Money talks

Our round-up of the latest news in finance

Home security

Two thirds of people would consider using equity in their homes as a source of income in later life, according to research by The Equity Release Council.

“Over half of today’s 55-64 year olds believe that their property will play some part in their retirement finances,�? says the council’s chairman Nigel Waterson. This might mean downsizing, renting out a room, using equity release, or any combination of these.

Equity release uses the equity in your home to provide an income. It can be complex and expensive so anyone considering it should take independent financial advice – though research by Which? reveals that many equity release advisers did not tell customers basic information such as fees and exit penalties.

Choose your adviser carefully. Those registered with SHIP (Safe Home Income Plans) are bound by a code of conduct (see for a list of members).

Garden theft

One in 12 over-50s is a victim of garden theft, according to Saga Home Insurance, and the average claim worth £620. Those barbecues, water features and statues all add up – a quarter of gardeners over 50 have garden items worth over £250. Most household contents policies cover items in the garden, but for a limited amount – check your policy for details.

Meanwhile, lock away expensive items such as lawnmowers, ensure sheds and garages are secure, and prune trees and shrubs near outbuildings to prevent thieves working undetected. Deter thieves by planting thorny shrubs, and consider installing security lights.