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The indebted retired are falling deeper into the red

a pile of credit cards

The Equity Release Council has revealed that unsecured debt amongst the over 65s is on the increase. Over the past year, there has been a 16% increase in debt within the over 65s homeowner demographic; the average person who finds themselves in debt owes upwards of £1,500.

For some, the pain of debt in retirement is easing as the Council’s figures reveal that credit card debt is falling, as is overdraft use.

Unfortunately, the over 65s who find themselves in deeper debt are falling further into the red. Unsecured debt still owed on credit cards, overdrafts and personal loans has strongly concentrated as, for example, just 5% of over-65 homeowners have an outstanding overdraft in December 2014, down from 6% twelve months ago, however the amount owed by those who do have an overdraft has more than doubled from £976 to £2,313.

However, as the Pensioner Debt Index shows, the typical 65+ homeowner could potentially access around £50,000 of equity, easing the financial strain those in debt are feeling.

This figure of £50,000 is also approximately double the size of the average pension pot meaning that, for those in debt or indeed debt-free, property wealth could be seen as a significant financial lifeline in retirement.

The use of a lifetime mortgage can assist those in dire need of financial assistance whilst ensuring that you never have to downsize, and your home remains your home.

However, as is always the case with financial decisions, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider and secured debt needs to be explained in full along with consideration of all options for each customer so qualified specialised advice is imperative. Bower offer experienced, independent specialist equity release advisers who can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of equity release.