Threats Seen & Unseen

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Are we missing the signs of tangible threats to our potential borrowers?

Reframe the Game

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Reimagining the “R” Word

Retirement. It’s no longer a “retreat” from life (if it ever was). As we’ve explored multiple times, people are retiring later or downshifting from full time to part time employment, or moving into a consulting role or some other line of work, rather than simply leaving the job market altogether. And those who do fully retire from the work world are still fully engaged in life — sometimes so busy they wonder how they ever fit a job into their day.

Here are some suggestions gleaned from a retirement workshop for how we might reframe “retirement”. Ideas take their inspiration from sports, advertising, and plain old ingenuity. Reverse mortgage professionals who enjoy creativity, consider these concepts:

  • Act 2
  • Between jobs
  • Bonus years
  • Continuum
  • Creative aging
  • Downshifting
  • Encore
  • Field of Possibilities
  • Growing bolder
  • Inspirement
  • Life 2.0
  • Living more
  • My time
  • Next Chapter
  • Next stage
  • Post-grads
  • Prime time
  • Protirement (it’s not for beginners!)
  • Rebalancing
  • Re-engagement
  • Refirement
  • Regeneration
  • Repotting (in new soil)
  • Retreads
  • Rewirement
  • Sage-ing
  • Seasoned
  • Success to Significance
  • The Creative Age
  • The Gifted Years
  • Third Half
  • Third Quarter
  • Unstoppable

My personal favorites for many years have been “chronologically gifted” and “over the speed limit”.

Attitude of Gratitude

Becoming chronologically gifted is about more than a date on the calendar, obviously. Dorothy Sander, whose website is Aging Abundantly, exemplifies the attitude of gratitude that defines seniors who become elders, not just elderly. On her 65th birthday this past summer, Sander penned a post entitled, “65 Things I’m Grateful for On My 65th Birthday”. Her gratitude bowl begins with her family: a loving husband, motherhood to “two sons who make me proud every day”, a beautiful daughter-in-law and good health.

Those take up the first eight spots. Then Sander branches out to embrace the wider world: the kindness of strangers; Nature: green grass, sunshine, the ocean, the wind, mountains, sunrises and sunsets, rain and roses; music that lifts her spirit; massage that restores her body; long walks, birdsong, delectable foods, technology that enables her to stay connected to loved ones near and far — and yes, challenges that provide opportunities for growth, resilience and wisdom to blossom.

Dorothy Sander is an elder.

No regrets

The sage-ing, seasoned, repotted, unstoppable seniors who comprise the above list will not look back at the end of their lives and wish they’d gone farther, forgiven sooner, taken that risk. Your role as a reverse mortgage loan originator is not necessarily to encourage your senior clientele to live full out — and yet, in a sense, a HECM can be the means to do just that, since it helps seniors relax about where the money they’ll need in their later years will come from.

The twenty biggest regrets of those close to death all have to do with wishing they’d lived larger on life’s canvas: “I wish I’d…”

  • Taken more chances
  • Persevered
  • Expressed love more often
  • Appreciated what I have
  • Listened better
  • Released a grudge
  • Traveled
  • Stayed in touch with friends
  • Trusted my intuition.

Protirement takes moxie. It’s a little like the delightful message on the Bag O’ Rags™ I bought recently to wax my car. The package insert reads, “Warning: This product is not for wimps! These rags have been used in industrial settings. Although they’ve been commercially washed, there might be stains and junk on them. If you want to pay 10 times the price to wipe up your muck, buy the other stuff. You’ll find those in aisle 13, next to the quiche pans.”

Life is messy and unpredictable, and by the time we get to be 60, 70, 80, 90 and beyond, we have stains and junk on us, metaphorically speaking. That’s part of aging, and washing doesn’t remove them. Seniors whose “life stains” spring from love and loss and listening and refirement and growing bolder are truly over the speed limit, driven to “re-tire” who they were and tread a new path, without regrets.

Social Security Insecurity

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Social Security & an IPA

Pressing The Reset Button: The Gap Years
As human lifespan climbs steadily towards the century mark, Social Security is only one — and woefully inadequate — means of funding a lengthening retirement period. In fact, we’re in the midst of creating second-stage work lives, or “encore careers,” that are evolving at the intersection of money, meaning, and social impact, says social entrepreneur Marc Freedman, author of The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife

Adults 60 and over are returning to school in droves to train in entirely new areas, often centered around social issues such as the environment, health, education, and social services. Educational innovation, from lifelong learning to distance classes via the Internet, is proliferating to keep pace with this changing demographic. But where are the resources to pay for this transition training?


