Using Your Home Equity as a Retirement Asset

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.
– H. Jackson Brown Jr.

REVERSE MORTGAGE BASICS 

Why You Should Consider a Reverse Mortgage  

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the basics of a reverse mortgage and how this versatile retirement financial tool can help provide peace of mind in your golden years.

Reverse mortgages are becoming increasingly recognized by homeowners and financial advisors as a smart and safe way to access an important retirement asset: your home equity.

Most reverse mortgages are government-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs). You will often hear the terms used interchangeably. Available exclusively to people age 62 and older, a reverse mortgage could help you live more comfortably and be more financially prepared for the future.

For example, you can use a reverse mortgage to >>

  • Avoid selling investments at a loss in a “down” market.
  • Establish a “stand-by” line of credit that you can tap into as needed. Unlike a traditional Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), a reverse mortgage line of credit cannot be reduced or revoked, as long as the terms of the loan are met. And the unused line of credit grows over time.
  • Supplement retirement income with tax-free funds.
  • Pay for medical or long-term care costs.
  • Finance the purchase of a more suitable home, with no monthly mortgage payments. 

To be eligible for a reverse mortgage, you must:

  • Be at least 62 years old
  • Live in the home as your primary residence
  • Not be delinquent on any federal debt
  • Participate in a consumer information session held be an independent counselor who’s approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Some of the Key Benefits of a Reverse Mortgage 

  • The ability to use your home equity to help you maintain a more comfortable standard of living, in your own home.
  • Tax-free loan proceeds you can use in multiple ways.
  • Great flexibility. You can choose to take your proceeds as a line of credit; monthly advances for a set period of time; a monthly stream of funds for as long as you live in your home; a lump sum; or a combination of these options.
  • No monthly mortgage payments. If you qualify and have an existing mortgage, home equity loan or any other type of debt, you can pay it off and reduce your monthly expenses. Or, if you own your home free-and-clear, you can get the additional funds you need with no monthly mortgage payments.

One thing to note is that as the homeowner, you remain responsible for paying property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and homeowner’s association dues if applicable.

HOW MUCH MONEY CAN YOU GET? 

This depends upon a number of factors including your age, your home’s current appraised market value, the amount of equity, FHA lending limits, the current interest rate, and the reverse mortgage product and payment option you choose. If you have an existing mortgage, your reverse mortgage will first be used to pay that off.

Would you like to learn more about reverse mortgages and get a quote that’s tailored to your specific needs and situation? Contact me to have a conversation or to set up a complimentary personal assessment.

Senior Housing Wealth Hits an All-Time High

“There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your thinking.
– Brian Tracy

The Highest Amount of Tappable Home Equity For Seniors Since 2000 

According to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association’s quarterly release of the NRMLA/RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index (RMMI), homeowners 62+ years of age have now amassed $6.97 trillion in home equity – with a growth of 1.4% over the 3rd quarter of 2018. And this trend shows no signs of slowing down.

The NRMLA RMMI hit 249.37, its highest mark since 2000 in Q2 with the NRMLA noting the increase was mainly driven by an estimated 1.7 percent increase ($143 billion) in senior home values, which was offset by a 0.8 percent or $12.8 billion increase of senior-held mortgage debt.

– HOME EQUITY –
ONE OF THE GREATEST ASSETS FOR SENIORS

“At a time when we’re seeing stock market volatility and the potential for a mild recession in the near future, it’s the perfect time for families to gather and take stock of their retirement resources and make necessary adjustments to ensure continued financial security,” said NRMLA President and CEO Peter Bell. “Housing wealth should be considered with other financial assets.”

For many homeowners, the equity they have built up in their home is their largest financial asset. There are a number of opportunities for senior homeowners to responsibly leverage their home equity and realize their vision for their retirement years.

More than a million senior homeowners have used a reverse mortgage to supplement retirement savings and age in place. This financial solution is a strategic way for older home owners, mostly retirees, who are no longer earning regular salaries but are spending down their savings, to access their home equity without having to increase their monthly expenses.

Happy Holidays & Gratitude

Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.
– Winston Churchill

‘Tis the Season to be Thankful, Grateful & Blessed

One of the great joys of the holiday season is the opportunity to say a heartfelt “Thank You”!

Thank you to all of you who allowed me to be of service, for all of the kind referrals, and all of the countless generous efforts, I am profoundly grateful.

