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There’s no place like home

Posted on 11 September 2018

In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy reminds us that home is special, as she clicks the heels of her red slippers together and repeats three times: “There’s no place like home”. But what is home? Is it the place we always return to, a place of childhood memory? Or is it the place we discover for ourselves, a place of personal freedom?

photos hanging on the wall

What is home?

Home means different things to different people.

It may simply be where you live at any given time: a place of shelter. Or it may embody a deeper meaning: a haven from the busyness and intrusiveness of the world; a place where you feel most comfortable and accepted.

For many, home is one of the most important anchors in your life. It’s where you most want to be in a crisis or when you’re sick. It contains your favourite people and your fondest memories. It’s where you spend a great deal of your time, and for that reason it becomes a reflection of you: your personality, lifestyle and experiences.

Whether you value it most as a shelter, a sanctuary or a gathering place, it is your own personal space.

So, why move home in later life?

You might assume that moving to a smaller house is the best way to ensure independence as you get older. Indeed, research by SunLife reveals that the largest proportion of over 55s (44%) would choose to downsize for a more comfortable life.*

Downsizing is a practical solution for some. If you think you need more money in retirement, it can free up cash from the sale of your home, while reducing the day to day costs involved in running a more manageable property. Or, if the decision is motivated by cutting the time and effort you spend on cleaning, maintenance and repairs, a smaller space is likely to be easier to look after.

However, you may not sell your home for as much as you hoped. Even if you do, the average cost of moving, including legal fees, stamp duty and removal fees, is estimated at £10,210. At the same time, moving to a new area may make it harder for you to see friends and family who were previously close by. Then there’s the loss of that place called home.

If your home is precious to you, it’s worth considering a range of alternative options.

What’s the right choice for you?

chalkboard on a desk

Re-purposing your rooms

Perhaps your children have moved out and have left behind a spare room or two. This blank space can feel like an unnecessary luxury, while creating an extra burden on cleaning. But why not breathe new life back into them by changing their purpose? Looking after them won’t feel like such a chore if you do.

You may want to transform the space into a room for your grandchildren. Perhaps you’ve taken up painting and a studio would encourage you to sit at your canvas more often, or bringing in the treadmill from the garage would allow you to create an at-home gym. You may be someone who likes the idea of running a B&B, with new people and some extra cash coming through the door.

Modifying your home

If you’re struggling to move safely around certain parts of the home, or you’re thinking ahead to when this might be the case, there are minor modifications you can make to boost your confidence.

Bathroom adjustments are popular – from non-slip mats and grab rails all the way through to walk-in showers and wet rooms. Updating flooring to prevent slips and adding lighting to entrance ways can also be helpful.

These smaller home improvement investments may make moving to a more accessible property unnecessary.

Equity release

If you’re less worried about having too much extra space or getting around your home easily, and what you really want to ensure is greater financial independence, then it might be worth considering equity release.

A product that allows you to unlock a tax-free lump sum from your home without losing ownership of it, the money is paid back when you die or move into long-term care.

With the cost of living reaching its highest level in five years in 2017, finding a way to live securely and comfortably post-retirement is more important than ever. Downsizing is an option many consider. But, if there’s no place like home, why leave it?

*SunLife A comfortable retirement – on the house February 2018

Find out more about The SunLife Over 55 Equity Release Service

For more information and to check your eligibility, call on 0800 633 5566 or request a call back.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife?

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services. Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.