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Keeping Up With The Senior Joneses

Keeping Up With The Senior Joneses

Kiwis everytwhere are planning their summer home maintenance programme – painting the roof; replacing spouting, fixing rotting window sashes.

But for many of New Zealand’s retired, now they finally have all the time in the world to devote to these chores, they no longer have the income to finance necessary repairs.

Nearly 50 percent of older kiwis freeing up equity in their home are using the funds to make urgent house repairs, a new survey has revealed.

Three-hundred and fifty kiwis with an average age of 73 years who have made use of a Sentinel Lifetime Loan responded to the survey conducted by Sentinel to better understand the needs of the people using their service.

“While some people use the loans for lifestyle purposes, such as an overseas holiday or to buy a boat, a far greater proportion are using the money to make their lives more safe, secure and comfortable as they get older,” says Sentinel Managing Director Richard Coon.

Painting, kitchens and bathroom were named as the most critical areas needing attention. More than 15 percent identified alterations were required to their kitchens and bathroom as a result of their changing needs.

“Being able to stay in their own homes as long as they can is very important to many older people. They have valuable memories, friends and often family near by. They have tended their gardens and cared for their home inside and out.

“But as they grow older, their ability to do repairs and improvements themselves diminishes at the same time as their income for paying others to help out.”

With a Lifetime Loan, Mr Coon says people can not only stay in their own home as long as they are able or want to, they can afford to do necessary maintenance and repairs.

“They can also afford to make any alterations they might need to improve safety and mobility needs as they grow older.”

The average length of time since the homes in the survey had been painted was eight years; one had not seen a paint brush since 1973.

“So while they may have reduced their equity, they are actually adding to the value of their property,” he says.

As well as home maintenance, the survey showed upgrading the family car is also high on the list of older kiwis’ priorities. More than 35 percent used their Lifetime Loan to finance a new car.


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