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|Over half a million women in Scotland lack financial safety net|
|Wednesday, 14 December 2016|
New findings from the Aegon ‘Protection matters: does women’s financial planning match their priorities?’ report finds that nearly half (47%) of women in Scotland have no form of protection insurance, leaving themselves, and in many cases their loved ones, at financial risk should they become ill or unable to work.
Across Scotland there are highly varying levels of health and care provision. The most recent data shows that those living in Scotland have the lowest life expectancy in the UK, with women expected to live 1.7 years less than the UK average. For cancer cases in particular, Scottish men have seen a fall in incidence over the last 10 years, but the number of new cases diagnosed in women has actually increased by 6%. These statistics simply highlight the uncertainty women living in Scotland face today when it comes to their health.
These women are also carrying the weight of providing for their families should they be unable to work due to illness or death. Nearly half (47%) of women in Scotland believe it’s solely their responsibility to make sure their family has enough income should the unexpected happen, while 38% think it’s a joint responsibility with their partners. Yet over half a million women in Scotland are failing to put in place a financial safety net that could support themselves and their families in the event of death, or if they’re left unable to work due to serious illness.
Life insurance, income protection and critical illness cover can provide vital financial support in times of need. This can allow families to continue making their mortgage payments (and in some cases pay off or substantially reduce their mortgage debt), keep up with their day-to-day expenses and maintain as ‘normal’ a lifestyle as possible.
Women see cost as the main barrier to better protecting themselves and their families, with almost two in five (38%) perceiving protection to be too expensive. This is despite the fact a 35-year-old non-smoking female can take out life insurance for as little as £7.01 a month − just a fifth of the average cost of a trip to the cinema for a family of four. Over a quarter (28%) simply don’t see it as a priority and a further quarter (25%) think it’s a waste of money.
Well over two in five (45%) women in Scotland say they’d rely on their own savings if they couldn’t work for six months, but this itself raises a red flag. Fifteen per cent of women don’t have any savings at all, a further 16% think their savings would only last six months and just 14% believe their nest egg would support them for a year or more.
As well as turning to savings, two in five (40%) women would rely on their partner’s income to manage financially. However, 45% of Scottish women rely on two household incomes to meet their day-to-day costs and other essential expenses, so if one of these incomes was reduced or lost completely, it would undoubtedly put great pressure on the family finances. More than one in five (22%) would rely on state benefits provided by the government, which would likely only provide a small portion of their usual income. And a quarter (24%) of Scottish women would need to make major budget decisions in order to cope financially.
Stephen Crosbie, Protection Director at Aegon said: “Life events knock us off track all too often and it’s vital that family breadwinners in Scotland start to take the right steps to protect themselves and their families should the worst happen. Scottish women face a bigger challenge than those living in other parts of the UK; life expectancy is on average shorter, cancer cases are on the rise and cancer mortality rates can be two thirds higher in some parts of the country compared to others.
“If women become ill or unable to work, protection can replace their income or provide their family with a lump sum if they died. It’s an important safety net that can help meet a family’s monthly expenses, ranging from mortgage payments to the supermarket shopping. £7.01 a month for life insurance is a relatively low price to pay for peace of mind, especially when you consider that people insure their homes, their pets and their mobiles but overlook the vital component that funds all of their day-to-day spending – them.”
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