After hearing the bad press related to equity release and the fact that everyone seems to talk about the product very tentatively, I can’t help but wonder whether this is as a result of the demographics of those taking out equity release. Whilst the more suspect ‘below market value’ companies have been swept under the rug and dismissed as a less worthy cause of concern, equity release is now fully regulated by the FSA and carries a lot of stigma about it.
The difference between the two? One is aimed at everybody and the other is aimed at over 55’s. It is this age-specific targeting that, I believe, has created the fuss. Targeting the over 55’s has the same connotations of vulnerability that come with advertising fatty foods to children.
What concerns me is that in every other industry or circumstance, older people are considered the sage of society; the wise owls that many seek counsel and admonition from. So why is it, when it comes to anything online or any type of financial product, do we treat the over 55’s with kid gloves? Stepping in like a valiant soldier to save them from their own decisions. Do we suppose for one minute that they are blindly falling for equity release like lemmings? Or rather, is it that they have put the same amount of thought into equity release as they have in every decision they have made throughout their life?
I suppose that we stop this jumping to the gun and trust the very same people that have raised us to be the people that we are today. To do anything less would be patronising to those who far more intelligent and wise than us. I am not for persuading anybody to take out equity release mortgages, I am simply for respecting the decisions of those who opt to do so.