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Should you use home equity to delay Social Security?

For some time, reverse mortgage lenders touted a strategy that involves obtaining a HECM early on in retirement in order to delay taking Social Security, therefore maximizing the benefits you can receive. For every year that you can delay taking Social Security from 62 to 70, you can get as much as 8% more. According the CFPB report, the expense of taking a reverse mortgage means that by age 69, the cost of the loan exceeds the cumulative lifetime benefits of a reverse by $2,300. “For consumers whose main asset is their home, taking out a reverse mortgage to delay Social Security claiming may risk their financial security because the cost of the loan will likely be more than the benefit they gain. “The CFPB’s analysis, misrepresentations, and inaccurate conclusions fail to provide a comprehensive review of potential benefits of Social Security deferral and proper use of home equity,” Hopkins wrote. “Using a HECM to fund Social Security delay does not create greater risk for retirees experiencing spending shocks or needing to move later in retirement, because reduced distribution needs from the investment portfolio and the subsequent reduction in sequence risk offset the reverse-mortgage costs and preserve overall net worth,” Pfau wrote. “We found that while financial advisors are interested in the idea, they have a very, very, very difficult time persuading their clients to defer their benefit,” Dickson said. I can tell you that there are situations where the reverse mortgage loan would make sense. There are many factors that need to be considered,” Holland said. Ultimately, Holland said issuing broad statements about financial planning strategies is problematic, because it all depends on individual circumstances.

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