Ladies, do you have enough insurance? Are you contributing enough to retirement? Do you have enough income rolling in?
In other words, are you totally covered — in all aspects of the word?
You may need to carefully consider how you’re protecting yourself. In some cases, you may even need more insurance and retirement savings than your male counterparts.
Here’s why: As a woman, the gender pay gap leads to an overall disadvantage, not just because women bring in less than men — 82 cents to every dollar earned by men, according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW). In addition, women also hold nearly two-thirds of outstanding student debt in the United States.
Let’s explore the ways you need to cover your bases and take a look at what you might be missing.
Female workers, you may find yourself in a situation where you’re not earning as much as you’d like, but most women, especially single women, aren’t prepared if something happens and you can no longer work.
One in four American female workers will experience a disability before reaching retirement, according to a survey by the Council for Disability Awareness.
More specifically, 25 percent of today's 20-year-olds (men and women combined) will become disabled at some point before retirement, according to the Social Security Administration. Most will become afflicted by some common causes of long-term disabilities:
- Back pain
- Heart disease
What it is
Disability insurance offers a way to replace your income if an illness or injury leaves you unable to work.
Here’s how it works with Breeze: In exchange for the monthly payments you make, Breeze agrees to pay you a monthly benefit amount if you suffer a disability that affects your ability to work.
Disability insurance replaces a percentage of the income you lose due to your inability to earn a paycheck. Disability insurance doesn’t just cover you if you experience a freak accident or rare birth defect. As mentioned before, illnesses or injuries like arthritis, back pain, cancer, depression and more also qualify.
How to get it
Disability insurance comes from an insurance carrier. You can get coverage in a few different ways:
- Look for individual coverage. You can get disability insurance for individuals by working with a licensed independent insurance agent or you can also purchase directly from an insurance company. When you buy an individual policy, you own it for as long as you pay the premium and you lock in the amount you pay. The amount you pay won’t change unless you opt for more coverage. You don’t lose coverage by changing jobs or losing your employment — one of the benefits of getting individual coverage.
- You can also get group disability insurance. You can only get coverage through your employer or an association you belong to (like a freelancers’ union). Many employers offer group disability as an employee benefit and might pay for some or all of the premium cost. Group disability plans are guaranteed issue, which means that if you apply for coverage, you can automatically get it and don’t have to wait for underwriting.
You may face a couple of downsides to group disability coverage. First, if you decide to leave your job, you’ll lose coverage. Second, companies often conduct annual benefit reviews and there’s no guarantee that the plan will be renewed — your employer may simply stop offering disability insurance.
Breeze can help you get coverage in seconds.
- First, answer a few simple questions.
- Apply online in 10 minutes.
- Get a quick decision.
- Get coverage quickly — it’s a breeze!
You may get lucky and spend your whole life healthy as a horse, but most people need some type of medical care eventually. Health insurance covers these costs and offers many other important benefits. (Note, this isn’t just for you, ladies!)
Women are significantly less likely than men to have access to their own employer-based coverage and only 48 percent are eligible to get health insurance through their jobs compared to 57 percent of men. Women lose an average of $4,508 for single coverage and $10,944 for family coverage in employer contributions to health benefits each year, according to American Progress.
What it is
Health insurance covers medical expenses for illnesses, injuries, and conditions. Just like disability insurance, you can opt to jump on a plan through your employer or select and pay for individual health insurance on your own.
What exactly is health insurance and why do you need it? You can look to any number of excellent reasons to get health insurance:
- Accidents or health problems can happen without notice. Health insurance safeguards your health and finances.
- You’ve heard about costly medical procedures — they can bankrupt you!
- You can jump into a doctor-and-hospital network that negotiates lower rates.
- Insurance pays for check-ups and other preventive care critical to maintaining your health and treating illness and accidents — vaccines, screenings, and check-ups.
- You’ll pay less for covered in-network healthcare before you meet your deductible.
