I think your home is your refuge. It’s where the most important things in your life happen.
Everything that matters happens in your home; it’s where you go when you first get married, where you raise your children, where you want to be when you’re sick. It’s where you like to bring the people who matter most to you, where you make love most, where you give your children a sense of security and allow them to bring their friends. It actually is the platform for how you develop your life with all those people around you whom you love.
Is it important that it looks good? I think it’s important that it feels good for you all, and has a sense of comfort, security, warmth and of safety. Part of the feeling of safety is the financial security owning your own home gives you, the knowledge that this place that gives you all the things that I’ve just mentioned is also setting you up for a financially comfortable future.
Throughout my adult life, I’ve moved a great deal – renting, buying and investing in property, sometimes all at the same time. Luckily, when I was younger I’d bought an apartment in Sydney that, although it seemed hugely expensive at the time, when we sold it helped set us up financially to do this.
I loved moving every two to three years, though Christopher, my partner of 30 years, wasn’t so happy with it, and nor was my son! But for me, going from new place to new place meant that we could experience a new area, decorate a new home and give it a fabulous feeling. We could find out whether we were OK in a small place, if we’d love a big place, if we liked being in town, if we liked being out of town. Sometimes we rented, sometimes we owned, sometimes we owned somewhere else but rented the property we lived in and sometimes we owned no property at all.
It was richly rewarding in experience because – being the editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens for such a long time – it meant I had the opportunity to really do all those wonderful things with decorating and gardening that I was telling people to do in every single page of the magazine.
This journey led us to the point where about 12 years ago, while we’d owned a beautiful 120-acre farm in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales for about 25 years, we needed to buy a property again in Sydney.
And we thought, why get something big in the city that’s going to need a lot of work and a lot of time? Especially when at that stage of our lives, we were probably going to start downsizing things anyway? So why not have a small apartment in the city and spend as much time as we can on the farm on weekends and whenever we have a break from work?
And we found the balance between country and city was much better than we thought it would be. The city was for the busy, fast-paced part of our lives. The country was where we fed our souls, sitting in front of the fire in winter and looking after our four horses.
A dozen years later now, and the thing we debate regularly, almost daily, is, what do we do now?
Do we now move to the farm full-time and rent the Sydney property to pay the mortgage on it? Or do we sell the farm and find something smaller in the country to rent until we decide whether we want to be there or be here? And which is the best way to use the properties for financial security going forward?
A Household Loan is a reverse mortgage offered by Household Capital, an innovative Australian company that specialises in helping retirees access the savings locked up in their home to improve their standard of living in retirement – without losing ownership of their property.
A Household Loan lets you use your property as security against a loan that doesn’t have to be repaid until you sell the property (although you can pay off the loan at any time with no penalty).
Your loan can be paid as a lump sum called a Household Loan or as a Home Income of fortnightly or monthly instalments, or both. If you have an existing mortgage, a Household Loan can be used to repay it, so freeing up the money you would’ve otherwise used to make mortgage repayments. That way you keep living in your home and increase the funds you have to enjoy a more comfortable retirement lifestyle.
For more information about a Household Loan that could unlock the savings locked up in your home, click here to visit Household Capital’s website or download the helpful e-guide below.
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Because the other thing that I think that happens to you at this stage of your life is, you want to unencumber yourself. You want to have the most ease and free time that you possibly can. Right now I’m concentrating on the years ahead, what is going to give me the greatest happiness, the greatest freedom to do whatever we want and indeed the greatest peace of mind going forward? Where do we live now that gives us great emotional happiness without any financial burden?
The other thing is that because we moved quite often during their childhood, my son and my nieces are very attached to the farm, which is the only ‘stable’ piece of property they’ve known – and they’re beside themselves that we’re thinking of selling it. So when you get to the point where you’re downsizing or you’re wanting to change the property that you’ve lived in for a long time, the emotional attachment that goes with letting it go is significant.
You have to make a bridge, as it were, to bring all the beautiful emotions that were in that place that you’re selling, to the next home, so that you aren’t leaving people feeling adrift.
I’m not yet at the point where I know what the answer is to what we should do with our properties. There are so many opportunities for finding out what the best thing to do is, it almost becomes a little daunting. But exciting too, because if I set my mind to it, sat down and went online to find the best property information I could, I might actually hear from somebody or read about something that really works, something that makes me feel safe and is going to be financially beneficial too.
Asking people that you know what their opinions are is important, as is checking with your own financial adviser or accountant (or finding one of those rare independent financial advisers to give you an unbiased view), but at this stage of our lives and in this era, we can’t afford not to go online or read advertisements or watch TV to discover information that might direct us somewhere that’s perfect for us.
Do I have it in the palm of my hand right now? No, but I’m confident I’ll find it.
HOUSEHOLD CAPITAL INFO Applications for credit are subject to eligibility and lending criteria. Fees and charges are payable and terms and conditions apply (available upon request). Household Capital Pty Limited is a credit representative (512757) of Mortgage Direct Pty Limited ACN 075 721 434, Australian Credit Licence 391876. HOUSEHOLD CAPITAL™, the Star Device and Household Capital and the Star Device are trademarks of Household Capital Pty Ltd.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.
You can access the savings locked up in your home to increase your retirement funding and enjoy a more secure and comfortable retirement. Find out how you can transform your retirement and live the life you deserve.