James Coney 

Take a mid-career MOT before it’s too late

James Coney

James Coney

At this time of life you need to open the bonnet, look at what you are spending, where your money is going and take a view on how much more you can set aside.

If the industry does not do it, then it is the kind of thing that the Money Advice Service or Pension Wise will end up stepping in to help with. And advisers really will not like that one bit.

Lending risk is no different

This time it’s different. Mark Carney described these as the four most dangerous words in the English language. And I hate to say it, but I fear that with the mortgage market he may be right. 

We have now got professional mortgages at six times income, other deals being offered up to five times, and a sudden increase in sub-prime loans.

They may be financed (slightly) differently. There may be other assets protecting the lenders, such as parental savings or guarantors.

That may be different. But the risks for the actual borrower have not changed. They are still as susceptible to a recession or a house price collapse. 

The only real difference, I suppose, is that it is not just them who will lose their home, but their parents too.

Make charges crystal clear

Another ugly equity release tale rears its head. This time, of borrowers who are given huge charges for wanting to make changes to their property.

I have said before that lifetime mortgages have a place in retirement planning. But the key to them staying at the table is transparency. 

And providers need to ensure their charges are crystal clear. Otherwise, the much-improved reputation of this side of the industry will be tainted beyond repair.

James Coney is money editor of The Sunday Times