This is a follow-up to my post “Equity Release Revisited” which prompted me to look into the subject again. I first wrote blogs about this subject in 2012 and then again in 2015. (You can find my earlier posts by clicking on Equity Release in the TAG CLOUD).
Where on earth do you start with this ? It should be simple and straightforward. There are occasional adverts on the tele, but they appear and disappear so quickly that you can’t remember any contacts from them, so that’s no good. I do recall an advert a while ago. What was that nice man Michael Parkinson on about ? Oh no, that was funeral plans.
Maybe there will be something in the papers at the weekend. I flipped through every page of the Sunday papers, especially all the ads about sit-in showers and mobility scooters, but, I couldn’t find a thing.
Of course, there will be everything you would ever want to know on the internet, but, that remains a mystery to the majority of older elderly people. Yet they are the very people who might most need equity release.
Perhaps I could start with that helpful little brochure that came through the post the other day. I don’t remember sending for it, but, I suppose I must have ticked a box somewhere. It’s called “RetireWise” from Key, whoever they are. It looks like a magazine, with quizzes and prizes, but, I think it is no more than an advert for equity release.
Sure enough when I open it, I can see it is a 28-page advert for equity release, plus a few plugs for stair lifts and travel insurance for old people and cosy wide fitting shoes and ready meals and wills. That’s obviously what life’s all about when you start thinking about equity release.
Then there are lots of reassuring words about equity release. Key words like “more choice”, “more freedom”, “SWEET FREEDOM”, “the best of times” and last but not least “safeguarding your future”. In other words, if you don’t opt for equity release, who knows what will happen to you.
There is a problem here however. Having read all 28-pages I can’t really find any facts. I guess that’s why at the bottom of every page is a footnote suggesting that you “ book a free consultation with your local adviser today”. Not a lot of magazines offer this excellent service of a home visit. I don’t remember this home visiting service coming with the Beano when I was a child, nor with Architects Journal when I was training and could have done with some occasional advice. It doesn’t even come in Amateur Gardener when a bit of help around the garden would be most welcome.
I did find one set of figures, which were about fees for this advice, if you decide to go ahead. It’s free —- “There are no up front fees”, so the brochure claims. Except ….. you do pay 1.99% of the loan, but, there is a minimum fee of £1,499. This means you have to borrow £75,000 or more for the fee to be 1.99%. On lower loans the percentage will be much higher, so if you were only to borrow £15,000 the fee would be 10% !
It is little stings in the tail like this that make me sceptical about equity release. It is not a lie, but, it doesn’t tell the complete picture.
More research is needed and I’ll write about it again in a few weeks ………..