SEVEN TIPS TO GROWING OLDER WITH JOY

The Hero’s Journey for the Third Act: Transforming Our “Story” of Aging 

Senior couple relaxing in garden

Although these seven steps sound like a tall order, putting such a plan into practice is like a rejuvenation visit to a spa!

1.  Embrace the identity shift that being an elder represents.
2.  Write a new script for our lives.
3.  Release emotional baggage that can sabotage our aging story.
4.  Get in touch with our authentic vision for elderhood.
5.  Tap into the passion that can make this vision a reality.
6.  Transform feelings of isolation & loneliness into a purposeful community of allies.
7.  Create a legacy of service to support a healthy world for our descendants.

WHAT IS CONSCIOUS ELDERING?

Aging with Intention and Purpose

“When you embrace conscious eldering, you start to feel lighter—in your heart and body—as you imagine the latter years of your life “filled with passion, purpose and vitality”– Ron Pevny

Conscious eldering is an opportunity to view our closing chapters as those in many indigenous cultures do: as a time of harvest, when the joy and wisdom of a lifetime can be translated into service and meaning for family and community. Pevny’s prescription echoes that of septuagenarian Charles D. Hayes, whose September University is not a school, but a state of mind: a vision of retirement that entails “sifting through a half-century or more of experience, sorting those things that are truly important from those that aren’t, and finding ways to pass on that wisdom.”

“Elderhood has been a revered stage throughout most of human history,” notes Pevny. It was understood as an honor conferred upon those who, through effort and expectation, had grown into a wholeness and ability to see the bigger picture that comes with experience. In recent times, we’ve depreciated the aging process and downgraded the respectful, vibrant “elder” to a diminished “elderly”.

RIGHT OF PASSAGE FOR SENIORS WHO WANT TO BECOME CONSCIOUS ELDERS:

1. Grasp that aging can be a time for fulfillment and growth. 
It can be challenging to believe this because:

• Society says older adults have become irrelevant. 
• We’ve been told what we do is more important than who we are.
• Most seniors do not have a grand vision that can encapsulate all the possibilities.

2. Bring awareness to beliefs about aging.
What we believe shapes who we become, and most beliefs are unconscious. The most important question: 

• Do my beliefs make a difference in how my life turns out?
• For example: If an ageist remark stings, there is more to transform.
• What are our visceral reactions to visiting a nursing home?

3. Form an intention and commitment to inner work. 
Inner work reflects the three stages of transition:

• Heal our lives up to this point through forgiveness, grief work, rewriting old stories, letting go of what no longer serves.

• Quiet time in the corridor between who we’ve been and who we can become. Many people feel rudderless, without a map. Yet in this in-between time, older adults can have the best access to inner guidance. Create space to listen, wait, write, and reflect. See what starts to stir, and nurture creativity.

• Clarify and act with intention to move forward. Plant seeds. Begin to try out what feels right.

4. Choose practices that support aging consciously.

• Set intentions: “10 Intentions for next 10 Years.”Make time to be in silence (ideally in nature) and begin to get in touch with your inner guidance.

• Envision what a fulfilled elderhood can look like.

• Create an “elderhood bucket list” that focuses on every aspect of your life: relationships, health and wellness, service to others, spiritual growth, fun/pleasure, etc. Spend time with each, imagining what it would feel like—and is this something you have the energy and the will to create?

• Be wholehearted: not, “I hope to”, or “I’d like to” but “I intend to” or “I commit to”.

A little outside the reverse mortgage box? Perhaps — or perhaps not. The Hero’s Journey is one we all have the option of taking at each life stage. What is unique about conscious eldering is, this model has not been applied to “the third act” before. And in the third millennium, with the mature adult population now the largest in human history, it’s time.

LEAVING A LEGACY

Imagine purchasing a new, more manageable home closer to family or in a warmer climate and not having to worry about monthly mortgage payments and being able to leverage the assets from the sale of your previous home? This is the financial peace of mind a Reverse Mortgage for Purchase can provide.

Find out if a Reverse Mortgage could be the right solution for you—set up a complimentary personal assessment today.