I recently read an article, which shared the statistics below. Let’s take a moment to reflect on all of the amazing gifts and blessings that we all have in our lives:

IF you woke up this morning with more health than illness…
THAN you are more fortunate than the millions of people who will not survive this week.

IF  you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation…
THAN you are ahead of 500 million people in this world.

IF you can attend your church without fear of harassment, arrest, or death…
THAN you are more blessed than THREE BILLION people in this world.

IF you have food in your refrigerator, clothes onyour back and a roof over your head…
THAN you are richer than 75% of our world.

IF you have money in the bank, or even spare change in a dish someplace…
THAN you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

IF you can read this email…
THAN you are doubly blessed as there are over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

GRATITUDE
As each one of our days is truly a gift, and today will never come again, why not show your gratitude for all that you have by being a blessing to another.

 Be a friend
2  Encourage someone
3  Let your words heal
 Pay attention to another’s need
5  Lend a hand
6  Be kind

May this Christmas season help us to appreciate all of the love in our lives, and may its true meaning fill your hearts and home with an abundance of joy. 

Warmly, Cynthia Kee 

 

Add Flexibility & Growth To Your Retirement Planning With HomeSafe® Select

NEW PRODUCT RELEASE FROM FAR: 
The Jumbo HELOC Reverse Mortgage “HomeSafe” Select 

2018 has seen the introduction of a number of new reverse mortgage products.

One of the newest is ‘HomeSafe Select,’ an addition to the HomeSafe lineup from Finance of America Reverse (FAR).

Available for borrows aged 62+ in California (addition states expected in the future), the non-recourse, non-FHA reverse mortgage features an initial closed-end draw of 25% of the loan proceeds at closing. The remainder of funds is available to borrowers as an open-ended line of credit with a 5% internal rate of growth to be drawn and repaid at any time. Like the HECM, HomeSafe Select is a non-recourse loan.

To demonstrate how the product can be used, FAR provided the following example:

With HomeSafe Select, a 72 year old in California with an $800,000 home value and an $80,000 balance on the first mortgage may be able to receive $270,400 in proceeds after paying off the first mortgage versus receiving approximately $220,000 with the HECM. The borrower’s value in the line of credit could be $300,301 at the end of year three and $425,833 at the end of year 10.

ADDING FLEXIBILITY & GROWTH TO RETIREMENT  

According to FAR president Kristen Sieffert, “With HomeSafe Select, people can start planning for retirement today and also benefit from a growing line of credit that can be accessed when they need it.” She also believes it is a product that will bridge the gap between HECMs and proprietary products.

At the moment, HomeSafe is the only adjustable rate proprietary reverse mortgage on the market, with the open-end adjustable rate based on the Wall Street Journal 3-month LIBOR index.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES OF HOMESAFE SELECT
  • Availability for properties valued up to $10,000,000
  • Loan proceeds up to $4,000,000
  • No monthly or annual mortgage insurance premium
  • No pre-payment penalties
  • No FHA approval required for condos valued over $500,000
  • Open-end adjustable rate based on WSJ 3-month LIBOR index

Would you like to know if you can refinance your current reverse mortgage into the HomeSafe Select product? 
Contact me to see if refinancing is possible and will add additional cash and benefits.

Redefining “Home” with a Nomadic Retirement

“Let’s make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.
– Malala Yousafzai

RE-IMAGING “HOME” & TRAVEL IN YOUR GOLDEN YEARS 

You might think a nomadic-lifestyle or “location independent” living is something just for millennials or the younger generation. However this less traditional life-style can be perfect for physically fit seniors looking to explore the world during their retirement years.

Going 100% nomad might not be your preferred approach but rather taking the nomadic-lifestyle in spurts, which is very possible with a reverse mortgage.

You can maintain your home base as your primary residence, as required with an HECM, and then do extended stays while always returning to your house to ‘reset’ the clock after the time away.

There are many options out there now to make living as a short-term nomad more accessible.

ON THE ROAD 

ROAM
Roam is based on the basic concept of providing access to incredible co-living spaces and local communities around the world. It’s about “roaming together” and finding a community in places like San Francisco, Bali and Tokyo, to name a few.

