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Last Updated: Friday, 15 August, 2003, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
Sitting on a fortune
Brian Moore
Brian and his wife would like a little extra income
BBC Radio 4's Inside Money was broadcast on Saturday, 23 August, 2003, at 12:00 BST, and Monday, 25 August, 2003, at 15:00 BST.

Increasing numbers of older people are using the value of their home to provide them with a lump sum or extra income in retirement.

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They either remortgage with an interest-only mortgage, or sell part of their home to a financial company in return for a lump sum, or regular income.

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More than 1bn has been unlocked this way, helping to offset disappointing returns from stock market investments and the poor performance of many pensions.

Brian and Joyce Moore live in Burbage, near Hinckley in Leicestershire. The couple are now retired, with two grown up and financially independent sons.

We are not extravagant people, but it would be nice to be able to go away for the weekend, just to have a bit of luxury occasionally
Brian Moore

They have lived in their present house for 16 years and are very reluctant to move.

But they know their house has grown in value since they bought it, and are keen to take advantage of that increase.

Brian Moore told Inside Money: "We are not extravagant people, but it would be nice to be able to go away for the weekend, just to have a bit of luxury occasionally."

But only a decade ago, earlier products called "home income plans" made similar promises to older people to release money tied up in their houses.

But thousands of plans were mis-sold, and the financial industry was left with a compensation bill of more than 50m.

The Financial Services Authority is preparing to regulate only half of the equity release market. That is, only the mortgage products, not the reversion plans.

So how safe is it? Who should be tempted to take out one of these products, and who should tread with caution?

Brian Moore joins presenter Lesley Curwen to find out.

Presenter: Lesley Curwen
Producer: Jennifer Clarke



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