While there were not any specific stories regarding the later life lending market within the aforementioned Top 20, it’s quite clear that a lot of the themes and issues have a later life angle.
Indeed, in a very real sense, 2020 was a year which drew the needs of later life individuals into even sharper focus.
Research from pensions firm Smart suggested one million older workers have felt the need to delay their retirement plans because of the damage wrought by the pandemic.
The Financial Conduct Authority said the average person over 55 has seen their income fall by 23 per cent over the course of the year, and 350,000 people took money out of their pension pot between July and September.
Add in the increasing pressure to help out younger members of the family with deposits for homes and the bread and butter of living expenses, and you can only see an increase in the numbers who may be willing to use their greatest asset, their family home.
Signpost the options
I am fully aware we could be in danger of sounding a somewhat mercenary tone here; in talking about client opportunities in the later life space because of the issues many older homeowners are having.
But the fact is unless we signpost the potential solutions equity release and later life mortgages can provide, we are in danger of allowing certain individuals to get into deeper trouble.
If there are other options for these people then so be it, but we also don’t want to have a situation where those who do have the means – albeit within their property – feel they have no options at all.
Many advisers I speak to, who are not ordinarily involved in the later life space, tell me about the increase in demand from older clients.
But we also have a great swathe of potential clients who could benefit who are simply not aware of what is possible and what a difference it could make.
Make a stronger foray
In that sense, it is about education and information. It is about marketing solutions to them. It is potentially about making a stronger foray into the later life sector.
Or it is about referring those clients on to specialists where they can get the most suitable advice and solutions for their needs.
For a minority – which I have to say is getting smaller each year – an individual’s property is somehow sacrosanct, but the reality is that when you have an asset and you want a better retirement, or you need the income, or you want to help a family member, then there is absolutely no harm in using it.
The more we get this message across, the more people we can help.
It might not have been a Top 20 story in 2020 but the need for more advisers in the later life space providing quality advice will continue to grow in importance.