Equity release a 'light at the end of the tunnel' for those forced to retire at 65

10 March 2009 / by Rachael Stiles

For those who are forced to retire when they turn 65 and are worrying about how to make ends meet, equity release can offer an alternative income.

Workers who find themselves forced to retire in the current economic climate, while returns on investments fall, will be looking for other ways to fund their retirement and equity release could help, industry expert Nigel Hare-Scott has suggested.

Age Concern has "condemned" a decision by the European Court of justice last week which said that British firms could continue to make retirement at 65 compulsory, effectively sacking workers without redundancy pay.

In the latest stage of a legal challenge waged by Age Concern against the Government, European judges confirmed that companies can enforce the mandatory retirement age if they wish, but it also ruled that the Government must justify the practice to prove that it satisfies European Union age discrimination laws.

Age Concern and Help the Aged have joined forces to call on the Government to outlaw the default retirement age immediately, and to stop sending mixed messages to UK workers, by encouraging them to work beyond 65 whilst making it impossible for many to do so.

Paul Cann‚ director of policy and external relations at Help the Aged‚ said:

"Mandatory retirement ages are unfair and the Government should act to abolish them as soon as possible. Challenging financial circumstances mean it is even more important for older workers to be able to choose to work for longer if they want to."

Mr Hare-Scott, from Home & Capital equity release, said that "The lack of opportunity to continue working beyond the age of 65, and indeed the ever present fear of redundancy amongst those in their fifties, is placing a severe strain upon those approaching retirement at a time when they are least able to cope with it."

If the charities are unsuccessful in their attempts to scrap mandatory retirement, Mr Hare-Scott urges homeowners not to despair. "There is a light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "A personalised equity release plan can offer a suitable way forward for many homeowners who would otherwise be facing a very bleak and uncertain future financially."

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