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Lifepedia - Medical Coverage - Insurance for homemakers

We need to acknowledge the real value homemakers bring to society

A correlation between the most overlooked human capital and accumulated opportunity cost

02 Aug 2022
We need to acknowledge the real value homemakers bring to society

During COVID, the world started to realise that some of the most important jobs were not always getting the appreciation that they deserve. A non-exhaustive list includes food delivery personnel, nurses, paramedics and servers.

That said, today we’ll like to draw your attention to one group of ‘essential workers’ whose efforts also go unnoticed by society.

Yes, we’re talking about the humble, much-forgotten homemaker.

The gender situation when it comes to homemakers 

Traditionally, women take on the roles of homemakers.

This comes from the 19th and 20th centuries when men were the main breadwinners of families. In contrast, the primary role of women was to raise children and look after the affairs of the home.

Unfortunately, even in the 21st century, traditional gender roles remain stubbornly entrenched. A significant portion of society still thinks the burden of housework and childcare needs to be shouldered mainly by women.

They also think that it is unacceptable for men to become stay-home-dads.

Our take? In modern-day society, clinging to outdated gender roles of the past will cause unnecessary friction in relationships. Instead, families should be free to decide who does what.

Either way, whether it’s stay-home-moms and stay-home-dads, one thing is clear: The work of homemakers cannot be underestimated. 

What is the value of a homemaker? 

How much does a homemaker get paid per hour? As you might have guessed, comes to doing unpaid labour, homemakers are prime candidates.

For the most part, nothing much. Some homemakers do get allowances from their partners, but this is a far cry from drawing a salary.

But what is the real value of a homemaker's work? If we examine closely what a homemaker does, it might give us some clues. A homemaker performs several functions, including the of:

●      Chef

●      Cleaner

●      Driver

●      Caregiver

●      Food delivery/personal shopper

●      A financial planner for the home

●      Handyman

While it’s complex to quantify exactly how much these services are worth. However, one thing is certain: Not zero.

Another possible way to look at it is via opportunity cost. Being a homemaker means forgoing earning a salary in the job market. Assuming the median salary of $4,500 a year, a homemaker will lose about $54,000 in income each year – not a small amount for sure!

But perhaps the most salient way to think about the value of homemakers is to think about what we would do without them.

Not only would homes go unkempt, but children might also go unsupervised or uncared for. The cost of childcare might skyrocket, and having kids could become increasingly difficult.

When a society fails to create children, then it will eventually cease to exist. This seems like a pessimistic thought; but it’s also what is facing Singapore: the country’s Total Fertility Rate has remained below the replacement rate of 2.1 for many years.

If this goes on, one day Singaporeans could indeed be an endangered species! 

Protecting our homemakers 

While society figures out a way to properly remunerate homemakers for their efforts, there’s another way to show our appreciation to or homemakers.

With medical costs rising, it is now more important than ever that homemakers get adequate health insurance, critical illness, accident and life insurance.

The four policies are important in different ways.

Health Insurance is important because a homemaker could fall ill or get injured during their work. Without a policy like this, they could struggle with hospital bills – in case you missed it, homemakers generally don’t get paid for their work!

Accident insurance pays out in the event of an accident. The risk of falling when doing housework or running errands is significant. Buying this policy will allow homemakers to prepare for the unexpected.

Critical illness insurance provides a payout in the event the homemaker falls ill; this will allow them to hire help, as well as be able to pay for their necessities. It will also reduce any financial burdens on the main breadwinner of the household.

Life Insurance ensures the homemaker can fulfil their financial duties, even when they pass on, or are inflicted with a terminal illness, or total permanent disability. Knowing this will give them peace of mind, and enable them to live worry-free.

Finally, if you are a partner to a homemaker, consider getting all the above plans as well. This ensures if you pass on or are unable to work, your homemaker partner will not be forced to find work, or enter financial hardship in order to support you financially.


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