Reverse Mortgages have a less than stellar reputation; in fact, many Americans, retired or not, continue to see the reverse mortgage as a “loan of last resort” or a loan to take out when there are no other options left. In fact, many Americans think taking out a reverse mortgage either means you are poor or uneducated because there is no way a financially savvy senior would even take out a reverse mortgage.
The truth about reverse mortgage, however, is something else entirely. The first hurdle is making sure a borrower understands the reverse mortgage and, most importantly, realize that the reverse mortgage is a way to use the untapped equity in the home they’ve paid for throughout their working years.
A recent article, published by CNBC, highlights how and why the reverse mortgage became a loan of last resort:
“The criticism of reverse mortgages is less with the product itself than with the way that people use them. ‘Free money’ has a tendency to encourage bad behavior — one reason the Federal Housing Administration requires borrowers to undergo a counseling session before entering a reverse mortgage contract. In other words, don’t use a lump sum payment from one of these to buy the Mercedes-Benz you’ve always wanted.”
A reverse mortgage should be a long-term retirement planning tool, and not just for cash strapped seniors, but for affluent seniors who have planned and saved for retirement. As with any financial product though, a borrower should know and understand their financial obligations, which include paying any and all maintenance on the property as well as keeping up with their property taxes and homeowner’s insurance payments.
Most importantly, a reverse mortgage is a flexible alternative to more traditional forms of retirement planning such as social security or 401ks or stocks and, with more Americans living a lot longer than ever before, flexibility is key.
For example, if the stock market has taken a downturn, it may be time to pull funds from the reverse mortgage line of credit in order to sustain retirement expenses while the market stabilizes. Another example may be to set up monthly reverse mortgage payments to help supplement social security payments and cover retirement expenses.
These are just two of the ways reverse mortgages can adapt to a retiree’s situation, not just at 62, but also at 72 or 82. For example, a potential retiree may be saving at 62 for retirement but may need more cash flow at 72 as they adjust to their new needs and wants. At 82, fixed expenses may be set and monthly payments may be more attractive than they were at 72.
Point is, things change, and so do retirement needs and a reverse mortgage is a way to, not only sustain retirement but also ensure that it is secure and worthwhile.
Give us a call at (888) 845-6630 to speak to one of our brokers or email us at info@PSReverseMortgage.com. A reverse mortgage calculator is great to get started but it’s the personal touch that matters.
The reverse mortgage was a created to help retirees stay in their home without the need to keep up with monthly mortgage payments at a time when cash flow might not be optimal. In addition, borrowers who also owned their homes free and clear could tap into the home equity they accumulated throughout their working years and leverage it during retirement.
Something happened along the way that increasingly painted reverse mortgages in a negative light and, suddenly, a financial product that was created to help seniors became the “most misunderstood mortgage” there is. Even more confounding is the fact that many financial experts and academics find “no rational reason” why many older homeowners remain hesitant to tap into their home equity.
A recent article in Reverse Mortgage Daily interviewed Steven Sass, a research economist at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, about the familiar behavioral roadblocks many retirees have about the reverse mortgage and the financial industry in general.
At the top of the list is a fear of getting into debt late in life and the satisfaction that comes with owning a home free and clear. These are two things that are not inherently bad but can cause problems for future retirees.
For example, the article mentions the fact that Social Security may be non-existent in the future and newer generations are saving less and less so where do future seniors obtain cash flow for their retirement needs: the equity in their home. Equity is a funny thing, many people don’t think about it until they need it but it’s an important source of cash flow. More importantly, it’s an option to supplement income and diversify assets in an ever-changing environment.
In a perfect world, a homeowner takes out a reverse mortgage line of credit at 62 and lets it grow, untouched, as a “rainy day” fund for the future but, like equity, many homeowners don’t think about the reverse mortgage until it is necessary and, by then, it may be too late.
“If you have a sufficient income to cover your expenses, is there any great need to go out and secure this line of credit or get the money?” Sass asked rhetorically. “So I think people might need some impetus to use a reverse mortgage.”
New Financial Assessment Date Gives Industry Time to Breathe
When the first effective date for the financial assessment was first announced to be March 2015, there was a collective groan in the industry.
It was finally here, that which would determine the eligibility of a borrower based on income and credit, the one thing that set the reverse mortgage apart from all other loans, and the potential implications (good and bad) of this action have yet to determined.
This is why when HUD announced that there would be an extension to the financial assessment of possibly 30 to 60 days, the industry realized it had time to breath, gauge the situation and make sure everyone, from brokers to their computer systems, were correctly set up, trained and ready to go.
Officially, HUD has finally set the new effective date for the financial assessment: April 27, 2015.
An Alternative to Nursing Homes With the Reverse Mortgage
When I recommend and go over the in’s and out’s of reverse mortgages with clients, one of the fears they have is that that the reverse mortgage will become due and payable if their health fails and they need to move into a nursing home.
