In this month’s Construction Magazine, Susan applies the mission statement of Construction Safety Week 2020 to planning your future personal finances.

 

With this year’s Construction Safety Week wrapped up, I reflected on the mission statement and considered how it could apply to personal finance. I have applied some of the logic to the key points and encourage you to consider the safety of your financial future.

The collective mission of this year’s Construction Safety Week was to:

  • Work together to eliminate accidents and incidents on construction sites in Ireland;
  • Promote a healthy culture of sharing lessons learned and best practice in safety, health and wellbeing; and,
  • Reflect on the positive initiatives taken and celebrate achievements in good safety performance, whilst appreciating the potential consequences of failing to act responsibly in terms
    of safety and health.

Financial advice can’t eliminate accidents, but if I can offer some advice to people involved in construction, it’s to consider what safety net they have in place in the event of accident or illness.

ACCIDENT PROTECTION

I have written about the importance of Income Protection many times in Construction before, and it bears repeating. The World Health Organisation (WHO), stated that globally, life expectancy increased by five years between 2000 and 2015. You can expect to live well into your retirement years (passed 65), but for up to one in four people, it is not all plain sailing. Illness and injury are unforeseen life events. You should have a well thought out financial plan in place to see you through any unforeseen events in your working life, and Income Protection is an important part of that financial plan.

Income Protection is a policy that insures a portion of your income, so that in the event of a loss of earnings due to illness or injury, you can make a claim against this policy, to replace some of these lost earnings.

Why is Income Protection Important?

Most of us would struggle financially if we were out of work. One in three is certain they would not manage, and only one in five has the necessary savings to get them by. The reason I write about Income Protection so much is because I genuinely believe Income Protection is the most important cover that you need. In 2018, an Irish Life survey by Coyne Research highlighted that only 13% of the working population is covered. This is based on a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults over 18. Based on the statistics above, this leaves many workers exposed to the dangers of financial uncertainty should they fall ill.

LESSONS LEARNED

There are many lessons to be learned when it comes to safety, health and wellbeing. The best and most timely lesson I will share is that people underestimate the value of tax relief on pension savings. I hear many people disparage pensions as boring and old fashioned and that they will save for retirement in their own way. Consider this, if you save €100 per month over 20 years in a bank account with no interest, you will have €24,000, and it will have cost you €24,000.

If you save the same in a pension scheme, with tax relief at the higher rate of 40%, and 4% growth pa, you will save €37,163, and it will have cost you €14,400. There are many different assumptions and figures you could use here, but ultimately, saving for your future in a pension arrangement means that you will end up with more for less. It’s a no brainer.

A TIME FOR REFLECTION

Needless to say, “appreciating the potential consequences of failing to act responsibly” is the key takeaway for me here. Failing to plan for your financial future has consequences. Ask yourself; “Can I live on my savings if I can’t work during a short illness?” Ask yourself if you can live comfortably on the State pension of €12,911 per annum and at the same time afford any unexpected medical expenses?

If Construction Safety Week 2020 teaches us anything, it is that taking some time once a year to reflect on things can make a big difference to our safety, and the same is true for your finances. Take some time, make a plan, revisit it every year, the rest will take care of itself.