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Kiwi Mothers undervalued and underinsured

Monday, 15 May 2006

Kiwi Mothers undervalued and underinsured

AMP research reveals that New Zealanders undervalue the worth of a mother.s unpaid work in the home

Yesterday, as New Zealanders celebrated their .Mums., an independent research study commissioned by AMP Financial Services revealed that whilst we do stop to say .thanks, Mum. on Mother.s Day, in general Kiwi mothers are undervalued and underinsured.

Results indicate that, as a nation, we have failed to recognise the value and worth of our mothers and the vital role they play in keeping our families running like a well-oiled machine.

The recent study conducted by AMP, involving a national survey of 250 mothers and fathers, showed that, on average, half of the fathers estimated a mother.s net worth at under $25,000 per annum. And, some interesting regional differences came to light as to how people around the country viewed the value of a mother.

41 per cent of Christchurch fathers surveyed expected to pay less than $15,000 per year to replace Mum, as opposed to 32 per cent of their counterparts in Auckland. By comparison, only 27 per cent of Christchurch mothers valued themselves at less than $15,000.

At the other end of the scale, 16 per cent of Wellington fathers valued a mother.s annual net worth in excess of $95,000, whereas only 6 per cent of Christchurch fathers agreed.

Southern mothers agreed with Wellington fathers, with 16 per cent of them valuing themselves in excess of $95,000.

On average, mothers in Christchurch place the highest value on the cost to replace themselves at just under $40,000, followed by Wellington mothers at $37,000, whilst Auckland mothers valued themselves at just over $35,500 per annum.

Nationally, on average males valued the replacement cost of a mother at $31,000.

Fathers whose partners work full-time ascribed the highest dollar value to replace a mother, followed by those men whose partners didn.t work. Women who work part-time drew the short straw with their partners estimating their replacement cost at $12,000 less than mothers who work full-time.

The research results also revealed that most mothers feel undervalued and that they still carry the bulk of the burden of childcare responsibilities and household tasks. While today.s fathers are undoubtedly contributing to household tasks at a much high level than the previous generation, the research revealed that an imbalance still exists in the sharing of childcare and household tasks.

In general, a father.s involvement with household tasks and childcare responsibilities are still grouped around activities that could be stereotyped as .the male domain.. The majority of fathers said they were the main ones responsible for washing the car, mowing the lawn, putting out the rubbish, paying family bills, and doing the gardening.

In contrast, the tasks and responsibilities that mothers said they mainly did largely revolved around childcare. Caring for sick children took the top spot for Auckland and Wellington mums, along with cooking the evening meal, making packed lunches, and cleaning bathrooms. By contrast, Christchurch mums said they spent most time doing the laundry, paying family bills, grocery shopping and helping with homework, along with caring for sick children.

Auckland men obviously vest a great deal of pride in their cars with 70 per cent of them listing it as the top household task for which they take responsibility. Wellington and Christchurch men, on the other hand, chose lawn mowing as their #1 task with 66 per cent and 68 per cent respectively.

But the Auckland dads also say they are more likely to share household tasks such as vacuuming the house (43 per cent) and doing the ironing (30 per cent), whereas Wellington dads say they are more likely to share the task of cleaning the bathroom (34 per cent).

Women in full-time employment still feel they take primary responsibility for child-related care, with 61 per cent of them saying they look after them and only 30 per cent saying they share the task equally with their partner.

According to Jane Anderson, General Manager - AMP Public Affairs, the question is not so much about who does what or the actual dollar figure that mothers and fathers ascribe to the value of a mother.s unpaid work in the home. What New Zealand families need to ask themselves is whether adequate provision has been made for a mother.s family in the unfortunate event of something happening to her.

The cost of employing someone else to do all the things that a mother does in the home is tremendously expensive. If we look at the cost of replacing the work of a mother if something happens to her, and a housekeeper is hired to do as near as possible the tasks she used to do, we can start to get a feel for the true replacement cost.

The cost varies according to the size of the family, their ages, and the family.s lifestyle. So there.s no one simple answer. But a permanent, live-in housekeeper who looks after one adult and two children costs, approximately $500 per week . a package of about $26,000 per annum. The housekeeper would also be entitled to two days off per week, three weeks. annual leave, plus sick leave and other statutory requirements.

