The pop of a cork followed by drunken and a few not so drunken best wishes heralded the arrival of 2007 and for a lot of people this really will be a year to celebrate. Weddings, births, new houses, new jobs and the ultimate - a trip to France to watch the Rugby World Cup!
With this new-found responsibility should come the awareness of the need to ensure that these most precious things are protected. However the sad fact is that it’s more likely the luggage en route to the Stade de France is insured than the income of the new father.
It’s a bit of a bug-bear of mine that these key life events are not recognised as being the trigger they should be to review to protection needs. I suppose the last thing you really have time to think about as a new parent is popping along to a financial adviser to check you have adequate protection in place – let’s face it, it’s daunting enough to think about going to get the bread and milk.
But when you’re increasing your mortgage and finally getting that dream home you’ve slaved away for years for, you’re already involved in the bamboozling world of finance, banks and advisers. It really should be the logical next step for someone to say – ‘But what if you’re ill and have to give up work, how are you going to pay your mortgage?’ You’d hope that this simple question is all part of the service but looking at the number of people losing their homes due to illness I don’t know if it is (according to Macmillan research, one in 17 people who contract Cancer lose their home and that’s just Cancer.)
What’s the worst that can happen if British Airways loses your luggage and you’re not insured? Yes you might look a bit ragged wearing the same clothes over and over again but you can buy some more with a bit of French chic. Yes your hygiene might not be the best having lost your washbag, but I’ve heard they sell deodorant and even toothbrushes in France nowadays. The camera, well yes that might be a bit of a pain, but in the end you’ll get copies from your friends, buy a disposable in the interim and wait for the sales to replace it. All up, it’s more of an inconvenience than a disaster.
On the other hand – what’s the worst that can happen if a new family lose the one income that’s paying for the mortgage, paying the bills and putting food on the table as well as having to cope with a serious illness? The consequences can be catastrophic and the frustrating thing is that in so many of cases a simple conversation could have made all the difference.
Amongst all the diets, the promises to get fit and spending more time with family – all admirable New Years resolutions it has to be said – I’m going to be flying the flag for the the most important of all - to make sure that protection cover is up to date.
Nick Kirwan is protection market director at Scottish Widows The views expressed are those of the author and not those of the company he represents.IFAonline
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