Did you know it’s actually more expensive to be single than to be in a relationship? It seems crazy but there is still a cost to being single in 2023.
‘Being single’ in this post refers to those who do not live with a partner.
But what is the cost of being single in 2023?
In this post I’ll cover:
- What is the cost of being single in 2023?
- The impact on financial resilience
- The ‘single tax’
- Why does it cost more to be single?
- What the experts say
What is the cost of being single in 2023?
On average, being single in 2023 costs £860 a month and two thirds of your financial resilience. This is according to Hargreaves Lansdown’s Savings & Resilience Barometer.
The study found single people living alone are less likely than couples to have enough emergency savings. Just 53 percent of single people do, compared with 79 percent of couples.
Looking further ahead, single people are less likely to be on track for a moderate income in retirement, at 34 percent compared with 50 percent of couples.
The impact on financial resilience
These extra expenses each month take a toll on single peoples’ financial resilience.
Just 14 percent of single people have enough cash left over each month to be considered financially resilient, compared with 47 percent of those in couples.
This problem is exacerbated when children are involved.
Overall, 76 percent of single parents and 53 percent of those living alone have either poor or very poor resilience. This compares to 27 percent of couples with children and just 16 percent of couples without children.
The single tax
Even the tax system seems stacked against you when you’re single.
Firstly, there are specific tax breaks for people who are married or in civil partnerships, from the marriage allowance to the fact there’s no inheritance tax on assets passed between spouses after death, or capital gains tax on assets passed while you’re alive.
But there are also subtle rules in the tax system that make it harder for single people.
For example, single parents earning over £50,000 begin to lose their child benefit, while both members of the couple could bring home £49,999 a year and still get the benefit in full.
Why does it cost more to be single in 2023?
An awful lot of the cost of being single in 2023 comes down to there being nobody to split the bills with.
A single person may need as many bedrooms as a couple, but they have to pay for them alone, adding an estimated £860 a month to their expenses.
Even where the bills are reduced for singles, they’re not cut enough. Council tax, for example, is only reduced by a quarter when you live alone, rather than being halved.
You might think there are other areas where you only use half as much, so it should cost half the price – but that’s not how it works.
Food shopping, for example, means buying smaller packs which you usually pay proportionally more for, or buying standard sizes and risking wastage.
What the experts say
Sarah Coles, a senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said: “You can put a price on freedom: being young, free and single costs £860 more a month, and two thirds of your financial resilience.
“The Barometer also found that couples who make financial decisions together have better financial resilience than people who make them alone. The fact that couples have a live-in sounding board to discuss difficult financial issues also gives them a head-start in dealing with them.”
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