As the UK experiences an ageing population, a great many people are approaching retirement. The prospect of an extended period of time on a fixed income is a little daunting for some and a great number of people are considering what the key retirement solutions are in order to fully enjoy their retirement years.
There are a number of key retirement solutions which are essential for obtaining a successful and comfortable retirement. However, many people only begin to consider their retirement when it is too late to make effective and significant plans. It is important to plan ahead for your retirement finances and the sooner you begin to make preparation plans and put them into action, the greater degree of financial security you can accomplish. Financial planning is one of the most important aspects of achieving a successful retirement. Even implementing plans to save a small amount each month can accumulate into a significant sum especially in a scheme which compounds the interest.
It is important to be aware of the details of your employment pension and what contributions have been made by your employer. You should also investigate what your entitlement would be from any of these pensions and decide whether it would be a sufficient amount for your retirement plans. Many schemes allow the person to take an initial lump sum with a smaller monthly pension in subsequent months. This can allow financing a large purchase such as a retirement property.
However, even with careful financial planning for their retirement, some people are finding that quantitative easing has affected their potential pension. In these scenarios you may wish to explore alternative options such as equity release. Equity release allows home owners over the age of fifty five to leverage the equity in their home for a cash lump sum or additional monthly income. The balance of the loan is only due to be repaid when the home owner has ceased to use the property as their primary residence. For example, if they have passed away, moved into a care facility or moved into their holiday home permanently.
Retirement should be a relaxed and happy period in a person’s life, but in order to ensure that you have a successful retirement, you will need to consider your retirement goals. Some people would be content spending their days tending to their garden, while others wish to travel and see the world. Obviously, these plans have radically different financial requirements. In order to determine what would be a successful retirement for you, you will need to consider what your retirement goals are and what funds would be needed to meet your goals. You can then plan out your key retirement solutions to meet these requirements.
Many pensions and equity release schemes offer a large initial lump sum with the potential for a monthly income later. If your plans do not require an immediate injection of cash, you may be better considering options which allow a larger monthly income to create more financial flexibility.
Alternatively, if you have goals which would require a large amount of money initially, you may be best opting for options which maximise the amount offered initially. However, if you are unsure about your goals, you will be unable to determine which financing method is better suited to your needs.
It is important to consider the possibility of unforeseen circumstances or other eventualities in your retirement plans. While no one wishes for ill health, there is a greater risk of medical issues affecting your quality of life in later years. It can be a good idea to plan out contingencies for situations where you may require long term care or assistance. Unfortunately, in today’s world very few people have family who would be willing and able to care for them in the event that they suffer from ill health in old age. Therefore, it is important to plan for these possibilities. This will create some assurance that should the worst case scenario come into play, you will avoid undue financial stress or pressure to accommodate it.
If you are worried about planning your retirement or need assistance working on your key retirement solutions, you should consult with a professional adviser. Experienced equity release advisers can assist you in exploring the possibility of equity release if you are over the age of fifty five and worried that your pension plans will not be sufficient for your retirement. This can provide a greater degree of flexibility and allow you to enjoy your later years in comfort.
For the generation of baby boomers, the prospect of retirement can be a little daunting. This generation of people who were born at the end of the Second World War, may have planned for their retirement well, but the economic climate may have put a dent in their plans.
The main reason that the generation of baby boomers may struggle in their retirement is down to the ageing population in the UK. Many people are living far longer which means that the period in which they are retired is even longer. While this may seem like a great thing, for those who are struggling on a restricted income, this can mean they are placed under further financial strain. Added to this is the huge increase in the cost of living in the UK. Many people have felt frustrated by the price increases of basic utilities and other costs, but for someone with a fixed income, there is no way to gain a pay rise in their pension. For those who are limited to a state pension, they are at the mercy of budget changes and the effects of quantitative easing.
Even those people who have adequately planned for their retirement and paid off the balance of their mortgage while they were still working, may find that their pension income no longer stretches as far as they anticipated. This can be very disappointing for those who have sacrificed during their working lifetime to ensure that they have a comfortable retirement only to find that they may struggle to make ends meet.
Equity release and retirement mortgages allow home owners to leverage the equity which is locked in their home. While in the past, many retired people were forced to down size to a smaller property in order to gain access to this equity, equity release allows the home owner to obtain a loan secured on the property, while retaining the right to live in the home until such time as they move into a care facility or pass away.
Many retired home owners can have considerable fund locked in their property but be cash poor. A great number of equity release schemes allow for home owners to receive a tax free lump sum or additional monthly income without needing to pay a monthly repayment. The interest accrued on the loan is compounded on the loan balance, which becomes due for repayment when the property is sold after the home owner has passed away.