It could be an ideal solution for retired or semi-retired persons or those who work remotely looking to enjoy privacy and comfort in a diverse community for a week, month or longer and then return nice and refreshed to their home.

BEHERE
For older woman wanting to do some solo travel and become more immersed in a local culture or community, Behere could be the answer.

Behere enables women to live in a new city, one month at a time without any long-term contracts or obligations. What you’ll get is a foreign living experience in a fully furnished apartment close to a city center with a vetted city host, access to workspaces and even a fitness membership.

UNSETTLED
Then there’s Unsettled. The site promotes Unsettled’s one-month or two-week retreats as being for those who seek to “challenge the status quo, invest in their curiosity, and find new inspiration, growth, and adventure through travel and intentional community.”

The retreats are hosted in destinations from Tuscany to Morocco, Buenos Aires to Bali and offer private accommodations, a shared workspace, local experts and immersive experiences, workshops, etc. among a curated community of peers.

RETIREMENT & “HOME” REDEFINED

How we define retirement has changed and so has the concept of “home.” Home isn’t necessarily where your mortgage (or reverse mortgage) is. It’s where you feel most comfortable, live your life and have the experiences that bring you joy.

For those travel-loving seniors, a short-term nomadic lifestyle creating “temporary homes” along the way is what will bring them joy and a reverse-mortgage can help make this doable.

Looking for alternative mortgage solutions?

Change your thoughts and you change your world.
– Norman Vincent Peale

MORE LENDING OPTIONS 
– Alternative Mortgage Solutions –

Have you worked hard to build a business and are ready for the home of your dreams but fear you’re not a good candidate for a loan?

Or perhaps you recovered responsibly from a credit incident and have the ability to repay a loan but have been discouraged by a realtor telling you you might not quality for one?

While my focus has traditionally been reverse mortgages, the lending landscape is changing and today there are more options to help open the door to the home you’ve always wanted.

PROGRAMS 

Non-Prime

  • Foreclosure, short sale & BK OK
  • Up to $5 million loan amounts
  • 90% LTV, no MI
  • One month bank statements for income
  • No reserves

ODF®

  • Foreign national loans
  • Stated income/DSCR
  • Business purpose/no TRID
  • Interest only loans available
  • Below 500 credit score on exception

Maggi Plus 

  • 24 month from credit event
  • One year W2 or 1040 to 80%
  • LTV 80% LTV, no MI
  • Bank statements for income
  • Interest only available

Email or call me to discuss your lending options and figure out which solution could be the right fit for you  or to set up a complimentary personal assessment.

Maximize Your Home Equity With A HomeSafe Reverse Mortgage

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.
– Earl Nightingale 

Considering a reverse mortgage?

Seniors ages 62+ can now access significantly more home equity than the HECM loan limits allow with a HomeSafe Reverse Mortgage, which could lead to funding a more comfortable and secure retirement.

HOMESAFE ADVANTAGES 

There are a number of significant advantages with a HomeSafe jumbo reverse mortgage, including the proceeds being tax-free with a lower-than expected competitive, fixed interest rate and more:

  • Loan limits of up to $4 million —significantly higher than a HECM allows
  • No mortgage insurance premium
  • Borrowers have the Flex1 option to receive part of their proceeds as monthly term payments (over a 12-60 month period), or as a lump sum
  • Condominiums appraised at $500,000 or more do not require FHA approval
With this new proprietary and powerful retirement financing tool you can use the proceeds as you choose. For example:
  • Pay off existing mortgage debt, have no monthly mortgage payments and improve cash flow
  • Preserve invested assets
  • Cover medical or in-home care expenses
  • Refinance an existing reverse mortgage to access a larger pool of funds

Contact me to learn more about the HomeSafe jumbo reverse mortgage  and how it might help you with your long-term retirement strategy.

When Aging Parents Need Help

Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe    

CARING FOR AN AGING PARENT

Many aging parents would like to maintain a level of independence for as long as possible and more and more seniors are wanting to age in place.

This is understandable but it’s not always easy if caregiving or assistance is required.

Caregiving has changed quite a bit over the years with technology playing a bigger role when it comes to immediate help (i.e. medical alerts) but for senior’s children or other family members it can be difficult to know where to turn for the basics and for different types of assistance.

Help is there though for everything from non-medical assistance home care to short or long-term home healthcare.