Retirement And Individual Purpose Account

Enter the Individual Purpose Account (IPA). Freedman suggests that rather than raid your IRA or your children’s college fund, why not create a tax-advantaged Individual Purpose Account targeting the transition years? Such accounts “could be both a policy opportunity and a potential bonanza for the private sector, which is offering retirement products but little in the way of savings vehicles for alternative approaches to the last two, three, or four decades of life.”

Reverse Mortgage Retirement Funding

Until such time as the government implements this visionary idea, a reverse mortgage might be an optimal resource to fund an IPA — especially because reverse mortgage holders can tap their loans only when needed, prudently saving the rest.

In fact, reverse mortgages can be reimagined as “seed capital” to help people invest wisely in the next stage of their lives, whether that involves expanding their education to enter an encore career, using a lifetime of accumulated knowledge and wisdom to consult or mentor, traveling, writing a book, or any combination of the above, and more. “Reverse mortgage” accurately describes this dynamic demographic, who are reversing expectations of retirement and reimagining what the next stage of life looks like!


When it’s time for an expert

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Our Mother’s Keeper

We’ve discussed it before, but it bears repeating, especially because seniors themselves are often loath to admit they’re growing older: there are certain situations where it’s wise to get expert guidance before a reverse mortgage client or prospect may actually “need” it.

Here are four areas where seniors (or the person with Power of Attorney) should consider reaching out for advice in advance. 

  1. Aging in place. We’ve focused on various aspects of caregiving but not its potentially astronomical cost. Even a healthy senior needs to plan for in-home assistance in the event they live to a ripe old age — or experience an event, such as a fall, that necessitates temporary assistance. According to Genworth Financial, the average annual cost of a home health aide is $45,760. A certified financial planner (CFP) could be an excellent guide for both seniors and the family members who are helping them plan ahead.
  2. Retirement planning. A vast majority of the 76 million Boomer retirees and soon-to-be retirees (which includes a healthy number of reverse mortgage professionals) are planning for an active lifestyle once work no longer takes center stage, as we focused on in this retirement resource guide. It’s also critical to make sure the numbers in your bank accounts and other financial resources can support the lifestyle and years a senior has left to enjoy. A CFP and accountant/CPA are both worth consulting as seniors or those in midlife look toward the future. One financial planner urges people to sit down with a retirement planning expert no later than age 40.
  3. End-of-life care. Does a senior want palliative and hospice care, a DNR (do-not-resuscitate) order, or every possible medical intervention when they’re seriously ill or close to death? These are issues many people refuse to face; yet having such information on record can prove vital if the patient is not able to make their wishes known. The Office of Chronic Care Advocacy recommends consulting with an Elder Law and Special Needs Law attorney to ensure someone’s long-term care and end-of-life care planning are accurate, complete, and up-to-date.
  4. Estate planning and asset protection. We looked briefly at estate planning and the importance of proper beneficiary forms in order to avoid financial snafus. This is especially important for high net worth individuals. An Elder Law and Special Needs Law attorney should be able to draft an estate plan that analyzes the effect on a loved one’s public benefits eligibility or tax status, says the Office of Chronic Care Advocacy. They will also network with professionals in allied fields, such as a financial advisor/certified financial planner to assist with investment strategies, or a geriatric care manager to provide a care assessment and help source and select appropriate caregivers if needed.

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Cars that Will Drive Miss Daisy — By Themselves

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The emerging self-propelled or “robocars” lend new meaning to the word automobile — and may be the answer to aging drivers’ diminished capabilities to safely navigate behind the wheel, say Joseph Coughlin and Peter Diamandis.

While Coughlin focuses on the importance of consumer education to spur adoption of the new technology, Diamandis (who holds degrees in aerospace engineering, molecular biology, and medicine) says autonomous cars are just a small slice of the endless ways in which AI (artificial intelligence) is going to reshape and enhance our lives.

