A Stable Retirement Seemed Out of Reach
HOMEOWNERS TAP HOME EQUITY to stay in home with reverse mortgages. Taking out a reverse mortgage early in retirement and keeping the credit line open for use in the future proves to be a popular strategic financial plan. Well before Danny and Sandy chronicled their summer romance in “Grease,” Shelia Crowson and Esco Hubbard experienced their own “Summer Nights.” The then-17-year-old Shelia worked the summer of 1969 at a concession stand in her hometown in Arkansas. Just down the street, Esco began his career as a truck driver. No matter which route his job took him, Esco always made a point to stop at the snack bar for a hamburger or hot dog – and to chat with Shelia. She couldn’t have known it then, but a simple invitation to join her and some
girlfriends for a day of summer sunning at the beach would change her life. She remembers the expansive beauty of the capri blue sky reflecting on the water so clearly that she still can close her eyes and see it. But more importantly, she recalls that beach excursion as the day her nearly 40year romance with Esco began. The pair headed west to California in 1971 and dated until Shelia completed her education to become a registered nurse. Esco was patient – a little too patient for Shelia. The indomitable southerner broke tradition and asked Esco to marry her, a union that lasted until his death in 2008.
Like so many young couples, the thought of retirement seemed like a flight of the imagination. They quickly became immersed with the rhythmical pattern of life and raising two children, Kimberly and Esco Jr. Sheila is matter of fact about the decades that passed so quickly, “We were two people trying to make a living, hustling and bustling. Then we looked around one day, and the kids were grown and gone. I thought it would be our time to be together and enjoy our twilight years. And then Esco died before we could.” Although the couple enjoyed stable careers, they didn’t plan much for retirement or discuss what would happen if one was widowed. “I wished we had,” she says, her speech still thick with the southern dialect she picked up as a youth. “I’d be sitting pretty now if we had.” Instead, the years following Esco’s death were rife with near-fatal medical conditions and chronic diseases that left Sheila battling her failing body. She stressed over how to make ends meet and yearned to have the stamina and resources to visit her remaining family, now spread over three states. The mortgage on the home in Fontana, California that she once shared with her husband became a financial burden instead of an asset. Despite the challenges, Sheila never lost her grit. She tapped into the pluckiness of her youth to pivot her previous knowledge and training as a registered nurse into a rewarding new career as a caregiver in the home health care field. Her work gave her a renewed sense of purpose but didn’t alter the fact that her monthly bills exceeded her monthly income.
...Like so many young couples, the thought of retirement seemed like a flight of the imagination...
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SO WHY DID A REVERSE MORTGAGE STAND OUT TO SHEILA? Because, as she discovered, the reverse mortgage line of credit has a few clear-cut advantages over a traditional home equity line of credit for seniors. Borrower must continue to pay property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and home maintenance costs. 1
Retirees Clear in New Survey: We Want to Stay in Our Homes. Retrieved May 30, 2017, from https:// www.theamericancollege. edu/retirees-clear-newsurvey-we-want-stay-ourhomes 2
Reverse Mortgage Presents Strategic Financial Planning Tool for Retirement But just like that summer so many years ago that changed the trajectory of her life, one phone call last summer determined Sheila’s ability to reinvent her life once again. After hearing a commercial conveying the relief many seniors experience after secur