Working hours for Australians are getting longer, and they’re less likely to be confined to the traditional nine-to-five working day.
In fact, our average working hours are longer than those put in by workers in many European countries – placing added pressure on working parents to juggle their responsibilities.
The latest AMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report: Race against time – How Australians spend their time, found the amount of time Australians spend at work has increased from 15.4 per cent of our day in 1997 to 16.5 per cent.
In 1985, men working full-time averaged 39.5 hours. Today it’s 42.3 hours, while for women the hours have risen from 36.4 to 38.6. In South Australia, the average for full-time workers is 39 hours per week; almost on par with the national average but higher than the ACT and Tasmania.
In addition, working on weekends is almost more common, while many Australians have a weekday work pattern that requires an early start or a late finish, or both.
The task of balancing work and family contributed to the report finding that 40 per cent of women and 30 per cent of men are often or always pressed for time. In fact, parents in couple families spend the largest proportion of their day working or engaged in educational activities – 19.2 per cent. This compares to nine per cent for lone parents with dependent children and 13 per cent for partners in couple families with no children.
This has an inevitable impact on work-life balance and makes many working parents feel guilty for the amount of time spent away from their children.
Obviously people are working harder than ever to support their families, but what many neglect is to future-proof their income by taking out insurance. Not many people would be able to sustain their lifestyle and pay their bills if they lost their regular income through illness, accident or permanent disability.
You can ensure that the return for all your hard work is not at risk through a number of policies which will provide you with a financial safety net in the event of sickness, disability or death. It will ensure your family can receive a lump sum payment and not face the possibility of having to find money for medical care, rehabilitation or, should the worst happen, funeral costs.
Income protection, also known as salary continuance, usually pays a monthly benefit of up to 75 per cent of your regular income if you’re sick or injured and can’t work.
This will ensure you can continue to make mortgage payments and cover other bills, such as school fees, utility and grocery bills.
Trauma cover can be an alternative or an addition to income protection, depending on your circumstances. People who are self-employed, working from home or caring for dependents can often not obtain income protection, which is where trauma cover fits in. It provides a lump sum payment if you’re diagnosed with a specified condition and gives you financial security during your recovery. The conditions covered can include heart attack, multiple sclerosis, cancers and stroke.
Total and permanent disablement insurance provides a lump sum payment if you’re totally and permanently disabled. This cover will usually help you pay for medical expenses, repay major debts and ensure that you are looked after in the future.
Death cover makes a lump sum payment to your family if you die, or, under some policies, are diagnosed with a terminal illness. This cover can be valuable to anyone with large debts, such as a mortgage, regardless of age.
It makes sense to have the right cover to ensure your family will have financial support if you die or are unable to work. You can tailor your level of cover, benefit period, payment option and other plan options to suit your own circumstances.
If you would like professional advice about which life insurance option is most suitable for you and your family, consider consulting an accredited financial planner.
Bye for now
This article contains general information only. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider the appropriateness of the information in light of your personal circumstances