Greys sitting on a goldmine, study shows

Article date: 4 July 2001

MANY of Britain's over-60s are sitting on a gold mine withoutknowing it, a new study shows today.

Norwich Union's 'Grey Matters' research shows that more thanhalf of older people have lived in their current home for over 30years, yet have no idea how much it has increased in value - eventhough the average rise over the past five years is almost£40,000.*

And 80 per cent of them would not consider cashing in by movingto a smaller property because they can't imagine living anywhereelse.

The 'Grey Matters' study also shows that the over-60s aren'tbeing as clever with their cash as they could be - especially whenit comes to seeking financial and legal advice.

A staggering 94 per cent don't know that IFA stands for anindependent financial adviser and only two-fifths have ever soughtprofessional financial advice.

When it comes to seeking legal advice, a third of over-60shaven't sought advice from a solicitor for more than 10 years and15 per cent have never sought any legal advice.

Instead, the over-60s rely on and trust family members most whenit comes to financial advice and decisions - followed by their bankmanager.

As most people don't want to sell the home they are emotionallyattached to, but want to get their hands on some extra cash, oneoption they may like information and advice about is equityrelease.

To help the over-60s and their families understand how equityrelease works, Norwich Union has produced a free step-by-step guidecalled 'Unlock your future - equity release made easy'.

The guide, written by a personal finance journalist, is designedto provide impartial, straightforward information about the varioussteps involved in choosing and taking out an equity releasepolicy.

It includes details about how to gather information about thevarious plans available, the valuation process, the legal paperworkand keeping in-touch with the equity release provider. It alsoincludes a checklist and jargon buster of difficult terms orphrases.

Daren Carter, head of equity release marketing for NorwichUnion, said: "It's estimated that the over-60s in the UK havearound £550 billion of equity tied up in their homes. Yet ourresearch shows that making financial decisions, especially whereyour home is concerned, can seem daunting. That's where we hopethis guide will help.

"Our aim is to help take some of the mystery out of the equityrelease process by giving the over-60s and their families theconfidence to make the right choices to help them put cash in theirpockets so they can get the most out of retirement."

Peter Everett, spokesperson for leading national estate agentsYour Move, said: "In the past, we've sold many properties for over60's where we've felt that they clearly didn't want to leave butthought that they had no practical alternative.

Equity release schemes offer a wonderful opportunity for peoplewho want to release some capital from their homes without having togo through the potential hassle and heartache of moving."

To obtain a free copy of Norwich Union's 'Unlock your future- equity release made easy' guide call Freefone 0800 122876


For further media information, contact Anja Kueppers orMatthew Buchanan at QBO on 020 7379 0304 or Louise Zucchi atNorwich Union Press Office on 08703 666860

Notes to editors:

* Council of Mortgage Lenders (BSM/SML) Mix Adjusted House Pricesat Mortgage Completion Stage, All Houses, UK Regions, 1996-2000

  • Norwich Union commissioned an independent survey of 496 peopleaged over 60 in March 2001 and May 2001.
  • People interested in finding out more about Norwich Union'sequity release products should call 0845 300 2493 or talk it overwith their own Financial Adviser.
  • Norwich Union offers two options for people wanting to releasecash from their home. The Flexible Cash Release Plan releases acash lump sum and the Flexible Income Release Plan enablescustomers to receive a regular income - or the option to take upto 25 per cent of the money released as a cash lump sum as well asa regular income. Loans are secured by a legal charge on theirproperty.

    There is nothing to repay during the customers' lifetime unlessthe house is sold or they need to go into long term care.

    The plans should be seen as a lifetime commitment. Substantialearly repayment charges may be payable if the loan is repaid for areason other than death or long term care needs.

    Full terms and conditions or a personal illustration are availableon request.

    The income under a Flexible Income Release Plan is provided by aNorwich Union Immediate Life Annuity. The annuity has no cash invalue at any time. Part of the income received under a FIRP istaxable as savings income.

    Entitlement to state/tax benefits may be affected by taking out anequity release plan.

    Norwich Union only advises on its own products.
  • CGU and Norwich Union merged on 30 May 2000 to create CGNU plc- the world's 6th largest insurer, the UK's largest insurancegroup and one of the top-five life insurers in Europe withsubstantial positions in other markets around the world.
  • CGNU's principal business activities are long-term savings,fund management and general insurance, with worldwide premiumincome and retail investment sales from ongoing business of over£27 billion and assets under management of more than £210 billion(correct as at February 2001).
  • From October 2000, the combined life and pensions, generalinsurance and retail fund management businesses in the UK operateunder the Norwich Union brand, while the institutional investmentbusiness operates under the Morley Fund Management brand.
  • Norwich Union's news releases are available on thiswebsite

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