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Your Later Life Q4 2021

Challenging common pension misconceptions: equity release is advised not sold

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Jim Boyd

Chief Executive, Equity Release Council

Many people’s houses are worth far more than their pension pots, so they should always be consideration in later lifer financial planning.


The convention that a pension alone will fund retirement is becoming an outdated one. The phrase ‘living off your pension’ increasingly sounds like something from a bygone era.

The fact is some people have not saved enough to live off their pensions. While others want to support their loved ones when they need it, gifting deposits for homes or helping to meet tuition fees. Those who own their homes can often do something about it, which is where we make the pitch for equity release, right? Wrong.

Consider your options

You should think about downsizing first. It’s not always cost-effective and it can be hard to find the right housing in your community, but it’s an option. You must check you are getting your full state pension and benefits too. Women are thought to be owed billions in unclaimed benefits, due to complex rules and government errors. You should also consider all later life lending options, such as a retirement interest only mortgage or a residential remortgage that extends into retirement.

You should think about downsizing first. It’s not always cost-effective and it can be hard to find the right housing in your community, but it’s an option.

These are not just common-sense recommendations. They are part of the Equity Release Council’s adviser checklist, which mandates the issues our advisers are required to explore with their clients.

Consumer safeguards

Customers of Council members also benefit from four key consumer safeguards: a no negative equity guarantee; fixed or capped interest; secure tenure for life; and independent legal advice.

These safeguards, which compliment statutory regulation, are at the heart of our standards which have been developed over 30 years and which all our members must abide by. They underpin a market that has held safe and steady through the pandemic.

Equity release is only available to those aged 55 and over, so that is a convention that remains in place, but we would like to introduce another one. People should always consider the money tied up in their home, typically their largest asset, as part of their later life financial planning and they should use a Council member to do so.

To find a Council member visit www.equityreleasecouncil.com/advisers or look out for the Council’s trust mark.

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Home » Pensions and Finance » Challenging common pension misconceptions: equity release is advised not sold
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Ensuring digital technology is accessible for all generations

Harriet Gridley

UK Director, No Isolation

Human contact, love and close relationships are important for everyone, no matter their age or physical abilities.


There is a growing concern that smartphones and social media have largely moved social networks from analogue to digital platforms, often leaving the technologically inexperienced and elderly behind.

No one should be made to feel stupid, dependent on others, or excluded from the internet, yet 46% of people 75 and over in the UK are not online (ONS, 2021). Age UK reports that 1.4 million older people in the UK are often lonely, with the number potentially much higher.

Addressing the digital divide

Most digital technology is simply not accessible to older users, due to many reasons such as memory loss, reduced circulation in fingertips and auditory impairments. The digital divide has never mattered more.

We all have an experience of helping our older relatives use tech a nd then realising how difficult it can be.

Most digital technology is simply not accessible to older users.

At No Isolation, we want to empower everyone to have meaningful digital connections when their situation prevents them from connecting in person. Our recent research estimates as many as 5.6 million people over the age of 65 in the UK find touchscreens difficult or impossible to use (Source: No Isolation, 2021).

Simplifying existing technology – such as smartphones and tablets – is not the answer to truly inclusive design.

One solution is Komp, which is operated using only one button but enables those who have been digitally excluded to engage in video calls and content sharing with their loved ones.

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