Birmingham Midshires: expect the unexpected

29 March 2007
The overwhelming majority of Britons could not cope in the event of an unexpected financial burden, Birmingham Midshires has warned.

Caring for an elderly relative would cripple 95 per cent of people, while 80 per cent could not afford to support their families if they lost their job.

Whileinsurance can cover those who become unemployed suddenly, and alternative care provision for older relatives is an option, young people who became parents would be almost universally unable to cope, the study found, with 89 per cent of women unable to support a child if they unexpectedly became pregnant.

Although many savers calculate their future finances on the basis of predictable incomings and expenditure, unforeseen burdens represent precisely the kind of strain most likely to push individuals over the edge into bankruptcy, the building society warns.

By failing to leave leeway for surprises, people are neglecting to build up their "liquid wealth – the money that should be available to them in a financial emergency", explained director of savings Jason Robinson.

Sensible savers should aim to put away three months' salary as a "financial buffer", he urged.

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