History- You’re Living It

Imagine it’s 1956 and you are writing your first 30-year fixed-rate mortgage as a loan officer working for your local bank. It was a historic period in home financing as most mortgages up to that time had 20 year amortization periods until the Federal Reserve began significantly increasing interest rates. In the effort to keep home financing affordable despite higher rates the Federal Housing Administration broadly adopted what is now the gold standard of mortgage lending- the 30-year fixed.

Today we find ourselves in the historic moment of the COVID-19 pandemic which has left many sectors of our economy closed, partially opened, or closed again. This modern-day plague has instilled a strong sense of insecurity in many, especially retirees. However, history has taught us that disease and economic upheaval are found throughout written history.  The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote the following during the Antonine Plague. “To bear in mind constantly that all of this has happened before and will happen again—the same plot from beginning to end, the identical staging”.

Just as the Fed’s continued interest rate hikes in the 1950s spurred innovation and public acceptance of the 30-year mortgage, economic uncertainty is moving many undecided homeowners to reconsider a reverse mortgage- or at least to put their guard down momentarily to research how the loan works. Uncertainty and need are still two of the common motivators in getting a reverse mortgage.  It then comes as no surprise that counseling agencies find themselves struggling to find available slots for required borrower counseling- not surprising since FHA case numbers issued have surged to a record number HECM applications recorded in the months of March, April and May when compared to recent years.

Another historical shift we’re experiencing is how quickly older Americans are embracing remote meeting technology to stay in touch with family and friends while ‘social distancing’. Grandma and Grandpa are highly motivated to see their grandchildren’s smile and interact on a more intimate level than merely a phone call. Consequently, the resistance to using teleconferencing services such as Skype, Zoom, or Google Meet has dropped considerably. Reverse mortgage professionals have seized upon this shift offering remote appointments and ‘touch-less’ loan closings.

While useful in times of relative economic stability reverse mortgages are absolutely essential as long term financial outlooks are clouded by concerns of inflation, a volatile stock market, and investment losses. Will the general public suddenly embrace reverse mortgages just as they adopted the 30-year mortgage 70 years ago? Don’t go placing your bets in Vegas just yet. However, the present moment in history we share provides the occasion to make inroads with homeowners and financial professionals alike- both who’ve been harshly reminded that the only thing that’s certain in life is uncertainty itself.


PRC Title settlement reverse mortgages

Clothes & Accessories that Help Elders Stay Healthy

Clothes may make the man, but even Shakespeare didn’t foresee how clothing could make us smarter and healthier. The Bard might be bemused to discover how elder wearables are poised to make seniors more aware of their well being. Given that we’re becoming bionic, clothing our AI bodies in smart garb seems a natural next step.

Your reverse mortgage clients and prospects may soon be meeting you wearing devices that ensure they’ll be able to enjoy aging in place for many years to come. Some of the brilliant health aware-ables on the design frontier include:lumo-lift

  • The iTBra for breast health. While women’s undergarments have evolved to keep pace with the times, Cyrcadia Health goes a step beyond, with a bra that monitors temperature changes in breast tissue, thus functioning as early detection technology for breast cancer. While the iTBra awaits funding and FDA approval, women everywhere can look forward to a non-invasive, potentially more advanced breast health monitoring system than mammograms.
  • Back to health. Back pain is endemic to modern society. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, more than 26 million Americans between the ages of 20-64 experience frequent back pain. We can only imagine how this number skyrockets with age, though those 65 and over are least likely to report. Enter Lumo Lift, a senior’s posture coach. The small sensor cube clips onto someone’s shirt, below the collarbone, and gently reminds the wearer to sit up straight and stand tall when they’re slouching. Bonus: standing straighter also helps a senior look and feel younger, and boosts confidence.
  • Eyewear that tracks diabetes. Millions of diabetics will be safer when a glucose-sensing contact lens — patented by Google — is available for those who wear corrective lenses and have diabetes. It’s possible that eyeglasses, jewelry (e.g., earrings, necklaces), or clothing (scarf, hat, headband) could function as the “reader” to display this data for the wearer.
  • Diamonds for brain tumors. The hardest substance on earth is more than just a girl’s best friend. Scientists have created a new form of carbon that’s harder than diamonds, glows, has the ability to conduct electricity — and is being tested in the treatment of brain tumors (as well as producing brighter screens for smartphones and TV). OK, it’s not strictly an awareable, but at some point, you just know it will become diagnostic bling.

The ultimate wearable may be Superflex’s robosuit: “power assist” mobility for aching older joints. The sensor-equipped, computer-controlled clothing tracks posture and movement, and rapidly processes data to send a motor “assist” when the wearer is leaning forward in a chair, getting ready to stand up, or even starting to raise their arms above their head. Originally developed at SRI International to help reduce injuries in soldiers carrying heavy loads, the power suit’s team is comprised of robotics experts as well as textile and fashion designers.

Superflex’s Robo Suits won’t be available until at least 2018 — but eager elders can always start with the Lumo Lift while awaiting the full body aware-able.