One of my favourite quotes is from the great American entrepreneur, Henry Ford, the man who brought the car to the masses.
Ford said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses’.”
I love the true visionary spirit this quote embodies. Ford knew what people wanted – greater speed – but he also knew he had to think beyond the obvious. He combined vision and ambition with entrepreneurial endeavour and hard work.
But I think there was also something else going on here, something intangible but just as essential. I’m tempted to use the word zeitgeist here.
Timing is everything
What I mean by zeitgeist is that any successful new idea must arrive at the right time.
To succeed, an idea must meet a need that many people have, even if most of them can’t articulate that need.
Sometimes, an idea needs time to mature. Sometimes it’s about waiting for the right set of circumstances to come together.
Equity release is coming to the fore
In financial services, it’s rare to see a good product come of age, but I really believe equity release may be about to do just that.
Our experience at Aviva and the report released by the Equity Release Council certainly back up that theory.
A combination of better interest rates, rising property values plus social and demographic changes means more people are using equity release as a way to fund their retirement.
But don’t just take my word for it. Have a look at the report and let me know what you think on twitter – @MrActuary.