Retirement mortgages are a slightly different type of financial solution. These still provide a loan to gain access to the equity locked in the home. However, these types of product will generally require a monthly payment to cover all or part of the interest charges and maintain the level of the loan balance.
As with any type of finance, there are advantages and disadvantages associated with these products. These vary according to the specific terms of the product, but there are some general factors which should be considered.
Equity release has a number of advantages including that there are a number of different schemes and plans which can suit myriad circumstances. There are roll up lifetime mortgages which allow the interest to be compounded on the loan and require no monthly payments. Other types of equity release include home reversion plans, which allow the home owner to sell all or part of their home to the company, while retaining residency rights for the remainder of their lifetime.
The disadvantages of this type of arrangement are that it can have a significant impact on the funds available from the eventual sale of the home to pass on to beneficiaries. For example, the balance of a roll up lifetime mortgage is estimated to double approximately every eleven years. This can mean that the balance increases dramatically. However, there is regulation protection to ensure that regardless of the duration of the equity release scheme or property market, no equity release plan will allow an estate to inherit a property debt to be passed on to the beneficiaries.
The advantage of retirement mortgages is that the balance of the loan is more in the control of the home owner. This can allow a greater degree of inheritance planning. However, they do usually require some form of monthly payment to cover the interest, which can be difficult for those with a restricted disposable income.
If you are one of the generation of baby boomers, and are worried about your retirement, equity release or retirement mortgages may represent a viable finance method. It is worth taking the time to research your options and speaking to an experienced equity release adviser.
A great many people are unsure of how they can leverage the equity which is locked in their home. In the past many retired people were forced to sell their property and down size to a smaller and less expensive home in order to gain access to these funds. Many people worry about equity release schemes and whether they would need to sell their home in order to take out a scheme or plan. While there is a great deal of information and advice on selling your property, there is less information about equity release, so here is a basic guide to equity release.
Equity release schemes have been around for many years. While many people will provide advice on selling your property to release the equity which is tied up in the home, equity release plans allow you to access these funds without needing to sell the home.
The process is fairly simple, the equity release company collates information including your age, gender and market value of your property to assess the amount of equity available and the estimated duration of the scheme. Equity release schemes have been designed to be lifetime products, so the company will use national statistics to estimate your potential lifespan including your age, gender and state of health. The minimum age for equity release is fifty five and in cases of joint applications, the age of the youngest party is the one used for the calculations.
Generally, you will find equity release schemes will allow you to release thirty to fifty percent of the equity in your home. This equity is determined by taking the balance of any existing mortgage or secured loan from the market value of the home. The amount of equity release is determined by your potential lifespan, with younger people being offered a smaller percentage of equity release.
The main reason for this is that unlike many other financial products, equity release schemes generally require no form of monthly payment. Instead the interest incurred by the loan is compounded on to the balance. The equity release company needs to ensure that there is sufficient equity in the home to cover the initial loan and the amount of interest which will be compounded over the duration of the scheme. This balance can increase dramatically over the years and it will double approximately every eleven years, hence why you cannot generally release more than fifty percent of the equity in the home.
The balance of the loan is only due to be repaid after the home owner has passed away or taken up permanent residence in a care facility. At this stage, the home will be sold and the proceeds used to settle the balance of the loan, with any remaining funds distributed to the beneficiaries of the estate in the normal manner.
With equity release, there is no need to sell your home. You would retain the right to live in the property for the remainder of your lifetime. However, it is a serious financial commitment and it is worth exploring your other options fully before committing to a plan. It can be a good idea to seek advice on selling your property to determine whether downsizing would present a better option for you financially. Many equity release schemes have severe early repayment penalties which are applied should you decided to sell the property at a later date. However, if downsizing is a possibility, there are some plans which offer the flexibility to port the plan to another property should you decided to move home.
It is important to explore all your options and research the possible equity release solutions. There are a number of online tools including calculators which can provide tailored illustrations of schemes which could potentially suit your circumstances. However, these tools cannot replace the expert guidance of professional and experienced equity release advisers. These advisers will be able to help you explore the alternative options and assist you in locating the deal which is best suited to your needs.
If you are interested in equity release and have explored some of your other options including taking advice on selling your property, it is worth taking some time to research the available options open to you. The online tools and equity release adviser guidance can provide invaluable assistance and help you gather all the information needed to make an informed decision as to whether equity release is the best possible solution for your needs. This will then allow you to proceed confident in your decision.
