Is Equity Release a Good Idea In Retirement?

Home Is Equity Release a Good Idea In Retirement?
Sunny Avenue
Mortgages Sunny Avenue
31 May 2024

Equity release grows in popularity year on year, with more people looking at alternatives to pensions to finance their retirement. In this insight, we look at the option of releasing equity for retirement.

Key Takeaways

  • If you are over 55, you can release equity from your home to fund your retirement.
  • Equity release requires no repayments, providing an alternative way to fund retirement.
  • It comes at a cost to your estate, as you potentially sell a % of your home.
  • It's important to understand the risks of releasing equity and consider safeguards such as no equity release guarantees.

Is Equity Release a Good Idea In Retirement?

Whether equity release is a good idea in retirement depends on individual circumstances. It can provide access to funds tied up in a property to spend in retirement, although, it reduces the value of your estate and may impact entitlements to means-tested benefits.

Equity release is a way to borrow money when you're 55 or older. You use your house as collateral and the money is paid back after you die. The amount you can borrow depends on your age and the value of your property. You can receive the money in a lump sum or over multiple payments.

Looking For Equity Release Advice?

If you're thinking about releasing equity from your property, but unsure where to start?
We can help you find an equity release specialist to offer you the very best advice. Complete our Sunny Fact Find form to provide us a bit more detail about your circumstances and we'll find the best-suited adviser for your needs.
Your appointed adviser will contact you to discuss how they can help, you decide how to proceed.

Can Equity Release Be Used for Retirement?

Lenders who provide equity release loans aren't afraid to lend to older people. With a remortgage or further advance, income is verified until retirement age, and the loan must be paid back after that. These types of loans have monthly repayments. In contrast, equity release loans are repaid from the estate value of the borrower after they die. This means that the borrower doesn't have to make any payments until they pass away. The funds can then be used to boost retirement or purchase an annuity income. However, it's important to bare in mind that equity release reduces the value of your estate and means leaving less inheritance.

Is Releasing Equity the Future of Retirement?

Equity release products are now more accessible and flexible than ever before, and the market is growing. Many people are interested in unlocking the value of their homes without having to sell. This is especially true given the record-high levels of UK property wealth.

Retirement planning options are limited, and the buy-to-let market has become more regulated and taxed. As a result, retirement options are scarce. With rising inflation, interest rates, and cost of living, loans are becoming more stretched. This is especially true given that the average house price is now £281k, which is a significant amount to repay on an average income of £31k. How can retirement planning be a priority when people are struggling to pay for their homes?

It's opportunity cost. Prioritising paying off a mortgage during your working life could limit your disposable income and prevent you from boosting your retirement savings.

Equity release can provide a solution giving you more financial flexibility in retirement. However, it's important to seek professional advice and consider your priorities, such as leaving an inheritance for your family. In the future, it may become more common for people to use their homes to finance their retirement, especially for those without children. It's up to individuals to decide if they want to prioritise leaving an inheritance or enjoying their retirement to the fullest.

Types of Equity Release 

Lifetime mortgages

The main equity release product is also known as Lifetime mortgages. You do not make any repayments unless you choose to, and if you do, an early repayment charge may occur. The total amount borrowed from your agreed facility accumulates interest. This interest amount is added to the borrowed amount so your loan would increase year on year. Seek advice on policies that include No negative equity guarantee. That means, there is a cap to the debt accumulated, against the percentage value of your home. Your loved ones would not be left with any debt from the agreement. Your estate will never have to pay back more than the property is sold for.

Home reversion plans

The other option for equity release is a Home reversion plan. With a Home reversion equity release plan, you sell a percentage of the value of your home. You can receive a tax-free lump sum or an income with this, but when you pass away the home is sold and the lender takes its % share of the proceeds. Often with Home reversion plans, you are paid under the market value for the share of the property. The price you get will depend on your age and health.

Alternatives to Releasing Equity For Retirement

There are several methods of releasing equity for retirement other than equity release. Here are some alternatives to equity release:


This involves selling your current property and purchasing a smaller and less expensive one. The proceeds from selling your home can be used to fund your retirement or purchase a new property outright, allowing you to release equity.

