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Single life can be bad financial news

A recent report from Unilever paints a picture of the singleton society we seem to be becoming. With predictions including one-third of all households will consist of one person by 2021, it seems more and more people are choosing to live alone.

Of course this might not just be down to enjoying the freedom that comes with living alone, but also the circumstances people find themselves in. Regardless of the reason, there is one big implication of living alone that must be considered – the cost.

The first financial issue that springs to mind is the ability to get on the housing ladder. Without a joint income, single people are left with no choice but to take high multiples to allow them to afford a home of their own. This comes with the risk that the income is relied upon so heavily. If something stops a singleton earning, they could be left in a difficult situation – of course, that is if they don’t have insurance.

It’s also worth considering other areas where a single person could find life more expensive. Take Council Tax, for example. A single person only gets a 25% discount so they will have to pay three-quarters of the bill and not the half that each half of a couple would pay.

There will be additional costs when going on holiday such as single room supplements. And let’s not forget the loss of joint discounts on things like gym memberships and holiday insurance.

What’s more, single people get hit on their car insurance premiums as the insurance company thinks you’ll be more careful if you have dependants and so reduces rates for family types.

In fact, a quarter of those interviewed by Unilever say living alone has a negative effect on their disposable income. The big thing to remember when dealing with clients who live alone is that they are less likely to have someone to turn to if things go wrong. This could explain why single adults without children are now the biggest group living in poverty.

With singletons, make sorting out their health insurance your top priority. They are unlikely to have a great need for life insurance as there is nobody who relies on them.

Their health insurance is a different matter, as when they tell you that they don’t need insurance because they have no dependants, what they’re really saying is they have nobody to depend on. And they could be left desolate if critical illness strikes or they cannot work due to serious illness, accident or unemployment.

By considering the needs of our changing world you can find many opportunities to ensure your customers have proper insurance in place.Nick Kirwan is protection marketing director at Scottish Widows

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