Many people considering equity release are unaware of the application procedure and become a little concerned by the property valuation and other aspects of the process. Many people assume that they will be able to release the full value of their property with equity release and argue that the valuations are lower than the actual real worth. This can cause heated arguments from the home owner, but by understanding the equity release process, you may feel a little more reassured.
There are a number of factors which influence what percentage of equity can be released. This is because equity release schemes are designed to be lifelong financial products. The equity release company needs to ensure that there is sufficient equity in the property to cover the initial lump sum and the accrued interest for the entirety of your estimated lifespan. The equity release companies are heavily regulated and cannot allow equity release to leave a debt to a person's estate. Therefore, the company will consider a number of factors to determine your estimated lifespan. These factors include:
• Your Age: Generally, the younger the applicant, the smaller the percentage of equity release available. In cases of joint application, the calculations will be based on the age of the youngest party.
• Your Gender: Since women statistically live longer than men, they tend to be offered a smaller percentage of equity release.
• Your Health Status: Some companies will take your medical health into consideration when offering an equity release sum. They allow a higher percentage of equity release to those people with an impaired lifespan due to a health condition or illness.
Obviously, the value of your property is an essential factor in influencing how much equity can be released. There are certain loan to value ratios which must be complied with to ensure that the scheme is feasible. This is why the property valuation is an essential component of the equity release application process.
There are a number of factors which can affect the property valuation. This is because the equity release company will need to assess the resale potential of your home. Your home will need to be sold after you pass away to pay off the final balance of the loan. Therefore, the equity release company must have confidence that the value of your property can cover this sum. Many equity release companies place restrictions on certain property types for example, leasehold flats, only allowing a percentage of the property valuation to be considered. This is because a leasehold flat may be more difficult to resell and there are other factors which will influence the desirability of the property.
The equity release company may also consider flood risk, tree root damage and other factors which could compromise the structural value of the property. Additionally, most equity release schemes require the property to be in a good and well maintained condition to ensure the equity release company's investment.
If you are in the process of applying for equity release, for many people the property valuation is a key component. If your property valuation has come back lower than you anticipated, there are several options.
• Firstly, you could obtain a second valuation. This is not necessarily the most cost effective solution as you will need to pay two property valuation fees. You should also be aware that the surveyor has been instructed on your behalf and is not in the employ of the equity release company. Unless there is significant evidence that the value has been underestimated, for example information about a similar property recently selling for a higher value, this is not necessarily a good course of action.
• The most effective course of action is to speak to your equity release adviser. They will be able to help you to go through the figures and calculations again. It may be that a lower valuation could impact on the feasibility of your specific equity release schemes, but the adviser would be able to explore other options with you to find one which is better suited to your needs.
If you are contemplating equity release but are concerned about your property valuation, it is worth speaking to an experienced professional equity release adviser. They will be able to check if your specific property would be subject to certain lending restrictions and assure you of the independence of the surveyor performing your property valuation. This can enable you to move forward, confident in the offer and the available amounts for equity release.
As a great number of people are approaching retirement, they are facing having a reduced income while still having debts which are lingering. Many retired people have found their disposable income compromised by credit card balances, overdrafts or bank loans. Many conventional avenues of finance such as secured loans can become closed to retired people because of their age and restricted income, which can make restructuring their debt difficult. It is for this reason that many retired people are considering equity release as viable debt management solutions.
Equity release schemes and mortgages have been specifically designed for the over fifty five age group. They allow home owners to leverage against the value of their home to gain a lump cash sum or additional income. These funds can be used for any purpose including as debt management solutions. This can allow the home owner to pay off any outstanding debts relieving the financial pressure on their reduced fixed income.
The main benefit of equity release as debt management solutions is that most plans require no monthly payment. The balance of the loan attracts interest but the interest charges are usually compounded on to the balance of the loan. This can dramatically affect the balance, allowing it to double approximately every eleven years. However, the total balance of the loan is not due for repayment until after the home owner has passed away or moved into a facility for long term care. At this point, the property is sold and the proceeds used to pay off the loan. If there are any funds remaining, they are then distributed to the beneficiaries of the estate in the usual manner.
These types of debt management solutions can allow the home owner to adjust to having a fixed income without worrying about meeting financial commitments to service their debt. Any funds remaining after paying off the debt can be used for supplementing their lifestyle, making purchases or financially assisting family members.
Most people consider the main disadvantage of this type of plan is the impact it can have on the home owner’s potential estate. Obviously allowing interest to accrue and compound can significantly increase the balance of the loan. Therefore after a great number of years, there may not be any remaining equity left for the beneficiaries. However, the equity release industry is heavily regulated to ensure that no equity release customer leaves a property debt to their estate. This provides great reassurance for those worried about leaving debts or unpaid bills to their relatives. They can use the equity tied up in their home to enjoy a more comfortable retirement.
