Australia, we need to talk about it


Chris Powell

Australians would rather talk to their partner about past relationships than address how they would manage their finances in the event of death or disability. These are the findings of recent research from Integrity Life (Integrity)[1], a new life insurance company that is urging Australians to consider the financial implications of their mortality.

Integrity polled more than 1,000 people and found the top three taboo topics for Australians were: sharing opinions about their partner’s friends, voicing opinions about relatives and discussing what would happen financially if one of them were to die.

Integrity Life MD, Chris Powell, commented, “There are plenty of topics that make for uncomfortable dinner time conversation, including opinions on your partner’s family and friends. However, discussing what would happen to your loved ones should you or your partner die is one topic that’s repeatedly seen as too hard to approach yet is arguably more important. Financial planning for the unthinkable is vital for ensuring the future protection of your dependents, and this is why I am passionate about starting a conversation on the topic.”


Table 1:  Australia’s top 10 taboo topics



% who are ‘uncomfortable’


Opinions about partners friends



Opinions about relatives and in-laws



Money issues after death



Relationship history



Opinions on how best to bring up children



Religion and opinions on religion



Politics and opinions on politics



Relationship issues



Sensitive medical problems



Career and salary



Perhaps surprisingly, the research found that discomfort levels, were, across the board, highest amongst younger people. Of Australians aged between 25 and 34 years, conversations about money and death were the number one taboo: 46% said that this topic was a no-go area. This age group also rated sharing views on their partner’s friends (43%) and in-laws (40%) as more uncomfortable than other age groups.

The research found that across a wide range of taboos, older people were significantly more likely to discuss topics considered off-limits for their younger counterparts. Just 14% of over 65s felt that they couldn’t talk about sensitive medical issues with their partners compared to 37% of under 25s. Over 65s were also least uncomfortable with taboos around money after death with 23% reporting they wouldn’t discuss this topic with their partner.

Mr. Powell said “This no-holds barred bravery amongst older Australians should encourage younger people so they too can tackle these uneasy subjects with their partners. This can be as simple as setting an appointment with a professional risk adviser, and discussing your financial commitments now, then working out the type of cover you need for your life stage. The good news is Integrity has been built from the ground up to make taking action more straightforward and transparent for advisers and ultimately their clients.”

Integrity launched to the intermediated-retail market this month, following an intense co-creation process where the company worked with advisers to address the common frustrations in dealing with existing insurers. Mr Powell said Integrity will provide Australian life insurance customers with a better offering that meets people’s changing needs through providing greater fairness and transparency.

“Integrity means doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. We have set ourselves a high benchmark with our name, and we are committed to exceeding it. This means we are working with financial advisers to provide all Australians with life insurance that provides them with protection when they need it most and uses straightforward medical definitions rather than jargon. As a technology-led insurer, we’re free from legacy system constraints, which means we’re able to offer policies that really do put the customer first,” concluded Mr Powell.

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