Archive for December 2007

Saving the Home . . Foreclosures Revisited

December 28, 2007

j0399684.jpgA while back I wrote about how reverse mortgages can be used to help and save foreclosures for seniors. Unfortunately, 2008 is looking to continue to represent some of these same challenges for seniors who are going to see their adjustable rate mortgages readjust, and therefore, put them in tremendous financial difficulties.  Saving the home from foreclosure is a win/win for all. However, it is very important that those who face a possible foreclosure situation, that they contact their reverse mortgage specialist early. The fees on foreclosures are incredibly high and the accumulation of fees could prevent one from saving their home with a reverse mortgage. Though I hope lenders will see that they work hard at helping seniors in these situations, lenders aren’t often concerned with helping in these situations. The bureaucracy of a large lender often prevents them from acting mercifully in these situations.

My friend John Yedinak, the creator of the Reverse Mortgage Daily, discusses his current attempt to prevent disclosure. Enjoy!

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Preparing for the Unexpected

December 20, 2007

j0403862.jpgI don’t know about you, but as I continue along this path called “life,” I am more and more aware that every day may bring the unexpected events that make me weary. No, I don’t stress about it, but I continually am reminded that it is a part of life. Whether it be health and finances, friend’s who go through challenging times, world events, the unexpected phone call from the school, or an unexpected letter that makes our heart pump a little faster, these events are a part of our normal lives.

In working with seniors and their families, one of the things that has been a norm in many of the conversations is this idea that the unexpected events have drained them of the many of their resources, or that future events would do the same. These are the uncontrollables! How does one prepare for the uncontrollable events? Well, for some events one can prepare with insurance. From life insurance, homeowners insurance, long term care insurance . . . . the list goes on with what types of insurance one can get to protect assets. Just recently, across the river in Oregon, many people found their houses in danger due to flooding. If one had flood insurance, this is a good thing. For those who didn’t have flood insurance, well, it is not so good of a thing.

Reverse mortgages are much like insurance, though, a little different. With insurance, one needs to have purchased the insurance prior to the event. Without it, there is no coverage. As they say, “hindsight is always 20/20.” However, with reverse mortgages, one can take out a reverse mortgage during or after the actual unexpected event occurs, in most cases. Reverse mortgages are simply “Plan B,” for most people. Plan B is better than no plan right!

I have mentioned in several of my blogs the importance of simply learning about reverse mortgages. As in most financial products, timing is everything. One may not be interested, or in need of having an extra stash of cash today. However, when there is an unexpected event, it just may be the answer for tomorrow.

Tis’ the Season

December 14, 2007

j0409641.jpgWhen I was in my late high school years I remember the struggle in choosing a career direction.  At that time of my life I was learning about how my career choices would impact my happiness as an adult. The message was, “It is not all about money.” In fact, the message even went further than that. What I actually heard came from a biblical passage that reads, ” . . . . it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” This passage has very valuable lessons, but as a teenager my mind was “saving the world” rather than making a buck. Thus, I pursued a career choice directed at being an agent of change in the world of education.

As the years have passed and I have matured into adulthood and the “real world,” I have learned and grown in so many ways (I thank the Lord for that). As I learned about life and work and building my “nest egg,” I have come a long ways in realizing that though living a life with a “love of money attitude” isn’t my goal, I have realized that living life “without money” can be a real drag. Not for the materialistic things, as I don’t consider myself very materialistic. But rather in providing for my family in a way that represents balance. For balance, for me, is the key to dealing with many of life’s issues.

As we enter this holiday (Christmas) season, I can’t help but think about the millions of seniors who, though they want to participate in the “giving attitude” during this time of season, many cannot afford to do it. Living on a fixed income with a world that is anything but fixed, is stressful. Like I said, living without money can be a real drag. To be kept from sharing in this season, and giving to those we love, steals a part of our existence. It feels good to give and to show our appreciation for the relationships that we have. For many seniors realize the blessings they have in their relationships. As we grow older, the relationships that we have tend to become more meaningful to us.

During this Christmas season, think about those that you care for and love. If they are seniors who are financially struggling and live in their own home, you may just give them the gift that will bring back the life they have long sought after. A life of financial stability through a reverse mortgage.  Though the quality of life that we have seldom depends on how much money we have in the bank. It often is impacted by how much we can give to those we love.

Through the Eyes of Another

December 11, 2007

j0401025.jpgThis morning I took my little girl to pick up her first pair of glasses. We’ve known for some time that she has had a difficult time seeing far-away objects. It wasn’t until just recently that we realized how poor her eyesight really was. But in my mind, it was nothing too serious. She never complained about it, and it never kept her from doing things around the house or playing soccer.

My daughter was very excited about getting glasses. Not only could she then be able to see distances, she would look studious and smart (and cute). She liked that part of it. She has been counting down the days over the past week so that we could go and pick them up at the doctor’s office.

As she tried them on and left the doctor’s office, she was in awe. She was so excited about what she could see. In her words, “Dad, everything is 3D.” And, “Dad, I can see the branches of trees. . . . . the trees even have holes in them.” It was an exciting drive on the way home. But it got me thinking, “How many of us simply think that everyone sees the world as we do?” I simply thought that my daughter could see things as I did (pretty selfish huh). From seeing, to hearing, to feeling, speaking, etc.  Don’t we often just expect that everybody experiences life in the same manner that we do? It is a fascinating thing to ponder.

