We recently had two clients complete a full cycle with us, borrowing and settling their loans, so we decided to get some feedback on how the experience was, mainly since we are aware of negative perceptions of the overall sector.
To keep it impartial, we commissioned a freelance property writer and facilitated direct access for her to the financial advisor and daughter of the two clients. This was the result:
Sometimes all you need is time
Every morning, widower Mark Smith* takes a stroll along the Atlantic Seaboard. Having lived there for decades, he cuts a recognisable and familiar character who enjoys this momentary escape from the financial worries that had been plaguing him for the previous few years.
Like many in his age group – the 80s – Mark had had no idea before retirement that his plans for the future would be shattered by economic factors beyond his control. He had invested wisely in a retirement plan, he had savings, his luxury property was paid off, and so he anticipated being able to live in his home for as long as he remained medically fit.
When it became clear that despite lowering his living standards, he could no longer afford his monthly living expenses, he turned to his financial advisor for guidance, who commented:
Mark made it very clear that he was not ready to sell his home, and that he wished to live in it for at least another five years. Mark’s situation was not unfamiliar to me; I have been receiving enquiries like his for some time, and it has been quite a dilemma, let alone heart-breaking to recommend selling their homes to ensure they can meet their financial obligations. Approaching commercial banks is not an option because their approach to asset-based lending, and lending to people over the age of 60, excludes elderly people from obtaining finance regardless that meeting requirements are commercially sound.
Mark did not have debt but was concerned that escalating cost of living factors would take him down that road. It was fortuitous for him that his financial advisor had recently heard from a colleague about an offering from Water Financial that allows owners of properties to tap into the equity of their property without needing to sell it, and Mark qualified.
“Firstly, Mark’s property was fully paid up and was valued at some R8-million. He had a good credit record and no debt. After due diligence, Water Financial proposed that it could provide Mark with the monthly income that he required, by using his property asset to raise capital at a responsible level, with the knowledge that a future event would allow him to settle the funding,” said the financial advisor.
In consultation with Mark’s children, who had no wish to force their father to rush the sale of his property, the transparent and easy process was instigated. Mark was able to live according to his needs for over a year and a half before selling with a usufruct that allowed him to remain in the house for a further five. The funding by Water Financial was settled on the sale of the property.
Similarly, Josephine White*, who lives in Australia, had become increasingly concerned about her Richards Bay-resident parents, whose small pension fund payouts were insufficient to cover their living costs. It would fall to her and her brother to bridge the gap. “It’s not that we weren’t prepared to do this, but our parents are proud people and we sympathised with their desire to remain financially independent.”
Josephine also does not blame her parents for their current financial situation. “Like many post-war boomers, they were exposed to unscrupulous investors, and trusted that their investments would be sufficient into and beyond their retirement.”
Why Water Financial’s proposition made sense was the consideration, Josephine explains, that her parents had “dead asset money tied up in their home” and they would be able to tap into that, enough for them to live comfortably, and have the peace-of-mind that they would be able to afford medical services in the future. This meant they could also remain financially independent, live instead of just existing, and yet still own their home.”
Water Financial’s home equity release finance allowed her parents to continue to live in their home for the next 16 months, before they moved to Durban to live in a granny flat near their son, who is better able to monitor their health.
“The service received from Chris and his team has been exceptional, regardless that I live abroad. The interest rate is good, the process easy and I highly recommend this product as an ideal solution for anyone looking to supplement their pension.”
*Names have been altered due to the financial sensitivity of the topics covered. Interviews were conducted by an independent freelance journalist to maintain content integrity.