The Covid pandemic has been tough on many people in many ways. For Evadne, a drama and communication teacher, the hardest thing of all was watching her youngest son struggle.
“For various reasons he moved in with me through lockdown,” she says. “His entire career changed – before, he was travelling round the country meeting people, which is what he likes and what he’s good at. But he was stuck in my office working, and I watched him get very low.”
Evadne, who refuses to describe herself as retired (“While I have breath in my body I’ll keep doing the things I love, which is teaching and acting,” she says), knew that living with mum wasn’t a healthy position for a 38-year-old man. But the financial constraints of today’s housing market, meant her son was stuck.
“He couldn’t see a way out from living with me, and that was hard. He’d always rented, and he spoke so sadly about never being able to afford to buy a house,” she says. “He wanted that base, that security – it was really important to him.”
How a lifetime mortgage helped her family
Like any mother, she wanted to help. Evadne knew that buying his own place would provide the boost her son needed, setting off a chain reaction that would enable lots of other changes in his life. Having already downsized from a five-bedroom property after the death of her husband, Evadne thought she was limited in the financial help she could offer, until she began to look into lifetime mortgages.
“I spoke to a couple of financial advisers, and Legal & General kept coming up, so I contacted them. I’m really bad at paperwork, I hate reading contracts! But I was impressed that they asked questions: did I know what I was doing? Did I know what a lifetime mortgage entails?”
But when she told her son what she was planning, he was horrified.
“He said, don’t do it, what are you going to do in later life? But I explained that if I have to go into care, I will sell the house. The issue is the compound interest; and he has decided to pay that.”
For Evadne, it was the perfect solution. He was able to put down a deposit on a house (Evadne described seeing him put the key in his own front door as akin to watching him open presents on Christmas morning), enabling him to relax and move on with his life. While there are other ways to borrow money, by securing a loan against her house, Evadne was able to remain in the home she loved, while supporting her son in regaining his independence.
“The lifetime mortgage has ensured my son now feels secure. That is worth more than any money in the world,” says Evadne. “It makes me feel successful as a mum. I feel safer and more content, happier because he is happier. He texted me recently and said, ‘Hey Mum, now I’ve got my own place, would you like to come over for a cuppa?’ That’s what I wanted to hear!”
How equity release has helped Evadne fulfil her own ambitions
She also has a newly decorated living room, a new boiler, and is planning a trip to visit friends in America – all from the money she received.
“It solved all my problems very simply, very easily, very professionally. I feel secure in my home, I’ve no worries about money, and it enabled me to do something for my son that I couldn’t have done under other circumstances,” she says. “If it’s something you need, then just do it. It’s very straightforward.”
One further plan she has, is to travel to Montenegro, a place her husband had wanted to visit but wasn’t able to before he passed away. “I feel as if I’m going for him. I call this stage of my life, my third adventure, not retirement; and my advice to anyone about to retire is, don’t!” she says with a laugh.
“Don’t just sit around – find something that makes you happy, whether you get paid or not is irrelevant. This is the time in life when you can live for yourself. You don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to do anything.”
With her office reclaimed from her son, Evadne can focus again on her corporate voiceover work, as well as her acting (she is involved with a murder mystery group that produces podcasts) and her dog, Biscuit – a once-scrawny rescue from Romania.
“Biscuit has seen me through the last four years brilliantly, and she means everything to me,” she says. “She’s such a diva. Sometimes I feel guilty that I love her more than my children!”
Somehow, we don’t think that’s the case. But there’s no doubt the lifetime mortgage has turned around not just Evadne’s life, but her son’s as well.
Whether you’d like to help a loved one onto the property ladder, travel somewhere new in your retirement, or something else entirely. For homeowners over-55, a lifetime mortgage could be one way to help you achieve your dreams.
How a lifetime mortgage works
A lifetime mortgage is a loan secured against your home. It allows you to access cash without having to move home or downsize.
The loan is usually repaid from the sale of your home when you die or move out of your home into long term care. Interest is charged on a compounding basis, which means that any unpaid interest is charged on the loan amount plus any interest already added. Our team of specialists can give you expert advice, as it’s important to consider all your options, and there may be cheaper ways to borrow money.
A lifetime mortgage will reduce an inheritance and, if you do decide to gift money away, the recipient may have to pay inheritance tax in the future (find out more at gov.uk/inheritance-tax).
If you would like to find out more about equity release, our article on frequently asked questions about equity release could help. We also have an equity release calculator, which helps you see how much equity you could release with a lifetime mortgage.