As moratoriums end seniors stand to lose the most

As moratoriums end, seniors stand to lose the most

A federal ban on evictions expired Saturday, July 31st. Consequently millions of Americans are facing the specter of housing insecurity or homelessness.  The financial protections put in place for millions of households throughout the pandemic including foreclosure moratoriums, stimulus checks, and unemployment benefit bonuses only delayed the inevitable for some.

While the federal government has extended eviction and foreclosure protections multiple times, it’s unlikely we will see another intervention. However, as we are recording today’s show we should note that anything can happen. Case in point- the rapid increase of new cases of the Covid Delta Variant led the CDC to reverse its recent mask guidance for vaccinated individuals. While Covid hospitalizations and deaths had dropped precipitously the government could justify further stimulus and housing protections due to the potential economic impact of the Delta variant strain.

While eviction moratoriums are scheduled to end on July 31st struggling homeowners have until…

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Negative Interest Rates?!

negative interest rates

Negative Interest Rates?! It’s not what most think

Negative interest rates? You heard that correctly. No, you don’t have to turn up your volume. In fact negative interest rates in the U.S. are here. (CNBC article). While you most likely will not see this economic anomaly mentioned on your local or national evening news, financial outlets have assiduously reported on central banks around the globe who are now pulling out all the stops in the effort to stimulate the economy. The European Central Bank, Sweden, and Germany currently are in negative interest rate territory and the U.S. may follow.

Does this mean the banks will pay you to borrow money? Not quite.

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I Survived COVID-19

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I Survived COVID-19
The tale of one ‘fluffy’ middle-aged man in the age of the modern plague

[4-minute read]

Stoicism holds a particularly strong appeal. Perhaps because it pushes me toward embracing uncomfortable realities. One of the more pragmatic comments I made this year was, it wasn’t ‘if but when’ I would contract the novel coronavirus. Seeing the early signs of what I believed was certain to become a pandemic emerging from China in mid-January I began my preparations.

I certainly didn’t starve myself to drop weight, but I did take some practical measures to give myself a fighting chance should I contact the infection. As one friend who caught the virus told me, “if you’re not cheating you’re not trying”. The strategy was to make my system inhospitable for any virus, much less COVID by taking a strategic set of vitamin supplements every day. It was the prudent choice having had a long history of childhood bronchitis and a few bouts of bacterial pneumonia, one that left me gasping for air 7 years ago. Would it guarantee a result? No. However, having a vitamin deficiency is to begin at a disadvantage.

Now before you go any further know this- I’m not a doctor but I dress like one when I don my snazzy surgical mask when shopping or in an indoor public space. That said, always seek the advice of a medical professional before undertaking any regimen.

As the annual tradition of the Super Bowl neared I finalized my daily ‘winning set’ of vitamins.

  • 50mg of Zinc
  • 4,000 IU Vitamin D3 (this is NOT the USDA recommended amount)
  • 3,000 mg Vitamin C
    Not included are my daily allergy pill, B-vitamins, and antacid.

In February a relative in Southern California was exposed to the virus working out. As a result, I decided to stop going to my crowded gym and instead began a 1-hour cardio regiment through a nearby nature preserve.

Each Sunday afternoon I reloaded my arsenal of vitamins into a prescription box with my virus-kicking power combo hoping for the best when that appointed day should come.

That day was Friday the 13th, November 2020. How ironic.

That evening after concluding an evening Zoom session with a group of friends who I typically met in-person each week, I noticed something quite odd. I couldn’t smell much. As a test, I sprayed some of my trusty cologne onto my fingers, rubbed them together, and held them directly under my nostrils. “Sniff, sniff”. Nada- nothing-zilch. I had absolutely zero sense of smell! It was a clear and sobering sign that I had likely contracted COVID-19. Oddly enough I had already scheduled a test two days earlier for that Sunday having been potentially exposed the prior week. How fortuitous.

Test or no test I sprang into action. I doubled my zinc and vitamin D3 doses and forced myself to do something I hadn’t done in decades- get over 8 hours of sleep throughout the week. After all, a rested body is best suited to fight an invading pathogen.

As the days passed nine-months of terrifying COVID-19 news segments replayed in my head. I anxiously waited for the other shoe to drop. Would I go into respiratory distress? Would there be other complications? Would this be worse than the bilateral pneumonia I suffered in 2013?  Should you ever contract COVID know this- you must fight to keep your emotions in check. In addition to a virus, there’s a pandemic of fear that can induce your body to make itself sick. One particular evening, a sense of foreboding fear washed over me. My lungs began to tighten and even feel congested. Minutes later after telling myself that perception isn’t always the reality- the symptoms faded never to return. One thing that finally did return 5 days later was my test results. The PCR exam was positive for COVID-19. To be honest it was a relief to know I was one step closer to putting this episode behind me.