However, the stark reality is this: The combination of the wage gap, higher out-of-pocket medical expenses, results in over 50 percent of women who report delays or going without needed care because of the cost compared to only 39 percent of men. Women must choose between having money for health care coverage or other necessities because of unequal benefits and discrimination in health insurance coverage, according to American Progress.
How to get it
According to HealthCare.gov, You can get health care coverage through:
- A group coverage plan at your job or your spouse or partner's job
- Your parents' insurance plan, if you are under 26 years old
- A plan you purchase on your own directly — you can purchase from an insurance company or through the Health Insurance Marketplace
- Government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, or Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- The Veterans Administration or TRICARE for military personnel
- Your state, if it provides a health insurance plan
- Continuing employer coverage from your former employer, on a temporary basis under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
It’s best to compare insurance costs from multiple providers and ultimately choose which one offers the best coverage and meets your ability to pay.
One in five households with children under age 18 did not have life insurance in 2016, according to the Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association (LIMRA).
Of those families who have no life insurance coverage, 62 percent say they would be in immediate financial trouble if a primary wage earner died.
As you can see, it’s imperative that women get life insurance.
What it is
Life insurance is a contract between you and an insurer or assurer. The insurer promises to pay your beneficiary or beneficiaries a sum of money in exchange for your monthly premium once you die. Life insurance allows you, among other things, to:
- Provide for your family: Life insurance offers your family peace of mind that they’ll get financial protection when you die. The death benefit can offer assistance with mortgage payments or rent, car payments and car insurance, basic needs like food, utilities, health insurance, clothes, and more.
- Pay for funeral expenses: Funerals are expensive. Life insurance can help cover the costs of a burial plot in a cemetery, a stone marker, grave opening and closing costs, services from a mortician and funeral home, staffing for a funeral ceremony, and more.
- Pay for child care if you die while your children are young: Seventy-two percent of parents say they spend 10 percent or more of their household income on child care, according to Care.com. The survey reported that half of families (55 percent) spend at least $10,000 per year on child care.
- Pay for college: You can also use your life insurance benefit to pay for college.
How to get it
Visit with a trusted financial advisor or buy from an independent broker. You can also get life insurance through your job, though life insurance essentially has the same problem as disability insurance: If you leave your job, you lose it. Shop around. Even if your family financial advisor offers options, you may find cheaper life insurance options online.
Women are generally more likely than men to take breaks in their careers to serve as caregivers. What does that mean? It means they save less for retirement. Add to that — women’s reduced earnings and the fact that people live longer — and it makes it even more apparent that women need to save as much as possible for retirement.
What it is
Retirement planning refers to saving and investing with the goal of supporting yourself through retirement. Many popular investment vehicles such as IRAs and 401(k)s allow you to grow your money with tax advantages.
How to get it
Your employer may offer you a Roth 401(k), 401(k), Roth 403(b), 403(b), SIMPLE IRA, and more.
You can also consider establishing an individual retirement account (IRA) to help build your nest egg. This could involve a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA.
You need to get started using a brokerage account, and here are some popular options:
Find out which IRA might be right for you, and you can also elect to work with a financial advisor. Get to know a professional who cares about your well-being and isn’t there to just push a product, answers your questions, and more.
Take your needs to Breeze
Breeze can help you out with more than just disability insurance. Consider adding critical illness insurance to your list of needs. Breeze provides a cash benefit if you experience a covered illness such as heart attack, cancer, or stroke. Breeze’s quick application process makes it easy to find individual coverage at a price that fits your budget.
Melissa Brock is the Money editor at Benzinga and founder of College Money Tips. She loves helping people achieve their money goals and really enjoys writing about personal finance and the college search.
The information and content provided herein is for educational purposes only, and should not be considered legal, tax, investment, or financial advice, recommendation, or endorsement. Breeze does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, reliability or usefulness of any testimonials, opinions, advice, product or service offers, or other information provided here by third parties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.