Updated 16 May 2013

A heads-up for single parents

If you are a single parent, it’s vital to secure financial backup in case you are unable to generate an income. This is where protection comes in.


This is stating the obvious, but being a parent is an awesome responsibility. That’s true on a thousand levels, from teaching table manners to providing a decent education, from explaining about the birds and the bees to making sure you’re able to buy the best medical care if something goes wrong on the health front. CEO Lenerd Louw stresses that until they’re able to provide for themselves, children are 100% dependent on your ability and willingness to provide for them. S, he says, stuff you might never have concentrated on before – life cover, salary protection, disability cover, serious illness cover – suddenly become ideas you need to weigh up.

Especially if you’re a single parent, he says, it’s vital that you provide backup for yourself by being able to continue providing for your family if you are unable to generate an income. That’s where insurance comes in, especially salary protection. Because no matter how secure you believe your job to be, and no matter how good you are at it, you never know where landmines are lying in wait.

Vivien (not her real name) was the envy of her friends because of her job as general manager of a small office. She loved the work, and she got on well with her boss: she learned much from him over the years, and when he felt she needed to grow further, he encouraged her to apply for a place on a prestigious business degree programme. Partly due to his excellent reference, she was accepted, and he continued to offer encouragement and the necessary time off through the study years.

And then he was promoted. And his successor, in the spirit of new brooms sweeping clean, restructured the office. Some three months later, from being in the happiest space possible professionally, Viven had been retrenched. Now, in addition to her sadness at having lost her much-loved work, she’s struggling financially. Her retrenchment package is about to run out, and there’s still no new job. She has some savings, but she’s starting to rethink every little luxury in her life and home. No matter how frugally she lives, meeting the bills – including school fees – is suddenly something she’s unsure she’ll be able to do.

Louw says that salary protection is an option everyone should consider, particularly parents, and most particularly single parents who don’t have a partner to fall back on. “Should you lose your job through retrenchment or because you’re sick or injured, it’s a way of making sure the pay cheques keep coming.”

Conditions and benefits of salary protection policies change according to the insurer. “For instance, their clients receive pre-agreed payments of up to 75% of their salary for up to six months and for disability and serious illness payments until you are 65 years old,” he adds.

This means they can continue paying their bond and their utility bills, school fees and groceries, petrol and other essentials, until they’ve recovered from the illness or injury which took them off work, or found another job if they have been retrenched, he explains.

“Last year almost a million South Africans lost their jobs, nothing is secure and you need to take control of your financial future. It’s all a part of the Life Investment mix, be sure that you can afford to maintain the quality of your life and your families life if you get sick, injured or lose your job,” Louw concludes.

(Source:, July 2011)

(Picture: single mom and teen from Shutterstock)


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