A variety of research has demonstrated the effective use of reverse mortgages as part of a comprehensive retirement planning strategy, however, lenders have yet to crack the code for forging successful relationships with financial advisers. At an upcoming industry event, reverse mortgage professionals can learn some of the best strategies to opening the lines of communication with planners as well as other financial services providers.
One of the key challenges the reverse mortgage industry faces right now can be described as a transitional phase, following the series of changes that have been made to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program in recent years.
“The HECM program has changed and some of the business models in the past need to change, and part of that is going to be working with financial advisors to find the right clients and have reverse mortgages implemented in a more comprehensive manner,” said Jamie Hopkins, Esq., JD, CLU®, RICP®, an associate professor of taxation at The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pa.
Hopkins also serves as Associate Director of the New York Life Center for Retirement Income at The American College and maintains a Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP), a designation created by The American College that teaches advisers the latest ideas in creating sustainable retirement income.
Within this program, designation candidates learn, among other income planning strategies, the effective uses of home equity in retirement—an area of focus Hopkins says is really lacking in the financial services industry today.
“That’s where reverse mortgages can come in to bridge that gap,” Hopkins tells RMD.
For the past three to four years, Hopkins has focused on reverse mortgages and where they fit into retirement income planning, he admits after research published in the Journal of Financial Planning by notable reverse mortgage researchers like Barry Sacks and John Salter, as well as other academics, began to show the benefits of having a reverse mortgage as part of their retirement plans.
Hopkins, who has written articles published by Forbes and other news outlets detailing the strategic uses of home equity and retirement income planning, is delivering the keynote address at ReverseVision’s inaugural User Conference 2016.
Taking place January 20-22 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, User Con 2016 will feature a variety of general sessions and career tracks for reverse mortgage executives, loan officers, account executives, administrators and more.
Hopkins’ session will focus on several key strategies reverse mortgage professionals need to know when trying to forge relationships with financial planners and the financial services industry at large.
“Financial advisors and reverse mortgage industry lenders both need to be educated on the effective uses of retirement income planning,” Hopkins said.
Part of that, Hopkins added, is helping reverse mortgage lenders better interact with the financial services industry. And that comes down to speaking each other’s language.
“Right now, when I talk to reverse mortgage lenders and experts, they know their industry very well,” he said. “You need to be able to learn that language and bridge that gap. It’s going to take an understanding of financial services and what professionals in the space are doing before they are going to buy into what the reverse mortgage world is offering.”
For financial service providers, compliance remains a big challenge as some companies don’t even let their employees talk about reverse mortgages, Hopkins said. But while it will take many efforts between regulators and financial organizations to tear down those obstacles from a compliance standpoint, conversations about reverse mortgages and home equity must be included within the retirement planning discussion.
“I’m going to give you some of the language you need to know so you can say: this is how our product fits into your situation and your planning,” Hopkins said. “I’ll also be talking about Social Security and withdrawal strategies, and how reverse mortgages fit into them.”
Written by Jason Oliva