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Know your worth: calculate the value of your unpaid work at home

Have you ever thought about how much unpaid work that you do around the house? Of course you have!

We’ve all done it, although, I’m willing to bet that it’s been during a moment of rage after your other half has yet again walked past the overflowing washing basket.

Well, there is good reason for your sense of injustice, according to ONS research, with women doing over 40% more unpaid work at home than men.

If you're in any doubt of the amount of unpaid work that you're contributing to your household, Compare the Market has a handy new Unpaid Work Calculator tool that will show you just what your efforts are worth.

From the true value of childcare to the costs of cleaning, the results may surprise you.

We are five times more likely to go off on long-term sick leave than die during our working lives – do you have protection?

But while these figures are great for providing cold, hard facts next time you’re filled with frustration as your partner wanders past a sink full of dirty dishes – or satisfying intel to share with friends at that next dinner party - have you ever thought about who would do all these jobs if you were too sick to manage them all?

If you were suffering from a long-term illness and were bedbound or in hospital for treatment, would your other half have to leave their full-time job to care for the kids – or fork out for costly childcare should they continue to work?

It may seem grim to consider, but it's crucial given the fact that figures from brokers Lifesearch show that we are five times more likely to go off on long-term sick leave than die during our working lives.

What’s more, just one in eight of us have six months’ worth of savings stashed away to cover the cost of being out of work.

And it's not enough to rely solely on the government for help: Statutory Sick Pay is just £96.35 a week.

Not exactly enough to cover all your expenses...

The good news is that there is a way to protect your income – and the value of all your unpaid work as revealed by our Unpaid Work Calculator

How to protect yourself

The good news is that there's a way to protect your income – and the value of all your unpaid work as revealed by our Unpaid Work Calculator - should you develop health problems. It’s also easier – and more affordable – than you might think.

Income Protection (IP) is a type of insurance designed to cover you in times of hardship and you’ll receive 50-60% of your gross salary via regular payments to keep food on your table and a roof over your head should you be too ill to work.


The lowdown on income protection

How much cover is enough?

And how much is it going to set you back each month?

A good rule of thumb should be enough to pay any bills and provide money so your family will be financially secure.

Like any insurance, it is crucial that you shop around before you purchase a policy.

Try comparing a few options here for starters.

Never assume that your bank or broker will offer you the best deal as many are usually tied to just one provider and can be very expensive.

Policies are priced according to your age, general health and the amount you want to receive if you must make a claim – the younger you are, the cheaper it is.

When calculating how much cover you need, it makes financial sense to consider all the monthly outgoings you pay every month.

As well as your mortgage, rent or loan commitments, you must include those everyday essentials such as council tax, utility bills and the weekly food shop.

Fail to do so and you could still end up in debt trying to meet your other commitments.

Also bear in mind that we are all living longer so it is crucial to think past traditional retirement age or your mortgage term when taking out a protection policy to ensure that you don’t come up short.

It’s also worth considering the changing state pension age as it increases for both men and women to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

The good news is that income protection is not going to break the bank – often costing less than a monthly gym membership.


Income protection or critical illness cover?

It may be tempting to opt for a critical illness policy instead of income protection in a bid to cut costs - but be careful.

While these types of insurance policies complement each other, they do different things and cover different risks, so it is important to carefully consider both before making a purchase.

If you have a heart attack, for instance, and return to work after six months, a critical illness policy would have paid the lump sum, where income protection payments would stop when you go back to work – if you go back at all.

Remember – it’s crucial that you’re completely honest in your answers to all the questions on the application, for example your medical history, otherwise the policy could be worthless.

So go on - give the Unpaid Work Calculator a try...

While the results of our Unpaid Work Calculator may seem interesting, or even amusing - there's a hard truth at the heart of these findings, and one worth thinking about.

Don’t forget that while you may think that this article is brilliant, it is intended for information purposes only and should not be mistaken for financial advice or recommendations.

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