Reverse mortgage news coverage continued in 2016, with both mainstream media outlets and professional trade publications coming around to the idea of using home equity for financial planning purposes. And for good reason, too.
This past year saw stories on a variety of financial planning topics, including the reasons that forced some advisers to take another look at reverse mortgages in retirement, and how new rules from Social Security Administration and the Department of Labor stand to impact reverse mortgages.
While the reverse mortgage industry still has ways to go in its efforts to educate more financial planners about the merits of home equity in retirement income planning, the year 2016 was another productive step in the right direction.
Here are the top-10 most-read reverse mortgage financial planning articles of the last 12 months:
10. January 4 — Reverse Mortgages Will Change Retirement Planning in 2016
The retirement planning world saw a number of policy changes in the previous year that had implications for how retirees plan in 2016. One of the most important changes: the Financial Assessment and enhanced consumer protection rules for reverse mortgages, according to an article from Forbes written by Jamie Hopkins, associate professor of taxation at The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
There have been many changes to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program in the past few years, forcing financial planners who were once skeptical to now realize how these products can benefit their clients and, in some cases, their own businesses. Two financial planners, both self-admitted skeptics of reverse mortgages, chatted with RMD about why their view has changed on the product, and why one of them even went the extra mile and launched a mortgage broker business specializing exclusively on reverse mortgages.
The negative perception surrounding reverse mortgages not only stunts the growth potential for these products to reach a wider consumer audience, but also deters financial planners from recommending the use of home equity for retirement income planning. This is a concept brought to the forefront in the book, “Reverse Mortgages: How to Use Reverse Mortgages to Secure Your Retirement,” published this year by Wade Pfau, professor of retirement income at The American College and director of retirement research at McLean Asset Management.
Just like any relationship, whether emotional or professional, communication is integral to developing a meaningful connection that allows each of the parties involved to effectively understand the needs and wants of their partners. While the importance of meaningful communication may sound like a cover story worthy for the front pages of glam-mags like Cosmo and Vogue, this concept is critical for reverse mortgage professionals in their ongoing efforts to forge relationships with financial advisors and other retirement professionals.
A webinar hosted by the Retirement Experts Network alongside The American College served as an educational session to teach advisers how they can fit home equity into a client’s retirement income strategy. During the session, advisers received an overview of how reverse mortgages work, including their eligibility requirements, various spending options and the different possible uses for HECMs.
Changes to the Social Security program enacted this year are lending credence to reverse mortgages as a viable retirement income planning strategy, according to some retirement experts during a webinar hosted by the Retirement Experts Network. The webinar discussed how rules impacting Social Security claiming strategies, including “File and Suspend,” could offer an opportunity for retirees to incorporate a reverse mortgage into their retirement income planning strategies.
Effective retirement planning allows investors to maintain their lifestyles while also preserving a greater legacy. When it comes to creating a retirement income plan that achieves both of these goals, reverse mortgages are the epitome of efficient planning, says one retirement income expert.
Recent rule changes and demonstrative research has helped some financial planners change their minds about the use of reverse mortgages in retirement planning. But while some have simply adopted a newfound liking toward these products, other newly enlightened planners are taking a more active approach to serve their clients’ reverse mortgage needs.
A Department of Labor rule this year that amends the definition of fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 is thought to create opportunities for financial advisers and reverse mortgage professionals to form new relationships. Although the rule does not address reverse mortgages directly, its impact on financial services providers has implications for the use of home equity in retirement.
Thanks in part to various HECM program changes in recent years, reverse mortgages have been winning over everyone from financial advisers to community banks and the mainstream press, and even one nationally recognized personal finance commentator who changed her view on the product.
Over the course of an illustrious career, Jane Bryant Quinn has established herself as one of the nation’s most read and reliable voices for people trying to manage their money well. But it wasn’t until recently that she shifted her perception of reverse mortgages and the role they can play in retirement planning today.
There you have them—the top financial planning stories on reverse mortgages in 2016. Feel free to re-read, share and reference in your ongoing conversations about reverse mortgages and retirement.
Editor’s note: The top stories list is based on traffic data received on Reverse Mortgage Daily content compiled January 1, 2016 through the publication date of this article.
Written by Jason Oliva