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Reverse Loans, Pre-Retirement (New York Times)

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Homeowners taking out reverse mortgages are getting younger. The average age of homeowners who have gone through the federally required reverse mortgage counseling was 71.5, down from 76 in 2000, according to a report by MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Council on Aging. The percentage of homeowners aged 62 to 64 increased to 20% from 6% in 1999. The minimum age to take out a reverse mortgage is 62, but experts feel that is too young. “It’s a bad idea,” said Judith Grimaldi, a lawyer who specializes in representing the elderly. “You have too much life ahead to encumber your most important asset.” The MetLife report found two-thirds of homeowners seeking reverse mortgages wanted them as a way to lower their debt levels. A less costly alternative could be a line of credit secured by a home.