Reverse Mortgages for Retirees – Boon or Bane?

It’s a commonly quoted statistic that nearly half of American families have no retirement savings. For many people facing retirement, their homes may be the only asset they have to help fund their post career living expenses. Over the last few years there have been a lot of stories about reverse mortgages where retirees sell their homes to the bank in exchange for cash or income over the course of their life. There are several ways the homeowners can be paid out – a lump sum, a monthly annuity, or a line of credit.

Are these a good deal? They may be advantageous from an ease of acquisition, interest rate and from a planning perspective when compared with a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit against the homeowner’s house for an elderly individual with no income other than social security. They can be a good deal in a few situations – namely under very specific circumstances, if someone remains in their life for longer than their life expectancy, then they may be able to “beat” the bank, however this is a very rare occurrence. When distributed, the income or advances are generally not treated as taxable income, although they may be treated as assets against Medicare eligibility. Learn more…

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