Single equity release customers twice as likely to be female

Almost double the number of retired single women are choosing to generate cash through a lifetime mortgage on their homes compared to men, according to new research from HUB Financial Solutions.

The equity release adviser revealed single women accounted for 30% of its lifetime mortgage business in the first six months of 2019 – compared to 17% of business from single men – with the remaining 54% of lifetime mortgage business made in joint plans.

HUB Financial Solutions highlighted government statistics revealing the gender differences in financial planning for later life, which showed there are 1.7 million widowed women over the age of 70 – nearly triple the 613,000 widowed men.

Furthermore, seven in 10 of those over 70 years of age who are not living in a couple are believed to be women, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

HUB Financial Solutions managing director, Simon Gray, commented: “The equity release market is seeing rising business from single people and our specialist advisers helped nearly double the number of single women as single men in the first half of 2019.

“Generally, we see single men and women releasing about the same amount of equity at about the same age – most commonly between 65 and 74 – from homes that are similar value albeit lower than for properties owned by couples.”

HUB Financial Solutions’ research also found that women are entering retirement with less pension provision than men, suggesting that 45% of retirees in the lowest income groups are single women. This compared to just 14% of single men, with couples comprising the remaining 38%.

Gray added: “We believe single women are going to be an increasingly important demographic for advisers as growing numbers seek to supplement their pension income and think about estate planning and helping children via ‘pre-inheritance.’

“Male life expectancy has been increasing but women continue to live longer so it is more important that they consider insuring against outliving their pension assets.

“With more years to fund and smaller pensions on average, it is arguably more important that single women make robust financial plans and take professional advice, including where appropriate, how to access the value locked-up in their property that could be released to help them achieve a better later life.”

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