May is Older Americans Month and 2023 marks the 60th anniversary of the celebration! The Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads our nation’s observance of Older Americans Month each year, and the theme for this year is Aging Unbound.1 This theme focuses on exploring a wide range of aging experiences and promotes the importance of independence and fulfillment as we pave our own paths in life.
The ACL recommends a few ways to embrace Aging Unbound. Here are just a few of the ways to participate:
Embrace change. Don’t let age define your limits in life. Find a new passion, go on an adventure, push boundaries! When you can roll with the punches, embrace changes, and seek out purpose in life, you’ll find greater joy and fulfillment.
Explore the rewards. As you age you gain valuable knowledge and that comes with major rewards. Having a wealth of knowledge and wisdom gives you the insight and confidence needed to understand and experience the world more deeply. As you grow older, be sure to continue to grow your knowledge! You can achieve growth simply by reading, listening, taking classes, and participating in creative activities.
Engage the community. When you are connected and involved in your community it’s a win-win – everyone else in the community benefits when we get involved! You can stay active in your community by doing volunteer work, mentoring others, joining social clubs, or even by simply attending activities at your local senior center. There are many ways to stay engaged and the benefits are invaluable.
Establish relationships. Initiating, building, and maintaining relationships is an essential ingredient of well-being. Relationships can enhance your quality of life by providing companionship, introducing new ideas, and offering unique perspectives. The easiest way to build deeper connections with family, friends, and community members is by investing your time.
These recommendations are all wonderful ways to continue leading a fulfilled life as you age. Another major element of Aging Unbound is independence. As the golden years of life approach, maintaining independence becomes a significant priority for many individuals. Aging gracefully doesn’t always have to mean relinquishing total control or relying on others for financial support. One solution is a reverse mortgage loan. Reverse mortgages offer a pathway for older Americans to preserve their independence – and not only their financial independence.
Today, traditional retirement savings methods are often insufficient in covering expenses throughout older adults’ retirement years. Like many, you may face unique challenges in maintaining financial stability and securing the ability to age in place. Traditional mortgages can be a burden for those on a fixed income as they require monthly payments and can be more challenging to qualify for. Reverse mortgages, on the other hand, offer a potential solution by allowing older Americans to leverage the equity in their homes without sacrificing their independence.
Aging in Reverse
If you’re interested in using a reverse mortgage loan as a unique financial tool in your retirement, contact Longbridge Financial today! A qualified mortgage professional can answer any questions you have and help you determine if a reverse mortgage is the right fit for your retirement. To further our commitment to our Longbridge customers, we recently partnered with the National Aging in Place Council® (NAIPC), a senior support network that connects service providers with older homeowners, their families, and caretakers. We also have a Certified Gerontologist, Kelly Rogers, on staff full-time who acts as our Head of Aging in Place Partnerships.
Kelly works to build relationships with various Aging in Place services and partner, like NAIPC, and has been working with older Americans since 1992. She is a former senior care agency co-founder and owner and co-founded “Respect Your Elders” and was an instrumental co-founder of the “Adopt an Elder Foundation” established in 2001. It’s this passion for assisting and advocating for seniors that drove Kelly to the reverse mortgage industry, where she educates people on ways to preserve their independence and achieve a higher quality of life.
Preserving Independence with a Reverse Mortgage
A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), commonly known as a reverse mortgage, is a loan designed specifically for those who are 62 and older. A reverse mortgage can allow you to convert a portion of your home equity into tax-free2 funds. Unlike a traditional mortgage, a reverse mortgage does not require monthly mortgage payments; however, like any mortgage, you must continue to pay your property taxes, homeowners insurance, and home maintenance costs. With a reverse, you can attain greater financial flexibility and independence with several options to receive the loan proceeds, including a lump sum, regular monthly payments, a line of credit, or a combination of these methods.3
Another important aspect of reverse mortgages is the non-recourse feature. Put simply, non-recourse means that you will never owe more than your home’s fair market value when the home is sold and the loan is repaid. This protects you and your heirs from any additional debt, even if your loan balance surpasses your home value. As a result, you can feel confident that your loved ones will not be burdened with outstanding debts.
Here’s just a few ways a reverse mortgage loan could help you embrace the 2023 Older Americans Month theme, Aging Unbound:
- Maintain Your Freedom: Reverse mortgages allow you to tap into the equity you’ve built up in your home and they don’t require monthly mortgage payments, providing a valuable financial resource. You must of course continue to pay your taxes and insurance and maintain your home as you do now. These funds can be used to cover anything you’d like, including essential expenses, medical bills, in-home care, home modifications to help you age more safely, or simply to enhance your quality of life during retirement. By accessing your home equity, you can avoid needing to rely on loved ones for assistance and, instead, experience greater freedom and peace of mind.
- Age in Place: One of the key benefits of a reverse mortgage is it can allow you to age in place. If you’re like many Americans, you may wish to spend your retirement years in your own home for as long as possible, with familiar surroundings and a sense of community. With a reverse mortgage, as long as you meet all your loan obligations, you can continue living in your home and avoid the need to sell or downsize. Making upgrades or modifications to fit your needs as you age can help you live more comfortably and remain in your home for a longer period of time. A reverse mortgage can help make it easier to afford these updates to improve your quality of life and live independently for as long as possible.
- Improve Your Flexibility: Reverse mortgages offer flexibility in how funds are received, allowing you to customize the loan according to your unique needs. Whether you’d prefer a lump sum for major expenses, monthly payments to supplement income, a growing line of credit for emergencies, or a combination of these – you have the freedom to choose what works best for you.3 A reverse mortgage can give you access to the resources you need to roll with the punches and embrace change as you age.
While reverse mortgages can be an effective tool for maintaining independence in retirement, it is crucial to consider some factors before proceeding. Reverse mortgages have specific eligibility criteria, and potential borrowers must participate in mandatory counseling to understand the loan terms, repayment options, and potential risks. Should you qualify, this ensures you are able make an informed decision that aligns with your unique financial goals.
Another important factor to consider is the long-term implications of a reverse mortgage. Borrowers should assess their financial needs, future housing plans, and consult with financial advisors or family members to make the most appropriate decision for their retirement.
Celebrating Older Americans Month and Aging Unbound gives us the opportunity to reflect upon our lives and recognize that aging is not one-size-fits-all. Reverse mortgages can provide you with an innovative and practical solution to retain control of your financial and physical independence and enjoy a well-rounded, fulfilled retirement. At Longbridge, we’ll take the time to get to know you and your situation. If you’re considering a reverse mortgage, contact our team today for a free, no-obligation consultation.