Senior Concierge Services

One solution is a “senior concierge.” If an aging parent does not require medical assistance but needs help with tasks such as grocery shopping, meal preparation, transportation to appointments, etc., a senior concierge service can be an ideal solution.

Senior concierge services provide a full range of personalized services based on the individual client’s non-medical needs.

Asking for help might present a challenge for an aging parent and language can make a difference. Senior concierge certainly has a nicer ring to it than a geriatric care manager making it a little easier to get over any initial resistance.

Home Healthcare 

Some families might find themselves in situations needing more assistance than a senior concierge can provide. In these cases a home healthcare professional may be required.

The demand for home healthcare workers is growing significantly as the number of seniors hoping to age in their own homes continues to increase.

Fortunately there is no lack of agencies, from national to local service providers, who will screen, hire, bond/insure, pay the salary and replace the employee if necessary. You can also hire someone directly via word-of-mouth referral or leveraging online resources.

Family Support 

A family might decide to take on their loved one’s care on their own and simply need some support from someone that can relate to what they are going through.

There are a number of support networks out there such as the Family Caregiver Alliance.

The Health and Human Services website in your city or county is also a resource for finding caregiver support, as well as a local senior center.

Regardless of what level of support or assistance you or your family members need, you are not alone and there are many avenues available to get help.

Would you or a family member like to learn more about paying for a senior concierge or home healthcare with a reverse mortgage? 

Contact me to have a conversation or to set up a complimentary personal assessment.

Reverse Mortgages: Myths vs. Realities

“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.– Ralph Marston

REVERSE MORTGAGE MISCONCEPTIONS 

A reverse mortgage can be an effective retirement planning tool to increase your income streams using one of your largest assets: your home.

Yet many eligible seniors avoid reverse mortgages or are not inclined to consider them due to the many misconceptions that exist about these types of loans.

Let’s tackle a few of the common misconceptions: 

Myth: The lender takes title to the home.
Truth: You still retain ownership of your home. The reverse mortgage is only a lien against the property.

Myth: The loan can exceed the value of the property, sticking you or your heirs with a large bill when you eventually leave your home.
Truth: A reverse mortgage is a “non-recourse” loan, which means that you, your heirs, or your estate will never owe more than the appraised value of the home at loan maturity.

Myth: You can’t get a reverse mortgage if you currently have a conventional mortgage.
Truth: Although this is true, you can get a reverse if you use the proceeds to pay off your existing mortgage at close.

Myth: A reverse mortgage can cause you to be evicted from your home.
Truth: You leave your home when you choose. No one will force you from your home. The reverse mortgage is not due until your home is no longer your primary residence.

The Reverse Mortgage: not your typical loan

One of the biggest advantages of a reverse mortgage is that unlike conventional mortgages, there are no payments involved.

Instead, the lender makes payments to the borrower either through a lump sum, monthly payments, or a line of credit.

Financing home healthcare with a reverse mortgage

More seniors in the US are opting to stay at home and age in place and face the financial challenge of paying for home healthcare, which can be quite expensive.

Medicare and Medicare supplements are frequently used by seniors or their family to cover these costs but it’s often not enough.

A reverse mortgage could be the ideal solution it help ease the financial burden of in-home healthcare. Learn more in my new email covering home healthcare: https://bit.ly/2tRTEIF 

 

How to Finance Aging in Place Renovations: A Fully Accessible Guide

The majority of people ages 65+ are preferring to stay in their homes as they get older.

This popular alternative to relocation is known as aging in place and typically requires some retrofitting of your home to accommodate growing older.

Here’s a practical guide on the ways to finance aging in place renovations, including leveraging a reverse mortgage:

https://www.bankrate.com/loans/personal-loans/aging-in-place-renovations/

Rightsizing with a Reverse Mortgage

Moving into a new, smaller home with a reverse mortgage can be an ideal way to “rightsize” your life.

See my latest email on rightsizing and download the Q&A for more information:

https://bit.ly/2yGqlxP

Turning millennials into homeowners with reverse mortgages

As more parents are helping their children become homeowners, reverse mortgages are being recognized as a way to accomplish this but with fewer roadblocks.

It’s becoming more challenging for first time homeowners to quality for much money with interest rates increasing and the benchmarks getting higher.

