Planning for the worst-case scenario

Families are under-protected and under-prepared

As one in five UK adults fears for job security, Scottish Widows warns of implications of single income reliance and leaving protection until the first rung of the property ladder. Research from Scottish Widows shows that over half (52 per cent) of the UK population with at least one wage earner in the household is reliant on a single income in order to make ends meet for their family.

With 15 million UK adults currently failing to save, and a further one in five Britons who expect their financial priorities to change concerned about their job security, families could be risking their livelihood by failing to protect themselves financially.

Unable to work
The fifth Scottish Widows Protection Report, based on research among more than 5,000 UK adults, shows that despite three quarters of the population living in a one or two income household and 84 per cent being aware of income protection, only 5 per cent of the population have taken it out to protect their salary should they be unable to work. When asked about other types of protection, the report revealed that 89 per cent of adults do not have critical illness cover and 63 per cent do not have life insurance.

Although the findings reveal that many Britons are not planning for the worst-case scenario, the report showed that 16 per cent of the population has experienced a critical illness, with nearly half of people who fell ill forced either to change their lifestyle dramatically or make a number of small changes in order to survive financially. Worryingly, only 5 per cent of those who fell ill had any kind of protection policy in place to help act as a buffer for this substantial shift in wellbeing.

Financial behaviour
Despite a backdrop of continued economic and unemployment uncertainty, the report indicates that families are leaving themselves under-protected and under-prepared, with
56 per cent of people not in retirement saying that if they were to lose their main income they would only be financially secure in the short term (under six months) or ‘not at all’.

The report showed that the main reason behind people taking out protection, such as life insurance, critical illness and income protection, is at the point of purchasing a property, yet with the number of private renters increasing by nearly a quarter since 2008[1], and 61 per cent of renters saying they do not ever expect to buy a home[2], this shift in home ownership trends has worrying implications for the financial security of future generations.

Worst-case scenario
No one likes to think about the unexpected happening to them, and it is clear that this
tendency to ignore the worst-case scenario is preventing families from preparing for the future and protecting their livelihoods. The value of protection is to provide peace of mind and to know that, should the worst happen, then you or your family have a financial safety net. ν

[1] ONS English Housing Survey, 2008-12
[2] Castle Trust Analysis of ONS English Housing Survey
The fifth annual Consumer Protection Report from financial provider Scottish Widows takes an in-depth look at the habits and attitudes of the UK adult population in order to analyse their protection provision.
The survey was carried out online by YouGov, who interviewed a total of 5,086 adults between 4-9 January 2013. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).


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