In a recent Forbes blog, Diamandis waxed rhapsodic about how self-driving cars will command a huge number of time and money saving no’s, to wit:

  • NO steering wheel, NO gas pedal, and NO brakes. It sounds a little like riding a trolley (though the latter are controlled by human conductors). A bit scary, perhaps, especially for seniors…
  • No garages, no driveways, no parking: autonomous cars will simply pick up and drop off passengers like taxis or buses, remaining in constant use. Minus private ownership, the need to store the vehicle vanishes like a sprinkling of rain on a sunny day.
  • No new roads, less traffic. These sensor-driven cars are efficient in the extreme, so they can “pack” much more densely on the road without risk of an accident.
  • No mandatory car insurance: self-driving cars are engineered to avoid crashes.
  • No ownership, just “on-demand” usage. So reverse mortgage recipients can scratch car maintenance from their list of expenses.

Yet such dramatic change from our current state of vehicle ownership begs the question: in a society that reveres both cars and status symbols, will drivers — especially those who love their classic cars or Bentleys — be willing to give them up so easily? And who will be responsible for maintaining these public conveyances? Who pays for (and pumps) the gas, checks the oil, replaces the tires, or brings the car in for regular tune-ups? Even if robocars are smart enough to know when they need maintenance, who will own this responsibility?

As we explored in an earlier post on safe senior driving and alternative modes of transportation, multiple warning signs can alert family members if grandma or grandpa is no longer safe in the driver’s seat. In this case, an autonomous car can be a positive option. And, contrary to what we may see on the road, older adults are the leading car buyers today: the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute reports consumers between 55 and 64 lead all new vehicle sales. (Possibly fueled by their reverse mortgage loans and the time to pursue their passions.)

So while the idea of fewer cars on the road, massive fuel savings, less pollution and greatly reduced risk of auto accidents sounds fantastic, “learning to trust and use these [new technologies] is a work in progress,” says Coughlin. “Responding to the changing driver experience, AARP’s Driver Safety Program, the largest driver education program catering to the 50+ market, demonstrated leadership by recently revising its curriculum to include content on new vehicle technologies.”

Hopefully, they’re also factoring maintenance into the mix. No doubt the robocars will include anti-theft programming, too. By the time most Boomers are ready for them, autonomous cars may be able to transport elders with varying degrees of physical ability safely and efficiently wherever they choose to go. Now that’s autonomy!

Want A Grandchild? Rent One.

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Picture this: your elderly HECM client has always adored youngsters, but he and his dear wife, who married late in life for their era, never had children. So there are no grandchildren to spoil, either.

Or, perhaps they have grandchildren — who live far away, across the country or across the globe. Now his wife is gone, and he so wishes he had grandkids who could come visit.

Once upon an extended family, that might have meant inviting grandnieces and grandnephews over. Today, it means a senior without biological family (or even with them) can hire a vetted “grandchild” to spend time with.

Grandkids on Demand

The sharing economy has become the caring economy. It’s the newest and sweetest way to alleviate the loneliness endemic to an older population — and enable both generations to discover what the other has to share.

In fact, addressing elder loneliness is one of the key motivations that birthed the rent-a-grandchild app known as Papa. When his own grandfather was diagnosed with dementia, Papa founder Andrew Parker watched his grandmother struggle to care for him. His grandfather didn’t need home care per se; just someone to relieve his grandmother and spend quality time with his grandfather. Papa (the name comes from his family’s nickname for his grandfather) fills this service gap.

grandchildren reverse mortgage news agingPapa connects college students and seniors who’d like to spend time together. Whether the elder needs household help, transportation, tech tutoring, or simply some stimulating conversation, Papa matches them with a rigorously screened student eager to be of service to older adults.

Unlike traditional home care agencies, there is no weekly minimum or ongoing commitment; the senior controls when their “grandchild” comes to “visit”. They can even request a specific student repeatedly, which helps build a relationship.

This positive approach provides an enjoyable way for a HECM holder to age in place with comfort, care, and companionship. The service is also very affordable, and Medicare Advantage will (at last) begin covering home health assistance in 2019.

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Rent-to-own Relatives?

While “renting” a grandchild is still a step down from Japan’s innovative “family rental” business, where clients can rent wives, husbands and children who act the part of the missing family members, Papa does encourage its students to broaden seniors’ social interaction and help expand their skills, such as learning to use social media.

Services such as Papa can also be a precursor to cross-generational home sharing down the road.

And maybe, if your rental relatives (or actual ones) come for a longer visit, they can stay in your universal design-adapted tiny house. In this collaborative era, these two game-changing innovations might be an ideal match.

Engaging Ways to Work Past 65

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Retiring at age 65 is so early 20th century — when people were lucky to even live to 65. Today, when we may have an entire generation’s worth of days to enjoy after age 65, retirement age is arbitrary. A lot has to do with how much we love what we do, how much we need the income, and how else we wish to spend our time.

