Recent research carried out by Scottish Widows has found that three quarters of UK households would only manage to cover their bills for seven months if the income of the woman in the family was lost through death or illness. In addition to the financial ramifications, women spend almost an entire day (23 hours) each week carrying out household chores and caring for children, which the family would struggle to carry out or pay for were she no longer there to do these vital tasks.
Despite these statistics, Scottish Widows discovered that less than a third (31%) of women in the UK have a life insurance policy, with less than one in ten (7%) holding a critical illness policy. The most popular reason for women not taking out such cover is them not seeing it as a financial priority or simply not believing that it was needed. More worryingly, over half (54%) of the women surveyed did not have a will in place.
The survey also asked what would happen should a partner find themselves out of work for six months, with a quarter of respondents stating they would have to rely on state benefits to cover household expenses. 68% of the women surveyed admitted to not being able to save for the long-term future due to the need to pay for other things.
“One of the most important things a woman can give her family is security, but financial protection is still too far down the priority list because women simply don’t recognise their own value,” said Scottish Widows’ protection director Jackie Leiper. “It’s crucial that everyone – no matter what stage of life they’re at – considers whether they have the right protection in place to ensure their loved ones aren’t left coping with financial strain on top of emotional trauma if the worst were to happen.” Reacting to the findings of the research, Ms. Leiper also emphasised the “need to recognise the monetary value of women’s time and effort in the household, and to safeguard it accordingly.”