These days, the quality of advice is far better, all deals come with a “no negative equity” guarantee and providers offer the ability to pay off the interest monthly, effectively freezing the loan size. Other plans allow a chunk of the property’s value to be kept and passed on as inheritance.
Best of all, interest rates have finally started to come down and, unlike normal residential mortgages, the rate lasts the life of the loan. Average rates were 3.4pc last year, down from 5.79pc in 2015. Many cheaper deals are available.
There are still pitfalls, of course. Equity release is not the best way of raising cash for everyone. Specialist advisers are inherently biased, so a fully independent financial adviser, who is knowledgeable about pensions, Isas and other assets too, should be consulted.
Telegraph Money has reported on cases where a lifetime mortgage has been taken out without the rest of the family being aware of the consequences. Involving partners, children and even grandchildren before entering into a contract is key.
But done in the right way, theoretical housing wealth can be turned into genuine life-changing sums of cash at the time your family needs it. Not to mention, you can release money when you finally have the time to enjoy it.