Reverse mortgages help seniors stay afloat

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Jeff Taylor, the former longtime leader of Wells Fargo's reverse mortgage division, had a stock answer when applicants declined a reverse mortgage because they felt the rates and fees were simply too high. Taylor had done the research for his own mother and decided the reverse mortgage was the best strategy to keep his mother comfortable in her later years.

"Too high compared to what?" Taylor would say. "Selling your home, paying the closing costs, and then attempting to find another acceptable place? Have you ever tried to find a senior an acceptable place -- especially if that person is a member of your family? If you did, good luck on being able to afford it."

I thought about that answer the other day when a recent AARP study (the group formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons) revealed that 31.6 percent of seniors have experienced a substantial decline in their homes' values in the past three years, a...