A report by Engage Mutual Assurance has identified a new breed of economic powerhouse – the MOMIES. Everyone loves a snappy acronym, this particular one stands for ‘makes own money, is economically savvy’ but is there substance behind the sound bite?
The defining characteristic behind this new group is that they are female. Of course, nobody with any sense could argue that women haven’t always been financially astute. Even in the dark old days when the majority of women were confined to home and expected to give up work on marriage, many household budgets were managed by the female of the house. Even in the upper echelons of society the running of the day-to-day household expenses was usually the responsibility of the lady of the house and senior members of the household staff. Fast-forward to the present day and in the press this week there have again been stories about how women are returning to work in unprecedented numbers as a result of the economic climate and the scrapping of child benefit for middle-class families.
The Engage Mutual research states that 40% of mothers hold the position of breadwinner in their family on top of which they contribute 50% or more to it’s total annual income. Put another way, according to The Institute of Public Policy Research, in 2013 2.2 million working mothers were their family’s chief breadwinner. This is an increase of 83% in the past 15 years – nothing less than a seismic shift. These women are also playing a major role in making key financial decisions, either alone or with their partner.
Technology is also playing it’s part. Take arranging life insurance for example. The ability to seek affordable life insurance online, compare life insurance policies online, obtain a quote online and then purchase policies either online or through a specialist broker has made the process of obtaining life insurance much easier for all those making financial decisions within households. Those women who had perhaps previously not had the confidence to go out and purchase a life insurance policy on the high street can now do all their insurance research and comparisons online in the comfort of their own home or office. Then, armed with their online insurance research, they feel better equipped to meet up with a broker, take their professional advice in comparing policies and complete the purchase of a policy.
The research carried out by Engage Mutual was based on 2,000 mothers nationwide out of whom 70% have their own bank account, 51% have their own savings and 19% have investments. In terms of protection 20% have some form of life cover, 8% have a guaranteed over 50’s plan, 15% have other whole of life cover while 18% have life insurance but weren’t sure if their policy was level term or decreasing term.
There’s been a significant rise in another section of the demographic: single parent households. In 2011 the Office for National Statistics found that women run 91% of the 2 million single households in the country. An increasing number of these women are the primary financial support for their children.
So women are there with the power and the money and yet there’s a huge discrepancy in how many women have life insurance cover compared to their male counterparts. A study by Friends Life group last year showed that while two-thirds of men hold a life cover policy, two-thirds of women don’t.
With many women now in such a key position of financial responsibility it’s worrying that so many lack income protection or life insurance should their circumstances change.
After all that number crunching it’s apparent that there is definitely substance behind the sound bite. These mothers do represent a new financial superpower so why are they leaving themselves financially vulnerable?
Insurance has become a feminist issue. Women need to empower themselves to take charge of all aspects of their financial security and it’s up to insurers to make sure they cater to this emerging market.
To those women reading this thinking, ‘that’s me, I need to get an insurance portfolio’: go online, compare insurance policies, get quotes, find out what’s affordable for you and then find a broker that you trust. Take charge of your financial future!