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Real-life equity release stories: Wedding bells and that new car smell

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Having served his country for 15 years, Phillip Stothart, a sergeant in the British Army before joining civvy street, was keen to enjoy his retirement. 
 
Leaving school at 15, Phillip headed straight into the forces, plying his trade in logistics as a “boy soldier” before exploring more routine nine-to-fives. But after 50 years, he’d had enough and decided, with his partner Ley, to enjoy a world without work.  
 
“I was due to retire,” Phillip told us over the phone. “We worked out our finances and found that if we took out equity release, we could do all the things we wanted to, still have money in the bank and live comfortably too.”
 
Since meeting Ley, much has changed in Phillip’s life, not the least of which has been the addition of her son, Russell, into his family. 

“In the 10 years I’ve known Ley,” Phillip said, “we’ve done more together than some do in their lifetime.
 
“We saw equity release as a perfect opportunity to help out our son. He got married to Rachel in Italy last year, and some of it went towards that. They were going to go out there on EasyJet, but we weren’t having that.
 
“We paid for them to fly out first class on British Airways. That made sure there was enough space for the wedding dress! 
 
“On top of that, we also made sure they had a nice hotel.”

But Phillip and Ley’s generosity hasn’t stopped there. 
 
“They’ve bought their own property, so we’ve helped them along the way with it. We bought them a really nice new composite door and paid for new windows. And for our wedding gift to them, we were able to give them £5,000 towards a new bathroom.
 
“They’re okay for money. He’s a police officer and she’s a fashion designer. But it’s nice to treat them.”
 
However, Phillip has also made sure he and Ley reap the benefits of their decision to take equity release.
 
“We went to Sorrento in Italy for a break,” he told us. “And while we had our new bathroom fitted last year, we went to Cape Verde for a week. 
 
“We also bought some new patio doors and used some of the money to freshen up the house.
 
“On top of that, we were also able to get a nice car last year; a new Ford EcoSport. It’s easy to get in and out of, a lot easier than our old MG sports car. When we had that, it used to take us longer to get in and out than it did to drive anywhere!”

For all they’ve achieved with their equity release money so far, Phillip and Ley have saved the highlight for this year. Soon, they’ll be tying the knot themselves before jetting off to enjoy a honeymoon on the beaches of the Caribbean. 
 
“Because we’ve been together for 10 years and engaged for eight, we’ve decided to get married,” Phillip told us excitedly. “We’ve booked a lovely place in the Dominican Republic to celebrate. We can’t wait.”
 

Phillip and Ley’s equity release journey

 
Phillip and Ley started their path to equity release by contacting us. “We saw Keyon the TV as well as in some magazines,” said Phillip. 
 
Having then met one of our fully independent, expert equity release advisers during a no-obligation appointment, Phillip and Ley decided it was the right thing for them to do.
 
“Our adviser was absolutely brilliant,” Phillip continued. “He knew the product, he made all the enquiries, found the best plan for us and he was very easy going. 
 
“It was plain sailing all the way through. It was a privilege to work with him.”

Before meeting Key, however, Phillip and Ley spoke to their family, making sure everyone involved knew what was going on. 
 
“We spoke to our son before we took out equity release,” Phillip said. “He’s to be our beneficiary, so we talked it through with him. He said, ‘Just do it and enjoy the money!’” 
 
And that’s exactly what they did. 
 
“This money lets us to do what we want,” Phillip explained. “There’s a lot of people who probably have their own home and struggle. But I’d say release something from your property. I’d recommend people who have their own home to look into it. Go and enjoy life. We’re not here forever.
 
“I have recommended Key. If you’re sitting there with a property, take out equity release. It’s not for everyone, but if you’ve got grown up kids, have a chat with them and tell them what you want to do. Buy a nice car. Have a nice holiday. 
 
“A very wise man once said, ‘The world has been here for millions of years, you’re only here for a weekend.’ You have to make the most of it.
 
“For us it was a brilliant option, and it’s worked out perfectly.”
   

What should you consider before taking out equity release?

 
Our independent, specialist equity release advisers compare products from the whole of the market to find the most suitable equity release plan for you. They’ll discuss all the options available to you and explain that taking an equity release plan reduces the value of your estate and may affect any means-tested benefits you’re eligible for.
 
With a lifetime mortgage, the most popular form of equity release, you’ll still own your home. It’s a loan secured against your home and is repaid when you, or the last surviving applicant, pass away or move into long-term care. 
 
Equity release plans we recommend have a no negative equity guarantee, which means you’ll never owe more than the value of your home.
 
You have to get expert advice before releasing equity; it’s a regulatory requirement. Key’s initial consultation is free with no obligation to proceed. If you decide to go ahead with an equity release plan, our advice fee – usually 1.99% of the amount released, subject to a minimum of £1,499 – is payable only on completion.

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