Are Reverse Mortgages America's Most Hated Loan?


Are Reverse Mortgages America's Most Hated Loan?

A recent Bloomberg article is off track: the biggest problem with reverse mortgages isn't the financial instrument or providers, it's unrealistic expectations about them.

Reverse Mortgage

When I worked at Merrill Lynch, a mentor, Steve Bernardy, told me, "Our job as financial advisors is not to make our clients rich, our job is to keep them rich. It's their job to accumulate the wealth." There's a parallel with reverse mortgages. Reverse mortgages are not financial alchemy; they help with cash flow but not net worth.

 If you don't have enough wealth before you get a reverse mortgage, you won't have enough because you got one.

That's not meant to sound harsh, it's just a truism no one wants to talk about. Imagine, on a realistic budget (one that accommodates minor surprises but not major catastrophes) you're going to need $500,000, on top of your retirement income, to pay your bills through an average life expectancy. If your total wealth is $400,000, a reverse mortgage is not going to fill that $100,000 gap.

This, I think, is the back story why blame gets cast on... Read more.