Archive for April 2007

“Sharp as a Whip”!

April 27, 2007

Yesterday I traveled up north to do some business. While I was there, I thought I would stop by one of my client’s homes to visit and give her some documents that she had requested. She is 97 years old and is incredibly sharp. She showed me her patio full of potted flowers that were soon going to make a colorful transformation. Mrs. Smith (not her real name) loves to work in her garden.

Several weeks ago Mrs. Smith found herself in the hospital. I am not sure what she was submitted for, but she ended up spending several days in the hospital. About the same time it was brought to her attention that she had a leak in her roof. She said to me “I’ve got myself in a heap of a mess.” Well, she really didn’t do this herself. These are called “life’s surprises.” Bills had piled up that she hadn’t expected.

This is a common financial burden that many seniors face today. We are living in a time that the senior years are often the longest lifestage, yet, they are not fully prepared for the implications of living such a long life. From health issues, to home repair and paying taxes, life can have a way of sucking every dime of savings that one has. This often leaves seniors feeling overwhelmed and depressed as they cannot live their lives that way they would choose to.

Mrs. Smith was in good hands. I showed her how she could access her funds in her reverse mortgage line-of-credit. In no time, she will see money automatically deposited into her bank account to take care of her medical expenses, and to fix her roof. What a great way to assist my new friend!

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Considering a Reverse Mortgage? Here is what to look for:

April 19, 2007

It has been interesting to see how many mortgage companies are getting involved with the reverse mortgage industry. Obviously, it is another product at their fingertips which they may benefit from . . . another source of income. By all means, if they have the proper certifications and can do so legally, they have the right to be able to offer this great product. But this is what scares me:

1) Ethical Standards: The mortgage industry as a whole has had some “bad apples.” The unscrupulous lending practices that many companies have allowed leave honest, hardworking customers financially messed up. I hope that we are able to maintain the checks and balances in place within the industry so as not to take advantage of seniors.

2) Customer Service: Everybody says they have good customer service, but very few actually “walk-the-talk.” The reverse mortgage industry needs to maintain high standards of service so seniors continue to feel confident in the product. A bad experience with a reverse mortgage company can leave yet another burden on the shoulders of a senior.

3) Knowledge: We are in the midst of massive changes in the reverse mortgage industry. So far it has all been very positive for seniors. But the reality is, if it is not one’s specialty, they ought not to be selling the product. Vagueness of knowledge can lead to disappointment and frustration on behalf of the senior.

These are just a few of the issues that concern me about so many people getting into the reverse mortgage industry. I encourage you to read the attachment (why-senior-life-solutions.pdf) that I have placed on this blog entry. It will provide you with information that you need to consider when working with a reverse mortgage company. Senior Life Solutions are Specialists! Reverse Mortgages are all we do! If I can be of any assistance, please shoot me an email at gag@seniorlifesolutions.net or call me at 360-944-9002.

The Expanding Industry

April 16, 2007

It is really amazing to see what is going on in the reverse mortgage industry as I write today’s blog. We are in the midst of an ever expanding market which is followed by an industry that is just beginning to boom. Last year there was a 77% increase in the number of reverse mortgages done nationwide. Today new products seem to be hitting the market weekly. Though most new products have been varying degrees of the FHA HECM reverse mortgage, a very new product called the HECM Fixed Rate Mortgage has been released by the Bank of New York. This product will get a lot of attention, but it is too early to tell if it will be a “hot” seller. In my experience, most of my clients are interested in what will provide them the greatest benefit (dollars). The fixed rate, from what I can tell, will provide some stability in the interest rate, but will reduce the amount a senior can be eligible to receive.

At a recent NRMLA Conference (National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association), in just a few years there might be more than 50 different reverse mortgage products. Wow! This idea has caught on and is solving a lot of financial problems that seniors are facing today.

Becoming a Certified Senior Advisor

April 14, 2007

This has been a very busy week! For the past month I have been studying for my CSA test. Becoming a CSA has been a goal for the past year. You might be wondering, “What is a CSA?”

The Society of Certified Senior Advisors was established in 1997 and is the world’s largest membership organization educating and certifying professionals who serve seniors. The organization itself is made up of doctors, attorneys, gerontologists, accountants, financial planners, and other experts in several other related fields. After an extensive curriculum and exam, CSA’s, who pledge to hold a high degree of ethical conduct, are trained in several areas relating to issues and challenges that senior’s face. The Code of Professional Responsibility includes, Competence, Honesty, Trustworthiness, Fairness, and Professionalism.

It is an honor to be included in this fraternity of professionals. It seemed so natural to be a part of it as trust and integrity have been a commitment that I have always tried to uphold. If you are interested in learning more about Certified Senior Advisors, feel free to visit their website at http://www.csa.us.

It’s All About Timing

April 9, 2007

As I continue meeting with people and educating them about reverse mortgages, it is very important for me to express the fact that “the timing is all in the hands of my clients.”

When I meet with an individual or a couple, it is my goal to simply educate. At that time I think it simply is respectful to allow them time to process what all that was discussed. Reverse mortgages are simple, yet complex. It is very important for me to be sure they have time to consider the reverse mortgage as a viable option. Many times the people decide that they know they want to do it, but not now. I think this is great! It means they have evaluated the option in great detail. As in most big items we purchase, it is always about “timing.” As I always tell my clients, “This is All about You and Your Timing, NOT MINE!”

It Simply Changes Peoples Lives

April 3, 2007

Yesterday I met with a couple that I had closed a reverse mortgage in 2005. They are a couple in their 80’s. They had chosen to use some of their funds for a variety of things, including paying off their mortgage. But what I found interesting was what they did with a portion of their money.  They have a daughter that has had a rough time, both physically and personally. She was in need, so they decided to use a portion of their money to payout an early inheritance to their daughter. They were overjoyed to be able to do that!

So I asked them . . . . “Since you took out your reverse mortgage, how has it worked for you?” Their response, “It has really changed our lives. It has provided us the ability to do some things that we otherwise would not have been able to do.”

This is not an unusual response. One of the first reverse mortgages I did was a single man whose family lives at different locations around the country. Just before setting up a time to officially sign the final documents, he had a few last questions in which I answered. But the last thing he said was, “You know, this seems too good to be true and it really is a ‘life changing event’!” Indeed it was, and a few months later this client traveled to Wisconsin to visit his children and grandchildren that he normally would not have been able to do.

What do the children think?

April 2, 2007

Last night we just celebrated my dad’s 69th birthday. Both my brother’s family and my sister’s family came over and we had a great time together. Dad has been retired for 4 years or so and is still very active, and my mom continues to work and has planned on retiring in the next couple of years. But as I think about my mom and dad, and their quality of life, I am no different than many of the families that I work with.

I am often asked, “What do the children of seniors think about a reverse mortgage?” Well, most children of seniors respond the same way that I would. That is, “it is more important for my parents to live the quality of life they deserve while they are here, than for me to be concerned with my inheritance.” The reality is that most of us want our parents to do the things they want to do, go places they want to go, and have the freedom to live the life they want to live “while they are here.” Being more concerned about our “inheritance” than we are about our parent’s “quality of life” seems a little odd to me.