NBC Money 911 Feature: Reverse Mortgages

NewImage.jpgOn NBC’s Money 911, reverse mortgages were the topic yet again.  On Wednesday’s show, a man from Arkansas called in to ask whether he should pay off his mortgage, which he could do in 12 years or look into a reverse mortgage.  Here is his question:

I’m going to receive some money in the near future and I’m retired on Social Security disability and my question is, should we pay off the mortgage of the house which we owe 12 more years at 6 1/4 percent, or should we look into a reverse mortgage? But paying off the mortgage won’t leave me very much money–excuse me–left in case we need it in an emergency.

The bigger issue is that while he might be 63, his wife is 55.  How does NBC’s Sharon Epperson answer the question?  Check out the video below.


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  • I just watched that video and I have no idea what she just told him to do (besides not take out a reverse mortgage). How about asking Al what his current monthly income is to see if he can carry the mortgage payment for 12 years? Or if his wife is currently working and when she is looking to retire? Can they survive until she’s 62?

    I really don’t like these financial segments where they try to answer a very specific financial question without any information. It’s irresponsible, and they should be called on it.

    • NBC treats the segment for it is. Just go to CNBC where NBC puts their hosts with actual financial credentials. Al Roker is a great host and newsman but what financial credentials does he bring to the segment? The Today Show is little more than a morning entertainment show.

  • I agree with Matt. These segments are essentially nothing more than “tidbits” and are not specific enough to make ant sense at all. There are way to many variables to truly answer this question in a 3min segment.

  • Once again we have a national television show quoting “a reverse mortgage as a product of last resort.” Until we change that perception we will not grow as an industry.

    • You are right. The problem is not with the financial planning community but with us. Until we have a credible and substantive response that answers that criticism and WE propagate it, our products will continue to be labeled with that horrible desciption.

  • Does anyone actually believe that any competent financial advisor would praise the segment? You can tell what the producers think of the segment by who hosts it especially in light of the myriad of financial advisors at CBNC who would love to host an in-depth financial look at specific consumer financial situations on NBC but that is not what that segment is about. Al Roker is a great guy, newsman, and host but what financial credentials does he bring to bear? The Today Show is little more than a NYC entertainment show with a smattering of news, weather, and some short segments on important subjects dealt with in a very shallow manner.

    There are some important issues to address based on the segment, however. It showed exactly how much we have penetrated the financial industry with the value of our products. These advisors rarely discuss reverse mortgages unless callers ask about them and then only if there is no way to ignore the topic. The caller in the segment above wanted to pay off his current mortgage with the funds he was going to receive but did not want to be short of cash, just in case…. What a great time to bring up an adjustable rate Saver but guess what, no one mentioned it. The caller could use the remaining cash after paying off his current mortgage to pay down the beginning balance of the Saver to a few hundred dollars. Yes, there is the younger wife but with no anticipated debt until she is 62, the concerns can generally be dealt with. Was that idea or anything like it brought up???

    Some in our industry have stated that they have trained several thousand financial advisers on reverse mortgages (which they have). I doubt if the total number of financial advisors today who adequately understand the product so as to be able to apply its use to the needs of anyone other than the financially desperate is even equal to the total number of new advisors came into that industry last year. From an originator position, many have tried to penetrate that market but from an industry point of view, those efforts have had minimal results.

    Is part of the problem that down deep inside we believe that the products are for the desperate and should only be considered as a loan of last resort? When originators complain about these labels very seldom do they provide meaningful answers as to why those labels do not apply. Is that caused by the lack of knowledge we have about our products and how financial planners can use them other than the uses we otherwise describe to seniors? Yes, we all know borrowers can use proceeds to buy long-term care insurance, life insurance, and other financial and insurance products (including dare I say annuities) but so do Senators McCaskill and Kohl, the Special Assistant to the President on the new CFPB (Elizabeth Warren), and the naysayers at Consumer Union (the parent of Consumer Reports).

    After six years in this industry, I have yet to read or sit in a seminar providing an in-depth and credible analysis of the value of reverse mortgages in cash management and financial planning which can be passed along to actual financial advisors. Audiences rarely participate in those sessions until there is a discussion on the use of funds to buy the products that many advisors sell. Then the sessions devolve into tales of how an originator scratched the back of an “advisor” by referring a borrower with excess funds from a closed end product and how that financial or insurance product salesperson reciprocated.

    This is where NRMLA can add value to membership. Having a marketing track series of sessions emphasizing how to reach financial planners with a responsible and meaningful presentation on the use of reverse mortgages as a cash management and financial planning implementing tool at conventions would be a great start. The problem for NRMLA is separating out the ones who want to say something on the subject but what they have has questionable value, from those who can say something substantive and meaningful. The few sessions in this vein over the years have been less than stellar as have been the few articles addressing this subject.

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