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Would you go to a Podiatrist for a heart transplant?

December 29, 2009

I think if we give you a heart transplant it will solve your corn problem.

Does the title sound like a silly question? I don’t think anyone would answer “yes” to the titles question. But what do a podiatrist and a heart surgeon have to do with reverse mortgages? Is this like some silly riddle? No, the answer is, “absolutely nothing”, unless of course they are eligible and wish to apply. But it is the question that is my point.

Recently, I have read numerous articles about reverse mortgages in our local paper, none of them written by a licensed originator and none of them accurate. Do you see where I am going with the question? But the shame of the matter is that the source giving the information is presented as knowledgeable. Whether stated or implied by his designation, the average consumer would expect the source to be qualified because their advice has been put into print in a publication. And the truth of the matter is that what consumers read in the newspaper, they tend to believe, they look to their newspaper as a credible source of information. The St. Petersburg Times is no exception, if you subscribe, you probably accept what is published as “the truth”.Yet this can be far from it and you won’t read retractions on the front page, if they are even printed at all.

Earlier this month, the St. Petersburg Times ran a column by Scott Burns, a Chief Investment Strategist for Asset Builder out of Dallas, Texas. I know this because I looked him up online. In all of the information I was able to find on Mr. Burns, I saw no mention of his knowledge on Reverse Mortgages. However, he willingly made statements and gave advice on the product to a couple who currently have a mortgage and wanted to know if a reverse mortgage would be a viable solution to their cash shortage. Rather than admitting a lack of knowledge on the product or consulting with a licensed reverse mortgage expert, Mr. Scott choose to answer the question with erroneous information. Anyone who read the article and assumed that Mr. Scott was qualified to provide this information not only will have misconceptions, they may pass along what they read and create a snowball effect of more inaccuracies.

From the beginning with Mr. Burns statement regarding why people get a reverse mortgage to the final coup de grĂ¢ce surmising current mortgages, the article was riddled with misinformation. Mr. Burns advised, “For you, a reverse mortgage would not be enough to pay off your existing mortgage, but it would provide a monthly payment almost large enough to cover your mortgage payment.” First of all, as a licensed Reverse Mortgage expert, I ran the scenario based on the information provided in the clients question. It was no surprise that the numbers would work well for the couple in question, thus eliminating their current mortgage. But the statement was also misleading by implying that the recipients could use the proceeds of the reverse mortgage to help them cover their current monthly mortgage payment. First and foremost, the current mortgage would be paid off with the proceeds and thus eliminated, hence there would never be a monthly payment.

After contemplating the damage done by such articles and the current needs of many seniors that I encounter, I thought it would be best to set the record straight with the editor of the section which printed this column. I made a well intended call and voiced my concerns as well as the correct information. Although I attempted to pass this along in a warm and friendly manner, I was met with a brick wall. Hence I gather the St. Petersburg Times is not interested in printing retractions that would provide seniors and other readers with correct facts.

So, back to my question, “Would you go to a Podiatrist for a heart transplant?” Of course not, nor should you ask for advice in regards to a reverse mortgage from a novice or an unlicensed and inexperienced non-professional. Should you consult with a financial advisor you know and trust? Yes, it is always encouraged, but get the details and facts from a licensed Reverse Mortgage Broker and expert like myself. Be properly informed and retire better. I am always more than happy to receive your calls and set the record straight.

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