FHA-insured reverse mortgages, also called home equity conversion mortgages, or HECMs, allow seniors to withdraw cash from their home while retaining the right to live there indefinitely. They are a potentially powerful tool for helping seniors live better lives during their retirement years, and new HECM options enlarge the possibilities.
However, the benefits can also be frittered away, with little lasting benefit to the senior, and all too many seniors are doing just that. About two-thirds of all HECM borrowers today withdraw the maximum amount of cash possible at closing, which leaves the senior with no borrowing power for the future. While some seniors have compelling reasons for withdrawing the maximum amount of cash at the outset, many are making a mistake.