A new way of looking at your home equity
Submitted by Peter Boys, Boys Financial
May 19, 2020
One thing that has come to the forefront during the social lock-down during this current COVID-19 pandemic is the need to consider new ways of looking at our home equity.
I have used an innovative banking product from Manulife Bank called Manulife One for almost 15 years that combines your Mortgage, Line of credit and Savings all in one
easy to manage account – hence the name! During this time, we completed two major
home renovations in the $30,000+ range, using our home's 50% equity line of credit to
do this. Both times we paid off the debt very quickly, resulting in us being mortgage
free for several years now. Plus, currently using the built-in line of credit to our benefit
to get paid interest every month, while still having the integrated credit line available to
use should we ever need it for an emergency. Effectively, we're now our bank account
It's time for us Canadians to rethink how we look at our homes, both while working and
in retirement, as our house is usually the most significant asset we own. By creatively
using the embedded equity, we can access tax-free money from our homes when it's
needed. I'm almost seventy-two, so a senior, still working at a job that I enjoy, but I will
retire at some point or work fewer days. Knowing that I can unlock this equity tax-free
at any time, but at this point, I don't see any reason to do so for several years to come.
So, why should seniors consider using their home equity in retirement for tax-free
income? As a financial advisor, I know many seniors are worried they will outlive their
retirement savings. Backed up when a bank survey of Canadians highlighted one-third
of the people polled hoped winning the lottery would fund their retirement. Add these
constraints to the ever-increasing cost of living - all factors now hindering many
senior's; ability to fund a comfortable retirement from their current savings.
Owning one's own home has always been a foundation of the Canadian Dream, with
seniors wanting to live in their own homes for as long as possible. Along with the old-
fashioned thought that it should be mortgage-free in retirement, a great idea, but you
can't eat equity. In the process forcing many seniors to either cut expenses, take on
more debt, go back to work, downsize, etc. Not everyone's idea of an ideal retirement.
Plus, you can't sell off just a piece of your home every time you need money.
The solution is to look at your home equity in a positive light and with professional
financial help look at using a combination of your CPP, OAS and other government
income payments. Along with your RRIF, TFSA, unregistered portfolio and your home
equity to provide a comfortable lifetime income stream