In their own ways, financial advisers, Realtors, home care workers and reverse mortgage lenders have all been critical stakeholders in the success of a senior’s ability to age with comfort and dignity. But retirement planning today requires a collaborative effort amongst these various professionals and it’s now time to break down the barriers of communication.
Thanks to recent Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program changes over the past few years, reverse mortgages have been able to tout a new message—one that has rejected the past loan of last resort reputation in favor of a viable retirement planning tool. But while much of the mainstream press has already been singing the praises of the new and improved reverse mortgage, as many industry members will attest, a wide education gap still exists.
Increasing attention from the financial planning community, in the form of various research and articles appearing in popular outlets like Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, have helped strengthen the credibility of reverse mortgages, along with recent underwriting changes to the HECM program. Despite their noble efforts, these few planners who have championed the “new reverse mortgage” represent only a sliver of the vast financial planning community.
“Over the years, it has often seemed as if we in the reverse mortgage industry have been alone in making our case for the benefits of tapping into home equity,” said National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) President and CEO Peter Bell in a recent column for Reverse Mortgage Magazine. “But wouldn’t it be to all of our advantage to expand our team, to better inform our colleagues in related business, who will also be involved in retirement planning, about the possibilities offered by reverse mortgages?”
NRMLA will attempt to facilitate greater conversations about reverse mortgages for financial advisers, Realtors and other professionals when it hosts its first ever Education Week April 18-22.
Through a series of online sessions, the week-long event aims to educate non-industry professionals how reverse mortgages work and how they can best serve their clients’ financial needs. Sessions will address professional trade groups serving the retiree and senior population, including the National Association of Realtors, Mortgage Bankers Association and the American Society on Aging.
“In a culture and media environment loaded with new information coming at us from so many directions, designating a specific window to focus on a specific subject has proven to be an effective method of creating awareness,” Bell stated.
On Monday April 18, NRMLA will host a session on the Recent Developments in HECM and Reverse Mortgage Lending targeted through the Mortgage Bankers Association. The webinar will provide participants, both MBA members and non-members, with the latest information on the recently implemented changes to the HECM program.
The following day, a session tailored for the American Society on Aging will cover the topic of Planning for the Costs of Aging. In this session, speakers will identify the costs that senior homeowners encounter as they age (e.g. health care, home repairs and daily expenses) and discuss methods for managing them through the incorporation of home equity into a financial plan.
Retirement researcher Jamie Hopkins, an associate professor of taxation at The American College and frequent reverse mortgage commentator, will lead the discussion, explaining different options for tapping home equity, including downsizing, home equity lines of credit and reverse mortgages. He will be joined by additional speakers who will discuss how reverse mortgages work, as well as the new consumer safeguards for borrowers and their spouses.
So far, these two sessions are all that have been disclosed by NRMLA, with registration information and additional webinars still to come.
A schedule of events for Education Week can be found on the NRMLA website, along with other tools reverse mortgage professionals can use to promote the upcoming informational sessions to other professionals in their networks.
Written by Jason Oliva