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” –Michelangelo

‘Tis the season to appreciate

Happy Holidays!
I just heard a lovely and touching song, “Make Me A Channel of Your Peace” which reminds me of the human phenomena that inspires us during the holiday season. We have an opportunity to dig a little bit deeper and try a little bit harder to just be kind to one another. Parties, perfectly wrapped presents, and bright shiny lights are exciting and celebratory, but to be kind, is simply one of the best gifts of all. The lyrics are about seeking to understand each other rather than be understood, to console rather than be consoled, to forgive rather than be forgiven, and from the bottom of our over flowing and grateful hearts, to share and show love. What a beautiful sentiment.

Housing decisions in retirement — should I stay or should I go?

I’m happy to announce the release of Dr. Wade Pfau’s book on Reverse Mortgages:
How to use Reverse Mortgages to Secure Your Retirement. Dr Wade Pfau holds a doctorate in Economics from Princeton University, and is currently a professor of Retirement Income in the PHD program at The American College of Financial Services. “A rare, unbiased analysis of how reverse mortgages can fit into a prudent regiment income plan form one of the nations leading researchers. Both consumers and financial advisers can benefit form a fresh look at this often-dismissed option” Mary Beth Franklin, nationally recognized expert in Social Security Strategies. If you or anyone you know is interested in reading this book, it would be my pleasure to send a complimentary copy to you.

Buy a Home with a Reverse Mortgage
By Rachel L Sheedy, Kiplinger’s Retirement Report

Most seniors take out a reverse mortgage to help them stay in their existing home as they get older. But Myra Simmons, 67, took advantage of a little-known product: She used a reverse mortgage to finance a new home.

Myra’s 83-year-old husband, Billy, was having trouble using the stairs in their two-story townhome in Fort Meyers, FL. The couple sold their home and used a ‘reverse mortgage for purchase’ to move into a one-story house nearby. “Now, I take what would have been my mortgage payment and put it in savings,” says Myra, who works for the local county sheriff’s office.

The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for Purchase was created by Congress four years ago to streamline home-buying transactions and cut costs, says Peter Bell, president of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. Before, seniors would buy a new home, incurring closing costs, and then take out a reverse mortgage on the new home, triggering new closing costs. The HECM for Purchase rolls this into one transaction and one set of closing costs.

For there to be equity to cover the accrued interest, the HECM for Purchase requires that you pay about half of the home’s sales price with your own cash. The reverse mortgage picks up the difference. “Essentially, the money you’re putting in is your equity,” says Ted George a certified financial planner in Scotts Valley, CA.

To pay your half, you can use money from savings, the sale of your other house, or a gift from a family member. But the money cannot be borrowed.

Reframe the Game
By Amara Rose, HECM World
Retirement. It’s no longer a “retreat” from life (if it ever was). As we’ve explored multiple times, people are retiring later or downshifting from full time to part time employment, or moving into a consulting role or some other line of work, rather than simply leaving the job market altogether. And those who do fully retire from the work world are still fully engaged in life — sometimes so busy they wonder how they ever fit a job into their day.

Here are some suggestions gleaned from a retirement workshop for how we might reframe “retirement.” Ideas take their inspiration from sports, advertising, and plain old ingenuity.

Reverse mortgage professionals who enjoy creativity, consider these concepts:

• Act 2
• Between Jobs
• Bonus Years
• Continuum
• Creative Aging
• Downshifting
• Encore
• Field of Possibilities
• Growing Bolder
• Inspirement
• Life 2.0
• Living More
• My Time
• Next Chapter
• Next Stage
• Post-grads
• Prime Time
• Protirement
(it’s not for beginners!)
• Rebalancing
• Re-engagement
• Refirement
• Regeneration
• Repotting (in new soil)
• Retreads
• Rewirement
• Sage-ing
• Seasoned
• Success to Significance
• The Creative Age
• The Gifted Years
• Third Half
• Third Quarter
• Unstoppable

‘Tis the season to appreciate.
It has been such a great pleasure for me to associate with each and every one of you this year. Though many changes have taken place by way of HUD/FHA updates to policies, a reverse mortgage still remains a viable financial program with great benefits.

A deep and heartfelt thank you to all of the patient and understanding clients who went through these challenges with us. It is my sincere joy to be involved in this process with you and to witness first hand, the increase in quality of life and peace of mind that the program brings to so many. I’m looking forward to serving you in 2017.

