What is personal financial risk management?

signpost with words of despair and lost hope

Personal financial risk management addresses one of the two key features of a well-constructed financial plan – wealth creation and wealth preservation – the preservation aspect of the plan is addressed in this post.

Wealth creation is designed to build capital, based on the assumption that you will have continued good health and have an expected timeframe over which to reach the goal.

Wealth preservation often involves transferring the risk to another party in the event that something may happen, preventing you from meeting your long-term financial and lifestyle objectives.

Personal financial risk management – being strategic…

Wealth preservation in this context, takes the form of personal risk insurance: it involves assessing your financial circumstances and ensuring that your assets and resources are protected. Personal risk insurance is a simple means of transferring financial risks from individuals who cannot afford to (or choose to not) retain the risks, to insurers who can – in a viable personal financial risk management strategy. Personal risk insurance is life insurance.

Who benefits from a personal financial risk management strategy?

A personal financial risk management strategy, utilising relevant and adequate insurance product, is important to relieve you and your family of the financial burdens associated with the loss of income if an event occurs such as death or permanent/temporary disablement. It provides peace of mind that you and your family are assured financial security by providing an ongoing income source, debt repayment, a replacement housekeeper/ nanny while your children are young, and possible funds to meet your children’s future education needs.

Why should a professional assess my risk insurance needs?

Given the complex nature of risk management, professional assistance will ensure that the correct type and amount of insurance is put in place. Your need for life insurance – the type and amount of insurance cover – will include consideration of your personal financial circumstances and objectives, lifestyle needs, number of dependants and your age.

What types of insurance are available?

life insurance policy document being part of personal financial risk management plan

The types of insurance policies available are:

Income Protection and Salary Continuance

An income protection policy will pay you income in the event of being unable to work due to illness or injury. Income protection insurance replaces up to 75 per cent of your monthly income for a period up to the policy anniversary date prior to your 65th birthday.

Income protection provides quality cover and a variety of additional features to give added protection and to help you get back on your feet in the event of a claim. The premiums you pay on this type of policy are tax deductible, and the income payments received under the policy will be assessable income for tax purposes.

Life (Death) Insurance

Life insurance provides financial protection in the event of death and the cost of the insurance depends on the type of cover selected. A regular review of your cover is necessary to ensure you are not under or over insured.

In determining the most appropriate policy, a balance must be achieved between affordability and the most favourable policy conditions. To determine the amount of cover required, the following considerations are important:

  • Current levels of assets and liabilities, especially the amount outstanding under a mortgage on the family home.
  • Income required to maintain your family’s standard of living.
  • Costs of a housekeeper, day care etc, should these services need to be provided.
  • Costs of caring for a totally and permanently disabled person.

Life insurance such as term insurance is usually taken out to repay debts, to cover dependants from the loss of an income provider and/or to secure a business.

Total (Temporary) and Permanent Disability (TPD)

TPD is an additional cover to death cover and it is designed to provide a lump sum should you suffer an illness or injury which totally and permanently incapacitates you and prevents you from working again. TPD can be taken out to repay debts, to cover capital gains tax liabilities and to cover dependants from the loss of an income provider.

Before purchasing a TPD contract, you should establish the circumstances under which the insurance company will pay a claim, as the precise definition of TPD and the conditions that must be met to receive compensation vary considerably with different companies.

Trauma (Critical Illness) Insurance

Trauma insurance is a lump sum payment for those who suffer a specified traumatic event such as the diagnosis of cancer, coronary disease, etc. The specific purpose of this is to provide for medical treatment, child care and debt management.

The benefit on a trauma policy is paid to you when the diagnosis is confirmed, not when you die of the condition. This is important because it provides you and your family with a lump sum to use at your discretion, when it is most needed. It may be needed to pay for the additional medical care, or perhaps to pay the mortgage to relieve the financial pressure on the household.

Why should you read and understand the contract?

When you take out insurance cover you should obtain the policy contract and read it thoroughly to ensure you understand exactly what the policy is insuring you against. If you are unsure about any aspect of the contract, ask your financial adviser to explain anything that you do not understand. This will help you avoid any complications that may arise if you or your estate should need to make a claim on the policy.

Why participate in ongoing reviews?

As your wealth grows as a result of the implementation of your financial plan and your personal circumstances change, your need for insurance cover may decline or increase over time. Therefore, it is beneficial to periodically review your insurance cover.

Contact Us

Our professional services in respect of your needs for personal risk insurance protection are available now: please either call our office (07-34213456), or complete the contact us form on our website to arrange a meeting to consider your particular situation. The experienced advisers at Continuum Financial Planners Pty Ltd will listen to your needs, confirm that they understand your situation as you are experiencing it – and have solutions to provide the protection you are seeking.

This post was originally published in February 2010: it has been refreshed/ updated from time to time, most recently in June 2021.

Acknowledgements: we acknowledge the considerable contribution made by Securitor Financial Group Limited to the content of this article, which has been extracted from Reference Material provided in a template advice document.