However, a reverse mortgage is one of the retirement planning strategies that can be used to secure long-term, in home care without having to move from the comfort of your home.
According to data collected by Genworth Financial, Inc., a private room in a nursing home in Florida is more than double the cost of receiving long-term, in-home care. On average, homemaker services and home health aide cost around $40,000 per year while a private room costs, on average, $90,000.
I Went to the Podiatrist for Brain Surgery…
If you needed brain surgery, would you go to the Doctor who happens to be a podiatrist just because you know someone who works there?
A Medical Doctor after all is a Medical Doctor and they can all help people with any ailment, right? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Now that’s just silly and we all know that to not be the case. Yet people think a mortgage company is a mortgage company and can offer all kinds of mortgages, and this couldn’t be farther from the truth. This is the story about a client who experienced this contrast first hand, but first let’s learn about the differences between the types of mortgages.
Reverse Mortgages and Forward Mortgages (conventional, FHA, VA, etc. that all require payments) are, simply, polar opposites. When a Mortgage Loan Originator takes their 24 hour course to get licensed, the portion of the course and test that comprise the Reverse Mortgage is approximately 1%, simply addressing what a reverse mortgage is and not the details surrounding it.
Why I Started PS Financial Services
I was in training at one of the country’s largest reverse mortgage companies when the CEO said, “We don’t want every loan.” What he meant by this was, “We will deny the less than perfect borrower and/or property.”
I had difficulty with this concept because I was a front line mortgage loan originator (MLO) who put food on the table by closing every loan possible. I was working hard to bring in that business and help those families in less than ideal situations.
I’ve also helped change people’s lives: people who ran into some type of hardship in retirement whether it be physical, financial or both. Helping these people get out of their situation was incredibly fulfilling and I would fight with all my might to help them get their reverse mortgage.
Now this CEO was telling me I would have to look these retirees in the eye and tell them we can’t help them.
I wasn’t having it.
An Innovative Way to Pay Off Your Mortgage (and Plan For Retirement)
When I speak to clients for the first time, they often tell me one of the reasons they never considered a reverse mortgage is because they do not currently have a mortgage.
I let them know, off the bat, that while the reverse mortgage was created as a way to help seniors pay off their mortgage, that facet of the program is only the tip of the iceberg. The reverse mortgage, while not well known for its flexibility, is one of the most flexible mortgage programs around.
If a borrower has a need or simply wants to pay off their mortgage, then they can, and any left-over funds can be stored in a line of credit or can be received via monthly payments for a set amount of years or for life (as long as the borrower lives in their primary residence).
However, the reverse mortgage can also be used as an innovative long-term retirement planning tool. This is the part where many borrowers and their heirs find themselves at a loss because many continue too look into the reverse mortgage (MAINLY) as a loan of last resort when it is, in fact, an innovative way to plan for your retirement and/or pay off your mortgage.
History of the REVERSE MORTGAGE
- The Reverse Mortgage (RM) first started in Great Britain.
- 1961: The first reverse mortgage in the U.S. was done by Nelson Haynes of Deering Savings and Loan for Nellie Young of Portland, Maine because she wanted to stay in her home despite the loss of her husband’s income. This reverse mortgage, however, was not insured.
- 1983: The first congressional hearing regarding reverse mortgages takes place. The Senate approves a proposal to insure reverse mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration.
- 1988: The program was re-introduced by President Ronald Reagan with FHA insurance.
- 1989: The first FHA-insured HECM loan was done for Marjorie Mason of Fairway, Kansas.
Age is an Increasingly Important Factor in Retirement Planning
More than ever, age is quickly becoming an important factor in long term retirement planning. Baby boomers are living longer currently than any other generation that came before (and that’s without getting into generations that plan to retire 30+ years from now.
The ideal retirement age is no longer 62 but 65 and is poised to become 70 in the next decade. By 2050, the number of Americans that will be 65 years of age and older is projected to be 88.5million, more than double the 2010 population of 40.2 million.
According to an article in Reverse Mortgage Daily, Raymond James Financial launched a new retirement planning initiative that will give advisors the tools to help them respond appropriately and effectively to older clients if and when they need help down the line.
What’s the Largest Asset in Your Retirement Portfolio?
According to an article published in Reverse Mortgage Daily, housing assets continue to be the largest dominant force in many senior retirement portfolios, revealed a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America.
This isn’t particularly shocking news, even after 2010 when housing prices bottomed out. Houses are still the greatest asset in a senior’s retirement portfolio because they remain the biggest investment many Americans will make during their lifetimes. It’s worth more than stocks, social security and a car all-together.
In addition, a study has revealed that older Americans who own homes are more financially secure and generally experience fewer impediments to good health than their peers who rent. The best reason for this is that seniors who own their homes are able to modify their properties according to their health needs, if these needs ever should arise.