Not everyone has a plan in place if a serious illness or injury prevented them from working and earning an income.
In fact, a poll of more than 2,000 adults by Zurich UK suggests as many as one in eight would have to sell their home to make ends meet if that ever happened.
Of course, depending on your circumstances, you may not need to take such drastic action if you lost your income.
But it is always worth considering what you would do: more than half of those we asked had been out of work at some stage because they were ill, injured, or had been made redundant.
In total, a third told us they did not feel financially resilient.
Ten things people would do to bridge income gap
Our study of what UK adults would do if they lost their income due to illness or injury threw up some surprises.
While some say they would have to rely on savings, others suggested they would be forced to take more radical action, such as selling their car or possessions.
Here are ten things people told us they would do…
- 40% would rely on savings for the short term (i.e. less than 6 months)
- 39% would find a second job that I could do with my illness/ injury
- 26% would sell other possessions (e.g. any valuables, etc.)
- 23% would rely on savings for the long term (i.e. 6 months or longer)
- 18% said their partner would start work/ increase their hours
- 17% would sell their car
- 16% would move in with friends or relatives
- 14% would find a cheaper place to rent
- 13% would sell their home
- 11% would get a lodger
How often are people off work?
Of those we asked, more than half (53%) have had unplanned leave from work such as sickness or injury, or have experienced unemployment while in between jobs.
Well over two in five (45%) UK adults have been out of work for up to a year, and for one in ten (10%) it has been longer than 12 months.
The study also found that despite half of adults experiencing unexpected leave from work, nine in ten (92%) don’t have Income protection cover, a financial product that shields a proportion of your pay against being unable to work because of illness or injury.
One in six (17%) have no disposable income and a quarter (24%) have no savings to fall back on.
Rose St Louis of Zurich UK said: “It’s concerning that so many people have experienced unexpected time out of work, yet have no safety net in place for this potentially happening again.
“Even more shocking is the number who would have to resort to selling their home, as this action could have a significant impact on the whole family.
“Lack of savings and planning the family finances is putting millions of adults at risk of not being financially resilient, but not taking action could make the situation far worse.
“Putting the ‘it won’t happen to me’ view to one side, it’s vital that people review their circumstances, to see what support exists to protect their finances and lifestyle.”
Building financial resilience can begin with putting small amounts of money away on a regular basis to create a rainy day fund.
You could also consider prioritising the most appropriate insurances to suit your budget that will give you short and long-term peace of mind should your finances become challenged.