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Equity release: Breaking the chain between debt and mental health – Rozario

by: Andrea Rozario, chief corporate officer, Bower Retirement
  • 16/01/2017
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Equity release: Breaking the chain between debt and mental health – Rozario
The importance of mental health cannot be overstated. Perhaps more critical than anything else, keeping your mind healthy should be the number one priority for everyone but this task can become challenging, especially as we age.

For those in old age, mental health can deteriorate rapidly as seclusion, loneliness and financial worries can quickly exacerbate feelings of sadness into crippling depression.

According to recent research backed by the Financial Ombudsman Service, there is a direct link between debt and mental health problems. Research shows as many as ‘half the people who have a debt problem also have a mental health problem’, and this issue becomes intensified as people age.

When retirement is approaching, the last thing people need to think about is the threat of debt, but this is a reality for thousands, if not millions of people up and down the country. The average pensioner owes £34,000 over a mix of credit cards, loans and overdrafts, and of course, outstanding mortgages. Interest-only mortgages especially are causing huge amounts of debt and worry across the nation, and those who have no repayment strategy in place (estimated at nearly one million interest-only mortgage holders last year by the Citizens Advice Bureau) are staring at the possibility of repossession if they can’t find the funds to meet their shortfall.

The link between debt and mental health problems is therefore hardly surprising. Financial turmoil can sneak up on people just as depression does, and any sense of control can be elusive. It is therefore of great comfort to thousands of homeowners who find themselves in a bad way with debt and depression that they can take back control with products within the equity release stable.

Having the power over one’s financial destiny is something we all deserve, and the lifetime mortgage is one of the only avenues homeowners can take that return that power without demanding immediate repayment or a move to property often far away from family and friends. When finances have spiralled out of control and your mental health is not far behind, what better than being told that there is a product that can help you pay off your debts, regain control and all the while ensure that your home remains your home?

The ability equity release has in providing customers with the power they deserve to alter and enhance their own retirement is incredibly rewarding, and one of the primary reasons new advisers should look into this market. For when all is said and done, losing control can be heart breaking and torture on the mind – thankfully for some equity release can return control to its rightful owner.

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