Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Seniors to get better information on reverse mortgages

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator Nick Sherry, Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Governance

An expanded information service will help older Australians make informed choices about reverse mortgage or equity release products.

The Australian Government has committed a further $200,000 to the National Information Centre for Retirement Investments (NICRI) to provide comprehensive information on reverse mortgages and equity release products.

NICRI has experienced a significant increase in the number of enquires over the past 18-24 months. This information service will help people understand the implications of their investment decisions.

Around 660 reverse mortgage/equity release products were sold per month in 2007, but research shows that 78 per cent of people aged over 60 are aware of reverse mortgages but only 40 per cent actually understand the product.

Reverse mortgages and equity release products are complex and can have an adverse effect on retirees income, including affordability of aged care, restrictions on life-style and the risk of living below the poverty line in retirement.

These products are often used by those who can least afford it, individuals who are short of money and considering cashing in on the equity in their homes.

NICRI already provides an information service and in this year has received around 3,500 calls for information on various investment products and other financial options.

Operating since 1989, NICRI is a free, independent and confidential service, improving the level and quality of investment information provided to people with modest savings who are investing for retirement or facing redundancy.

People wishing to access NICRI’s financial services can call 1800 020 110.