New magazine released to help you get more from life after retirement
PUBLISHED: 09:52 07 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:52 07 June 2019
Want to find out more about equity release? There's a new magazine for that, explains Peter Sharkey.
Later this month, a new equity release magazine, More, hits newsstands. Nothing unusual in that, you may think. After all, equity release has become enormously popular among homeowners aged 55 and over, with increasing numbers of people using the tax-free cash they release from their property to fund a variety of life-enhancing projects - from home and garden refurbishment to helping loved ones onto the first rung of the property ladder.
However, you might think the new magazine will struggle as it prepares to enter a market currently rather top-heavy with publications, (many of which are only available online and best described as 'corporate puff') that go to great lengths to explain the minutiae of equity release and end up being, well, a little dull.
Yet More's publishers are determined to avoid replicating the current crop of similar, advertorial-focused company brochures and instead provide readers with ideas of how they can put the equity released from their homes to good and effective use.
After just a few minutes in their company earlier this week, it became clear that the team behind More have done their homework.
"Our research shows that almost a third of people who release a proportion of the wealth locked in their homes then undertake some form of refurbishment, improving their property to make it more comfortable," says More's Harry Torrance, a well-travelled, 50-something Cornishman.
He adds that "a further 30pc of homeowners aged 55 and over use the tax-free cash to head off on a holiday - or multiple holidays - of a lifetime."
Armed with this data, the publishers have taken the bold decision to launch a completely different type of equity release magazine, featuring regular articles on stylish new kitchens and bathrooms, buying a holiday home (another popular use of equity release funds), as well as plenty of holiday- and travel-related features, introducing countries as far apart as Australia and Spain. The first issue even explains how best to pack for a cruise.
"We've also created a unique, easy-to-follow guide to equity release," says the enthusiastic Mr Torrance, "and considered other areas where people may spend the funds they release from their homes, such as on buy-to-let investments. We know that many people do, so why not cater for the market rather than bombard it with dry, technical stuff they can hear from an adviser?"
The magazine looks different too because, as its More title subtly implies, equity release offers people an opportunity to get more from life. The dummy front cover features a sun-drenched cruise ship docked in azure-coloured waters and framed by palm fronds above a headline imploring readers to live life to the full. It has immediate visual appeal.
But couldn't all of this stuff simply be transferred online?
"We'll be putting it online," says Mr Torrance, "but we also believe that readers will enjoy having a hard copy they can browse, make notes in, re-read and from which they can gain ideas to supplement the ones they already have."
The decision to produce a physical magazine was taken after More's research showed that the format was likely to appeal to an older audience. More than 82pc of people aged 55 and over said they would prefer a physical publication, although an online version could prove helpful, a point explained by Mr Torrance.
"While More will focus upon what people can do after they've released funds from their home, we're also conscious that the equity release process itself is very important and not one to be rushed or taken lightly," he says.
"No-one is going to make a decision on how much they would like to release from their property overnight - and rightly so. Most people will want to think about it, discuss it with their spouse or partner, consider what they want to do with the tax-free funds they release and so on.
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"We all know that unless you're a teenager, spending hours re-visiting websites to re-read material online can be a chore, so we believe the physical magazine will prove useful for the majority of people who prefer taking their time when making important decisions."
The research and logic driving More to the newsstands cannot be faulted; we wish them well.
To receive your FREE COPY of MORE (rrp £2.95), the first edition of which is published later this month, simply email your name and address to email@example.com. Please allow up to 28 days for delivery.
THE WEEK IN NUMBERS
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the amount of time pensioners spend in voluntary activity has fallen by a quarter since 2001. The reason? Most of them are tied up looking after their grandchildren. Which is kind of volunteering, isn't it? It's certainly unpaid.
A worrying 'elf & safety development to report this week: British Triathlon has issued 'safety' advice to wild swimmers (that's not necessarily what you think), telling them not to enter waters below 52F (11C). Wild swimmers are not amused, maintaining there is no danger to swimming in chillier waters.
Scientists at Queen Mary University, London, have found that drinking up to 25 cups of coffee a day does not damage the heart. What it does for the bladder is unrecorded.
For more financial advice, check out Peter Sharkey's regular column, The Week In Numbers.