your money. Here are a few things to con­sider:

● In­come pro­tec­tion is a life as­sur­ance prod­uct that will al­low a sin­gle mother to re­ceive a pay­out from a life as­surer if an un­fore­seen event, such as an ill­ness or in­jury, re­sults in her no longer be­ing able to work. A pay­out from this prod­uct can, in such in­stances, be a life-saver, en­abling her to con­tinue sup­port­ing her fam­ily fi­nan­cially.

● Read the pol­icy doc­u­ment care­fully. It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand ex­actly what in­come pro­tec­tion poli­cies cover you for, and for what amount.

● You can pro­tect your in­come against events such as the in­abil­ity to work be­cause of in­jury or se­ri­ous ill­ness, such as can­cer. You can even buy prod­ucts that will pay you an in­come if your child be­comes se­ri­ously ill.

● You can pro­tect your in­come with a prod­uct that pays out ei­ther a monthly amount or a lump sum. Both have ad­van­tages, so the ad­vice of an ac­cred­ited fi­nan­cial ad­viser is es­sen­tial.

● A fi­nan­cial ad­viser can take you through the pol­icy doc­u­ment, and ex­plain how the cover works and what you are cov­ered for, so you un­der­stand what you are pay­ing for and what you will be able to claim for.

● It is rec­om­mended that you mon­i­tor your ben­e­fits at least once a year. This will en­able you to en­sure that the ben­e­fits are up to date and con­tinue to meet the needs of those who de­pend on you fi­nan­cially.

Sin­gle moms need a plan and struc­ture to cope with the de­mands of work­ing and look­ing af­ter chil­dren. They of­ten have ad­di­tional ex­pense bur­dens that aren’t borne by dual-in­come fam­i­lies. The same ap­proach ap­plies to their fi­nances. The pres­sures of sin­gle par­ent­ing make it ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal for sin­gle moth­ers to have in­come pro­tec­tion in place, in case they get sick, be­come dis­abled or die. In­sur­ance can en­able them to pro­tect their liveli­hoods and fam­i­lies when they can­not. Karen Bongers is a prod­uct ac­tu­ary at San­lam Per­sonal Fi­nance.

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