By Alain Valles, CRMP, CSA, MS, MBA, Nonprofit Managing Director
The doctor visit
Universal advice is to have a physical exam. This gives you the opportunity to discuss any physical changes or concerns. Your doctor will check your vital signs and make recommendations on what steps to take to maximize your quality of life. Sometimes we feel uncomfortable about the topics, mad at ourselves for not implementing prior suggestions, or even afraid to learn the results of a test. Hopefully it’s good news but unfortunately, we or a loved one must face and overcome a significant health event. The consensus is that regularly scheduled physical exams will give you time to adjust one’s lifestyle if necessary, detect and remedy anything early, and give you peace of mind that you are taking care of yourself.
The financial housing check-up
And the same is true regarding your financial housing health. As we age, we must also review our housing wellbeing on a regular basis. Unfortunately, for many people they think a financial review is only for the very wealthy. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, you must take every penny prisoner.
If you are fortunate to own a home and are 62-years old or older, then you should examine your current housing situation, future financial needs, and learn if a reverse mortgage can help with your financial health. There may be stress regarding how you are going to be able to afford the next chapters of your life but, just like our health, ignoring current financial symptoms may lead to regret later when we didn’t take care today.
There are hundreds of specific financial stresses and uncertainties we all face but most fall into the following three categories:
- Move or be able to age in place and be financially independent
- Immediate or anticipated cash needs
- Peace of mind. Knowing cash is available if ever needed
Reverse mortgage remedy
A reverse mortgage, also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), is a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) government insured loan that allows eligible older homeowners to access the equity in their homes by receiving lump sum cash, a monthly check, and/or a line of credit. The key advantage of a reverse mortgage is you do not have make any monthly payments on the money you borrow. You are though, always obligated to pay your property insurance, real estate taxes, and abide by other loan guidelines.
Just like TV medicine commercials, there is a lot of fine print about a reverse mortgage and it’s not for everybody. But everybody should learn how a reverse mortgage works, whether for themselves or the possibility of helping a friend or family member have the best quality of life possible. The question is where should one turn to receive information about one’s current situation?
Information you can trust
As Managing Director of the self-funded nonprofit charitable mortgage company, Helping Hands Community Partners, our mission is to educate people about reverse mortgages and, when appropriate, arrange financing or help with other housing options. Just like doctors with different qualifications, not all mortgage companies and banks are able to arrange reverse mortgages. We are reverse mortgage specialists and have more designated Certified Reverse Mortgage Professionals (CRMP) than any other New England company.
How do I obtain a free financial housing check-up?
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. He can be reached directly at 781-724-6221 or by email at [email protected].