Preparing for the Future? How about Protecting the Future?
I’m writing this on the day I turn 47.
I’m keenly aware how blessed I am to be celebrating it with my wife and kids. Reason? Three weeks ago, I was at a friend’s wake – she was 39, leaving behind two young daughters of primary school-going age. She had passed-on after battling cancer for a short 1.5 years.
Not too long ago, another ex-colleague had passed-on, leaving his stay-home wife to start looking for odd-jobs to support their school-going kids. My Dad died at the young age of 44, when I was only 11. I witnessed how my Mum struggled financially to provide for her 3 young children as a widow.
I’m not capitalizing on your sympathies for this post. Far from it, our loyal readers know well that I’ve always lived with the uncomfortable truth that none of us is going to be around forever. Bad things do happen to good people. Hence, I’ve written on making wills, on helping families experiencing childhood bereavement and on leaving a legacy that matters.
Here are more uncomfortable truths we face:
- As parents, we are growing old as our kids are growing up. As we grow old, we are more prone to injuries and illnesses.
- Kids are usually bundles of energy but they too can be victims of a myriad of childhood illnesses and unexpected accidents.
- In these uncertain economic times, none of our jobs are truly ‘secure’. How do we protect our family when our incomes are at stake?
- When our kids are ill, we can never withhold treatments and medication recommended. No one would settle for less than what the doctor thinks would be the best for our family.
It’s natural that we want to prepare our kids for the future. From the moment they are born, our planning shifts into high gear: the type of nutrition, the type of care, the type of educational experience and the list goes on. It is an instinctive and never-ending preoccupation of parents to ensure that our children are well-protected and well-equipped to meet the challenges of an uncertain future.
It is also parents’ preoccupation to give our kids a good head start in life. From providing a comfortable home to the occasional overseas holidays to the best birthdays parties. It’s every parent’s preoccupation to give our kids stable and happy childhood.
Protecting the Future:
However, as much as we are preparing them for the future, are we PROTECTING them from the (volatile, uncertain) future? From our short 9 years of being parents so far, we have had to:
- Incur hefty post-delivery expenses for our newborn in the NICU.
- Incur hospitalization expense due to our daughter’s Kawasaki disease.
- Incur expenses due to falls, stiches and minor childhood accidents etc.
- Incur expenses due to HFMD.
- Incur lots more in periodic visits to the GP and Pediatrician.
These are over and above our own medical expenses. Just last year, my wife Angie underwent a surgery on her right knee to remove a bone fragment which resulted from a fall at work. For me, it was my frozen-shoulder scare last year which had me incur MRI charges and multiple visits to the orthopedic surgeon and physiotherapist.
All these medical interventions are never cheap. In fact, a regular visit to a doctor for common cough and cold would easily set parents back about SGD$50 just for consultation, without any medicine yet.
Therefore, it alarms us that some young parents we speak to are reluctant to pay for insurance coverage. Despite all the uncertainties involved in caring for family, some still subscribe to the old school belief that that buying insurance is like flushing money away. Deep down, we know nothing could be further from the truth. You can never leave such protection to ‘chance’.
Securing your Future:
I am a firm believer of insurance. From the time I started working as a young adult, I’ve started insuring myself. When situations arise, I want to have a dependable ‘lifeline’ where I can get the financial help needed to recover and get back on my feet so that I will not be a liability to anyone, esp. my family, my loved ones or my friends.
Ever since I became a Dad, insurance has become even more critical as I have young dependents whose future depends on me (and my wife). Based on research by the Life Insurance Association (LIA), an average working Singaporean needs at least $626,000 to meet their protection needs. What this means is that an average Singaporean needs 10 times of their annual earnings as a basic life cover. Meanwhile, with health care costs increasing over the years, one needs even more to be adequately covered against life’s uncertainties.
How to achieve that?
After undergoing a thorough evaluation of our family’s insurance needs and our retirement planning with a financial advisor friend, I have switched our family’s coverage to Tokio Marine (TM) since many years back. Compared to the competing products available in the market, I find TM’s plans most value for money, forward-looking and extremely comprehensive.
I’d like to personally recommend two Tokio Marine (TM) products that provide comprehensive protection for parents and children:
- KidAssure GIO Rider:
How about insuring your kids against Zika, HFMD, dengue fever and 5 other hospitalization conditions?
Apart from that, the rider provides coverage against 16 potentially life-threatening child-related illness and conditions such as severe asthma or severe autism to name a few?
KidAssure GIO Rider is the first-of-its-kind juvenile protection rider that provides coverage on child-related illnesses with guaranteed acceptance – all with no medical underwriting required! Designed to provide coverage for the child up to age 19, it can be easily added to most of TM’s basic plans for a sum assured of up to S$150,000.
Key features of KidAssure GIO Rider:
- Rider that covers 24 conditions under the child illness and child hospitalization benefits.
- A refund of 80% of the total annual premiums paid for rider when the child reaches 19 years old.
- No medical underwriting required.
*Health declaration required.
- TM Term Assure:
At a glance, TM Term Assure:
- Provides coverage mainly for working adults / parents. For a young adult between 25 to 35 years old, it costs less than $1 a day for 5 year coverage of half a million dollars against death, terminal illness and total and permanent disability.
This is suitable if you want
- Protection at low cost.
- To enhance coverage but you have a limited budget.
As parents, are we protecting ourselves and our kids enough so that the future can truly be secure regardless of what tomorrow brings? For all the hard work we do and the diligence we put into saving for a ‘rainy day’, these are real questions we must ask because the risks are real.
Better still if you can, pop by Baby World 2017 (30 June to 2 July 2017, 11am to 8pm, Suntec Convention Centre Level 4) and head to the Tokio Marine (TM) booth (K15) to talk to their friendly ambassadors who all have one goal in mind: To help families protect their ability to provide. And that’s already a good start.