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Cohabitees at Greater Financial Risk, Finds Research

New research by Aviva has found that around two million UK cohabitees (51%) believe Government policies to be weighted in favour of married couples, but many are still confused about the financial risks they are running.

Measures such as the Marriage Allowance and Inheritance and Capital Gains tax breaks are perceived by 1.7 million cohabitees to leave them on an unequal footing – with only 12% disagreeing with the view that policy favours those who marry.

The research highlights how cohabitees are already less likely to feel financially secure (68%) than married couples (76%) and are often in poorer financial health, as well as having significantly less financial protection in place.

The findings are significant as the number of cohabitees has soared to 3.3 million, more than doubling since 1996 and accounting for 17% of all families compared to 9% twenty years ago. In contrast, while married couples still represent the largest family group (12.6 million), their share has dropped from 76% in 1996 to 67% today.

Three quarters of cohabitees (74%) do not have a will compared to 61% of married couples, and only a minority of cohabitees (4%) have a precautionary arrangement, such as a cohabitation agreement, in place to protect their finances should a relationship break down.

Despite sharing a home, almost a third (31%) keep their money completely separate from their partner, nearly twice the proportion of married people that do the same (17%). In addition, one in ten (10%) cohabitees apparently admit to only being with their partner because they cannot afford to separate: equivalent to 330,000 couples across the UK.

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