July 4th we celebrate Independence Day in America honoring the day our country signed the Declaration of Independence. Signing the reverse mortgage documents is a way for seniors 62 and older to sign their own declaration of independence.
Independence is defined as “freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.” This fits senior’s attitudes, they want to maintain control of their life, make their own decisions and not depend on others for assistance. They may be short funds for maintaining their lifestyle and sometimes they will eat cat or dog food because it is cheap and they do not want to rely on their children. Yet I’ll hear, “I want to leave my house as an inheritance to my children.”
Let me share a story of one of my clients, I’ll call them Ted and Anna. He was 91, she was 87. Being proud, they didn’t want to discuss their financial situation. However, their son-in-law finally talked to them about doing a reverse mortgage. When I met them and we started the reverse mortgage process, the children and I were told they were doing the reverse mortgage so they could put new linoleum on their kitchen floor. Once the loan was closed I was informed by their children that they had indeed put in the new linoleum along with new windows and they bought some new furniture. The kids were going to Ted and Anna’s and were told, “Don’t pull in the drive way, we just had it blacktopped.” When Ted and Anna went out to eat with their kids, they could pay for their kid’s meals too making them feel good that they could treat their children to a meal. Then one day the mother and daughter were sitting at the kitchen table and mom shared that before their reverse mortgage they used to go 3 days at the end of month without food or even milk because they would run out of money from their Social Security. As they were sitting there and looking at the paper, mom exclaimed, “Look, Depends are on sale, I can now stock up.”
While Ted and Anna were too proud to let their children know their financial situation and they didn’t want to depend on them to assist with their living expenses, once they signed the reverse mortgage documents they kept their independence and had funds for their needs and desires. This also improved their dignity.
Unfortunately while not wanting to rely on their children and wanting to leave their home as an inheritance to their children, seniors are doing without. This isn’t what their kids want – they don’t want their parents doing without so they can have an inheritance. Kids actually want their parents to have funds to remain independent.
Then we have the kids who are taking care of their parents by paying for groceries, meals when they go out, paying their bills, taking time from their busy schedules to clean their house, provide home care, and helping meet their other needs. This can have a negative impact on these kids’ finances. Yet their parents don’t want to use the equity in their home and do a reverse mortgage now just so they can leave an inheritance for these kids. In essence the kids are using their funds to take care of their parents now in exchange for an inheritance after their parents are gone.
Neither one of these scenarios make sense. Why be insistent on leaving an inheritance to the kids while you’re doing without now? Why depend on your kids and use their money to take care of you today so you can leave them an inheritance? They want you to have your independence now and they aren’t looking for the inheritance when you need to funds now. Actually the best inheritance you can leave your children would be to take care of yourself so they don’t have to worry about you.
Improve your cash flow during your retirement – sign your own Declaration of Independence with a reverse mortgage – then celebrate your independence.
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