The home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) -- often referred to as a "reverse mortgage" -- is one of the best-engineered financial tools of our generation.HECM loans are designed to meet a wide spectrum of senior needs, from repairing the roof of their home, to paying for their grandchildren's education, to meeting expected and unexpected contingencies. Yet the program elicits negative reactions from large segments of the media, whose distorted descriptions of the HECM program are scaring off millions of seniors whose lives could be enriched by it. Particularly irksome (to me) is a tendency to depict abuses of the program by a minority of seniors as if the seniors were being abused by the program. Typical was a front-page article in the New York Times on Oct. 15 by Jessi...
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