Survey reveals lack of financial future proofing in Irish households

Almost 60% of people haven’t put any process or procedures in place that would allow their family easy access to important documents were they to pass away


Published  08 February 2018
   5 min read

A recent survey from Royal London has revealed that almost 3 in 10 Irish adults do not know what their family would live off financially if they were to pass away.

The survey aimed to understand Irish attitudes to financial future proofing for bereavement, and perhaps understandably, it found that many people fail to think about how their family will cope financially when they pass away. As part of the survey, respondents were asked if they had any idea of what the principal family asset or income might be, if they were to die.

Respondents answered as follows:

  Total Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+
Pension 16% 20% 13% 13% 14% 30%
Life Cover 19% 18% 19% 7% 30% 11%
Savings 17% 19% 14% 19% 12% 23%
Family & Friends would help 2% 2% 2% 5% 1% 0%
Social Welfare 7% 7% 7% 12% 4% 6%
Salary from employment 8% 7% 9% 11% 7% 3%
Rent from property portfolio 2% 3% 2% 2% 2% 4%
I don't know 29% 24% 34% 31% 30% 23%

Joe Charles, Head of Proposition at Royal London, commented on the findings,

“It’s quite understandable that many people in their mid-twenties to early thirties (31%) would not give this topic much thought, being less likely to have dependants relying upon them. It’s great to see that so many in the 35-54 age group, who are most likely to have family and dependants, have thought about how they would protect their family financially. However, there are still 30% of this age group and 23% of those aged 55+ who have not, and that is concerning. Naturally, planning for one’s death isn’t a situation many of us want to dwell on for too long. But we should spend some time thinking about it and then putting plans in place, as it is a vitally important part of safeguarding your family’s financial future. Having a young family myself, it’s something I have done recently, and it certainly helps give me more peace of mind.”

The survey revealed that Life Cover was the most likely source of income amongst respondents in the event of such circumstances at 19%, followed by savings (17%) and pensions (16%).

Joe went on to say that,

"Broadly speaking, the findings were linked to where people find themselves in their life cycle and whether they have had time to build up some financial protection. For example, we found that the availability of assets like pensions (30%) and savings (23%) as a potential form of income are highest amongst the over 55s, as you’d expect. Whereas the majority of 18-34 year olds see their families and dependants relying on social welfare (12%) and salary (11%) were they to die.”

For those that have put measures in place, it seems that not all had the relevant documentation organised so that family members could easily access if needed.

The Royal London survey also asked:

‘If you were to die tomorrow, would your loved ones be able to easily locate/access your important financial information or related documents in order to handle your family affairs?’

The responses were as follows:

  Total Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+
Yes, I keep an 'in case of emergencies' financial file 41% 45% 38% 29% 42% 63%
I haven't planned for it yet - I suspect it would be a difficult task for me to undertake 35% 32% 38% 46% 33% 20%
No, they wouldn't know where to start 24% 23% 24% 25% 25% 17%

The majority of people (59%) have not put any process or procedures in place that would allow their family easy access to important documents were they to pass away, although this figure changes significantly the older people get. Interestingly, 7% more men (45%) than women (38%) have their financial records readily available.

Joe concluded,

“It appears that planning for one’s death is not a topic that everyone is comfortable with or indeed thought about, which is totally understandable. However, planning for death is not a process that you have to go through alone. Your local Financial Broker will be more than happy to discuss the options available to you and what you can then put in place to ensure your family are taken care of financially."

- ENDS - 

Download press release here (PDF 3.5mb)

Note to the editor

Funeral Payment Helping Hand

Royal London recently launched a new policy feature called Funeral Payment Helping Hand. The feature is available on all accepted death claims which have been delayed due to probate. Executor(s) can receive up to €10,000 in advance of the deceased’s estate being settled, to cover Funeral Director costs. Once probate has been granted, Royal London will pay the Executor(s) the full policy sum assured minus the amount drawn down to pay for the deceased’s funeral costs.

Our Funeral Payment Helping Hand feature aims to provide a better claims experience for customers and to help avoid any unnecessary financial burden linked to a funeral.