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New survey shows how little we could afford to help in times of crisis

A new survey has revealed that £454.60 is the average amount of money that people would lend to a friend suffering from a long term illness such as cancer. This equates to just less than a week’s extra pay, based on average gross weekly earnings of £458*.30-05-2012

The survey, by Chartis cancer insurance, which examines the strength of support networks among friends and family in the event of long term illness, found more than half those surveyed wouldn’t lend money to a friend who had cancer and for 36% of these it’s because they just couldn’t afford to.
Of the 45% who would lend money to a friend, a generous 37% would give the money as a gift, more than half would give it as a loan to be repaid when finances allow, a businesslike 8% would set a timeframe for the money to be repaid and 1% would set a timeframe and add on market rate interest.
It seems we’re much less confident that a friend would help us out in return if we suffered a long term illness: 79% either didn’t know, or didn’t believe, that a friend would lend them money if they had cancer.  Of those that did think a friend would help them financially, the average amount they thought they would be lent was just £312.50.
Women were much less confident than men in how much they think a friend would lend to them, anticipating they’d receive an average of £280.40, while the average amount men thought they’d receive was £364.
Lending to Family
It seems we’re more generous when it comes to lending money to a family member suffering from a long term illness: 56% would lend to family, compared to the 45% who would lend to a friend.  The average amount those surveyed would lend to a family member was £1,663.30, which is much higher than the £454.40 they’d lend to a friend.  However, 31% of those surveyed said they just couldn’t afford to lend to a family member.
Almost half of those surveyed would give money to a family member as a gift and the other half would give it as a loan.

Some of those surveyed commented:
‘I have lent money and never got it back, so now I do not lend, not even to my eldest son who has had over a £1,000 & not paid a penny back’.
Again there was less confidence that family would give financial help in return: 62% either didn’t know, or didn’t believe, that family would lend money to them, and it seems confidence decreases with age: three quarters of those over 55 years old didn’t think family would lend money to them, compared to half of 25-34s who thought the same.
Commenting on the survey findings, Amanda Evans of Chartis said, ‘While it is reassuring that many of us would consider lending money to a friend or family member, £500 to a few thousand would not go far.  Also, some people clearly wouldn’t feel comfortable lending money, while others just couldn’t afford to give financial help.  Our cancer insurance policies give financial help in the form of a cash payout following diagnosis of cancer, plus practical support from a team of nurses who can give advice on how to cope with treatment, apply for grants, benefits or alternative therapies.  This survey helps us understand the sort of help people need if they have a long term illness such as cancer.  
The following tips were the result of a Chartis CancerCover blogger debate on ways to help a friend or family member suffering financial difficulties owing to long term illness.   A number of these bloggers had suffered from long term illness and their advice was that it is better to give or receive practical help from friends and family, rather than financial help, eg:
- Offer to do the shopping, washing, ironing, or cleaning
- Cook a meal and take it round
- Take the kids or partner out for a treat
- Give useful gifts, eg books, pamper treats, audio books, fruit salads
- Use your retailer loyalty scheme points to buy food or toiletries
- Help with the school run and also with transport to kids’ clubs
- Get a friend to co-ordinate help from friends and family and to also send out updates on progress of treatment
- Set up a rota on a Facebook page, giving details of things your friend needs help with
- Listen and chat! 
- Don’t stop offering help - it may be needed for a long period of time and people’s interest may wane after the first few weeks

About Chartis Cancer Insurance - 

Chartis Insurance’s unique Cancer Cover insurance policies are designed to give vital financial and emotional help when it is needed most. 
CancerCover Female (formerly WellWoman) offers a choice of Standard or Premier cover levels, which provide a £25,000 or £50,000 cash payout to policy holders upon diagnosis of any of the seven female cancers*, which together account for 40% of cancers affecting women in the UK. 
CancerCover covers all cancers, available in a range of cover levels, that pays out cash payment of £25,000 with Standard Cover, or £50,000 with Premier Cover, £75,000 with Platinum Cover or £100,000 with Platinum Plus Cover.
To take out either CancerCover and CancerCover Female no medical examination or family medical history information is required. There are no rules on how the cash payout can be used; it could cover cost of extra childcare or home help, to cover travel or parking costs during treatment, or for a holiday to recuperate at the end of treatment
The CancerCover insurance products are underwritten by Chartis Europe Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and part of the Chartis group of insurance companies, one of the world’s leading general insurance companies, serving more than 40 million customers around the world.

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