By Randy Neumann
Today, a woman in the workplace is commonplace, but it wasn’t always that way. During World War II, Rosie the Riveter became an American icon. While the men were overseas engaged in battle, the women at home worked in the factories making the weapons of war. Their work was acknowledged and celebrated in the drawing of Rosie the Riveter on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post by famed artist Norman Rockwell, and through the millions of posters distributed by the Ad Council depicting a woman in manufacturing garb flexing her bicep with the caption, “We Can Do It!”
In 1942, big-band leader James Kern “Kay” Kaiser’s big hit “Rosie the Riveter” began with these lyrics:
“All the day long,
Whether rain or shine
She’s part of the assembly line
She’s making history
Working for victory
Rosie the Riveter”
Well, certainly Rosie the Riveter needed some life insurance to protect her paycheck. And, in many cases, she had kids at home, so she had multiple needs for life insurance.
Not much has changed in 69 years. Penn Mutual, a large life insurance company, released a study in early May (just in time for Mother’s Day) that suggests both moms and single women do more work at home. Unlike their male counterparts, however, they don’t think enough about the value of what they do.
In the third annual Worth for Women Survey, women and men were asked to place a dollar value on the work that they do away from their jobs. Both groups put the dollar estimate at around $25,000 per year. Respondents were then asked to list the hours they spent doing a variety of household chores, such as laundry and meal preparation in addition to childcare. When the insurance company calculated the value of the actual hours reported doing household jobs, they found that men overestimate the value of what they do by almost 13%. In contrast, women across the country were found to underestimate the worth of all they do for their homes and families.
When the actual median value of services was computed, a woman’s contribution to the home was $34,256 versus $19,322 for men. Men were 9% more likely to overestimate their contribution by $30,000 or more. The person most likely to underestimate her worth is the mother of a minor child. The computed worth for such a woman is $44,913, while her perceived worth is $29,000. Over half (52%) of these women underestimate their worth by at least $10,000; 36% do so by at least $30,000.
“As a life insurance company, we often see evidence that women underestimate their value to their families — with serious or tragic consequences when that work has to be replaced by outsiders after the untimely death of a wife or mother,” said Tracy Marrocco, Director of Women’s Marketing for Penn Mutual. “Far too many families fail to account for this value, leaving women uninsured or under-insured. This survey revealed that women own significantly less coverage than men do, with the median individual coverage amount for women being $100,000 as compared to $150,000 for men.”
Women, of course, understand that life insurance provides a death benefit, but lack knowledge when it comes to the different life insurance products available and the unique benefits they provide. For example, the Worth Survey found that women place high value on building cash reserves to borrow from for expenditures such as paying for college or starting a new business, but they often aren’t aware that permanent life insurance can provide this benefit. Clearly, it’s difficult to make an informed decision when purchasing life insurance if you underestimate your worth and aren’t aware of all the options.
“What’s surprising is how significantly women undervalue the contributions they make to their homes and families—yet this thinking has negative repercussions for women and their loved ones and undermines their prospects for a secure financial future,” said Marrocco. “At Penn Mutual, we encourage women to first know their worth and then take the necessary steps to assure a bright future for themselves and their families through the complete value of life insurance.”
Well, what are you waiting for? Figure out how much life insurance you need and take care of it with a single policy or a combination of the following: Term, Whole Life, Universal Life, or Variable life insurance.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for the individual. Randy Neumann CFP® is a registered representative with securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at 12 Route 17N, Suite 115, Paramus, 201-291-9000.