Reverse mortgages: ‘The Times They Are a Changin’


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

Alain Valles

For those Bob Dylan fans and casual listeners, the timeless anthem “The Times They Are A Changin” can very well sum up the challenges and journey of a 20+ year old in the early 60s to now being a 60+ year old in the early 20’s – the year 2020 that is.  The following verse applies to us all:

“And you better start swimmin’

Or you’ll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin’”

As we all age and enter successive chapters of life, if you never change, you’ll never change.  If things aren’t how you want them to be, and you don’t do anything about it (change) then nothing will ever get better (change).

So, what does a Bob Dylan song have to do with a reverse mortgage?  There are over 20 million older homeowners eligible for a reverse mortgage but only about 2 percent have gotten one.  Not everyone should, but there are millions of people that can improve their quality of life today but, you must take the first step and start “swimmin’” and start “a-changin.”

How to start a-changin? There is only one answer:  education.

As a Managing Director of the self-funded nonprofit mortgage company, Helping Hands Community Partners, our mission is to educate people about housing options – including reverse mortgages.  We are the only licensed nonprofit in Massachusetts that focuses on sharing reliable information on the pros and cons about reverse mortgages and, when appropriate, we are approved to arrange them for eligible homeowners.

Our belief is not everyone should get a reverse mortgage, but everyone should have a better understanding of the facts and myths.  There is nothing worse than you, a family member, or friend living a struggling or financially uncertain life when an optimum solution is at hand, but no one knew.  Once educated, I’m asked repeatedly by clients – “Why doesn’t the government tell everyone about this?”  My answer is always the same– “I’m trying the best I can to get factual information out to everyone!”

Below are examples of how homeowners utilize a reverse mortgage to improve their quality of life:

  • Increase monthly cash flow
  • Pay off a current mortgage or home equity line
  • Credit card consolidation
  • Funds to pay real estate taxes and property insurance
  • Complete needed home repairs
  • Ability to pay for at home care or nursing home expenses
  • Divorce situations
  • Pay IRS obligations
  • Settle legal matters
  • Use a reverse mortgage to purchase your new home
  • Install a new septic system
  • Purchase a new or used car
  • Support grandchildren’s education needs
  • Gift to adult children for their home purchase dreams
  • Prepay funeral expenses
  • Estate and financial planning purposes
  • Cash reserves for unforeseen emergency life events
  • Estate planning
  • Lifestyle improvement
  • Travel
  • Home accessibility improvements
  • The option of receiving a lump sum of cash, a monthly distribution, a line of credit or a combination of the three
  • Peace of mind knowing that cash is available if needed
  • And, the list goes on!

Even if only one item applies to you, you owe it to yourself and your family to get the facts, to learn if this is the best option for you, to “start swimmin and start a-changin.”

A reverse mortgage might not be the magic wand to solve all life’s challenges, but it very well could be the next best thing. Take the first step and get informed.

Get the Facts:  Obtain your free “How to Use Your Home to Stay at Home” 36-page book

Please give me a call at 781-724-6221 or email to receive your free copy of “Use Your Home to Stay at Home,”  the official reverse mortgage consumer booklet approved by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and published by the National Council on Aging.  This is a great place to get basic information.


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