Alarmingly, the research results revealed that one in three mothers have no life insurance cover to protect their family if the worst were to happen. On a regional level, the families of Christchurch mothers are most vulnerable, with 38 per cent of Christchurch mums with no cover. By contrast, only 21 per cent of Christchurch fathers have no life insurance cover. Further north, 32 per cent of Auckland mothers and 29 per cent of Wellington mothers have no life insurance cover. Not only that, but also one in ten mothers were completely unaware of the level of life insurance cover they possess. Of the 67 per cent of mothers who do have life insurance cover, one third of them have less than $200,000 of cover.

Regionally, the average level of life insurance cover for mothers reveals some significant discrepancies. On average, Auckland mothers are ensured for around $295,000 with Wellington mothers insured for almost $265,500. Christchurch mothers draw the short straw with only $195,000 worth of life insurance cover.

Many New Zealanders struggle when it comes to determining an adequate level of life insurance cover for their families,. says Jane Anderson. .A sum of $200,000 life cover for a mother may seem reasonable, but when you break it down, the numbers often don.t stack up..

A good general rule of thumb, to ensure your family is adequately protected, is to start with a figure that is five times your salary. This obviously poses a problem for mothers who don.t work outside the home. Where do they start? According to Jane Anderson, there.s no simple answer. You just can.t apply a .one size fits all. approach. It comes down to the needs of each individual family. She suggests a good starting point would be to determine the number of years left with dependent preschool and school-aged children, as well as a review of current levels of household debt.

This establishes a reasonable benchmark from which to make a decision about the degree of life cover needed to safeguard a family from severe financial hardship.

That is why it is such a cause for concern that one in three mothers has no life insurance cover and many more are underinsured. It.s a potentially disastrous situation for some families.

The cost of $350,000 of AMP life insurance cover for a female non-smoker aged 35-39 is only $4.61 per week. The same quote based on a 40-44 year old is $6.03. That.s the price of one to two cappuccinos per week..

The perceived affordability of life insurance cover by the general public is a huge barrier.

But, according to Jane Anderson, it simply cannot be compared to the magnitude of the debt burden that would be sustained in the event of a mother not being there to carry out all the household tasks that are currently taken for granted.

ENDS


Total Weekly Premium for $350,000 cover
Gender Age Health Weekly Premium
Male 30 Non smoker $5.67
35 Non smoker $5.88
40 Non smoker $7.09
45 Non smoker $9.71
Female 30 Non smoker $4.18
35 Non smoker $4.61
40 Non smoker $6.03
45 Non smoker $8.29

Key research findings - national
What a father thinks it would cost to replace a mother

- On average, men value women at $6,191 less than women value themselves

- 35 per cent of men said it would cost $15,000 or less to replace a mum

- Half of the men surveyed estimated the cost to replace a mother at under $25,000

- Fathers whose partners are in full-time paid employment valued the cost to replace a mother at $12,123 more than fathers whose partners are in part-time paid employment and $10,143 more than fathers whose partners are full-time .home executives.

Life insurance cover

- One in three mothers and fathers have no life insurance cover

- Of the 67 per cent of mothers who do have life insurance cover, one in three has less than $200,000 of life insurance cover

- By comparison, of the 66 per cent of men who do have life insurance cover, 26 per cent of men have less than $200,000 of life insurance cover

- One in ten mothers don.t know what level of life insurance cover they have

- 44 per cent of mothers have life insurance cover valued between $200,000 and $500,000

- 54 per cent of fathers have life insurance cover valued between $200,000 and $500,000

- The mean level of life insurance cover for mothers is $297,471 as compared to $339,964 for fathers . i.e. on average fathers are insured for 14 per cent more than mothers

- Women who are engaged in full or part-time employment are more likely to have life insurance cover . 87 per cent and 84 per cent respectively

REGIONAL DIFFERENCES:
The cost to replace a mother

- Men in Wellington and Christchurch were even more likely to undervalue the mother with 40 per cent and 41 per cent respectively valuing her at $15,000 or less

- Mothers in Christchurch place the highest value on themselves, followed by Wellington, with Auckland mothers valuing themselves the lowest

Percentage of fathers who would expect to pay less than $15,000 a year to replace Mum
Auckland . 32 per cent
Wellington . 40 per cent
Christchurch . 41 per cent

