By Mark S. Gardner

We’re living longer, healthier lives, but with that comes the added stress of maintaining your desired lifestyle for a lengthier retirement. You know it’s necessary to plan and consider all your available retirement tools, but is it possible you’re overlooking the most valuable tool of all – your Housing Wealth? I’ve invested my time and energy over the past 40 years to help people just like you understand the importance of Pre & Post Retirement Planning. This takes into account the accumulation stage starting in ones 20’s till 50-55 year of age. Then the next stage is what I refer to as the 55 to 70’s plus stage or Preservation and Distribution phase of one’s investment planning stage.  

Do you know the difference between Speed Bumps and Speed Humps? Speed humps are raised pavement areas across a roadway. … Speed bumps, on the other hand, have a more abrupt design. They consist of a portion of raised pavement, but because of their abruptness their use is very restricted. Now you might be asking where is Mark going with this analogy. Speed bump means to me slow down and be more cautious so in this stage of your life and life investing, YOU the investor need to protect what you worked all those years for and put away for your retirement. Most of us were raised to believe in the American Dream which is to own your own home. With interest rates at an all-time low many people have refinanced or bought a new home with a 15, 20, 25 or even 30-year mortgage and some with a 40 year. So, each month you write out a check for your mortgage payment. The phenomena now is that people in their 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s are paying a mortgage that obligates them to pay into their 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s. A couple today who is 65 one of the partners will live into their 80’s or 90’s and the other possible to 100. Many women ultimately face this alone as they outlive their male partner 5-8 years if they are the same age. They now have one less paycheck, the social security as well as other streams of income.

The most overlooked asset that you have is your home. From now on let’s refer to your home as your Housing Wealth. Possibly the next question is, “How to best access it, and how to use it efficiently in your retirement?” To begin, I always ask my clients and their families this question: Are you making full use of your Housing Wealth to create the type of retirement you most desire?

Hashem gave the Jews the Ten Commandments. In order to truly determine the answer to my earlier question, I offer you10-question assessment for you to take. No, I am not the Lord but these 10 questions can be a great start in helping you determine if Reverse Mortgage can be a viable resource for you.  The assessment will do the hard work for you. It determines if the new reverse mortgage could work for your situation. Although it does not explore every question that could be asked, it does provide enough insight to determine if continuing the journey makes sense. Whether for yourself or on behalf of a friend or family member, I ask you to take three minutes and honestly answer the questions.

You will have the choice of selecting Yes, No or Not Sure/Not Applicable. Let’s get started!

Ten Questions

  1. Am I, or my spouse age 62, or older, and own a home?
  2. Am I planning to stay in my home for at least the next 5 years?
  3. Do I currently have a monthly loan payment?
  4. Would eliminating a mandatory monthly loan payment be helpful?
  5. Am I open to moving if it meant a better retirement lifestyle and added savings?
  6. Would having access to additional monthly income, if needed, be helpful?
  7. Do I have any concerns that my savings will last for the duration of my retirement?
  8. Is it important to me to have a back-up plan for stock market volatility and inflation?
  9. Would it be valuable to have a tax-free reserve fund to cover unexpected expenses, emergencies or unplanned purchases?
  10. If my out-of-pocket healthcare costs exceeded $100,000, would this be a strain on my retirement savings?

When you combine housing wealth with other retirement assets, a whole new dimension is added to what can be accomplished in retirement. Housing wealth can help one sustain income during a bear market when pulling money out of a portfolio could be disastrous. It can help you delay taking Social Security benefits to 70. It can also serve as an emergency long-term care plan for individuals who otherwise might not qualify or afford a Long-term care Insurance. Using Reverse Mortgage can be a way for individuals to take housing wealth and increase one’s income and cash flow by providing another paycheck rather than a drain on their daily living and expenses. 

When I sit down with an individual or a couple, I ask them, as they near or are in retirement, what is their greatest concern? 

No. 1: Outliving my savings and investments.

No. 2: Social Security will be reduced or cease to exist in the future.

No. 3: Declining health that requires long-term care 

No. 4: Cognitive decline, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.

No. 5: Lack of adequate and affordable healthcare.

No 6: Is if I go into a nursing home or assisted living will I run through all my money and if I am married how will that affect my spouse financially. Not specifically in that order. 

If any or all of these concerns are real to you and possibly are on your mind let’s talk and see how RetireWellDallas can help you address these, one by one. 

Our varied financial planning expertise goes far beyond investment management to encompass:

  • Asset allocation
  • Retirement planning
  • Tax and estate planning
  • Risk management
  • Charitable giving
  • Education funding
  • The full spectrum of financial counseling services

And you’ll benefit from more than technical know-how. Our relationships are based on a willingness to collaborate, understand and appreciate your views and preferences. In other words: we listen.

Our mission, along with a selfless dedication to help you attain your goals, is to ethically deliver on our promises.

We have been known to meet with clients for 40+ hours to formulate the ideal retirement plan. In the process, they become educated and fully understand the strategies. By doing so we earn their respect and trust. Our clients these past many years will tell you so.

Whether you are a business owner, individual, family, hoping to retire or already there…we should talk.

We’d like to count you among our clients. Let’s get started!

Mark can be reached at or 214-762-2327