Comment: Time to help more baby boomers

Andrea Rozario 2015

With 60 per cent of over-65s owning their home, tapping into housing wealth is a good option in retirement

Many would have you believe the baby boomers have always had it easy.

It is true that much of this generation jumped onto the housing ladder with relative ease. But now that millions are approaching retirement, a huge number are actually struggling financially and can only look forward to this struggle getting worse as they grow older.

Of course, it is true that many in this generation are doing relatively well. In terms of housing, most baby boomers are doing better than their kids and far better than some of their grandchildren. However, as with any debate where millions of people are concerned, there are serious risks in treating the baby boomers as one homogenous group that all share the same attributes.

According to the International Longevity Centre UK, most 55 to 64-year-olds in the UK have a pension, with median pension wealth exceeding £135,000. However, these figures exclude those who have saved nothing, which equates to a quite staggering 28 per cent.

So one in four are entering retirement with nothing to fall back on. We must help these baby boomers find alternative methods of financing retirement – and housing may come to the rescue.

According to research by the Guardian, 60 per cent of over-65s own their home outright, with the age group controlling almost £1trn worth of housing wealth. For the multitude who have saved nothing for their retirement, the capital locked up in housing seems to be an obvious solution.

The reasons why so many have failed to plan ahead adequately are numerous, but tapping into housing wealth could help retirees have a retirement of comfort rather than stress.

Andrea Rozario is chief corporate officer at Bower Retirement Services