By: Kathleen Storey
The world as we know it is in disarray. Every news channel and social media platform is flooded with updates on this terrifying pandemic. Someone who is of little political or medical importance, Sophie Turner of Game of Thrones fame, said we are living in a time where we may value our lives over freedom. This statement has no economic or political or life-saving value, but it does strike a chord, as March was South Africa’s Human Rights Month and so many of our human rights are currently being affected by COVID-19.
Amidst all the panic, and fear, and hand washing, and Presidential addresses and conspiracy theories, your financial advisor may be an unlikely hero. Firstly, thanks to technology, your financial advisor can meet you “face-to-face” while still adhering to social distancing and lockdown protocols. All those times you have thought to yourself, “I need to meet with my financial advisor when I get a chance” just caught up with you, because if you are under lockdown, you have many chances. Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom, or even good old emails, offer alternatives to traditional meetings. Allowing you to keep in-touch and informed about your financial options during this time.
Two main concerns during the lockdown are the threat to our health, and the threat to our finances. A conversation with your financial advisor may put your mind at rest regarding the financial concerns. There are a few financial insurance products that may ease your mind during this time:
- If you have an income disability policy and were to become symptomatic of COVID-19 and have to stay home or go to hospital, you will be able to claim for any lost earnings during the period. It is important to note that there are different types of income disability policies with different waiting periods and requirements.
- Medical aid gap cover will cover any bills associated with COVID-19 that your medical aid does not cover.
- During the lockdown, many South Africans are experiencing a loss of income. Your financial advisor may be able to offer you payment holidays, on products like retirement annuities, to ease the financial burden during this time.
- A life insurance policy will pay out to your family in the unlikely event that you succumb to the illness, should you contract it.
If you are a business owner and are just as concerned for the financial impact on your company, as you are for your own finances, then your financial advisor could assist you here as well. For example, you may be able to apply for financial assistance on a corporate pension fund, allowing you to delay payments into the pension fund over this time. Corporate pension and provident fund members have access to value-added services, which includes a 24-hour medical helpline for medical advice.
In closing, remember that physical isolation does not mean that you are alone. Keep in contact with friends and family, embrace spending more time with those you are in lockdown with, and if something is troubling you, reach out for advice.
Stay home. Stay safe.