December 7, 2020

Navigating retirement in the pandemic era


2020 is “the year everything changed” - and for many, retirement falls into this bucket. With businesses closing their doors and widespread layoffs and furloughs due to the pandemic, some have been forced to retire earlier than they’d planned, leaving them with less savings than they’d hoped. This sudden shift has forced soon-to-be or earlier-than-expected retirees to consider alternative ways to finance their retirement.

At the same time, the high level of COVID-19 cases in assisted living facilities has sparked new interest in the concept of aging in place: the ability to live in one’s home comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level. “You will see a lot more focus on aging at home and figuring out how to shift the financial incentives to make that work,” Ezekiel Emanuel, a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s task force on coronavirus, told the Wall Street Journal recently.

In years past, homeowners who had built up equity in their home over the years might sell the house, using the cash to purchase something smaller, perhaps in a 55+ or retirement community. But downsizing houses and relocating isn’t the ideal scenario for many retirees, and traditional methods to tap equity like a home equity loan, HELOC or reverse mortgage mean taking on new debt.

Smart Equity


So, what is the smart solution for homeowners who want to age in place while accessing the equity they’ve built up in their home at the same time?
A home co-investment from Unison can provide a great option for these folks, allowing them to convert up to 17.5% of their home equity to cash with no added monthly payments. It’s a solution that allows homeowners to utilize the equity they’ve built up in their home, meaning they can use the cash to supplement their retirement savings and maintain their standard of living for years to come.

Traditional solutions such as HELOCs and home equity loans involve borrowing money against your equity, which requires monthly payments with interest to repay the money lent to you. Reverse mortgages get rid of the monthly payments, but interest and fees still accrue over time and can eventually claim all the equity in your home.. A Unison home co-investment, in contrast, is not a loan, so there are no monthly payments, no interest, and you get to keep your remaining equity, including equity you continue to build by paying down your mortgage. And when the time comes to move (up to 30 years later), Unison shares in the change in value of your home, up or down.

The pandemic has changed a lot of people's plans, no question, and uncertain times can lead to anxiety, panic, and in some cases more emotional decision-making. Taking the time to investigate and understand your options can help make retirement a time of relaxation and reflection rather than procrastination and panic.

By allowing homeowners to age in place while still enjoying the benefit of the home equity they’ve worked so hard to build, Unison’s solution to smarter equity can help.