Obviously the disadvantages should be carefully considered and weighed against the advantages before deciding to use equity release as your debt management solutions. Equity release advisers are trained to assist home owners in exploring other potential options and will actively encourage home owners to discuss their plans with their families and beneficiaries before proceeding forward. There are some plans which offer the option of making monthly interest payments rather than allowing the charges to compound. This can give a greater amount of control over the balance of the loan to the home owner, but it would require sufficient disposable income each month or a beneficiary willing to cover the costs and protect their inheritance.
Many people consider equity release as their debt management solutions because of the reassurance that no monthly payment is needed and they retain the right to live in their home for the remainder of their lifetime. This can allow home owners to experience a greater degree of financial freedom, released from the worry of mounting debts which they would struggle to repay on their fixed income. In this current economic climate and with a rising debt level in the UK, it is certainly considered a valid method of debt management. However, equity release is a serious decision as it is a long term commitment with long term financial consequences. It is worth taking the time to fully explore all your options before making a commitment to proceed forward with an application. Experienced and professional equity release advisers will be able to assist you in exploring these options and locating the best possible deal suited to your circumstances and requirements. This will enable you to move forward confident that equity release is the best of the debt management solutions available to you.
For a great number of people considering equity release, the interest rates offered are a good indicator of a great deal. Many people consider it very important to be making savings. Interest rates can vary greatly across the different plans and schemes, therefore, it is important to be aware of all your options.
Equity release calculators are free online tools offered on the websites of equity release companies and brokers. They allow the home owner to gain a tailored quotation of the potential equity release schemes which would be available to them. These tools are easy to use and require the home owner to supply basic information such as their age, gender and property details including the current market value of the property and the balance of any current mortgage or finance secured on the property. The calculators are pre-programmed to incorporate this information into the formula for determining qualification and will respond with details of the plans which are suited to the home owner’s particular circumstances. This can produce significant time savings. Interest rates, maximum equity release sums and other plan details are displayed in order to allow the home owner to make comparisons.
The calculators can produce accurate results. However, there are several things to consider when using this type of tool. These include:
• They are only as accurate as your information: The calculators are purely mathematical and have no capacity to check the accuracy of your information. Therefore, if you under or overestimate details such as the property value or balance of your existing mortgage, the figures produced will be very inaccurate. It is worth taking the time to research your information fully before using a calculator, including researching the sale prices of similar properties in your area and asking your current lender for an up to date balance.
• They are tied to a particular range of products: The calculators are programmed with the details of the particular plans associated with the website. This will mean that if you are using an equity release provider’s calculator, it will only display the results from that particular provider’s product range. The best way to gain a greater insight into the market place is to use a number of different calculators, especially those linked to independent advisers. This will give you access to a greater degree of schemes and increase the likelihood of finding the best possible savings, interest rates and deals.
Many people think that they can seek out the best possible deal and interest rate by themselves. However, it is worth considering that equity release advisers can have access to exclusive products and schemes which may be the best possible option for you. It is important to consult with a professional and experienced adviser. However, it is a good idea to take the results from your equity release calculator searches to provide a basis for comparison. This will ensure that you can have confidence that your adviser has found you the best possible deal.
Remember: the Interest Rate is Not the Only Factor!
It is important to remember when you are looking for a good deal or savings, interest rates should not be the only factor you consider. For some people looking for the maximum amount of equity release possible, they may be able to release a higher amount with some plans but incur a higher interest rate. Alternatively, it is important to assess the charges and fees associated with the scheme. Some plans may look extremely attractive with a great rate, but you may discover restrictions and limitations including very high early repayment charges. This could be extremely costly should your circumstances change in the future.
Other plans may offer more attractive terms, such as draw down lifetime mortgages, which allow home owners to call down funds as and when they require them up to their draw down limit. This can be beneficial as the interest is only applied to funds which have been released. While the interest rate may not be as attractive, there is a potential that you may incur less charges in the long term, if you have no immediate need for a large lump sum. It is therefore important to check all the advantages and disadvantages of the particular scheme, not just the interest rate before proceeding. Your equity release adviser will be able to assist you with the key facts of specific schemes which will highlight the pros and cons, ensuring you have all the information needed to make an informed choice when moving forward.
If you are interested in equity release, it is important to research all your options in order to evaluate the best deal and savings. Interest rates are an important consideration, but they should not be the only deciding factor. It is important to explore all the advantages and disadvantages associated with the specific scheme before making a decision about moving forward.
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