Many people have made a number of big life decisions during this enforced ‘time out’, says Peter Sharkey.
Last week I finished editing More, the UK’s leading lifestyle magazine for people considering releasing equity from their home, signed it off and sent it for printing (see above).
I enjoy the editorship, although on this occasion I missed one time-honoured element: our post-production get-together for contributors, administrative staff, account managers, art director and others, usually conducted over a pizza and a beer. It’s an opportunity to discuss production, any mishaps and consider topics and ideas for the next publication. We’ve rescheduled for the end of July.
Editing a magazine targeted at people aged 55 and over requires constant vigilance to ensure stories and articles remain relevant and, particularly at present, not suddenly dated by the pandemic’s progress. Before creating the latest issue, therefore, we spoke with more than 100 people on the magazine’s mailing list and requested their suggestions for possible features.
As we conducted this exercise (by email), it became apparent that faced with more time than usual on their hands as a result of the extended global ‘time-out’, many people have made a number of big ‘life’ decisions.
An unimaginably lengthy period of enforced lockdown has created unusually quiet, reflective conditions which have allowed some to seriously consider whether their career, future, home or lifestyle should, or must change.
Others have arrived at more sanguine conclusions and determined that working from home, spending more time with the family, or opting to work part-time offers a more palatable, relaxed way of life.
Meanwhile, it’s also very clear that those on the cusp of retirement, or already retired, have realised that life is for living; that every opportunity must be grabbed, savoured and enjoyed. I received an email from one couple who said they felt as though “a year of their retirement has been stolen,” because it was unlikely things would be back to normal before the end of the year. “We want to start travelling again!” they unanimously declared.
There’s a sense that millions of people in every age group have spent lockdown reflecting on their existence and how they may improve it, but irrespective of age, unless you’re contemplating heading off to a convent or a monastery, it’s an irrefutable fact of life that money is an integral part of future planning.
Older homeowners will be mindful of this; anyone who has ever had a 25-year (or longer) mortgage to repay will appreciate how difficult it can be sometimes. However, in return for putting a roof over the family’s head, the steady growth in capital value offers ample consolation and offsets memories of those times when paying the mortgage was, ahem, less straight forward than one would prefer.
While reading our reader email correspondence, it also became apparent that, like the couple who wish to start travelling again, most people still have ambitions they wish to fulfil. Most understand that one way in which their goals could be realised is by accessing the often significant wealth wrapped up in their home.
Equity release has helped hundreds of thousands of homeowners aged 55 and over unlock the latent value embedded in their property and turn it into a tax-free lump sum, but the process offers several other benefits.
First, there is absolutely no need to move out of your home. You and your spouse/partner can live there until you both die or move into permanent full-time care: great news if downsizing doesn’t appeal.
Second, the funds released from your home are tax-free and may be taken either a lump sum or in smaller amounts over a longer period, used, perhaps to supplement income.
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Third, in the wake of the pandemic’s economic impact, equity release has allowed homeowners to step in and help loved ones with timely contributions towards living costs.
Finally, the wealth released from your home is yours to use as you wish.
We took the magazine’s underlying inspiration from this final point as it allowed us to look forward to a time when life will return to normal and equity release can facilitate travel, inspire home Improvements, boost a flagging pension, be used to cover care costs, or to tick items off your bucket list.
Equity release isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve been thinking of your post-lockdown life, browsing through More might offer some ideas.
To receive your FREE COPY of MORE (rrp £2.95), the Summer 2020 edition of which is published later this month, simply email your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow up to 28 days for delivery.
Alternatively, you may download the magazine as a PDF by visiting: www.moneymapp.com/the-uks-brightest-equity-release-magazine
Read more about equity release on Moneymapp.com: www.moneymapp.com/equity-release
Drop Peter Sharkey a line!
Such has been the response to our recent ‘Equity release: your questions’ feature that it has been expanded. Readers can now email Peter Sharkey (and his team of equity release experts) to ask any equity release-related questions. Contact Peter by emailing: email@example.com
As many readers have already discovered, there’s a wealth of information to be discovered at: https://www.moneymapp.com/equity-release . In addition, there are hundreds of blogs and articles dealing with the subject on the Moneymapp website, including Peter Sharkey’s weekly blog, rated among the UK’s very best. Read more at: https://www.moneymapp.com/blog
You may still email any queries or questions regarding equity release to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that neither Moneymapp.com or Peter Sharkey can advise readers on whether equity release is suitable for them. However, both Moneymapp.com and Peter can introduce readers to professional advisers who will explain the process and its implications for your estate and entitlement to means-tested state benefits.
For more financial advice, check out Peter Sharkey’s regular column, The Week In Numbers.