Carmen is a social issues and rural reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Adult kids putting pressure on over 50s saving for retirement

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Keith Ardren.
Keith Ardren.

Some Bay baby boomers are heading into retirement crippled with mortgage debt or without their own home, experts say.

High wage earners aged in their 50s were also seeking financial advice due to "peer pressure to keep up with Joe Blogs down the road" and "the ongoing funding of adult children".

There is the peer pressure to keep up with Joe Blogs down the road, he has got that car or that trip overseas.
Keith Arden, Rothbury mortgage adviser

Rothbury's mortgage adviser Keith Ardren said it was too easy to obtain credit in New Zealand and "I have seen a lot of 55-year-olds with $300,000 to $400,000 mortgages". It was common place to borrow now and worry about it later which was not a good plan, he said.

"There is the peer pressure to keep up with Joe Blogs down the road, he has got that car or that trip overseas. But a lot of people don't realise to do these things some obtain the money by using the equity in their home," Mr Ardren said.

"They may have had some big incomes over the years but if they wish to reduce debt by retirement age then the monthly repayments are disproportionately high for that period of time."

Rapson Loans and Finance owner Chris Rapson said he had dealt with the same scenarios and "we have seen this many times".

"Also included is the ongoing funding of children and assisting them with various financial inputs including house deposits, car financing, appliances and so on.

"Some kids really put the pressure on their parents and the parents are unable to say no," Mr Rapson said.

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Once the kids were off your hands, "you really have to work to minimise your mortgage and other outgoings so that your future income is able to meet your future expenditure".

Mr Rapson said if people did not get their finances sorted in time the consequences could be dire.

"Then there is little option but to sell the house and rent; thereby allowing their equity to be invested into something that gives a return."

Commission for Financial Capability investor education expert David Boyle said the percentage of people who owned their own home had fallen "from 75 per cent in 1991 to 65 per cent today, and that trend is expected to continue".

"So those people should think about having savings or other investments to help them meet their rental costs after they stop working."

On the flipside, homeowners had a feeling of wealth, he said.

"With interest rates lower than they've been for 60 years, coupled with rising house prices, it gives homeowners a feeling of wealth and they may be more tempted to borrow against the value of their house."

Mr Boyle said the commission was also concerned about pressures that adult children put on their parents.

"We want New Zealanders who are retiring to be able to enjoy their later years and to have access to their capital should they need it, whether that is through downsizing their home, moving to another location where property is cheaper or entering a retirement village.

"They have worked all their lives to save their money so that they can enjoy a comfortable retirement and shouldn't feel pressured by anyone else into giving away their hard-earned cash," Mr Boyle said.

Tauranga Age Concern chairwoman Anna Bones said financial abuse was the most common form of elder abuse and "sadly this is generally carried out by a family member".

Age Concern would not disclose any information or examples of financial abuse "but is alarmed to see an increase in reported cases".

Grey Power Tauranga president Christina Humphreys said parents were often bullied into parting with their cash.

She knew of two people who had sold their homes and "the kids have stuffed them in a garage at the back of the house, then they put the money on their own mortgage or do whatever ... there is heaps of bullying going on all the time."

Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Diane Bruin said the number of wage earners it assisted had jumped 35 per cent compared to 12 months ago while there had been a 10 per cent climb over the same timeframes in people aged over 50.

Kiwibank communications manager Bruce Thompson said staff assessed mortgage applications in terms of the borrowing purpose and term against the customer's current financial position.

It had a hardship policy for customers that experience financial distress to help them through their predicament, he said.

Tips for retirement:

* Aim to reach retirement with a good nest egg.

* Use KiwiSaver or some other investment fund.

* Have a freehold home that will require minimum maintenance over the next 20 years.

* Assist your kids to become financially independent as soon as they can.

* Don't be swayed by advertising.

* Seek financial advice.

Source: Rapson Loans and Finance owner Chris Rapson

- Bay of Plenty Times

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