Thank you…

—Cynthia Kee

Summer resources for you…

CKee_photo_200x200Dear Friends, Colleagues and Neighbors,

You’re not a number, you’re family to me.  I remain committed to helping you achieve your financial goals. Being able to sit and visit with you face to face allows me a deep understanding of what is important to you, and better helps me assist you in navigating through the reverse mortgage process.

A heartfelt thank you to each one of you who have so graciously allowed me to walk through the process of your loan with you, as well as referring neighbors, friends and family my way. It is such a blessing for me to witness the exciting changes that happen in the lives of my clients due to this incredible mortgage program.

—Cynthia Kee

Grandmother with grandchildren painting with paintbrush and colorful paints


12 Steps to Happiness

From Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness

  1. Do more activities that truly engage you
  2. Savor life’s joys
  3. Learn to forgive
  4. Practice acts of kindness
  5. Nurture relationships
  6. Cultivate optimism
  7. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison
  8. Develop strategies for coping
  9. Count your blessings
  10. Strengthen your spiritual connections
  11. Commit to your goals
  12. Take care of your body


The Value of Financial Advice

By Wade Pfau

I am often asked whether it is worth the cost to hire a financial advisor. That is an excellent question with an answer that depends on many factors.

Good financial planning decisions extend well beyond where and how you invest. Two major research efforts have attempted to quantify how good financial decision-making can enhance one’s lifetime standard of living. It is important to understand what this research means, because this may not always equal a higher portfolio return in the short term. The research identifies how good financial management can enhance sustainable lifetime income on a risk-adjusted basis. The ability to spend more than you could have otherwise can be interpreted as meaning that the assets earned a higher return net of taxes and fees to make that spending possible.

In the field of finance, achieving “alpha” means earning more money than expected. This generally is achieved through either timing market trends correctly or picking winning individual securities.

In practice, it is very difficult to achieve alpha from market timing and security selection, which explains the rise of indexing. Low cost index funds generally perform better than the majority of actively managed funds seeking alpha, at least after accounting for management fees. After fees, alpha is often negative for actively managed funds. Those who understand this point can dramatically simplify their portfolio by filling it with well-diversified low-cost index funds. Financial advisors who only focus on selecting investments will really struggle to add value.

The value of financial advice

 

Reverse Mortgages — a Potential Tool for Financial Professionals and their Clients
By Shannon Hicks

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the typical married couple entering retirement has $92,000 in non-equity assets and $192,000 in home equity. With that in mind does it really make sense to advise a client to sell securities in a down market to maintain their retirement cash flow without mentioning home equity?

In Jamie Hopkin’s recent article in Investment News Hopkins says, “Far too many financial advisers overlook home equity as part of a retirement income plan. With heightened regulatory concerns about doing what is in the best interest of the client, it would be prudent to explore and discuss home equity strategies with clients.”

Consider a client over age 62 with $300,000 in home equity. If the market is down 25% is it truly in the client’s best interest to sell stocks at a loss without at least considering what may be their largest asset?

The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), better known as the reverse mortgage, is an FHA-insured mortgage for homeowners 62 or older which allows them to access a portion of the equity in their home without requiring monthly mortgage payments.

One strategy is the standby reverse mortgage. This approach allows the homeowner to secure a HECM line of credit. This credit line is unique in that the unused portion grows each year, no payments are required and the credit line cannot be frozen or reduced if housing values were to fall as long as the borrower meets the ongoing obligations of the loan.

Utilizing the standby reverse strategy one could access a portion of the HECM line of credit to meet income needs in years when the market is down allowing the portfolio to recover. A great way to overcome sequence of returns risk. Several Monte Carlo simulations have shown this approach to substantially increase the longevity of the portfolio and sustainable withdrawals.

Curious?
Reverse mortgages can be a viable option for many senior homeowners seeking to make changes in their lives they may not have thought possible. Is a Government Regulated Reverse Mortgage right for you? Get the facts. I welcome the opportunity to help demystify the process and share my knowledge and expertise with you. Feel free to call me at 707-812-2102 for your complimentary personal assessment.

When you refer a family member or friend who funds a reverse mortgage with me, I will donate $250 in your name to a charity of your choice.