By: Old Mutual
Why young people need to ensure they’re financially covered against severe illness
Your youth may be the best time of your life, a period of self-discovery, fun and building your ideal future, but for many young South Africans it is also a time when less fortunate family members turn to you for financial support. Whether you call this phenomenon ‘black tax’ or the ‘sandwich generation’, it is inspired by the noble spirit of ubuntu, which is about expressing kindness, compassion and humanity.
When your hard-earned income must help to achieve not only your own dreams but those of others too, it is particularly important to safeguard it and ensure you have financial cover in place to protect you if you are diagnosed with a severe illness.
“Without the right cover in place, a severe illness can disrupt your life immensely and put a halt on you and your family’s goals and plans,” says Jaco Gouws, Protection Product Head at Old Mutual. “This is why it is important to future-proof your dreams by getting cover for such unforeseen life events,” he adds.
Gouws says that heart-related illnesses are becoming more and more common. “In our 2016 claims stats, 28% of the ‘Big Four’ severe illness claims were for heart-related illnesses, with heart attacks contributing 17%, and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) contributing 11%,” he says. “Cancer (64%) and stroke (8%) are the other two illnesses that complete the ‘Big Four’, which in total made up 81% of all the Old Mutual GREENLIGHT severe illness claims in 2016.”
These stats demonstrate the importance of financially preparing for life after a severe illness. Ironically, medical advancements that improve our chances of surviving illnesses are accompanied by a host of associated costs for medication, lifestyle adjustments as well as other unexpected expenses.
Gouws stresses that having severe illness cover is important, regardless of your age and health status. The reality is that no one is immune. “In 2016, our youngest claimant for a severe illness was only 19 years old,” he explains.
“Do what you can to reduce your chances of developing a severe illness by eating well, exercising regularly and keeping your stress levels low. Speaking to a financial adviser to ensure you have adequate severe illness cover in place will alleviate the need to worry about money while you recover. It will give you peace of mind that your dreams are sheltered and your family responsibilities will not be compromised,” Gouws concludes.