In the end, I was extremely fortunate. While my smell has yet to return my worst symptoms included a few weeks of intermittent fatigue but not quite enough to keep me completely away from exercise or chores. However, sadly many of us have lost friends or family to the disease or have seen some hospitalized. It’s important to remember that everyone’s experience is unique.

You may be asking what about your family? To respect their privacy I’ve omitted specific details. However, everyone in our home did contract the virus- some, unfortunately, exhibiting ‘super-charged influenza’ symptoms. Today, everyone is healthy and thriving once again.

Just as everyone who contracts the virus wasn’t necessarily careless, each individual’s reaction and severity of symptoms will vary widely with little apparent rhyme or reason. Outside of self-care the randomness of severe symptoms seems to point to the human genome.

In the near future, you will likely know someone who has become infected. If so, encourage them to not give in to negativity and fear. Even better, if you’ve recovered from COVID-19 you may have the opportunity to donate convalescent plasma to your local blood bank which could help critically ill members of your community. Many blood banks are testing for antigens at no cost.

Someday, COVID-19 will be behind us. However, fighting fear while protecting and caring for your family, neighbors, and friends is a never-ending mission.

Stay healthy. Stay positive. Be Smart.

Shannon Hicks.

Podcast E646: How COVID vaccines could upend the housing market

covid vaccine housing market

Unable to use the embedded player? Listen here.

How COVID-19 Vaccines will Upset the Housing Market

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the landscape of the housing market- especially in urban areas. Here’s how COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 are poised to upset housing trends once again.

Other Stories:

  • COVID has slowed but hasn’t stopped FHA’s search for a new servicer

  • CNBC: At what age should you pay off all debt?
    reverse mortgage podcast

reverse mortgage podcast

Podcast E642: A Biden Presidency? Here’s what we may expect

Unable to use the embedded player? Listen here.

A Biden Presidency? Here’s what we may expect

The Hill reports than long-time reverse mortgage critic, U.S. senator, and former co-sponsor of the legislation that created the CFPB is making her interest known in serving as Treasury Secretary in Biden administration should the Democrats prevail in the general election.

Other Stories:

  • Should a 2nd counseling session be required after closing?

  • COVID-19 and older employees- What employers should know
    reverse mortgage podcast

reverse mortgage podcast

5 Ways to Prepare Seniors for the ‘2nd Wave’

[3-minute read]

A second wave of COVID-19 seems imminent. While mortality rates have dropped dramatically seniors may shelter in place again. How can you prepare yourself and your business?

The nation has ‘flattened the curve’ of coronavirus hospitalizations but new cases are on the rise in many states. Yet life is beginning to return to normal with offices, restaurants, and retailers opening their doors months after shuttering their doors. Two forces have altered the gravity of our national economy and the mortgage industry- the media and infectious disease experts. Experts have warned that a second wave of the dreaded virus may arrive in November and possibly linger through the flu season and into the new year.

Being the most vulnerable demographic older Americans are rightly concerned about such forecasts and consequently may choose to return to the relative safety of their homes. Some may find themselves unable to work from home. A recent brief published by the Center for Retirement Research finds that 55 percent of older workers do not have the means to work remotely and many may “face re-entering what they view as unsafe work environments”. A valid concern especially for those whose job entails close contact with customers.

From this we can draw two conclusions:

  1. Older workers may find themselves in a financial crunch unable to safely return to work
  2. Many retired homeowners will avoid face-to-face meetings or office appointments fearing exposure to the coronavirus.

All which means whether a second wave emerges or not now is the time to…

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Hey! How are you?!

[2-minute read]
“Hey. Remember that time when we met and talked about a reverse mortgage 3 years ago and you said no? Do you want to talk again?” That approach would be somewhat believable if it were from a Saturday Night Live skit. No reverse mortgage professional with a functioning cerebral cortex would ever utter such words. However, it’s easy to find oneself saying something that while less abrasive, pretty much reflects the same sentiment- ‘you said no and I can still help you’.

While you typically ‘think in reverse’ 16 hours each day your previous potential borrowers do not. In fact, count yourself lucky if they even remember your name. For the handful of you reading who kept in touch with newsletters, birthday cards, or phone calls- congratulations. Read More