Blog > Financial journalist encourages an 'open mind’ on equity release

Financial journalist encourages an ‘open mind’ on equity release

mature couple with advisor

By Clare Yates • 22nd April 2024 • 2.5 min read

Money Marketing journalist positive about consumer safeguards and product flexibility

A financial journalist has written about her understanding and opinion of equity release, encouraging readers to ‘keep an open mind’ on the product. 

Amanda Newman Smith offers an impressive 24 years of experience writing for the financial magazine Money Marketing. Her article is a personal take on the subject, admitting that she felt “out of touch” with equity release when she wrote a separate piece about it.

Indeed, the industry has been evolving quite rapidly in recent years, with new products launching regularly. According to her article, only last year a Well Spent report found that just 4% of people could say that they fully understood how equity release works. 

In Amanda’s article, she explains how her recent research into the industry reveals it to be “a world away” from the image of equity release that she once knew. With enhanced safeguards for consumers and the recent introduction of voluntary payment options, Amanda writes that: “For the right person, it could make a real difference to the kind of life they lead.”

Options include the ability to make voluntary penalty-free payments of typically up to 10% of the total loan amount each year. This, together with the availability of interest-only plans and mandatory payment plans, could make equity release more appealing to homeowners seeking to manage the interest on their plans.

Increasing awareness about equity release

But are prospective customers aware of all the new options now available? Amanda herself admits that she “didn’t realise mandatory payment periods were now an option”. Perhaps, as a greater awareness develops, we’ll see a whole new cohort of homeowners exploring equity release to achieve their later life financial goals.

Amanda also points out the value of the no-negative equity guarantee, one of the standards offered by all Equity Release Council-approved plans. This particular rule guarantees that the amount owed by a homeowner will never exceed the value of their home. It helps to ensure that the equity release horror stories of the past are never repeated. 

In addition to this guarantee, there are other protections in place by selecting a provider that is a member of the Equity Release Council. For example, the right to stay in your home for the rest of your life or until you move into long-term care. Plus, the right to move home to another suitable property after arranging your plan.

Another important point that Amanda makes is her reference to the recent FCA review of the equity release market, which highlighted that “advice lacked discussion of alternatives”. With many options now available to homeowners looking to boost their finances in later life, it is essential that customers are made aware of them all before making a decision. 

At Equity Release Wise, our selected advisers take the time to explain every alternative to equity release during the appointment process. It’s a critical step that ensures homeowners have all the information they need to make a fully informed decision.

Speak to a specialist

If you’re thinking about equity release, nothing beats having a conversation with a specialist. Our selected advisers can give you all the advice and information you need to make an informed decision. They are members of the Equity Release Council, giving you reassurance that you’ll get the guarantees and safeguards that their approved plans offer.

Get an estimate of how much you could release here, or call our friendly team today on 0800 096 2215 or request a call back to arrange pressure-free advice and information.

About Clare Yates. With over a decade’s experience writing about later life financial planning, Clare offers a wealth of knowledge about equity release, pension annuities, wills, LPAs and more. When she isn’t writing, Clare likes to spend her time baking and going on walks with her husband, two children and their rescue dog. Follow Clare on LinkedIn

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