Money advice for your kids

Why would life insurance be relevant to retirees? In this article, financial guru Noel Whittaker explains why it’s of a significant relevance – for you and your children.

John is one of the first baby boomers. Born in January 1946, he has just turned 69 and is living a full life in retirement. His career started in banking then moved to financial services, so he is well experienced in the way the various asset classes work.

Recently, I joined him on the stage where he shared his experiences with an audience of retirees. One message he gave really hit the mark, because I’ve never heard any financial person mention it before. The topic was life insurance. The natural reaction is to ask why would this topic be relevant to retirees, because they would be unlikely to need it or to be able to afford it.

“No,” he said, “it’s not for you, it’s for your children.”

In his experience as a financial adviser, John has seen all the problems that can happen when a family has insufficient insurance, and has long insisted that all his children be insured to the hilt. This includes life insurance, Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance, trauma insurance and income replacement insurance.

As an example, John then told us about his daughter, who has twin babies, and who three years ago was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has a high-paying job, and the combination of her income replacement insurance and her trauma insurance meant the family had enough funds to handle their mortgage payments and all the treatment that her condition required. She lived in a large provincial town and extensive oncology treatment was only available 1000km away, in the nearest capital city.

The good news is that the treatment appears to have worked, and she is now in remission. Then John delivered the clincher: “Imagine you’re in a comfortable retirement with a substantial nest egg and enjoying the fruits of all your hard work – how are you going to react when one of your children rings to tell you they’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness? Are you going to tell them it’s up to them, or are you going to dig into your own savings to rescue them?”

Never have truer words been spoken. Illness is something we all think is going to happen to somebody else, and insurance, as with making a will, is something that’s easy to put off. It’s only when the problems start that we realise it’s too late to do anything about it.

John concluded, “A serious illness is bad enough, but if one partner dies, or is permanently incapacitated, the surviving partner may be unable to continue to work and care for the children at the same time. If that happened, it may be the grandparents who end up taking care of the children.”

Getting your children to take out sufficient insurance is an important and emotive matter, and one that is never over in a single conversation, which is why it’s important to involve your financial adviser. Often, premium affordability is a stumbling block, but life and TPD premiums can be covered in their super. Income protection premiums are tax deductible – only trauma cover premiums have to come from post-tax dollars.

Noel Whittaker is a Certified Financial Planner, a Chartered Tax Adviser, a member of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Liaison Committee, and is currently an Executive in Residence and Adjunct Professor with the Faculty of Business at the Queensland University of Technology. He has written 20 bestselling books that have sold over two million copies around the world. In 2011, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the Australian financial planning industry.

YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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