A HECM can address the financial question, so anyone 62 or older is freed from working later in life solely to generate income. Knowing their home equity can provide a source of liquid assets as well as eliminate their largest monthly bill enables older workers to focus on the question of work itself: do they still want to work, and if so, how?

Now that 70 seems to be the new 60, at minimum, with people engaged in encore careers that fulfill them on many levels, it seems work, itself, is a tonic that helps keep people feeling purposeful and of use. According to a Gallup poll, almost a third of U.S. workers anticipate working past age 67.

Engagement Remains High

Baby Boomers appear even more reluctant to retire in their mid-sixties than previous generations, with ten percent saying they “never expect to retire.” Seeing as Paul McCartney just scored his first number one album in 36 years, at age 76, that’s understandable!

What’s intriguing is that older workers seem to be more psychologically engaged than their younger counterparts, perhaps because they’ve established a good work ethic over the decades — or simply want to ensure they hang on to their job as long as they want to keep it.

But if an older worker is ripe for change, possibilities beckon.

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Jobs in Cool Places

Just as HECM holders are now able to romance the road by lodging in high-end co-work/co-live environments for short periods of time, the types of positions they might find are worth exploring, once the pressure of full-time employment eases. That’s where CoolWorks comes in.

For 23 years, CoolWorks has been connecting people seeking meaningful and exciting work with employers looking for their energy, enthusiasm and knowledge. Sound like any seniors you know?

From national parks to retreat centers, conservation centers to dude ranches, CoolWorks lists positions that may appeal to older workers seeking something a little different. They even have a category, Older and Bolder, which states, “If you rest, you rust!”

An encore career might be a season working (or volunteering) at Yellowstone National Park, for example, or exploring life in a new state (perhaps one where a senior will later downsize with an H4P). Be forewarned, though: while there is a plethora of positions available in California, Colorado, Wyoming, and even Alaska, there’s just a single opening in Hawaii at the moment. Having it all is still a premium.

Education Transformation

For elders who feel called to contribute to the common good, volunteer opportunities abound, especially as they concern younger generations. Since this may be their grandchildren, seniors may be particularly interested (just as many Snake People are designing devices and healthcare apps to assist their aging grandparents.)

Founded the same year as CoolWorks (1995), Experience Corps teams volunteer retirees with schools, where they assist in classrooms or after-school programs, tutor kids in math or reading, and dispense an ample dose of the “grandparent love” children crave. Even the most accomplished adults find the program infinitely satisfying.

Says Alice Kirk, in her second year as a school volunteer, “I started law school at 47, finished at 50, and passed the bar the first time. This is more rewarding than that. This is my opportunity to give back. I don’t know how I could quit.”

The average age of a volunteer is 65, and no prior teaching experience is required. Life experience is what matters. And your HECM clients have it in spades — and hearts.

The New “Nesters”: Not Empty, Not Full, Just Right

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In the past, granny units weren’t typically inhabited by grannies. Most such units served as an income source for the homeowner, and were rented out to twenty-somethings who were getting their feet wet in the job market. Or, in more recent economic times, to people of all ages who need an affordable place to live. 

But now, tiny houses may become a new senior destination, lending a whole new meaning to the term “downsizing”.

Bill Thomas, MD, who created The Green House model, a new standard in long-term care, envisions these “granny pods” as either accessory dwellings, or actual homes for seniors who want to remain independent, yet near family or other loved ones.

Tiny Houses with a Big Purpose

While the tiny home concept has been around for years, Thomas’ prototype includes smart home features and universal design elements to make the tiny home safe and secure for seniors.

Although a tiny house likely won’t qualify for a reverse mortgage due to its portability — and probable lack of comps for an accurate valuation — a HECM client can use part of their loan to invest in a senior-suited tiny house, and potentially use this “turtle shell” for retirement travel.

Thomas originally developed his prototype, the Minka, for his adult daughter, who requires round-the-clock care due to a neurological disorder. Throughout 2018, the University of Southern Indiana has been testing a version of the dwellings on campus as a multigenerational community housing model, uniting health professions with other disciplines, such as social work and engineering, in an effort to change the way society perceives aging.
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The year-long pilot program, known as MAGIC (Multi-Ability, multi-Generational, Inclusive Community) which also garnered support from AARP, is helping Thomas and his team develop a model framework for building multi-generational, inclusive communities where students from a variety of disciplines work, live and study in close proximity with older adults, with a focus on fostering what he calls “independence together” through social and physical activities and healthful eating.

