Retirement planning drives one in three equity release customers

Plans for retirement are driving around one in three (32%) of equity release customer choices, new research from Standard Life Home Finance has indicated.

Another 11% of equity release customers said their family and friends needed their support.

Standard Life’s findings were based on views from 418 people who had taken out equity release and 94 who had declined to proceed after enquiring about the products. It found that other customers were more focused on financial planning, with 17% saying that they had always known that their pensions and savings were not enough, while another 11% said they considered their options as they realised their finances would not provide them with the standard of living they wanted.

Furthermore, 8% of respondents said their choices were driven by a life event which derailed their retirement plans – such as divorce, redundancy, or illness – while 17% who did not take out equity release said their need for additional money was driven by a life event.

The study’s respondents who did not take out equity release – which Standard Life suggested could be a slightly younger cohort – were more likely to look at working longer (23%), downsizing (26%) and using their savings (24%).

Standard Life Home Finance head of sales, Kay Westgarth, said: “While a good adviser will run through all of a customer’s options at their appointment, it is interesting to note that even before they speak to someone many people are aware of the different choices they face.

“Specialist advice is still vitally important but working with customers who have already started to think about their options makes the advice process smoother.”

CEO of Key Later Life Finance, Will Hale, added: “Despite initiatives such as automatic enrolment, increasing numbers of people are finding that what they have saved into pensions and other investments is simply not enough to allow them to achieve their wants and needs in later life.

“Therefore, it is not a surprise that the Standard Life research released today highlights that the desire for a better quality of life in retirement and the need to manage a funding shortfall is driving customers to explore equity release as an option.

“For many people, their home is their largest asset, and it only makes sense to consider how this could benefit their retirement finances or to support their wider family.”

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