A reverse mortgage is a way to get this younger generation into news home quicker without costing them or their parents any cash and enables the parents to keep their investments and have a guaranteed flow of income to support their lifestyle.

https://bit.ly/2KBJNNd

Supplementing social security in retirement. A reverse mortgage could be an ideal solution.

Social security supplements around 40% of a retiree’s average income in most cases, leaving two options for your retirement years – reducing your standard of living significantly or finding ways to create additional income from other sources.

There are a few strategies to supplement social security including a reverse mortgage. Reverse mortgages can provide a strategic solution to create income leveraging the equity on your home.

Check out this overview on 5 Income Strategies to Supplement Social Security highlighting reverse mortgages as a smart method to create income stream without touching your retirement nest egg:

https://bit.ly/2IzY3W5

Managing the timing and sources of your income in retirement

Managing your sources of income in retirement is never easy and is completely difference from managing the income you received during your working years.

As a retired person, you can receive income monthly, quarterly, annually and in some cases not on a regular basis. And most likely you’ll receive income from investments that you’ll need to monitor, manage and protect to ensure that they last. It can be overwhelming at times.

Here’s an overview on the different types of retirement income, some practical advice and ideas for potential retirement income, such as leveraging your home equity with a reverse mortgage: https://bit.ly/2rW1eRM.

The new normal: Carrying debt at age 75 and up

According to some new research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute the percentage of older individuals with debt has been increasing over the past 10 years, in particular for those 75 and over.

The group issued a new analysis of Federal Reserve figures showing that close to 50% of retirees ages 75 and up now have some loans outstanding – up from 25% back in 1992 – with the most significant debt increases coming among lower-income seniors.

The median debt owed by this age group ($20, 900) is below the average debts owed by Americans at younger ages. Yet debt can be a significant issue for the 75+ community considering the lack of opportunities to boost their incomes.

This article examines what’s causing this debt trend, the consequences and points out some solutions including reverse mortgages to help lock in some steady income during retirement years.

https://bit.ly/2Iy8Nse

HUD raises costs on reverse mortgages

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it was raising the premiums for most reverse mortgages and lowering the maximum amount that can be borrowed in an effort to stem the tide of losses to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insurance fund.

FHA’s overseer, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), said the reverse mortgage program has been a big net loser for the insurance fund over the years, and is perilously close to needing a bailout from taxpayers. Effective Oct. 2, it was restructuring the annual premiums and lowering the principal limit factor, which determines how much a person can borrow.

HUD officials said the change will result in a net increase in costs for most borrowers, and could potentially reduce the initial volume of reverse mortgages by 10 to 20 percent annually. The upfront premium will be increased to 2 percent. Currently, the upfront charge is either 0.5 percent or 2.5 percent, depending on how much is drawn in the first year. The annual premium will be reduced to 0.5 percent from 1.25 percent.

Also the maximum loan limits will be reduced.

Reverse mortgages, which are formally known as home equity conversion mortgages (HECMs) can be taken as a lump sum, line of credit or through monthly payments. HUD officials presented the theoretical case of a 62-year-old borrower, with a reverse mortgage at 5 percent. For each $100,000 in home equity, the borrower will now be allowed to borrow $41,000, which is down from $52,400.

Reverse mortgages, which represent a fraction of the overall FHA loan guarantees (there were fewer than 50,000 in fiscal 2016], have been a source of volatility for the insurance fund. Borrowers are projected to incur more losses in future years than they pay in premiums. HUD said the program has already resulted in a net cost of $11.7 billion to the FHA MMI fund since fiscal 2009. The economic value of the program at the end of the last fiscal year was estimated at negative $7.7 billion, the agency said. This number has bounced around, however. In fiscal 2015, by contrast, the HECM program was valued at a positive $7.4 billion.

A drag on the MMI fund
HUD officials say that the program is being propped up by the premium payments of younger borrowers of traditional forward mortgages. Reverse mortgages are a reason that HUD has not been able to lower the premiums on a traditional FHA loan. In a fact sheet distributed to reporters, HUD said that if it didn’t make the changes, it “would require an appropriation from Congress for FHA to endorse new reverse mortgages in FY 2018.”

The overall value of the insurance fund in fiscal 2016 was at at healthy $27.6 billion. The MMI’s capital ratio also increased to 2.32 percent, which is above the 2 percent minimum established by Congress. The fund has required only one bailout in its history, a $1.7 billion appropriation from the U.S. Treasury in fiscal 2013. This cash infusion was largely due to HECM losses, HUD said.

