With an alarming 7.2 million people currently waiting for NHS treatment – and in some cases, for over a year or more, many homeowners over 55 are turning to equity release to fund medical treatment. This was an issue for one of our clients over 55 who came to us following the news that his hip replacement surgery was deemed ‘non-urgent’ and could take months or even years before undergoing surgery, putting his livelihood at risk.
Our state of health can have a great impact on the quality of life we experience. Outstanding medical issues can affect our ability to work, relax and enjoy time spent with friends and family. This is especially true in senior years, as the reasons for needing both urgent and non-urgent medical procedures increase.
For one of our clients over 55, a self-employed plumber, the need to have hip replacement surgery was seriously affecting his lifestyle and profession. As hip surgery was considered non-urgent with the NHS – as well as occurring at the same time as nurse and doctor strike action — this potentially meant months or years before the procedure could be done, putting his livelihood at risk.
Although our client was beyond State Pension Age, he did not yet have the funds saved in his pension to fully retire and had instead reduced his workload, which affected his ability to pay for regular lifestyle costs.
How 55Plus helped
After being recommended to our team of expert later life specialists by a close friend, we set about exploring the ways in which equity release may be able to solve the challenges our client was facing and ultimately restore his quality of life. His wife was also present at every meeting to help him make an informed decision; we recommend and encourage that a spouse, close friend or relative accompanies any of our clients when discussing the options available, to discuss what is in their best interests with a trusted companion.
For all our homeowner clients over 55, we always complete an initial and detailed fact find. This helps us to construct a comprehensive picture of your income and outgoings, assets and liabilities, as well as discuss your current and future aspirations supported by later life lending. This is an important step in our process, as it enables us to gain a clear and holistic picture of what would best benefit your personal circumstances and whether equity release is right for you; if we do not think it’s suitable, we will always say so.
In our client’s case, it was determined that an initial lump sum would be needed to fund his hip replacement surgery at a private medical facility, as well as a drawdown facility to financially support his wife and family whilst recovering from the procedure. Having the flexibility of being able to access financial support, as and when needed, provided peace of mind for future unforeseen circumstances, as well as the breathing space our client would need before choosing to return to work.
An equity release scheme was found to suit his requirements. The only alternative option was using an inheritance from his elderly mother-in-law, which may have impacted her own requirements if residential care was needed.
Our later life lending specialist researched several options available to our client and presented him with a selected scheme, giving him the initial amount requested for the surgery, as well as the drawdown facility his family might require in the future.
The results from later life lending
Our client’s application for equity release was successful. He was now able to self-fund his hip replacement operation and booked the procedure immediately at a local private hospital. This had the added advantage of being able to schedule the operation for a date and time which suited him and his customers – as well as make necessary plans for his recovery period. This was also important to him professionally, as it allowed him to notify his customers of his availability and to finish off any crucial work before his surgery.
Furthermore, it provided our client with the flexibility to pay back the loan in the way that best suited him, including the opportunity to repay up to 10% of the original amount in any 12-month period without early repayment charges.
The later life lending scheme also had a very favourable fixed early repayment charge, so if our client had the opportunity to repay larger amounts, he could do so knowing exactly how much he would be paying.
Having the drawdown facility available gave both our client and his wife peace of mind, knowing they were not at risk from the subsequent loss of income. This gave them financial relief and comfort, as well as a chance to enjoy a period of semi-retirement without worrying about their finances.
Helping homeowners over 55 find innovative and intelligent solutions that support them through later life challenges is a cornerstone of our service. As later life lending specialists, we are committed to finding the best equity release schemes for our clients – whether it’s a Lifetime Mortgage, Home Reversion or Retirement Interest Only mortgage (RIO).
As leading and independent experts, we can access the entire market of equity release lenders, providing freedom and choice to find a later life lending scheme that works for your unique circumstances. If we do not think equity release is suitable, we will always say so and support you in exploring alternative options first.