The organization previously known as the Funding Longevity Task Force, which had recently moved out of the American College of Financial Services, has found a new home with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), along with a new identity created to more closely align with the academic nature of its mission.
The organization, now known as the Academy of Home Equity in Financial Planning, announced its new home and name change during the InvestmentNews Retirement Income Summit held in Chicago this week. Part of the impetus for the move and the name-change is that the overarching work of the Funding Longevity Task Force has been successfully completed, according to co-founder Shelley Giordano.
“It is gratifying for us that the work of our Funding Longevity Task Force has come to a close having accomplished our goals,” Giordano said in an email to RMD.
A retirement expert with previous experience in the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has also joined the new Academy, Giordano said.
“All along, we have been fortunate to attract a broad range of experts in the field of aging. We are proud to announce that Karin Hill, former Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Single Family Housing at [HUD], [has] agreed to join our group.”
The next steps in studying home equity in financial planning will be handed over to Dr. Craig Lemoine, director of the financial planning program and clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois, Giordano said.
“We are confident that the American retiree will continue to benefit from the rigorous, scholarly examination of America’s most valuable asset,” she said. “Our partners One Reverse, Longbridge, and Retirement Funding Solutions are to be commended for their vision in helping the Academy study the proper ways to monetize the housing asset.”
Dr. Lemoine expressed optimism for the Academy finding a new home at his institution, and its continuing pursuit of incorporating home equity into financial planning in a statement to RMD.
“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is thrilled to be the home of the Academy of Home Equity in Financial Planning,” said Lemoine in an email to RMD. “The academy will continue the wonderful work of the Funding Longevity Task Force while adding elements of research and scholarship.”
In terms of what the organization’s new home will allow it to achieve, the aim of the Academy will help bolster the plans that the university has for expanding its financial planning offerings, Lemoine said.
“The Academy has a natural home within the financial planning concentration at UIUC,” Lemoine told RMD in an email. “We are building a world-class financial planning program, and being able to work with members of the academy raises the bar in our classrooms and mission. The Academy benefits with the addition of student scholars and an executive director who will help promote and develop academy research.”
The academy will also continue to focus on similar areas of previous study it undertook while operating as the task force, including home equity, aging in place and retirement sustainability, Lemoine added.
Carson Group’s Director of Retirement Research, Professor Jamie Hopkins, has also returned to the fold of the organization, and expressed excitement about the Academy’s establishment and what it means in shaping future conversations about retirement planning.
“I am so excited about this new development and the establishment of the Academy,” Hopkins said in an email to RMD. “This will really allow the academic nature of the group to continue to flourish and allow the group to have a larger microphone than ever before to positively impact the financial planning community and America’s retirement security.”
Home equity is important, but often overlooked by organizations that participate in discussions concerning financial planning, Hopkins added.
“Home equity is just too important to be ignored and unfortunately many organizations are ignoring the importance of it in broader financial planning and retirement planning,” he said. “If there is one thing people can take from the group it is to challenge what you believe to be true, look at what research shows, and do what is best for clients.”
Also returning is Dr. Wade Pfau, professor of retirement income at the American College of Financial Services and principal and director at McLean Asset Management.
“I’m excited about the growth and evolution of the Funding Longevity Task Force into a full-fledged Academy housed at a major research university,” Pfau told RMD in an email. “It will bring a lot more attention to the importance of housing wealth as part of the financial planning process.”
Other returning members include Dr. Barry Sacks, Dr. Barbara Stucki, and retirement income expert and speaker Curtis V. Cloke, according to a membership roster provided to RMD.
The original Task Force was co-founded in 2012 by Giordano and Security One Lending’s Torrey Larsen, and its mission statement included a desire to “champion groundbreaking research focused on reverse mortgages.” When it first became a part of the American College in 2016, the organization stated its general goal to cultivate “an exploration of a rational and objective understanding of the role that housing wealth can play in prudent planning for retirement income,” said Giordano at the time.
Find more information at the Academy’s website.