“Today, younger, lower-income homeowners with traditional FHA-insured ‘forward mortgages’ are routinely bailing out the HECM program through the mortgage insurance premiums they pay, placing a significant burden on the overall health of FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund,” the fact sheet said. “We can no longer tolerate putting American taxpayers and future generations of seniors at risk. Quite simply, the HECM program is losing money and can no longer remain viable in its present form.”

FHA insures almost all reverse mortgages, which are available to homeowners 62 and over. With a reverse mortgage, a homeowner can borrow against the value of a home. The loan doesn’t have to be repaid so long as the borrower remains in the home. A reverse mortgage carries fees, interest, and the borrower is required to pay property taxes and maintain the home.

The terms of a reverse mortgage depend on the amount of equity in the home, and the age of the borrower. Generally speaking, the younger the borrower, the less that can be borrowed and the higher the loan cost. The actual maximum loan limits are based on tables that factor in age and equity.

The reaction to HUD’s move was mixed.

The nation’s largest mortgage trade group, the Mortgage Bankers Association, praised the move as a way for the program to remain financially viable.

The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) said the changes will increase the costs and reduce the benefits for most borrowers.

“We believe that there are alternative options for better managing the HECM program to reduce its overall costs and will continue to advocate for such beneficial changes to the program,” NRMLA President Peter Bell said. Bell did note that HUD’s action showed a commitment to the program and also to stabilizing the insurance fund and avoiding Treasury draws.

This story is excerpted from ScotsmanGuide.com.

Join Me to Support a Community Gem: The Rianda House

READY. SET. GIVE!

As we celebrate Older Americans Month, it is a perfect time for our Rianda House fundraiser, Rally4Rianda. This month, in particular, we take the opportunity to thank and recognize the enormous contributions our seniors have made to our nation — they’ve made it stronger through their experience, knowledge, and willingness to share with others. We are blessed to have them and to be able to learn from their wisdom.

I invite you to support the Rianda House with me. I firmly believe that taking care of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations is a core part of building our community. A donation of any size will help bring life to older adults right here at home.

Rianda House provides physical, social, and cultural activities and services for seniors that improve their lives. Last year, 876 older adults, ranging from 50 to 100 years young, participated in the Rianda House’s classes and activities, including:
•    Fit for Life exercise classes to maintain balance and strength.
•    Care Giver support groups and resources.
•    Life Long Learning, including art, current events, and brain-fitness classes.
•    Satellite health and wellness programming in Calistoga.
Consider giving this year through their Online Giving Campaign, which runs through May. Any size donation makes a difference and is 100% tax deductible.

“There is a fountain of youth: it is in your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of others.  When you tap into this source, you will truly have defeated age.”  — Sophia Loren

CLASSIC CARS | ART SHOW | CELEBRATION, SUNDAY, MAY 21

The highlight of the campaign is the 3rd Annual Rally4Rianda Classic Car & Art Show & Community Celebration.

Things get rolling with a “Cavalcade of Classic Cars” that starts at the Calistoga Gliderport at 10:30 am and proceeds south on Highway 29 to Tre Posti in St. Helena.

It’ll be a festive afternoon filled with beautiful classic, luxury, and concept cars; art; food; wine; Mad Fritz craft beer; and lively music by the St. Helena Community Band.

Sunday, May 21st | 12:00 – 3:00 pm
Tre Posti Event Garden
641 Main St., St. Helena

Admission is $5.00

Thank you for considering joining with me to support one of our community’s finest gems: the Rianda House.

 

—Cynthia Kee

‘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

Ways to use a reverse mortgage

Nine surprising ways to use a reverse mortgage
By Mary Beth Franklin, Investment News

Reverse mortgages allow homeowners age 62 or older who own their home outright or who have a small mortgage balance to convert the equity in their primary residence into a liquid, tax-free asset. Borrowers can take their money in a lump sum or as a monthly payment, or set up a line of credit. Interest accrues on borrowed funds. Unused lines of credit continue to grow at the same compounded interest rate as the cost of money.

