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Rising bills stretch pensioners' pockets

Itís no secret that the past few years have been tough on nearly everyone's back pockets. High inflation, low or zero pay increases and soaring fuel prices have all contributed to tight household finances which are struggling to stretch.


Rising bills are a real problem for retirees on fixed pension incomes. As utility and food bills creep ever higher, pensions remain more or less stable, often meaning sacrifices must be made. In fact, 2011 saw the over-55s cut their food spending by 8 per cent. Petrol prices seem to increase every month and gas bills soared during 2011. The rises continued in early 2012, with the end of January seeing an announcement that water bills were to rise by around 5.7 per cent, varying from region to region. Customers of Southern Water will have the largest increase, 8.2 per cent, to contend with.


Debt worries

Many retirees are using loans and credit cards to cope with the price hikes, with 43 per cent of 55-64 year olds having credit card debt and 26 per cent taking out personal loans. But building up debt is never a good idea, especially during your retirement years when repayments can become a drain on your monthly income.


Worrying time


Unfortunately, things are unlikely to change in the near future and the financial outlook doesnít look promising. 74 per cent of over-55s are worried about the rising cost of living over the next six months, with falling returns on savings (31 per cent) and unexpected expenses (34 per cent) also causing concern.


Release cash to ease the pressure


While pensioners struggle to cope with rising bills, they may in fact be sitting on a fortune. Retired homeowners have total property wealth owned outright of up to £749.45 billion. Releasing some of this equity could help retirees cope with the high cost of living.


If youíre retired and want to generate some extra cash to ease the financial pressure, why not consider equity release? Allowing you to remain in your own home, it frees up a cash lump sum from your property without the need for any monthly repayments. And with drawdown equity release plans letting you release money in stages, you can rest assured knowing you have a cash reserve available should you need it. Use our free online calculator to see how much you could release.





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