The plight of over-55s who are living in debt

�Desperate older people in Romford who are thousands of pounds in debt are increasingly turning to equity release as a way of staying afloat, it has been revealed.

Over 55s in Romford owe on average �23,559 on credit cards, loans and unsecured debts, according to charity Consumer Credit Counselling Services (CCCS).

It said that hundreds of older people contacted the debt advice charity in the last year as they struggled against the national squeeze on household budgets – in particular rises in gas and electricity bills.

The charity said an increasing number of retired homeowners were now choosing to release equity from their houses as a means of repaying what they owe.

Equity release involves a company giving you a loan on the value of your property.

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The homeowner receives the loan as cash, usually on a monthly basis, and continues to live in their house.

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Finally, the company that loans you the money will recover it either by selling your property after your death or if you sell your property – for example, when moving into a care home.

CCCS equity release manager Tom Moloney said: “Equity release can be a good solution for some retirees looking to deal with problem debts, but it should only be considered as part of a long- term retirement plan.

“I would urge anyone in the Romford area who is in this situation to seek free advice from a debt charity such as CCCS, who will be able to explain all the available options and give the best advice tailored to your circumstances.”

In the last year, CCCS helped clients unlock an average �29,983 of capital from their homes in order to help them pay debts and other costs.

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