Reverse mortgage – Feeling anxious?


By Alain Valles, CRMP, CSA, MS, MBA, Nonprofit Charitable Managing Director

Alain Valles


Information you can trust


As Managing Director of the nonprofit charitable mortgage company, Helping Hands Community Partners, our mission is to educate people about the pros and cons of reverse mortgages and, when appropriate, to arrange reverse mortgages or help with other housing options.


Causes of fear and anxiety


I never get to see people at their best but rather when they’re stressed.  As we age, there are many growing concerns that cause anxiety or fear.  In regards to homeownership, living expenses, and the need for cash flow today or in the future, the following are the most common causes of stress:

  • More money going out than coming in
  • Stress of making the mortgage payment
  • A bank home equity line that is becoming due
  • Needed home repairs that have been put off
  • Paying the real estate taxes
  • Ongoing or unexpected healthcare expenses
  • Needing to borrow money from family or friends
  • Legal expenses or back income taxes
  • Divorce with one person desiring to keep the home
  • Outliving one’s money
  • Not being able to maintain the home
  • Having cash reserves for unexpected life events
  • How to augment a retirement plan
  • Not being able to be financial independent
  • Diminishing quality of life
  • Losing hope or one’s smile


Anxiety symptoms


According to psychiatrists Sadock, Sadock, and Ruiz, fear is an emotional response to a known or definite threat.  A car swerving into your lane is an immediate threat, whereas anxiety is a “diffuse, unpleasant, vague sense of apprehension.  It’s often a response to an imprecise or unknown threat.”  You may not be able to pinpoint the concern, but it often turns up with physical symptoms such as:

  • headaches
  • trouble sleeping
  • chest pain or accelerated heart rate
  • feeling depressed or isolated
  • lack of patience
  • upset stomach


It’s imperative that you see a doctor if you have any of the above symptoms but sometimes our subconscious worrying about any of the listed housing and financial stresses may manifest physically.


What should you do?


What should you do if your anxious or fearful about remaining financially independent in your home and having access to money if or when needed? Just like administering first aid, the steps to minimize your housing and financial stress are the same:

  1. Stop
    • Don’t rush to action
    • No need to make a quick or rash housing or financial decision from watching an infomercial or receiving junk mail
  2. Assess
    • Analyze the situation
    • Get the facts from reliable sources
  3. Plan
    • Think about the different options and outcomes
    • Come to terms that it’s impossible to make a perfect decision but rather make an optimum decision with the available facts
  4. Implement.
    • Don’t freeze in place. Often a decision by indecision is not the best one!
    • Adjust plan if necessary.


Take action!


A famous motivational speaker said F.E.A.R. is often False Evidence Appearing Real.  I hope that by contacting me, obtaining information specific to your situation, and discussing different available options that we may minimize any housing or financial fear or anxiety that you may be feeling.

If you or a friend have questions about reverse mortgages, just give me a call or email and I’ll be happy to explain all the details and send you the free “How to Use Your Home to Stay at Home” 36-page book. This is the official reverse mortgage consumer booklet approved by the HUD and published by the National Council on Aging.   I look forward to speaking with you. It’s a good life.


Alain Valles is a Managing Director of Helping Hands Community Partners, Inc. and was the first designated Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional in New England. He obtained a Master of Science from the M.I.T. Center for Real Estate, an MBA from the Wharton School, and graduated summa cum laude from UMass Amherst. Valles can be reached directly at 781-724-6221 or by email at