Financial advisers who dismissed reverse mortgages in the past may want to take a second look. Consumer protections have increased and set-up fees have been dramatically reduced. Leading researchers believe reverse mortgages could solve some of the income challenges of retirees who saved too little to finance a retirement that could last decades. Click through to find out the various ways to use a reverse mortgage — some of them may surprise you.

1. Pay off an existing mortgage
Using a lump sum from a reverse mortgage to pay off a traditional mortgage balance instantly increases a retiree’s monthly cash flow and reduces portfolio withdrawal needs. “It really improves the odds for retirement success to not carry a mortgage into retirement,” said Wade Pfau, professor of retirement income at The American College of Financial Services.

2. Replace a home equity line of credit
Unlike a HELOC, a reverse mortgage can never be reduced, frozen or cancelled, and there are no monthly loan repayment requirements. A reverse mortgage is not due until the borrowers sell the home, move out permanently or die. The estate or heirs can never owe more than the house is worth, even if it is less than the amount borrowed.

3. Protect your portfolio
“Should your portfolio decline significantly in value, borrow from the line of credit for your needs, then repay the loan when your portfolio recovers,” said John Salter, associate professor of personal financial planning at Texas Tech University. Interest payments are tax-deductible if retirees itemize their deductions on their income tax returns.

4. Fund future long-term care or income needs
A 62-year-old couple with no long-term-care insurance may want to set up a reverse mortgage line of credit. With a home worth $625,000, their initial line of credit at current interest rates would be worth $327,375, according to Tom Dickson, founder of the Financial Experts Network. Left untouched, the equity line would be worth $613,365 in 10 years and $1,149,143 in 20 years, said Mr. Dickson, a co-designer of the reverse mortgage modeling now part of MoneyGuidePro. The couple could tap the loan for future long-term care costs, as long as they remained in their home, or to serve as a deferred annuity if they needed additional income in the future.

5. Create a Social Security bridge
Supplement income with monthly payments from a reverse mortgage either for a set number of years (term) or for as long as you live in your home (tenure). Term payments can provide an income bridge to allow a retiree to delay claiming Social Security until benefits are worth the maximum amount at age 70, said Shelley Giordano, author of “What’s the Deal with Reserve Mortgages?” (People Tested Media, 2015).

6. Manage taxes
Proceeds from a reverse mortgage are tax-free. Tapping a reverse mortgage can decrease withdrawals from taxable retirement accounts, reducing income taxes and the amount of Social Security benefits subject to income taxes. For higher-income retirees, tax-free reverse mortgage payments can reduce their modified adjusted gross income that can trigger higher monthly Medicare premiums.

7. Pay Roth conversion taxes
Sometimes the only thing preventing a retiree from converting a traditional retirement account to a Roth IRA is the amount of income taxes owed on the converted amount. Tax-free proceeds from a reverse mortgage can pay Roth conversion taxes all at once or over several years, reducing future income taxes and possibly reducing future Medicare premiums.

8. Buy a new home
A reverse mortgage can be used to purchase a new home. Rather than using all of the proceeds from a home sale, downsizers can use some of the sale profits and take out a reverse mortgage to make up the balance, resulting in a new home without monthly payments and additional cash to add to savings for future needs or to supplement current income.

9. Gray divorce strategy
Older couples can use a reverse mortgage to divide a marital housing asset in a divorce. In one scenario, the spouse remaining in the home can take a lump sum distribution from a reverse mortgage to buy out the other spouse. In a second scenario, the marital home can be sold and each ex-spouse can use some of the proceeds from the home sale and each of them can get a reverse mortgage to buy their respective new homes, according to Shelley Giordano, chair of the reverse mortgage industry’s Funding Longevity Task Force.

9th Annual Turkey Trot

I invite you to join the Claremont Sunrise Rotary in giving back to the community with an enjoyable and family-oriented 5K run on Thursday, November 24 for their annual Turkey Trot. The event has become a regional event drawing participants from all over Southern California. Using individual chip timing, each participant’s time is accurately measured regardless of where they are in the starting pack. With funds raised from the race, the club has provided over 800 local youth sports scholarships, and support other service activities.

Find out how you can participate!
claremont-ca-rotary

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.