Renting out a portion of your property

If you have extra space in your home, you can consider renting out a room or a separate unit to generate rental income. This can help supplement your retirement funds and release equity over time.

Savings and investments

Building up savings and investments over time can also help release equity for retirement. By saving and investing wisely, you can grow your wealth and potentially tap into these funds later in life to supplement your retirement income.

Pension plans and annuities

Contributing to a pension plan throughout your working years can help build up a retirement fund. Upon reaching retirement age, you can access the funds in your pension pot as a lump sum, regular payments, or by purchasing an annuity, which provides a guaranteed income for life.

Selling other assets

If you have other valuable assets, such as a second property, valuable collectables, or investments, you can consider selling them to release equity for retirement. However, it's important to carefully evaluate the financial implications and potential tax consequences before making any decisions.

It's crucial to seek independent financial advice to understand the suitability and potential risks associated with each method, as the best option for releasing equity will depend on your individual circumstances and financial goals.

Does Equity Release Affect State Pension?

Getting equity release won't affect your state pension because it's not based on how much money you have. But if you use a lifetime mortgage or home reversion plan to add to your savings, you might lose some of your pension credits. 

For example, let's say you have a total of £15,000 in your bank account and you decide to take out an equity release scheme to boost your savings. This means you have £5,000 above the £10,000 limit.

For every £500 you have above the limit, you'll lose £1 in pension credits. In this case, you have £5,000 - £10,000 = £-5,000 divided by £500 = -10. So, you'll lose £1 in pension credits for every ten £500 increments, which means you'll lose £10 in pension credits.

So, if you were receiving £50 in pension credits before taking out the equity release scheme, you would now receive £40 in pension credits (£50 - £10).

Looking For Equity Release Advice?

If you're thinking about releasing equity from your property, but unsure where to start?
We can help you find an equity release specialist to offer you the very best advice. Complete our Sunny Fact Find form to provide us a bit more detail about your circumstances and we'll find the best-suited adviser for your needs.
Your appointed adviser will contact you to discuss how they can help, you decide how to proceed.

Seeking Equity Release Advice

When seeking equity release advice, it's not just about releasing the most money or getting the lowest interest rate. It's about identifying your goals and having advice tailored to suit you. Maybe you want to travel, buy a second home, or help your children buy their own homes. Perhaps you want to pay off debt or boost your retirement cash. Equity release could be a good option. This is a big decision, so take your time to plan what you want your retirement to look like and how you can achieve it financially.

So, Is Equity Release a Good Idea In Retirement? It's a personal decision to be made based upon your cirucmstances. If you are unsure where to start with releasing equity for retirement, complete the Sunny Avenue Fact Find for equity release advice. The answers you provide help us to find the most suitable adviser. They then contact you for a no-obligation conversation on how they can help. You decide how to proceed.


Stuart is an expert in Property, Money, Banking & Finance, having worked in retail and investment banking for 10+ years before founding Sunny Avenue. Stuart has spent his career studying finance. He holds qualifications in financial studies, mortgage advice & practice, banking operations, dealing & financial markets, derivatives, securities & investments.

  • The content on this page is regularly checked by our onboarded advisers and experts.

Be notified when we add new articles




Our website offers information about financial products such as investing, savings, equity release, mortgages, and insurance. None of the information on Sunny Avenue constitutes personal advice. Sunny Avenue does not offer any of these services directly and we only act as a directory service to connect you to the experts. If you require further information to proceed you will need to request advice, for example from the financial advisers listed. If you decide to invest, read the important investment notes provided first, decide how to proceed on your own basis, and remember that investments can go up and down in value, so you could get back less than you put in.

Think carefully before securing debts against your home. A mortgage is a loan secured on your home, which you could lose if you do not keep up your mortgage payments. Check that any mortgage will meet your needs if you want to move or sell your home or you want your family to inherit it. If you are in any doubt, seek independent advice.