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Irish Life has published some recent research which suggests that fifty per cent of the working population consider that they are just three paydays away from financial difficulties. Further details illustrate that workers feel that they would have the capacity to maintain their existing living standards for only half a year if they were to become unemployed. Furthermore 17 per cent of respondents felt that in such circumstances, they could only ensure their present living standards for a mere month.

Over half of 45-54 years olds and nearly half of those ten years younger expressed concern about the financial implications upon their families if they were to become incapacitated for long periods of time. The report went on to highlight the specific concerns of Irish renters who felt that they would only cope financially for an average of 4 months (compared with seven months for home owners).

Two-thirds of renters also expressed the fear that landlords would take action if their rents were in arrears by two months – thus provoking the concept of being two or three paydays away from possible repossession.

More than half (57%) of renters do not have life insurance of any kind – as compared to 34% of homeowners. Irish Life expressed extreme disquiet about this, especially in the light of figures which compare percentages of rented homes with children under 18 (43%) with that for homes with children which are privately owned (37%).

On the plus side the Irish Life survey indicated that people are now more likely to consider their long term financial wellbeing. One third are actively considering purchasing income protection insurance or defined illness cover within the coming year. Income protection guarantees a payment when the insured cannot work due to sickness or personal injury (though not unemployment). Defined or specific illness cover will pay a lump sum in appropriate circumstances.

The Director of Irish Life, Brendan McEvoy is worried that 46% of Irish workers have no form of life insurance but he was encouraged that greater numbers had, or were intending to get income protection and/or specific illness cover. He did reiterate the concern that financial hardship was potentially close in unforeseen circumstances for many families, especially those in rented accommodation.

Author: Fran Cooke

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