 

 

Springtime Appreciation

This cartoon is a fun play on the reverse mortgage process, but I bet we can all agree that at times, it seems like things move in the opposite direction. Even though the Government continues to add bits and pieces to the process, I still believe it’s a wonderful and viable resource for so many seniors. I appreciate the amazing ways that this product has changed your lives for the better. It is truly gratifying for me to hear the stories of success and impact.

reverse-mortgage-cartoon

It is honor and sincere privilege for me to advise and guide you through the process of a reverse mortgage.
Blessings to all….

—Cynthia Kee

CKee_photo_200x200Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, you can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.

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 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.

Spring Safety Tips For Seniors
Springtime is not just for deep cleaning the house. It is also the perfect time to perform a complete safety review of your home.

check-smoke-detectors
Alarms
In conjunction with your spring cleanup, it is a good idea to change the batteries in each smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. Test the operation of each alarm and ensure that fire extinguishers are within reach and ready to operate.

Furniture A thorough walk-through of the house once a year can uncover any furniture that is becoming unsafe. If it is not sturdy enough for use, make sure it is repaired or removed. Don’t forget about outdoor furniture.

check-medical-alertsMedical Alerts Many seniors have medical alert jewelry or an emergency button to keep with them. Now is the time to check to make sure that the information is accurate. If something has been lost or new medical information makes an alert necessary, order the identification you need.

Emergency Plan Reviewing an emergency safety plan each year to keep it fresh in mind. Review escape routes in case of fire and who to call when emergencies occur. Display a contact list near the telephone.

Flooring Check the flooring and floor covers throughout the house to ensure that tripping hazards have not developed. A minor area of damage or unleveled floor could cause a serious fall if it is not taken care of.

seniors-check-railings-in-home
Railings
Secure railings are a must in the homes of seniors. As we age, we depend more and more upon the security that a sturdy railing provides as we go up and down stairs. If your a railings are wobbley, have it properly secured so that it does not become loose. Also review other areas where you may require a railing or grab bar and have them installed — in the bathroom for instance.

Medication Expired medication can be ineffective or unsafe if consumed. At least one time each year, you should review and discard the unnecessary or expired medicines filling your cabinet. Less clutter will be less confusing when it comes to deciding what you need to take in an emergency. This is also a great time to update medication and doctor lists so that you have a comprehensive and convenient medical file on hand.

enjoy-time-friends-family

Enjoying Aging in Peace
Here are some ideas you may wish to share with other family members, as well as with other elders in your life.

Start or join a support group or ‘intentional family.’ Aging alone can be challenging, and the number of seniors minus any kind of support is mushrooming as the Boomers enter their elder years.
take up art

Have conversations with your younger self. Remember what used to light you up, or areas of life you always longed to explore but never did. (Painting class? Walking club?) Now might be the perfect time to revisit these intentions.

Reframe aging as an adventure, and journal about it as you would a trip to a foreign country.

Read uplifting memoirs of people who’ve been there, such as Greedy for Life: A Memoir on Aging with Gratitude or The Measure of My Days, by Dr. Florida Scott-Maxwell. The second book is a timeless testament to the issues we face throughout our lives, such as how to maintain individuality in a mass society, and how to emerge out of suffering, loss, and limitation, with something approaching wisdom.

Embrace your role as an elder. When our parents and those of their generation die, we have an opportunity to redefine relationships within the family. Now, as a senior, you have the freedom to serve as the voice of wisdom where you live, whether that means a major city, a nuclear family, or a retirement living community.

Absorb the virtues of inspirational loved ones who have died, and allow the memory of your beloved departed to remind you that you’re still ALIVE.

Live in the now. Five simple rules for happiness that any senior (or younger person) can embrace if they choose: 1. Free your heart from hatred. 2. Free your mind from worries. 3. Live simply. 4. Give more. 5. Expect less.

Give back. Think you’re too old to serve others? A 105-year-old nun is still a font of encouragement to prison inmates. Her dedication to helping others may be one reason she’s lived so long. Instead of focusing on death, or her infirmities as a centenarian, she continues to enrich the world with love and outreach.

–Amara Rose

 

 

When to Consult the Experts

You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating, especially because seniors themselves are often loath to admit they’re growing older: there are certain situations where it’s wise to get expert guidance before a reverse mortgage client or prospect may actually need it. Here are four areas where seniors should consider reaching out for advice in advance.

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Spring Green Risotto Recipe

Just in time for spring. Pairs nicely with a crisp Italian white such as Soave, Insolia or Falaghina.

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