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The Truth About Reverse Mortgages
by Valerie VanBooven
One of my jobs for a very long time included working very closely with a financial advisor and an elder law attorney. I learned a lot from both of them. The most important thing I learned is that long-term care isnt just about picking a nursing h

One of my jobs for a very long time included working very closely with a financial advisor and an elder law attorney. I learned a lot from both of them. The most important thing I learned is that long-term care isnt just about picking a nursing home or a home care agency. Long-term care is also about the legal and financial matters that almost always come up when families are trying to help an aging loved one make choices.

Most families cannot afford to privately pay for nursing home care or in-home care for very long. This wasnt planned for or budgeted for prior to retirement. Planning ahead is getting more popular, but for our older generations, it wasnt an option for various reasons.

Because of this I try to make sure I know what all of the financial options are for seniors and their family members. One of them is something that not many of us understand very well- a reverse mortgage.

Reverse mortgages have received a lot of press lately. NBC Nightly news, ABC, CBS….they have all run stories. Of course there are pros and cons to reverse mortgages, but interestingly enough, two large organizations support and advocate them, especially for seniors who need long-term care. The National Council on Aging and AARP both support the use of reverse mortgages in certain circumstances.

A study released by The National Council on the Aging (NCOA) shows that reverse mortgages can be used by over 13 million Americans to pay for long-term care expenses at home, allowing many to remain independent and in their homes longer. The “Use Your Home to Stay at Home: Expanding the Use of Reverse Mortgages to Pay for Long Term Care” report, funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also shows how reverse mortgages can alleviate financial pressure not only for individuals and families, but also for state Medicaid programs and the federal government. Increasing the market for reverse mortgages could save Medicaid $3.3 billion (with a four percent take up rate) annually by 2010.

A reverse mortgage is also called a home equity conversion mortgage. These loans are backed by the federal government (HUD and FHA). Seniors 62 and older are eligible to use this federal program. This is a “non-recourse loan”, which means that the heirs of the seniors are not responsible for repaying the loan. In fact, a reverse mortgage is a loan that does not have to be repaid unless both homeowners (assuming a couple) leave the home permanently, or pass away. No monthly payments are required. The senior is the one who gets paid.

Finally, the money seniors receive from a reverse mortgage is tax free, and does not interfere with SSI or Medicare benefits. As with any financial transaction, there are other things to consider, and reverse mortgages arent for everyone.

However, for the senior or couple who are having trouble making ends meet, this can be a life saver. Some seniors are using the extra cash flow to pay for in-home care, adult day care, pay for prescription drugs, pay off credit card debt, and make much needed home repairs so that they can live safely and more comfortably.

Find a reverse mortgage specialist in your area, and network with them. They might be able to help a senior you know pay privately for care much longer than expected. For more information visit , , or .

If you would like a FREE REPORT on reverse mortgages, I would be happy to send you one. Just email me at and I will email or snail mail your report.

Valerie VanBooven RN, BSN, PGCM is an author, professional speaker, and professional geriatric care manager. She speaks nationwide to professionals and consumers about aging, long-term care, and marketing to seniors and adult children of aging parents. Did you know that you can write reverse mortgages yourself and you don't have to refer the business away? It's true. Valerie is currently the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Next Generation Financial Services, a division of 1st Mariner Bank. She can be reached at or on the web at or

The site is not responsible for any content in it. E-mail: alldir[at]gmx[dot]com
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