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MassMutual Survey: Female Cancer Survivors Better Prepared Financially Than Other Women For Life's Unexpected Events
Date:6/4/2009

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Women who have experienced cancer have some timely advice on National Cancer Survivors Day for women who haven't: it's important -- and comforting -- to get your financial plans in order.

That's the lesson suggested by new data from a survey conducted by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual), which is a leader in helping women prepare financially and in making insurance coverage easier to obtain for cancer survivors. According to the survey, women who had received a cancer diagnosis had more elements of a financial plan in place, were planning for retirement, and had a greater sense of self than other groups surveyed.

"I know from my own recent experience with breast cancer how life can change on a dime," said Kim Michel, general agent of Michel Financial Group, a MassMutual general agency in Los Angeles, Calif. "Having a financial plan in place to help protect me and my loved ones has given me great peace of mind as I go through my recovery. The importance of being prepared is a critical message that I personally want to communicate to other women and one that I think financial professionals need to continually emphasize with their clients, prospects, friends and family."

According to the survey (methodology below), women who have had cancer are more likely than their similarly-aged counterparts to:

  • have their legal affairs in order, e.g. will (+19%) and durable power of attorney (+11%); about one-quarter of women without cancer say they have no legal documents in place;
  • own long-term care insurance (+11%);
  • be ready to retire (+13%);
  • be more interested in developing a retirement income plan (+14%);
  • have enlisted the aid of a professional advisor (+18%)

On the other hand, they are less likely than their similarly-aged counterparts to:

  • look for ways to simplify their lives (-12%);
  • put satisfying others' needs over their own (-11%);
  • say they struggle to be involved in all aspects of planning (-11%) and seek more control of their finances (-12%).

"The survey results suggest that women who have had cancer realize the importance of creating their own safety net, not only in case of illness but also for such important life events as retirement," said Beth Wood, assistant vice president of business and women advocacy, U.S. Insurance Group, MassMutual, "not to mention that they are generally more satisfied with their lives (+18%) and financial standing (+9%)."

"We think it's a good lesson for all of us, but as always," Wood emphasized, "the best time to plan is before an unexpected life event such as cancer occurs."

Educating women about the importance of planning is just one way MassMutual supports women in the battle against cancer. As a leader in providing insurance coverage for breast cancer survivors, MassMutual's underwriting guidelines reflect the positive long-term survival benefits of early detection and new treatments. The company also continues to work to dispel the mistaken belief of many women that a history of cancer will prevent them from obtaining life and disability income insurance coverage.

Additionally, each October, in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, MassMutual agents nationwide conduct educational seminars about the importance of planning. The events have raised close to $300,000 for local cancer research and treatment programs.

For more information about women and finances, visit www.massmutual.com/womenandfinance. To download the brochure MassMutual Survivors: A leader in providing insurance for Breast Cancer Survivors, logon to www.massmutual.com/womenandfinance/bcawareness.

About the Study

The study was conducted using a 20-minute online questionnaire administered September 29th - October 8th 2008. Interviews were conducted among affluent women ages 30-64 with household incomes of >$100K (which represents 20% of US Households), who also had to contribute at least 40% to decisions regarding financial matters in their household to qualify.

Quotas were set for the following groups:

  • Young Affluent Women (30-49) With No Kids
  • Affluent Women With Kids <19 Years Old
  • Older Affluent Women (45-64) With No Kids or Have Kids >19 Years Old

Data was weighted to age, presence of children, ethnicity and cancer diagnosis.

The sample of respondents was made up of a total of 1456 women, 1147 had never had cancer, and 309 had experienced a cancer diagnosis.

                             Cancer Survivors          Never had Cancer
    Age between 50-64              71%                       32%
    Married                        83%                       81%
    Have children                  80%                       73%
    College degree or higher       79%                       73%
    Employed full- or part-time    65%                       76%
    White/Caucasian                98%                       80%
    Average household income
     (before taxes)             $149,670                  $148,319

About MassMutual

Founded in 1851, MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyholders. The company has a long history of financial strength and strong performance, and although dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid dividends to eligible participating policyholders every year since the 1860s. With whole life insurance as its foundation, MassMutual provides products to help meet the financial needs of clients, such as life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement/401(K) plan services, and annuities. In addition, the company's strong and growing network of financial professionals helps clients make good financial decisions for the long-term.

MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. MassMutual is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts and its major affiliates include: Babson Capital Management LLC; Baring Asset Management Limited; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC; The First Mercantile Trust Company; MassMutual International LLC; MML Investors Services, Inc.; OppenheimerFunds, Inc.; and The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB.

For more information, visit massmutual.com.

    Karen Lavariere-Sanchez
    413-744-7660
    klavarieresanchez@massmutual.com


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SOURCE MassMutual
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