Post-pandemic, many people will want to emulate Michael Palin and travel more, says finance expert Peter Sharkey.

The astonishing, unilateral reaction of the world’s financial markets to Monday’s news that a safe vaccine seemingly capable of defeating Covid-19 appears to have been developed by scientists working for Germany’s BioNTech and America’s Pfizer Corporation, served to highlight the degree to which sentiment influences share prices and stock markets.

Wasn’t it great to hear some good news? After months of sombre, miserable headlines (and some woeful misinterpretation of statistics which made matters sound worse), Monday, November 9 could go down in history as ‘the day the world changed’. Instead of wondering when, or if, life will ever return to normal, we can now believe it will.

There are, of course, still several scientific hurdles for the vaccine to overcome before it can be hailed as world-saving, but BioNTech, Pfizer and its customers are confident it will eventually prove a game-changer. Fortunately, the UK government is ahead of the curve having pre-ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, enough for 20 million people, which begs the question: what about the other 50 million or so who live here?

Worldwide vaccine demand is likely to exceed anything we’ve ever seen, but we must not forget the millions of folks less fortunate than us, especially those living under the planet’s most notorious dictators and sticky-fingered kleptomaniacs.

Moreover, we must be realistic. Even if the first inoculations can be administered before Christmas, it could take another 12 months to vaccinate the rest of the country. Nevertheless, it now seems reasonable to assume we can once again start planning for the future and a return to normality.

But hold on. It’s become increasingly apparent over the past eight months that a very large number of folks are, at best, lukewarm on the prospect of returning to what previously passed for normality.

There has, for instance, been a marked rise in the number of younger people wishing to wave goodbye to city living and head to the country where, provided internet connectivity is robust, working from home can become a long-term reality.

Then there’s an even larger number of middle-aged folks, aged 55 and above, who appear taken with the idea of ‘winding-down’ and doing perhaps 2-3 days’ work a week (from home), giving them time to start addressing a host of other ambitions. Many people have given such matters plenty of thought, almost as though they’ve spent a large proportion of their enforced lockdown time mulling over what they want to do with the rest of their lives.

After watching recent re-runs of Michael Palin’s travels circumventing the globe or the Pacific rim, I suspect that a number of people sporting more than a handful of grey hairs have turned to their spouse or partner and said, ‘Let’s get away’.

For many, it sounds an unlikely dream, yet while life’s practicalities and responsibilities, plus their accompanying costs, usually prevent us from jumping ship, it’s not to say that with some realistic financial planning and a fair wind, spending more time doing what we want to do rather than what we have to do could become a distinct possibility. Caution, at least at the planning stage, is advised.

It’s estimated that more than half of adults aged over 40 are concerned about the lack of a guaranteed income during retirement, a nuisance if you’re intent on following in the Monty Python man’s footsteps. However, there could be an answer: a lifetime mortgage, the UK’s most popular form of equity release, which could provide the necessary boost to your finances.

A lifetime mortgage allows you to release a percentage of your home’s equity as a tax-free cash lump sum. There are no required monthly payments and you retain ownership of your property.

A wide variety of plans are available, including an option which enables you to receive your lump sum as a monthly income. Boosting your disposable income in this manner could significantly improve your post-Covid lifestyle.

The loan does not need to be settled until the last property deed-holder dies or moves into long-term care when it is usually repaid through the sale of your home.

For those wishing to wind-down, diversifying income sources and using everything at your disposal, from pensions, private and state, to existing savings in ISAs and general investment accounts is essential.

Income from buy-to-let property can provide a useful supplementary income, while equity release offers the opportunity to bank substantial tax-free funds.

‘Golden Monday’ may prove pivotal for many reasons. For those not wishing to return to ‘normal’, it represents a possible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the way they live.


The prospect of a post-pandemic change in your lifestyle will appear extremely attractive to many people and could involve equity release, but how much could you release from your home?

The figure is determined primarily by your age, health and your property’s value, which must be at least £70,000. These are the principle requirements, although alternative options exist based upon personal circumstances. You can get a very good idea of how much equity you can release by visiting the website and filling out the equity release calculator.

It’s worth noting that equity release isn’t a panacea. It’s not suitable for everyone and it may compromise your eligibility for means-tested state benefits.


As many readers have already discovered, there’s a wealth of information to be discovered at: . In addition, there are hundreds of blogs and articles dealing with the subject on the Moneymapp website, including Peter Sharkey’s weekly blog, rated among the UK’s very best. Read more at:

You may still email any queries or questions regarding equity release to:

Please note that cannot advise readers on whether equity release is suitable for them. However, can introduce readers to professional advisers who will explain the process and its implications for your estate and entitlement to means-tested state benefits.


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