Later Life Love- Sweet & Poignant - Skip to content

Later Life Love- Sweet & Poignant


Love among the silver set. Once, people might have snickered or referred to later life romance obliquely. Today it’s increasingly common among those in their sixties, seventies, eighties, and yes, even nineties, as Eve Pell’s affirming exploration, Love, Again makes clear.

reverse mortgage newsIn her new book, which is part memoir, part journey to the final frontier of romance, widows, widowers, the divorced and the never married open up about what it’s like to share their hearts and lives in the looming shadow of mortality. Where older couples will end up living is a significant consideration, especially if each has been happily ensconced in their current home or area for decades.

In the case of Eve and her new love, Sam, they wrestled with choosing between his San Francisco house, which bore the imprint of a half century of happy marriage, and her cottage across the Golden Gate Bridge, rather small for two and not designed to meet evolving elder needs. They rented a temporary home midway between their locations while they searched for the perfect house to purchase. But nothing seemed to suit. In the end, since Eve’s cottage was on a prime piece of real estate, near running trails the pair of track enthusiasts loved, they opted to sell Sam’s house and remodel hers to their specifications. “The whole process took two years, one of deciding and planning, one of construction,” Pell writes. They married and moved in when Pell was 72 and Sam, 82.

Not your typical newlyweds.

Bridging the Distance

For Howard and George, 72 and 68, respectively, the problem was one of distance and the complexities of home ownership. Howard owns a home in Maine and feels settled there; George put his West Virginia home on the market and rented an apartment in New Orleans, where he grew up and still has close ties. But Louisiana is a far cry from New England. While both men are thrilled to be in what they say is the first genuine love relationship of their lives, their time together is fragmented by geography and other commitments. They are exploring ways to balance time with their communities, time alone, and time together.

In contrast to Eve and Sam, and Howard and George, some couples plunge into later life love headfirst. When João and Vilma reconnected after forty years of searching, Vilma agreed to move to New York and marry João just hours after they were reunited, and promptly followed through.

How a HECM Helps

While the subject of reverse mortgage did not come up in the book, it’s important to mention in the context of new senior relationships. HUD’s Non-borrowing Spouse (NBS) provision only applies to a surviving spouse or domestic partner who remains in the home after the death of their spouse, if they were married or engaged in a committed relationship at the time their now deceased spouse took out the loan.

So be on the lookout for elder prospects or clients who may be looking for later life love. There is no upper age limit. One of the sweetest stories in Love, Again is that of Jack and Sherrie, whose relationship was orchestrated by their daughters, lifelong friends. A widower and widow, respectively, the two married when Jack was 95 and Sherrie, 88. With love, anything is possible!


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  1. The sad thing about these tales of love in later life is if the couple moves into the home of a spouse who had closed a HECM before marriage, the non-borrowing spouse has absolutely no protection under either MLs (Mortgagee Letters) 2014-07 and 2015-02 from displacement after the death of the borrowing spouse. These MLs only apply to non-borrowing spouses whose borrowing spouse has a HECM with a case number assigned after 8/3/2014.

    If the HECM has a case number assigned before 8/4/2014, then HUD requires the lender to follow ML 2015-15. Yet it is unsettled if ML 2015-15 can be retroactively applied. If it does not, the law applicable at that time could very well allow these non-borrowing spouses (but only these non-borrowing spouses), the displacement protection in 12 USC 1715z-20(j).

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