If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I talk a lot about becoming pregnant and starting a new life in January 2021 as a first time Mum. I’ll be 34 when I have my baby girl, so I’d like to think I’ve done a lot before becoming a Mum, such as worked my way up in a PR and Marketing career, made the jump to become self-employed, built my own businesses, travelled, settled down, and had all my wild days!
There’s a slightly more ‘serious’ and grown up side that I’ve been thinking about recently, too. Of course, I’ll be going on my own form of maternity, yet I’ll be leaving my work aside for a few months but with the pressure of still needing to be earning and providing a future for my baby girl. Even though she’ll have two parents, it’s still up to me to be able to provide comfortably for her, and to make sure that I’m financially secure incase anything happens in the future.
So today I wanted to touch on income protection – a topic that I feel not enough Mum’s, or people in general, discuss. In the UK, we’re a country where statutory sick pay or maternity pay (or maternity allowance in my case) doesn’t really offer the type of financial cover most people need.
Whether you’re taking a break from work due to being injured or ill, or you’re like me and starting a family, income protection insurance offers a personal level of cover to ensure your salary or average earning (or at least a main bulk of it) is still available to you while you take time off. Honestly, it’s something I just wasn’t aware of, but by reading up on it opened my mind up to the options I could have.
Once of the things a lot of Mum’s I know, and first time mum’s especially, worry about is how they’ll cover monthly bills while being off for a long period of time. I’ve heard people worry about this in the same way when they’ve had to take time off work for compassionate issues, mental health, or physical problems.
Income protection can help plug that gap when it comes to sick pay or maternity pay/allowance. Especially if you end up having to stay off work for an extended period.
Self-employed income protection
When going through maternity or injury/illness, the self-employed are particularly vulnerable. This is the category that I fall into, and I find everyone keeps asking me “how long are you taking on maternity?” which is so ridiculously hard for me to answer.
I mean, how long will I feel like I can? When will I need to pick up my work and gain clients again? How long can I cope on maternity allowance? What if a situation arises, like my partner is out of work, and we’re struggling? This is where they say that having income protection can make sure that you have a buffer -in case something unexpected happens.
Income protection cover and maternity leave
Just to clear it up: the big question often asked around maternity pay, is just like with sick pay, can income protection be used to cover the shortfall in maternity allowance. Unfortunately the short answer is no, as income protection is aimed to cover for an unexpected drop in your income, like with illnesses or injury. Something that pregnancy and maternity doesn;t sit directly underneath.
However, if I’m to due to go back into employment, or with my partner being in employment, income protection cover is great for us to look at because if we have to take extended time off work for anything, we have an extra person to think about (our little baby girl!).
So of course, I’m not saying that me taking income protection is the answer for improving maternity allowance of SMP, but it is great for if my parter or i becomes ill or injured in the future while we’re parents and looking after/supporting the family.
If you want to protect yourself from further setbacks due to illness or anything unexpected, then it’s a handy thing to look into income protection. Like I’ve said a number of times in this write up, it was something I never really looked at before, but I’ve found myself informing my partner about why it could be the peace of mind we need. After all, it’s not just the two of us we’re looking after…
If you’re planning for a family, you have to think of it like this: while pregnancy is not an illness or injury, you could become poorly or have something happen to you that is unrelated to your coming child, and once they are born, you could slip and fall just as typically as before you were a mother.
Both life insurance and income protection become a greater focus once you are providing for a family, so it’s definitely something that is now on mine and my partners radar…