Home » Lifestyle » We all want a good later life. What can we do to prepare?
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Louise Ansari

Director of Communications and Influencing, Centre for Ageing Better

Today’s 50-year-olds are likely to have an astounding 36 or more years to live. So those of us approaching later life need to think very differently about what those extra years will hold.


Most of us want some pretty fundamental things when it comes to later life: good health, financial security, to have good relationships with friends and family and live in a home where we feel safe and warm, in an area we like.

But many people are worried about a deterioration in both their physical and mental ability to work, get around, and do the hobbies and pastimes they love, as well as having enough money to get by or deal with unexpected events like having to pay for care.

We know that many of these factors need structural change in the work, housing and health systems. But there’s a lot we can do ourselves, too.

Being able to walk to the shops or to services, like the GP, can make a huge difference to our wellbeing, and so too does living in a community we feel connected to and part of.

How can we get ready?

Take health, for example. Just a few minutes a day of activities to improve our strength and balance can reduce our risk of falling and keep us healthy and independent for many years longer.

Our homes play a vital role in this too. Having a home that’s suitable for our changing needs – with adaptations like grab rails or walk-in showers – means we’re able to stay safe in our own home as we get older.

The area where we live matters hugely. Being able to walk to the shops or to services, like the GP, can make a huge difference to our wellbeing, and so too does living in a community we feel connected to and part of.

Of course, one of the most crucial areas of planning for later life is finances.

Many of us haven’t thought very hard about how long we’re likely to live, and how much we’ll need to save for retirement – but this is storing up problems for the long-term.

We all need to take a long, hard look at how much we think we’ll need, and how we’ll save for it.

Your guide to later life
My book, When We’re 64, is a guide to all of this. It’s filled with expert advice to help you think differently about the adventure that is later life, and how you can make the most of it.

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Home » Lifestyle » We all want a good later life. What can we do to prepare?
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Steve Robinson

Head of Lending, Marsden Building Society

It might surprise you but applying for a mortgage in later life isn’t out of bounds. In fact, those in later life can apply for a mortgage to buy a new home, remortgage an existing property or release funds to help children or grandchildren onto the property ladder.


Steve Robinson, Head of Lending at the Marsden Building Society, says that a growing number of lenders offer mortgages for the over 50s.

“This reflects how people’s lifestyles have changed,” he says. “And, of course, we’re all living a lot longer.”

There are lots of reasons why an older borrower may be interested in taking out a retirement mortgage.

The plus for most older borrowers is that they’re likely to have a more-or-less guaranteed pension income.

And it’s not just to transfer a current mortgage, older borrowers can take on a new mortgage and can borrow for a variety of personal reasons, supporting their lifestyle or loved ones.

Robinson admits, however, that the definition of a ‘retirement mortgage’ can mean different things to different lenders.

“From our perspective, applicants need to be aged 55 or over, either in retirement or very close to it, ” he says.

“Everyone’s circumstances are different, so it’s important to get the right advice and make sure the mortgage is tailored to your individual needs to make sure it’s affordable, both now and in the future.”

How much you can borrow will depend on your circumstances but, in the case of the Marsden, they’ll consider applicants from the age of 55 to the age of 85, opening up options for borrowers in later life.

What potential borrowers can expect on application

When applying for a retirement mortgage, older borrowers can expect lenders to carry out a full affordability assessment.

“It’s important to work out what the applicant’s income is, what their commitments are and if they can afford to make mortgage payments comfortably,” says Robinson.

“As with any mortgage, the property is valued, and a credit search is performed to make sure they are up-to-date with their commitments.”

But aren’t retirement mortgages a risk for both lender and borrower? After all, the clue is in the name: the mortgagor isn’t working anymore, so not generating an income.

“The plus for most older borrowers is that they’re likely to have a more-or-less guaranteed pension income,” says Robinson. “They may also have investments and, if they own a buy-to-let-property, rental income that we can take into consideration.

“There’s a lot more certainty about the income generated by people in later life. And, because they’re a little bit older, they’ve usually had a mortgage before, so understand how it works and what the commitment is.”

A change in circumstance is a key risk in later life, so finding a lender experienced in retirement mortgages is important. It’s not just about the help you receive in arranging your mortgage, but the ongoing support the lender will provide throughout the life of the mortgage. Circumstances can and will change, so you want to feel confident that help with always be there.

To find out more about the retirement mortgages the Marsden can offer, visit themarsden.co.uk/your-later-life or call 01282 440537*
Your Home May Be Repossessed If You Do Not Keep Up Repayments On Your Mortgage
*Calls will be recorded and may be monitored

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