Percentage of fathers who would expect to pay over $95,000 a year to replace
Mum
Auckland . 8 per cent
Wellington . 16 per cent
Christchurch . 6 per cent

Percentage of mothers who would expect to pay less than $15,000 a year to
replace Mum
Auckland . 28 per cent
Wellington . 34 per cent
Christchurch . 27 per cent

Percentage of mothers who would expect to pay over $95,000 a year to replace
Mum
Auckland . 10 per cent
Wellington . 11 per cent
Christchurch . 16 per cent

Proportion of mothers who say they have no life cover
Auckland . 32 per cent
Wellington . 29 per cent
Christchurch . 38 per cent

Proportion of fathers who say they have no life cover
Auckland . 40 per cent
Wellington . 32 per cent
Christchurch . 21 per cent

Mean level of life insurance cover for mothers
Auckland - $294,770
Wellington - $265,480
Christchurch - $195,000

Note to editors:
The AMP Value of a Mother research was conducted by TNS in April 2006 involving a sample of 250 parents . 125 males and 125 females - with children aged 16 years and under.


Background Information . AMP Value of a Mother Research . Auckland region
Key research findings:

The top five household tasks that mothers say they mainly do

- Care for sick children . 76 per cent

- Do the laundry . 76 per cent

- Clean bathrooms . 70 per cent

- Make packed lunches . 70 per cent

- Cook the evening meal . 68 per cent

The top five household tasks that fathers say they mainly do

- Wash the car . 70 per cent

- Pay the family bills . 59 per cent

- Put out the rubbish . 57 per cent

- Mow the lawn . 43 per cent

- Do the gardening . 23 per cent

The bottom five household tasks that fathers say they mainly do

- Change nappies . 0 per cent

- Supervise or play with children . 4 per cent

- Look after sick children . 6 per cent

- Help with homework . 7 per cent

- Clean the bathroom . 8 per cent

The bottom five household tasks that mothers say they mainly do

- Mow the lawn . 6 per cent

- Wash the car . 14 per cent

- Put out the rubbish . 24 per cent

- Gardening . 26 per cent

- Supervise or play with children . 36 per cent

Background Information . AMP Value of a Mother Research . Wellington region
Key research findings:

The top five household tasks that mothers say they mainly do

- Care for sick children . 68 per cent

- Cook the evening meal . 68 per cent

- Make packed lunches . 66 per cent

- Clean bathrooms . 63 per cent

- Vacuum the house . 63 per cent

The top five household tasks that fathers say they mainly do

- Mow the lawn . 66 per cent

- Put out the rubbish . 66 per cent

- Wash the car . 58 per cent

- Pay the family bills . 42 per cent

- Help with homework . 22 per cent

The bottom five household tasks that fathers say they mainly do

- Change nappies . 4 per cent

- Look after sick children . 8 per cent

- Clean the bathroom . 8 per cent

- Do the laundry . 11 per cent

- Make packed lunches . 13 per cent

The bottom five household tasks that mothers say they mainly do

- Mow the lawn . 5 per cent

- Wash the car . 16 per cent

- Put out the rubbish . 16 per cent

- Gardening . 26 per cent

- Change nappies . 32 per cent

Background Information . AMP Value of a Mother Research . Christchurch region

The top five household tasks that mothers say they mainly do

- Do the laundry . 78 per cent

- Care for sick children . 73 per cent

- Pay the family bills . 65 per cent

- Grocery shopping . 65 per cent

- Help with homework . 65 per cent

The top five household tasks that fathers say they mainly do

- Mow the lawn . 68 per cent

- Put out the rubbish . 62 per cent

- Wash the car . 62 per cent

- Pay the family bills . 38 per cent

- Dishes/load or unload dishwasher . 27 per cent

The bottom five household tasks that fathers say they mainly do

- Change nappies . 0 per cent

- Look after sick children . 6 per cent

- Cook the evening meal . 6 per cent

- Vacuum the house . 6 per cent

- Supervise or play with children . 6 per cent

The bottom five household tasks that mothers say they mainly do

- Wash the car . 14 per cent

- Mow the lawn . 19 per cent

- Put out the rubbish . 24 per cent

- Dishes/load or unload dishwasher . 30 per cent

- Gardening . 38 per cent

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