More reason to hug a single this Valentine's
13 Feb 2020
In a couple? Then maybe Valentine's is all candles, cards and cuddles ... and the realisation that you're quite lucky, really.
Because not only do singles feel the pinch of lovelessness today, they feel its financial impact all year round - to the tune of nearly £10,000.
That's what we at LifeSearch have calculated – on the back of a comprehensive national survey – as the extra annual levy on single life for many Brits today.
£10,000 per year? HOW?
Okay, we rounded up but what's called the Single Tax shakes out at £9,619.20 per year. The number is the difference in spending for the average single – versus one half of a couple – in rent/ mortgage costs, food, utility bills, insurance and council tax.
This £9,619.20 figure is specifically for singles who live alone - roughly 8m people in the UK. But solo flyers in other living situations still pay a major annual premium for single life.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but everyday life costs more for one person than a couple. Travel, petrol, hotels, gym memberships, subscriptions, days out - not only have singles no-one to share costs with, they're less able to take advantage of couple, family or group discounts. A hotel room, for example, is a lot more economic for two than one.
The night-time economy – and the expectations of single life – also come at a high price. As long-time LifeSearcher (and single) Ste Clark explains, “... singles put ourselves under more pressure to go out, be among people, and enjoy life. Pubs, restaurants, travel, dating - it quickly adds up.”
Data suggests that singles splurge an extra £900 (versus one of a couple) on all of the above each year.
I'm single and I love it - why should I care?
Sure, some singles are happy to invest in a fancy free lifestyle. In fact, some unhappy couplers might see £10,000 as a bargainous price to pay for sweet, sweet freedom. Indeed, these same singles might feel that the whole notion of getting a sympathy hug on Valentine's Day is demeaning. Apologies.
But there are more hidden dangers to the Single Tax than just the upfront outlay or extra leisure spending. In short, singles are at a heightened risk of financial collapse.
The results of our nationally representative survey outline the stark savings gap between singles and couples. With less cash left at month's end, the average UK single saves only 80% of what a coupled-up friend can.
When it comes to disposable cash, single women are hardest hit. After the monthly essentials are covered, the average single woman has £264 to her name versus the average single man's £461.
Single and unprotected
Singles have less cash saved overall, and their ability to put more away is dented by circumstance and Single Tax. Data shows that only a slim majority (53%) of singles have enough cash saved to see them through a health or income catastrophe.
Given singles' over-reliance on one income, few seem to realise that without a significant other to fall back on, they're exposed. Data shows that only 12% of singles could rely on family support in the event of financial hardship. Couples, generally, have two families to look to for help.
With running costs and a full-house of overheads, the consequences of a sudden loss in income multiply. But singles haven't turned to insurance to insulate themselves either - just 7% of singles (living alone) have income protection, and 12% have critical illness cover.
Hug a single
It's tough being single. Valentine's Day is tailor made to rub romancelessness into singles' faces. Add the financial pitfalls of single life and it's a bit like salt in an open wound.
Nonetheless, it seems that Britain today is a thriftier, more secure place if you're in a couple. As far as your bank balance and financial security goes, couples are covered. More than singles, that's for sure.
So that's three reasons to hug a single today 1) they're single on Valentine's. 2) most are financially vulnerable and 3) if they've read this, they may be feeling extra insulted.
Not our intention. Single life can be amazing - protect it.
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