What gives you a sense of independence? When I think of independence I think of having freedom of choices and not relying on others. We all want our independence including seniors. How can seniors maintain that independence, have freedom of choices and not rely on others, the government or their children? A reverse mortgage provides independence for home owners 62 and older.
Having one’s own funds for home repairs, going out to lunch with friends, traveling, visiting family across the country, purchasing a new car, paying medical bills or for medications; paying for help with housework, meal preparation, yard work or transportation, whatever is desired can give that feeling of independence. Being able to pay off a mortgage to improve cash flow to to save one’s home from foreclosure gives one relief and freedoms. Being able to plan and have funds for the future and long-term care needs as well as protecting other assets and/or delaying taking out Social Security are other ways to have independence.
While some assistance may be needed for seniors to remain in their home, not relying on children or the government for help and being able to choose a home care agency of their choice will give them the sense of independence. Using the equity in one’s one with a reverse mortgage can provide seniors the funds for their independence.
“Now I have my dignity back and my independence” was what Edna exclaimed after her reverse mortgage was closed.
Another Minnesota reverse mortgage borrower, Bea, said, “With a reverse mortgage you begin to have independence anew and you begin to feel more secure. Being free from monetary anxiety, you have better control over spending your equity.” The reverse mortgage allowed Bea to pay off a mortgage, then to travel to family weddings and reunions. Several years after she initially did her reverse mortgage more recently Bea is using her reverse mortgage funds to pay for home care that is needed to keep her independent and at home.
Ted, age 91 and Anna age 87, Minnesota homeowners, were proud and 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 Anna and her daughter were sitting at the kitchen table and Anna 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, Anna 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 initially 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.
A reverse mortgage insured by FHA, an agency within HUD, is known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage or HECM. As one of the most protected financial options available for seniors, it allows them to use the equity in their home for whatever they need or want. With no monthly mortgage payments, cash flow can be improved by receiving money in monthly payments, a line of credit, lump sum or a combination of these. (Borrowers are still responsible for paying their property taxes and hazard insurance and maintaining the home.)
The title remains in the borrower’s name and the loan is not due until the home is no longer the primary residence, when they die, sell or move or on their 150th birthday. Repaid from the sale of the property, as a non-recourse loan if the loan balance is higher than what the home can be sold at fair market value the borrower or their heirs are not responsible for the difference. If the home is sold for more than the amount due then the borrower or their heirs keep the difference.
As you bring out the red, white and blue, hang your flags and gather with family to celebrate the independence of this great country of ours, ask what independence means to your loved ones. What is needed to help them remain independent and in their home, not relying on the government or on you, their children. Then explore a reverse mortgage, get the facts about them, and see if it might be an option for their situation to maintain their independence. Happy Independence Day!
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