News round up - July 2016

News round up - July 2016 main image

Welcome to our first news round up which highlights some of the main stories affecting your personal finances …    


Equity release quotations experiencing a breakthrough year   

Equity release is experiencing a “breakthrough year” as it moves to the mainstream according to Equity Release Council chairman Nigel Waterson.   

He said that: “Appetite from high street lenders to offer lifetime mortgages to their customers shows these products have a crucial role to play in mainstream financial planning for retirement.”   

This is supported by figures where What Mortgage magazine reported that in the first six months of the year, homeowners unlocked more than £934 million of property wealth.    

In the fortnight following the Brexit vote, industry data also shows that quotations for lifetime mortgages – a form of equity release product - have soared by a further 25%.   

The reasons for this latest interest in lifetime mortgages are said to be: 

  • people wishing to lock in any gains they have made on the value of their home now (house prices are expected to drop due to uncertainty in the economy)
  • the prospect of lower savings rates
  • volatility in the investment market    

Lifetime mortgages are also being cited as a way to release monies from your home that you can give to your child in order to help them get on the property ladder.  

Read our blog: Releasing equity from your home is scary.    


The cost of dying   

Funeral costs have been the topic of many news stories recently.    

Writing in The Telegraph, financial journalist James Daley said he “realised just how exploitative the funeral industry is” following the death of his mother.

He writes about his experience when arranging his mother’s funeral and how he felt that he was being taken advantage of financially at a vulnerable time. After doing some research, opting for a simple funeral and doing his own catering, the bill still came in close to £4,000.   

Trying to save money on funeral costs, as well, a man recently dug a grave in his back garden to bury his 101 years old deceased mother. (Note: this is a legal burial).   

Also in the news, a new study highlights that only a third of us have enough savings to cover the cost of our death, with some 23 million of us not prepared for the financial implications of dying, including funeral costs and the cost of dealing with our estates. 

One in ten people assumed their friends or relatives would foot the bill for their funeral while 19% said they have no idea how their funeral would be paid for. 

Are you prepared for who will pay your funeral costs? Read our Funeral Planning Choices pages for advice and to find out your options.  


Travel insurance, terrorism and failure of a travel firm 

With the liquidation of online travel agent Low Cost Travel Group, many people who have booked and paid for their holidays stand to lose their money. Those who paid by credit card, or have travel insurance that includes cover for failure of the travel firm, however, may be able to recoup some of the losses. 

In the first instance, speak to your credit card or travel insurance company to see where you stand.  

Also on the subject of travel insurance, with the recent terror attack in Nice and the military coup in Turkey, having travel insurance that includes cover for war / terrorism and cancellation has never been so important. Not all policies offer these elements of cover as standard, so it is essential you read the small print before you buy.  

You can read some quick travel insurance tips at the foot of this page here.

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