This week past my friend Jean and I took a road trip from sweltering Washington, D.C. to almost as sweltering Gloucester, Massachusetts. On the way we stopped in Boston to visit Jean’s parents, where she introduced me as the “geekiest friend” she knows.
I thought this unfair: she must have at least one geekier friend.
In any event, on the trip I listened with rapt attention to a lecture by Harvard professor Alvin E. Roth, the George Gund Professor of Economics at Harvard Business School.
The lecture carries the remarkably boring title, “What We Have Learned From Market Design,” and discusses three elements that trip up markets, whether we’re talking about kidney transplants, adoption…or, presumably, the hottest new iPhone.
Basically, the three elements are as follows:
Thickness: do enough people need what you offer?
Congestion: can enough be produced to make it widely available?
Repugnance: is what you offer socially acceptable?
Now, I’m a Reverse Mortgage Specialist, a mortgage banker. Seniors – or their adult children – come to me for money. So why did Dr. Roth’s lecture captivate me? And why do you care?
One of the biggest challenges facing us is how, as a nation, we are going to keep our seniors – our parents, friends, neighbors, the older members of our communities – safe, sound, and secure as they retire, relocate, and move ever deeper into old age. And much of this revolves around their housing.
And that’s where Dr. Roth’s lecture comes in:
Thickness: In America, 10,000 – TEN THOUSAND – boomers a day turn 62. The U.S. Census Bureau defines a mid-sized town as one having 250,000 people. That means every 25 days enough people in America turn 62 to fill a city – an entire mid-sized city. We are talking about lots and lots and lots of people – 76 million, to be precise – who over the next 18 years are going retire, move…and in many cases, need additional funds to make it through retirement. People, lots of people, need, or will need, an FHA HECM, also known as a reverse mortgage.
Congestion: Under current guidelines, to qualify for a reverse mortgage a person must be at least 62 and have sufficient home equity to pay off any existing loans on the home. The reason credit score, employment, or income doesn’t matter is because the borrower does not pay back the loan; the home pays back the loan once the borrower no longer needs the home. As long as we have homeowners, we have what we need to keep those homeowners in their own home.
Repugnance: I’ll be blunt – the old, pre-FHA reverse mortgage had a wretched history. However, the new FHA HECM is federally insured, federally regulated, and very closely monitored. This is as it should be – after all, we’re talking about your parents and mine, your neighbors and mine, and, eventually, you and me. Nonetheless, despite all the meticulous oversight, addressing fear of my loan product is a big part of what I do. With the huge educational programs and advertising campaigns over the past few years, the perception has begun to change, but misunderstandings still abound.
We’re all in the same boat: day by day we get older, our parents get older, and the nation’s financial situation gets a little more strained. The fear of running out of money in retirement dogs many of our seniors. Ask seniors and they’ll tell you: reduced circumstances and the attendant loss of dignity is not far from their thoughts. Fortunately, there are options.
If you or someone you know would like to talk, give me a call. I always love hearing from you.
Laurie MacNaughton [NMLS# 506562] · Reverse Mortgage Consultant · Middleburg Mortgage, a Division of Middleburg Bank · 20937 Ashburn Road, Suite 115 ·Ashburn, Virginia 20147 · 703-477-1183 Direct · LMacNaughton@MiddleburgBank.com · www.middleburgmortgage.com/lauriem
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