The Biggest Pitfall of Using a HELOC for Cash in Retirement

HELOC Ticking Time Bomb

I’ve chatted with many seniors over the years who believed that a HELOC is a better option than a reverse mortgage for cash in retirement. Many seniors take HELOCs instead of reverse mortgages at the recommendation of well-meaning CPAs, attorneys, financial advisers, and relatives. Unfortunately, this is often a mistake. HELOCs are a great loan product, but they’re not suited for long-term cash needs in retirement. They come with a number of pitfalls, but there’s one in particular that can be devastating for seniors who rely on them for cash in retirement. What is a HELOC and how does it…

The Reverse Mortgage is a Great Product, But Here’s When It’s Best Avoided

6 Reasons to Avoid a Reverse Mortgage

The reverse mortgage is a fantastic financial product, but there are some situations where it’s best avoided. Though I’ve made a living doing reverse mortgages, I will freely acknowledge that a reverse mortgage is not always the right financial solution. If I believe a reverse mortgage will benefit you, yes, I’m going to do my best to convince you of that :). However, if it’s not a good fit, I will let you know that, too. I’ve always taken great pride in being equally forthcoming about the advantages and the potential disadvantages of a reverse mortgage for a given financial…

Should I Get a Reverse Mortgage Now or Wait?

HECM Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit Jack

A man who I’ll call Jack contacted me about using a reverse mortgage to pay for future medical expenses. Jack made it clear from the get-go that he didn’t want a reverse mortgage now. He just wanted to explore some options and call back in five years to set it up then. Jack basically wanted to use the reverse mortgage as an “insurance policy” to protect against the financial risk of big medical expenses. It was smart of Jack to think ahead, but here’s the thing about insurance: you have to get it before you actually need it. After all, it’s…

Does Your Financial Plan Include “Retirement Insurance”?

The HECM as Retirement Insurance

Does your financial plan include “retirement insurance”? I’m guessing you’ve never heard of such a thing, right? The term is sometimes used to refer to Social Security or insurance products that target retirees, but that’s not what I’m referring to here. There is no insurance product called “retirement insurance”, but there is a strategy that can serve as a “retirement insurance” of sorts. When used prudently as part of a broader retirement plan, this strategy can significantly reduce the risk of draining your retirement assets faster than expected. The financial tool I have in mind is called the home equity…

New HECM Reverse Mortgage Lending Limit and Index for 2021

New HECM Lending Limit and Index for 2021

Happy New Year! The year 2020 was one of the more tumultuous years in recent memory, was it not? We sincerely hope that the new year finds you well! In life, things are always changing – and it’s no different in the reverse mortgage world. The new year brings some significant changes to the HECM reverse mortgage. A new higher HECM lending limit for 2021 FHA periodically revises the lending limit to reflect real estate market conditions. The lending limit is effectively the maximum appraised value used for the calculation of proceeds. For case numbers issued on or after January…

What a Reverse Mortgage and a Legendary Airplane Have in Common

Are Reverse Mortgages a Good Deal?

In early 1942, the United States was at war with Japan. Lt. Colonel James “Jimmy” Doolittle had been given the responsibility of planning a raid to strike back at Japan for the Pearl Harbor attack. The bombing raid wasn’t expected to do a lot of physical damage, but it would boost American morale and strike a psychological blow against the Japanese, who largely believed their home islands couldn’t be attacked. Doolittle needed a bomber that could carry 2,000 pounds of bombs, take off from a carrier deck, and be modified to fly thousands of miles to complete the mission. Two…

The Top 6 Misconceptions You May (Or May Not) Have Heard About Reverse Mortgages

Reverse Mortgage Misconceptions

When I was a young boy, my parents took my brother and I on a vacation. I was pretty little, so I don’t remember much about the trip. I know we traveled on an airplane, but I have no recollection of where we went, what we did, or who we saw. What I do remember, however, is a passing moment on the trip home. It’s funny how the mind works, right? It often remembers insignificant things and forgets the more important details. I remember my mom telling me as we boarded the plane that we were “flying home”. I still…

What Does the Ideal HECM Reverse Mortgage Candidate Look Like?

How the Smiths Used the HECM Reverse Mortgage

The HECM reverse mortgage is a fantastic home loan product. Though it can benefit seniors with a variety of financial goals and needs, what does the ideal reverse mortgage candidate look like? Who is the program most ideally suited for? I’ve helped hundreds of seniors get reverse mortgages over the years. Though a reverse mortgage can benefit seniors with a variety of financial goals and needs, I think it’s best suited for candidates that fit one of three profiles: Owes little to nothing on the home and doesn’t need the money right now. Has a big mortgage balance with many…

Dear Penny, I’d Like to Set the Record Straight on Reverse Mortgages

Dear Penny I'd Like to Set the Record Straight on Reverse Mortgages

I have to admit I get a little annoyed at some of the articles and advice published in the media about reverse mortgages. Pundits and journalists generally mean well, but the advice they give is often based on the the rampant misinformation circulating about reverse mortgages. Case in point: a “Dear Penny” column that appeared in the Tampa Bay Times a while back. “Penny” is Robin Hartill of The Penny Hoarder. Like many commentators, she means well, but her advice about reverse mortgages is misinformed and misguided and I’d like to set the record straight. I freely acknowledge that a…

The One Simple Question That Could Get You Thousands More From a Reverse Mortgage

One Simple Question to Get More Money From a Reverse Mortgage

What if I told you there was one simple question that could get you thousands (or maybe tens of thousands) of dollars more from a reverse mortgage? Would you want to find out more? If so, read on! Now, before I fill you in on what this question is, I need to lay some groundwork. Even if you’re familiar with reverse mortgages, resist the urge to skip ahead to the question. It’s important to understand a few basics so you can take the fullest advantage of the question I’ll cover shortly. A few reverse mortgage basics The most popular reverse…