While we’ve explored how students in the Netherlands live free in nursing homes in exchange for befriending elderly residents, as well as the cohousing model that has even been adapted specifically for the senior market, tiny homes that address multiple abilities is a truly visionary concept.

Nesting with Independence

In fact, Nest, Google’s smart home automation division that is renowned for its “nested” thermostats that can be remotely adjusted from anywhere in the world, and home security systems that allow family members to check in on loved ones, is exploring how best to tweak its products for aging in place.

Because many older adults prefer not to use products specifically targeted to them, but rather mainstream consumer products that are easy for them to use, moving into the aging market after seeing success with a general population is a promising approach, say aging experts.

Will tiny homes someone can nest into fill a role for empty nesters who seek a living environment that’s adaptable, comfortable, and portable? Keep an eye on this evolving trend. If nothing else, Thomas’s Minka may become the granny unit grannies rent out to others in their cohort group who want to stay in a supportive, cozy, affordable environment when they travel.

**A Note from the HECMWorld Staff:** Tiny homes are still a relatively new phenomenon, and traditional lenders are still adjusting to this recent trend. Mortgage professionals should contact their underwriting department to see if a ‘tiny home’ would meet the requirements of a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage.

Upleveling Aging

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At 70, you are still a child.

At 80, a young man or woman.

If at 90, someone from Heaven invites you over, tell him,

“Just go away, and come back when I am 100.”

~ Saying carved into a rock facing the sea near the village of Kijioka, in Okinawa, Japan (featured in Superhuman: Life at the Extremes of Our Capacity)

The ’80s pop band Level 42 took their name from the brilliantly imaginative sci-fi novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which the people of Earth ask a computer named Deep Thought for the answer to “Life, the Universe, and Everything.” Seven million years later, Deep Thought delivers its momentous conclusion to their descendants: 42. The year I turned 42, I conceived of this age as the ultimate anti-aging tonic.

reverse mortgage newsNow, a Twitter friend has gone one better with this creative suggestion: “We should start referring to ‘age’ as ‘levels’. So when you’re level 80 it sounds more badass than just being an old person.”

An intriguing idea. No doubt LOs will be able to infuse their HECM presentations with this terminology as well, helping to reposition aging as a state of growth. Informing a prospect, “Now that you’ve reached Level 62 (or 75, or 83), there is a new opportunity open to you,” sounds inspiring indeed.

Traveling Back Through Time

Upleveling aging extends beyond mere verbiage, however. As we’ve explored before, telomeres (the tiny “shoelace caps” on our DNA that shorten with age) determine how quickly we grow old. With the 2009 game-changing discovery of the enzyme telomerase, which slows, stops and can even reverse telomere shortening, we may be on track to immortality. (Planetary carrying capacity is a subject for another day…).

We can learn a lot about how to help keep our telomeres healthy through diet, exercise and mindset. But beyond this, science has now discovered how to end cellular senescence, i.e., the aging that takes place within our cells.

A naturally-occurring “molecular postcode” delivered directly into the cells, experimental at present, may eventually be able to remove senescent cells in humans, allowing medicine to target multiple age-related diseases at once.

Watch This… 

In the meantime, technology continues to improve life for those already facing chronic health conditions. One exciting development is the anti-Parkinson’s watch, which could help the more than ten million people living with Parkinson’s disease worldwide.

One hallmark of this degenerative brain disorder is hand tremors. When Emma Lawton, a UK-based graphic designer, was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s at just 29, Microsoft innovation director Haiyan Zhang was inspired to invent a device to enable Lawton and others like her to write and draw legibly again.

The result is the Emma Watch, which uses vibrating motors to distract the wearer’s brain from trying to control the body’s limbs. It’s a creative disruption in autonomic functioning akin to the fantasy flights described in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — except now we’re making these creative leaps reality.

How to Avoid Inflammaging

Of course, one of the best courses of action for a HECM prospect or client who wants to uplevel aging is to avoid inflammaging (inflame-aging). Inflammation is at the core of all disease states.

It’s helpful to know — and eat — foods that fight inflammation. Most of them are delicious, even a treat: red wine and dark chocolate make the list, along with walnuts, wild-caught salmon, extra-virgin olive oil and broccoli.

Our telomeres may indeed have a rosy future, even if we never leave this galaxy.

