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Is your opinion of reverse mortgages denying seniors?

September 28, 2009

As you are advising seniors do you advise them based on your opinion of reverse mortgages?  Do you believe that reverse mortgages are expensive?  Do you believe it’s foolish to do a reverse mortgage because of the “high” costs and a “better solution” would be sell?  Do you believe it is more practical for a senior to move in with an adult child?  Do you believe they should consider a conventional mortgage instead of a reverse mortgage?  Or get some financial assistance from their child?  Are you criticizing seniors for doing a reverse mortgage and not selling or finding financing from another resource?

While sometimes the cold hard financial facts may demonstrate a better solution than the reverse mortgage.  However, have you considered what the senior’s desires are?  What about their comfort and happiness?  Do they really want to sell?  Do they really want to live in senior housing?  Would they really be comfortable living with a relative?  Would they really be happy if they moved out of the home and community they are familiar with and comfortable in?  And what impact would receiving financial assistance from a child have on the child’s financial situation?  What is going to give the senior their security, independence, dignity, and control?  Advising based on your opinions is denying seniors their comfort and happiness as well as their control and choice.

Being familiar with their surroundings, their community, having the bank and grocery store down the street may give comfort to a senior.  The neighbor may help with the yard work, watching out for them, bringing them a meal once in awhile.  Their choice may be to stay in their home because that is what brings them comfort and makes them happy.  They may feel more secure living in their familiar surroundings.

Moving in with an adult child can mean a loss of independence, dignity, and control for a senior.  There could be additional stress and more of a financial burden on the child.

Having a child provide financial assistance through just providing funds or a sale lease back could have a negative impact on both the senior and the child.  The senior will have lost some of their independence and dignity by depending on their child.  The child’s situation may change and they may not be able to afford the financial assistance in the future.  If it’s a sale lease back situation, the child may need to sell to meet their own financial circumstances which could displace the senior.  Which would mean the senior’s security would be at stake.

I know a woman who sold her home to her daughter and son-in-law with the agreement that she could continue to live there.  When the children moved in to the home that had been hers for years the daughter and her husband took over the main living area and she had to move her belongings to the basement and a different bedroom.  They started redoing the yard, not necessarily a bad thing but since they were now the owners they were making changes she was not comfortable with.  Additionally they have parties every weekend which disturbs her peace and quite.  Unfortunately she is no longer comfortable and happy living in “her” home.  This in the long run is affecting her peace of mind and her health.  She no longer has her independence, dignity or control of her living situation.  And her security could be in jeopardy if the children decide they want the house to them selves and require her to move out.

A reverse mortgage helps seniors with their many financial needs including paying off current mortgage payments, repairing or modifying the home, covering their basic month to month living expenses, paying for home health care or medical expenses.

Before you base your advice on your opinion of reverse mortgages, know the facts: “When You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know About Reverse Mortgages” and some of my other Blog posts will help you with this.  Read “Reverse Mortgage Closing Costs – High or Mythical?” to see that reverse mortgage costs compare to conventional mortgage costs.  “I Want To Stay In My Home – Don’t Tell Me To Sell!” will help you understand that selling and moving is not less expensive and may have negative consequences in the future.  And to get a better understanding on how the reverse mortgage provides, security, independence, dignity and control read, “Know A Senior Who Wants Security, Independence, Dignity, And Control?  A Reverse Mortgage May Be The Answer.

While you may believe the best solution would be for a senior to sell, move in with a relative, or do a conventional mortgage, consider what will provide comfort and happiness for the senior as well as what will meet their desires.  Don’t let your opinion of reverse mortgages deny seniors.  It’s their personal choice on how and where they choose to live.

© 2009 Beth Paterson 651-762-9648

17 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2009 3:22 pm

    Like the article Beth. I just attended a conference that had a speaker about Reverse Mortgages and it was great to hear about all the recent updates on the program. I only wish more of my clients would consider it. It is hard to get them to buy into the program. I believe as more baby boomers age they will take advantage of the reverse mortgage concept.



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