Reverse mortgages: be prepared

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Alain Valles, CRMP
Alain Valles, CRMP

By Alain Valles, CRMP, MBA, CSA

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “Change is the only constant in life.” Time has shown this to be true.

The incoming administration in Washington is expected to alter the outgoing’s policies and vision. Ahead of this, interest rates and the cost of money are increasing. Inflation, a word we have not heard for the past decade, may be on the horizon, creating challenges for people living on fixed incomes. And, of course, world events directly impact our psyche. The question is, do we view change as good or bad?

“Progress is impossible without change. And those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.” This adage comes from George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics. But for many of us change creates stress, a fear of making decisions, and the often false hope that it will “just all work out” if you do nothing. But a decision by indecision can lead to regret.

Getting older can make it even harder to change. As a younger man, taking a risk seemed much easier because I could recover and try again. As an older person, it feels like I’ve run out of time to start over, which leads to resistance to change. My approach is to follow the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared.” Are you prepared?

Reverse mortgages

Almost everyone has heard the words “reverse mortgage,” but for many it has a negative connotation. Perhaps it’s time to change! My prior articles on reverse mortgages have highlighted the many uses, the cost, the downside, the process, the growing acceptance by financial planners and family members, and how increasing interest rates may diminish the maximum loan proceeds available.

The underlying common denominator in each article is that older people are faced with change, and a reverse mortgage may be the solution to adapting to change. Reverse mortgages can mitigate lack of cash flow, increased living expenses, mortgage or credit card balances, healthcare costs, and other unforeseen events.

Reverse mortgages can also fund joy. Think of a enjoying a home improvement, taking a family trip, or even helping fund a grandchild’s education. Or, just having the peace of mind that cash is available for later chapters in life.

The reality is, we all face new challenges as we age. A reverse mortgage may allow you to better adapt or, more importantly, be prepared for changes in your life.

Good to have options

For eligible homeowners, a reverse mortgage gives you choices. And having options is the best approach to facing change. The key is to have the right information to make an educated decision. Reverse mortgages are complex. There are many required steps and regulatory safeguards before you are approved.

The only federally approved consumer booklet published by the National Council on Aging, “Use Your Home to Stay at Home,” is an excellent place to start. Call or email me and I’ll forward a free copy and answer all your questions about reverse mortgages.

Alain Valles, CRMP and president of Direct Finance Corp., was the first designated Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional in New England and is the leading licensed loan officer in Massachusetts. He can be reached at 781-724-6221 or by email at [email protected].