Reimagining Home — And Travel

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One of the great blessings of being physically and financially fit in later life is the ability to travel. For couples with both partners in good health, the traditional model works: book a travel package or a cruise, stay in fine hotels, take lots of pictures and return to the nest.

For the next wave of seniors, however, this picture is shifting. Among Boomers, there’s a boom in gray divorce. Or someone may be a silver single due to losing a spouse, yet still long to travel, seeking a safe as well as enjoyable experience.

Millennials may have the key: new nomadic ways to live “location independent” (L.I.). Their solutions can work for the silver set.

Hotels Are So 20th Century

A number of emerging sites offer a creative way to travel at a much more comfortable level than couch surfing or hostels. These innovative businesses are a nexus of work, travel, and adventure, providing both connection and potential companionship — an attractive invitation for seniors traveling solo, as well as with friends and spouses.

Though mature travelers may not desire to be fully L.I. like their younger counterparts, living nomadically in spurts is eminently possible with a reverse mortgage. While a senior with a HECM must maintain their home base as their primary residence, extended stays elsewhere are fine; each return to the house ‘resets’ the clock for absences.

And that’s good news for those who own a home and choose to apply for a HECM. Because living as a short-term nomad has never been more appealing — or accessible. Consider these options:

Romancing the Road

Roam provides high-end co-work/co-live spaces in desirable destinations such as San Francisco, Bali, and Tokyo, with other locales in development. Someone retired, semi-retired, or whose work is fully remote, can enjoy privacy and comfort among a diverse community for a week, a month, or longer, then return home refreshed.

Behere describes itself as the platform for women to live in cities around the world, without long-term contracts or obligations.

It might be an older woman’s answer to traveling alone: a foreign living experience that provides carefully curated, fully furnished apartments close to city centers, with a vetted city host, workspaces — even a fitness membership. With this flexible foundation, a senior woman can live in a new city, one month at a time, immersing herself in the local culture and community to the degree she chooses.

Then there’s Unsettled, which, as it name implies, is designed for those in transition. The Unsettled experience offers retreats in locations from Tuscany to Morocco, Buenos Aires to Bali, and features an inclusive global community that includes entrepreneurs, freelancers, or anyone who is seeking new perspectives, inspiration and growth. Since many Boomers fall into one or all of these categories, Unsettled might call to them as a different sort of travel adventure.

Traveling Safely: Wallet Medical Cards

So a senior decides roaming the third millennium way sounds appealing, and proceeds to use some of their HECM proceeds for a grand adventure. Are they prepared for what might happen in a foreign city — even if it’s within U.S. borders?

Don’t be a walking medical mystery, counsels speaker Dick Schaaf, who travels frequently for business. He says, “Anyone who travels may someday find themselves in need of medical assistance. But if you’re alone, and unable to answer even basic questions about your health at the moment of need, valuable time can be lost — and potentially fatal mistakes can be made — while first responders and medical personnel try to figure out what to do.

“For years, my wife and I have carried homemade medical info cards in our wallets. Mine has my name, date of birth, my cellphone number plus hers, a list of all my medications (correctly spelled name, dosage and frequency), plus my blood type, known allergies, insurance providers (no account numbers, though), and the fact that I’m an organ donor.

“I print six business-card-sized cards with all of this information on card stock. One copy goes in my wallet. One of mine goes in my wife’s, with one of hers in my wallet, too. Other copies go into travel carry-ons plus our passports, and we keep a set on our desks, which greatly simplifies updating medical information when we’re talking with our physicians, dentists, etc. I date the cards each time I update and reprint the info so we always know we’re carrying the most current versions.”

“Surbia”: A New Idea? 

Despite the sense most of us have that the homes we inhabit are typical of life in America, the concept is scarcely a century old. Bruno Haid, the founder of penned an enlightening read about the evolution of American housing.

Home today is less where one’s mortgage (or reverse mortgage) is, and more about the lives we live in them, regardless of location, he says. This is what’s given rise to the spate of new short-term co-living environments.

Once all the particulars of how we may live are handled with a high degree of efficiency, we can focus on the experience — what it really means to have “the time of our lives”.

This quest to redefine “home” has also given rise to surban communities, a portmanteau of suburb and urban (or just a contracted form of suburban). In an era when cars are much less essential than they use to be, with rides available at the swipe of a smartphone, this form of mixed use living, which weds the best of cities and suburbs, is attractive to many retirees.

And with a surban setting and HECM available, the next adventure beckons.