In working with seniors, it is my goal to try and see the world as they see it. To put on “glasses” that allow me to see their world from their perspective. Their world may be lonely, stressful, full of doctor’s appointments, void of sound, deminishing vision or pain. Would their life be changed if they could afford the cost of hearing aids? Cataract surgery? Hip relacement? Or dental surgery? Would their life be more enjoyable by going to the symphony? Traveling to see their grandchildren? Buying a more reliable car? What is the price they pay for not doing these things? 

You see, we often view life from what WE think matters, not necessarily others. But based on how we view it, we may not see the details of life that lie right before us, and miss an opportunity to give to another.

As a reverse mortgage specialist it gives me great perspective to see the life that my clients live. In order to help them, I need to, in a sense, feel their pain and the challenges that they face on a daily basis. Without it, I am unable to truly give to them what they need.

When Social Security Isn’t Enough

December 7, 2007

j0422392.jpgIt seems like every time I turn around, whether it be an advertisement, or simply a conversation with friends, I am reminded to develop a savings plan and stick to it! Whether it be saving for retirement, or saving for an inevitable event, we live at a time where the future is more and more unpredictable. With the instability of the world and the ever increasing cost of living, it is prudent to plan for the future, wherever life takes us. 

As a Certified Senior Advisor, I meet with many seniors who grew up in an age where planning for retirement was more or less having a pension and supplementing their retirement with social security income (or vise versa). In the day, one of the common worries was “Am I going to live long enough to enjoy my retirement.” Today, the common concern is “Will I have enough money to live throughout my retirement.” Or, stated another way, “Will I live too long?” Not simply just to survive, but to live in an independent way to enjoy life. When the savings runs dry, what are some strategies supplement social security to keep up with all of the demands of growing older? 

When evaluating financial products that can help to supplement income, most financial advisors will look for investment products that can provide a guaranteed “rest of life” income. For many seniors, this works well, and financial advisors have a myriad of products to help accomplish this goal. However, in order to take advantage of these programs, one has to have a lump sum of money to invest. Unfortunately, not everybody has the $50,000 to $100,000, or more, to invest. So, what else is available in order to supplement income and/or provide an emergency fund for unexpected events? 

As a Reverse Mortgage Specialist, I have worked with many seniors that are in the situation described above. The life savings has been spent and the quality of life has become a struggle trying to find peace in the midst of life’s financial storms. Though reverse mortgages have been around for many years, they are beginning to catch on as a viable financial product and provide the “peace-of-mind” for many seniors.  So, what is a Reverse Mortgage? In short, it allows senior homeowner’s 62 years old or older to use their home equity as an income source. Some of the main benefits of a reverse mortgage are:  

  • You retain full ownership in your home (Title does not change) 
  • No monthly payments
  • Can provide ongoing lifetime income.
  • Money received is tax-free
  • No financial requirements to qualify.
  • Does not affect Social Security or Medicare. 
  • No restriction on use of funds available.
  • You may continue to live in your home for the rest of your life.
  • Can receive the money in a variety of ways (i.e. lump sum, LOC, income)
  • You will never owe more than your house is worth.
  • Remaining equity will go to your heirs.

There are a variety of reverse mortgage products available. Each one is a little different, so it is very important to communicate to your advisor what your ultimate goal is in getting a reverse mortgage. Secondly, there are strategies one can use in order to preserve a portion of your equity, if that is a concern. Most importantly, however, is to learn about reverse mortgages as a part of a complete retirement plan. Though one may never need it, it is a great solution for many who find that their monthly cash flow is falling short.

Always feel free to contact me if you have any questions about reverse mortgages. You can contact me at greg.gulliford@pmrmtg.com or toll free at 1-888-480-6636.

Second Time Around – It Just Made Sense

December 5, 2007

100_0804.jpgHis real name will be kept private, but his story is a common one. Mr. Jones is a gentleman that I met over two years ago. At that time he had a mortgage that he just wanted to pay off. This would provide him an extra $600 per month to use for living expenses, and medical costs that relate to caring for his wife, Mary. After several visits of explaining the details of a reverse mortgage, Mr. Jones decided that it would be a prudent decision that would allow him to deal with the rising cost of living.

Not long after beginning to move forward to help Mr. Jones, I received a phone call from one of his daughters. She lived in California, and wanted to talk with me about the reverse mortgage program and all of its implications. This is something that I always encourage as a reverse mortgage often affects inheritance issues, etc. After much discussion, it was decided that she was going to financially assist her father (for now), and wait on moving forward with the reverse mortgage for her parents. Since she was willing and able to do that, I encouraged it.

Fast forward to one month ago . . . .  I was giving a seminar in the same community that Mr. Jones lived. I often wondered how he was doing since the last time that I spoke with him. He was a sharp man, and a person that I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know (much like many of the people I work with). Just before I was to begin with the seminar, Mr. Jones entered the room. I was thrilled to see him like a long lost friend. He greeted me and we had a nice time reconnecting.

After I had completed the seminar, and throughout the next several weeks, Mr. Jones shared with me the events that had occurred over the last two years. As mentioned above, Mr. Jones is a very sharp man, and one who walks with the integrity that I admire. At 86 years old, his wife’s health is failing, and he is her primary care giver, along with one of his daughters. Though he finds the task getting more difficult as time passes, he does so with great love, and he would have it no other way.

Without going into great detail in regards to his personal situation, we re-evaluated his situation in regards to a reverse mortgage. It would provide him with: 1) Financial Peace-of-Mind to cover future health related costs, 2) Pay off his current home equity loan and no longer need to make a monthly payment, 3) Settle all current debts, 4) Have an emergency fund set aside for any unexpected financial obligation that arises in the future.

From the beginning, Mr. Jones was in contact with his attorney, as well as his family, who all favored the decision. It was a good example of the type of teamwork that I always encourage.