Glenys Cook knows firsthand the importance of a good insurance policy.
A few weeks before she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she cancelled her critical illness insurance on a whim.
“I thought, ‘Oh, I don’t need that,’ ” Cook says. “I still kick myself for cancelling it.”
Cook’s was a particularly aggressive form of cancer, and her medication, which wasn’t on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme at that stage, would cost $80,000 for the entire treatment.
“I remember thinking, ‘Oh, boy’ when this all happened,” Cook recalls.
Cook’s second husband, and business partner, Steve Greatrex, stepped in, taking out a loan for the expensive treatment.
“And it worked, obviously, because 13 years later, I am still here,” Cook says. “But I can’t believe I cancelled that policy, because even though I had income protection insurance, I needed that lump-sum payout that you receive with critical illness insurance that would have covered the medication.
“It was lucky, too, that we could take out a loan, as that might not have been an option for a lot of women in my situation.
”It wasn’t the first time Cook realised how women need to take charge of their finances.
“I think I probably got into financial planning because I was divorced some time ago and I realised I didn’t have anything,” she says. “I had a good job and that was wonderful, so I could rent a place and feed my three children, but I wondered about their future and what I would be leaving them, as I didn’t have any assets.”
Cook now helps other women with their finances, and notes the way many of them have been raised to think of others – their husbands, their children – before their own interests.
“Women will ring me up and say, ‘I don’t have much money, you don’t want to see me’ and I will say, ‘Yes, I do,’ ” Cook says. “Women often put themselves last. Even I used to do it. I don’t think I would have thought to get a loan to pay for the cancer treatment, but Steve really pushed it.
By Johanna Roberts
30 April 2018