Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Downsizing – Financial Freedom without the Fuss

As we all know, fifty isn’t the ‘over the hill’ marker it always used to be. Life expectation increases year on year and hitting the big five oh only means that there is every chance you have another thirty or forty years still in you. For many people, their fifties are as big a change as their twenties; families have flown the nest and mortgages taken out in the seventies are, in many cases, paid off. Using the equity in your home to finance early retirement or raising the funds to help your own children get on the property ladder has never been easier.

Downsizing doesn’t just mean buying somewhere smaller. Take the time you need to find a property you truly love in an area that will suit your changing lifestyle. If you still work, consider trading a couple of hours a day commuting time in the short term for the calm beauty of the countryside in later years. On the other hand, if you love the city and want to remain in the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life, luxury apartments in the heart of the city are not just for young up and coming business executives. Whether it is a serviced apartment or a barge docked in a countryside marina; now is the time to embrace your dreams and leave the shackles of the family home behind you.

Take advantage of the expert advice out there; Quick Move Conveyancing has an excellent guide to choosing and finding a dedicated surveyor, and Zoopla has a range of really useful resources on UK house prices and average house prices by area. Using online resources takes the time and ‘legwork’ out of a search that probably took months if you bought your current home more than twenty years ago.

Use your equity wisely; find a financial advisor you can trust – ideally one that is independent and not affiliated with your bank. If you are going to help out children with deposits for their own home, get the paperwork in order. Family trust is all very well, but should the worst happen, it is important that the legal documents are in order. Bear in mind that the UK has laws about cash gifts to dependents and that if death occurs within seven years of a gift of over £250. Research inheritance tax laws properly and thoroughly and draw up the relevant paperwork.

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