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5 ways people have spent equity release

What could you do with the equity you release?

If you're over 55 and own your home outright, you're in good company. Currently over 6.3 million people in England are in the same position, according to research conducted recently. And with the average cost of a house standing at £229,383, and rising all the time, that represents property worth a whopping £1.5 trillion!

Perhaps then, with this amount of capital locked up in our homes, it's not surprising that people have chosen to free up some of this money through equity release schemes.

The million-dollar question is, what do you need to help you live a happier life? If you did free up some cash through equity release, what would you use it for and how would that have a positive effect on your life.

A mature couple on holiday lie on a marina, surrounded by boats

What is equity release?

Let’s break it down. ‘Equity’ is the market value of your home, less any outstanding mortgage or other debt secured on it. If you've lived in your home for a long time, you'll have probably seen local house prices rise steadily, so the amount of equity you now have could be quite substantial.

‘Release’ means getting some of this money out of your home and into your pocket, without having to sell up and move out. You can continue to live in your own home for the rest of your life, or until you move out permanently.

How could the money help me?

How you spend the equity you release is entirely up to you. The amount you can access will depend on your individual circumstances, but as an example, if you're 70, with a property value of £200,000, you may be able to consider releasing up to £78,000. This means that if the amount of money you need for whatever reason is available through equity release, it could be the answer for you. To help you out, here are the top five ways people use their equity release:

To pay off a mortgage or debts

It’s not unusual for people in their fifties and beyond to still have mortgages or credit card debts and you may want to clear these before you retire. If you have an interest-only mortgage, equity release can also be an effective way of raising the money to pay off your loan when the term finishes – if you haven't already put other plans in place to pay off the balance.

To make home improvements

If you've always fancied a new kitchen, bathroom or conservatory, equity release can be a way to make those home improvements possible. Or perhaps you’re getting to a stage in life where you’d like to make things a little easier for yourself, by adapting your home to your physical needs.

A conservatory in a sunny garden

To live more comfortably

If you just want to boost your pension a bit that's fine too. Many people are now viewing their homes as part of their pension portfolio and using equity release towards a comfortable and secure retirement. This might be something worth considering if your pension savings aren't delivering the annual income you'd hoped.

To help the family

If you feel like you're now comfortable, perhaps you'd like to be able to help your family get on the housing ladder, buy a bigger home or just have some money for a holiday. You could use it as an early inheritance, so that you can see your loved ones benefit from it now rather than later. Depending how much money you release, you could still leave an inheritance as well.

A mature couple hug their children and grandchildren, whilst smiling and posing for the camera

For a treat

You've worked hard all your life, so isn't now the time to go on the holiday of your dreams, travel the world or get that nifty little car you've always wanted? Remember, you only live once.

Planning for retirement

As you approach retirement, there may be all kinds of thoughts going through your head, mixed with lots of hopes and fears for the future. A report by the Citizens’ Advice Bureau found that the most common worries include:

  • Becoming physically or mentally frail
  • Not being able to pay their bills
  • Their pension savings running out
  • Not being able to stay in their own home
  • Being lonely
  • Not being able to pay for care
  • Not being able to maintain their home
  • Not being able to continue their hobbies

In striking contrast, here are a few of the most common hopes for retirement revealed in the same report:

  • Have enough income to support the lifestyle they want
  • Have money to take holidays or travel
  • Have the ability to clear their debts
  • Leave money behind for friends or family when they die
  • Be able to volunteer or give back to society
Mature couple drinking white wine, sat outside a restaurant on a sunny day

In the light of findings like this it’s easy to see why releasing equity from your home could make sense. Remember though, that your property is probably your most valuable asset – as well as being the place you call home. So equity release is a big decision. As with any other financial matter, it's worth getting all the facts and information before you do anything. The best thing is to get professional advice from an equity release specialist, before deciding if it’s the right option for you.

Whenever you’re ready, we’re here for you

For more information and to check your eligibility, call The SunLife Over 55 Equity Release Service today on 0800 633 5566 or request a call back.

SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, life insurance, equity release, pet insurance, home insurance, car insurance, ISAs and Will writing services

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife? 

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Phoenix Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 110418). As part of SunLife’s commitment to quality service and security, telephone calls may be recorded.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

The funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Ltd which is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.