Investing Your Retirement Fund in a Sustainable Home

By Rebecca Scaife

Published on: February 20, 2023

Investing your retirement fund in making your house more sustainable

The Background

Madeline has been a client of Everlake for almost two decades. She turned 65 last year and decided to retire from her job as CEO of a sustainably focussed SME.

Having retired a pension from a previous employer early, she used the tax free lump sum to pay off her mortgage ten years ago. She therefore owns her home with no debt. Becoming mortgage free allowed her to increase pension contributions and build her retirement fund since.

Her strong interest in sustainability meant that Madelaine has always insisted that her money is invested sustainably.

The Client’s Objectives

Madelaine has met with us regularly over the last ten years to plan her retirement and to ensure that her pension funds were correctly invested to match her retirement intentions.

Last year she put her retirement plans into action so she could free up time to spend with her grandchildren and indulge her love of travel.

After retiring her pension and ensuring that she had a sufficient emergency cash fund held in State Savings, Madelaine had €100,000 left to invest.

The Everlake Approach

 At Everlake, we pride ourselves in using lateral thinking and looking at the whole picture when carrying out financial plans for our clients.

As Madelaine knew, we have a diverse range of sustainable funds options for cash investors. She was surprised however, when we suggested that she take the money and invest it into her house and future lifestyle instead of investing in a fund.

Typical of many houses built in the 1950s, Madelaine’s home was very energy inefficient. Taking advice from an architect who specialises in retro fitting houses and increasing energy efficiency, Madelaine invested a significant portion of her cash in updating her home.

Several grants were available to her when carrying out the work and resulted in a less energy hungry house and significantly reduced annual utility bills.

A keen traveller, but also increasingly aware of her carbon footprint, Madelaine also decided to invest in a small second hand caravan. She now uses this to take the majority of her holidays in Ireland, exploring the island through hill walking, sea swimming and visiting local food producers.

The Outcome

The cost savings from Madelaine updating her home are significant and consistent. In an environment where utility costs are soaring and investment markets are volatile, approaching a cash investment in this way made far more sense.

In order to gain investment returns to match Madelaine’s energy savings would have required her to take a significant amount of risk with her cash.

Madelaine can also directly see the results of her personal sustainable investment more transparently than if she had invested into a fund.

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