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3.2 Million working couples depend on both incomes to make ends meet

  • LV= research finds 16% of adults in Britain rely on both incomes to make ends meet
  • A quarter (27%) of couples who both work say their double wage isn’t stretching as far as it did this time last year
  • Two in five (42%) say that if one of them couldn’t work it would strain their relationship

New research published today from LV= has found that 3.2 million[1] 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.

Despite the reliance so many households have on both incomes, worryingly few have income protection, leaving them vulnerable if one member of the household were to become ill and 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 month[2].

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, it’s even more important that people take the time to make sure they are prepared to withstand a personal financial shock. This is why we believe the Government’s new Single Financial Guidance Body should have a specific focus on improving the financial resilience of UK households.”

LV=’s handy Risk Reality Calculator can help advisers demonstrate how the likelihood of their client 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.

Notes to Editors

The research was carried out by Opinium Research from 10th-13th November 2017. The total sample size was 2,002 British adults over 18 years old and was conducted online. Results are weighted to a nationally representative criteria.

LV=’s Income Roulette report can be found here:

About LV=:

LV= employs over 6,000 people and serves over 5.8 million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK’s largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products. We are currently the UK’s joint number one brand for Insurance and Investments, according to the 2016 YouGov Brand Index Buzz Rankings.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations including ASDA and Nationwide Building Society.

Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. LVFS is a member of the ABI and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

LV=, County Gates, Bournemouth, BH1 2NF, UK