However, other times, such stories are based purely on myths or misconceptions that have been allowed to spread and evolve despite having no real basis.
And by continually discussing the stories, even to question their merit, we add fuel to that aforementioned fire.
This, I think, has been the case with equity release over the years.
I’ve noticed that press coverage of equity release products has been growing of late – a good thing, of course, as it shows that interest in it as a solution for older homeowners is growing too.
However, among the coverage I have also noticed articles with titles like: “Equity release – key to unlocking your retirement or a dangerous trap?”; “Is equity release safe?”; and “How safe an option is equity release?”
Now, none of these headlines actually say equity release is risky or unsafe.
But even by raising the question they raise doubts in the minds of consumers – and, I’m sure, brokers.
You’ll notice, we don’t see articles with headlines like: “Is it safe to borrow money to buy a house?”; “Is remortgaging to free up cash a dangerous plan?”; or “How risky is a home improvement loan?”
All financial products have risks, of course, yet for some reason there seems to be a need or desire for this to be highlighted particularly when it comes to releasing equity from your property.
Don’t get me wrong. Equity release is not to be entered into lightly.
Indeed, the complexities surrounding the product are the reason we exist – so that we can offer consumers the specialist service needed when agreeing to such a product.
But there are many benefits to equity release which I fear are overlooked sometimes because of the headlines.
We’re starting fires where there really ought to be none.