New York Times: Why The Fonz Hits the Reverse Mortgage Sweet Spot

Why are the majority of reverse mortgage spokesmen men? And what has made former actors such as Robert Wagner such effective reverse mortgage representatives in today’s market? A New York Times article published this week aimed to find out. As Americans age, so have the celebrity spokesmen who cater to them, the Times writes. Case in point, NYT says: The reverse mortgage industry and the brigade of TV stars who stand for them including The Fonz, Robert Wagner, Fred Thompson and Pat Boone.

The Times article goes on to describe why reverse mortgage companies have found success in working with celebrity representatives, outlining the dire financial situation for many of America’s seniors and the role model that many see in former actors. Fred Thompson, interviewed for the article, told the Times of his reverse mortgage endorsement for American Advisors Group:

“I’m not acting,” [Thompson] said of the ads, which often feature him walking down a street or sitting in a flag-draped office. “I’m just looking right into the camera and telling people as honestly as I can why reverse mortgages might be right for them.”


Mr. Thompson said the best customer he recruited was his 91-year-old mother. “She requires a good deal of care and wants to remain in her home,” he said. “I got tired of her agonizing every time how dependent she was one me. One day she asked, ‘What about this thing you talk about on TV?’ It was very helpful going through the process of getting a reverse mortgage with her.”

According to the Times, the “new star turn” is a result of the changing demographics as Americans live longer and face big decisions about health care and finances. The report includes input from executives at One Reverse and AAG on the process of working with Henry Winkler and Fred Thompson, and how they help to correct reverse mortgage misconceptions.

Read the New York Times article.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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