When you’re juggling toddlers, nappies and long nights, paperwork like super, wills and life insurance is probably the last thing on your mind. But according to Money Magazine editor Effie Zahos, it’s exactly the time you should be thinking about upping your family’s financial protection.
“We’re far more likely to check our car insurance is up to date than make sure we’re properly insured,” she says. “When you have a child, it becomes imperative to protect your most important asset – and that’s you.”
She recommends taking a few basic steps to re-assess your finances post-kids. And don’t worry, Effie says you don’t have to do them all at once. Set yourself one goal per financial quarter and make sure you follow through.
1. Ensure your superannuation includes insurance
In most cases, when you open an account you automatically get ‘Terminal, Permanent and Death’ insurance. In some cases, your super may also include income protection (which protects you if you lose your job.) The good news is that it’s coming out of your premiums so it’s not hurting your take-home pay right now.
2. Don’t have more than one super
If you’ve got a few, roll them over because you’re paying double the fees. A superfund costs around $500 a year on average in fees so you can imagine how much money you’re wasting, if you’ve got a few of them.
3. Talk to your super fund
They can give free advice over the phone. Ask questions like “Does my superfund include insurance?” and “What’s the level?” or even more specific one3s, like ‘how long will it be before the insurance pays out?’ (In some cases, it can take up to six months)
4. Don’t change your super without checking first
Your old superfund may have really generous insurance and you’ll lose that if you move to a new one. Sometimes they make you do health checks and that might prohibit you from getting what you want.
5. Shop around before picking new super
Be aware that prices vary enormously. Also, that income protection is tax deductible (while other insurances are not.)
6. Make a will
No one wants to go here because it involves your own mortality, but you can’t run the risk of dying without one. If your affairs are really simple, you can get wills for free online. However, most people’s finances are more complex and require getting a will drawn up by an expert. States do have government bodies that can write your will for free, but beware those government bodies then become the executors of your will and manage everything after your death.
7. Up your private health cover
Yes, this involves huge quarterly bills that inevitably go up every April. You’re really taking a gamble if you don’t have health cover, because if something bad happens your little savings account is just not going to cover it. Go on insurance comparison sites and type in what you want. If you have young kids, you probably need at least dentistry, optometry, physio and possibly speech therapy.
8. Consider splitting your health insurance
You can make significant savings by not having all your health insurance with one provider. Put your hospital cover with a big name. But check out the smaller private health insurers for the extra benefits. They probably offer better things in terms of ‘auxiliary’ health cover.
9. See a financial planner, but do your homework first
Don’t go knocking on their door without doing your own research first. Moneysmart is a brilliant place to start. There are also lots of health insurance comparison websites out there with handy free calculators, like Canstar, Ratecity or Infochoice.