New research published today from LV= has found that 3.2 million working couples are ‘Double Income, No Option’ households (DINOs). This means they are reliant on two incomes to make ends meet, and would struggle to cope if they lost one of their incomes.
The research also found a quarter (23%) of DINOs feel that their household’s financial situation has got worse over the past two years, with a quarter (27%) saying that their double wage isn’t stretching as far as it did this time last year.
While some households would simply need to make lifestyle changes if they had to rely on one income, such as not going on holiday (52%) or shopping around for deals (47%), others would have to make more major sacrifices. Three in ten (31%) would apply for Government benefits, nearly one in five (17%) would have to downsize their home, and one in seven (15%) would rely more on credit cards. Worryingly, 16% say that they wouldn’t be able to cope at all and one in ten (11%) have never thought about how they’d cope if they or their partner lost their main source of income.
Income protection is a long-term insurance policy designed to pay out a proportion of your salary if you can’t work because of illness of injury. Yet, despite the reliance so many households have on both incomes, worryingly few have income protection, leaving them vulnerable if one member of the household was unable to work for a period of time. Three in five (59%) say that neither they nor their partner has income protection, with 25% assuming it’s too expensive. In reality, a 40-year old non-smoker could get £1,500 a month worth of cover from as little as £18 a month2.
Taking out income protection could offer a couple security that they wouldn’t have to make changes to their lifestyle, such as having to downsize their house, if they lost one income. It could also save people from emotional stress, with two in five (42%) saying that if one of them couldn’t work it would strain their relationship.
Chris McNab, Head of Life Propositions at LV= said: “Millions of couples up and down the country need both incomes to pay the bills, with a significant proportion saying they’d have to make major changes if they had to rely on one income. Yet, the majority haven’t got any protection in place to support them if they found themselves in this situation. This is even more concerning in light of our Income Roulette report which found a large number of the population don’t have enough in savings to cope with a financial shock.
“With many people saying their household’s financial situation has got worse over the past two years, many may be particularly concerned about money over this festive period. This is why people should take the time to make sure they are prepared to withstand a personal financial shock and the Government’s new guidance body, when established, must do more to increase financial resilience.”
With many people feeling the pinch over the festive period, LV= has come up with three top tips to help ‘DINOs’ take control of their finances and build up their financial resilience:
1. Create a budget and try to stick to it: The best place to start is jotting down all your incomings and outgoings, which can help identify any pinch points you could easily cut back on, such as takeaways or shopping. It’s also helpful to set a budget for spending over Christmas, as you can easily spend a large amount on non-essential items.
2. Clear loans or credit cards with savings: If you're just clearing the minimum payment on loans and credit cards despite having cash in the bank, then it’s worth doing the maths to work out what’s actually doing more for you. Your savings could be earning little or no interest, while your payments cost you money in interest.
3. Review your insurance cover: It’s easy to think ‘it’ll never happen to me’, but when you’re already relying on two incomes to get by, losing one of them could be catastrophic. Consider speaking to a professional financial adviser about the benefits of private insurance products, such as Income Protection. LV=’s Risk Reality Calculator can help people understand their likelihood of being unable to work or suffering a serious illness.
For further information please contact:
Robyn Margetts, [email protected]
Hannah Fensome, [email protected]
1 Research carried out by Opinium on behalf of LV= found that 16% of people in the UK are part of a couple that relies on two incomes to make ends meet. There are 41,065,000 working age people in the UK, which means that 6.4 million people are part of a couple that is reliant on a double income. Therefore, the number of couples affected is 3.2 million.
2 Quote based on a 40 year old, non-smoker doing a non-specialist office job with a benefit of £1,500 a month and an expiry age of 65.