July 23, 2024
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July 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I don’t have to tell you there’s a lot going on in our world today. At the forefront of my mind is the war in Israel, of course, and there’s plenty to be said about what’s going on in our country, the good old US of A. I have a daughter, Ahuva, in Israel who is at MTC, and aside from learning, she’s very much involved in taking care of the kids in an orphanage that live right next door to her yeshiva. We left her a ticket to come back, if she wanted to, but she opted to stay. I’m proud of her. I’m proud of all the people, and soldiers in Israel, and, at the same time, pained about what they are going through. I’m pained that we have animals that appear like human beings existing not only in Israel, but around the world. I’m pained that we don’t have a final solution to get rid of them and the ignorance they spew. Cockroaches have existed forever, and we never seem to get rid of those either.

There is a lot to deal with and juggle financially, mentally and emotionally. How do we keep all the balls up in the air without dropping any? We worry about our children. We worry about our families in Israel. We worry about our families in our own country and in our own states, in our own universities right here where we live. The sandwich generation worries about their kids and parents. That’s a big basket full of stuff. Truth is, I don’t like the word worry. Worry connotes inaction. Worry does not control the outcome desired, but wouldn’t it be great if it did. There’s not enough space for me to write about all these things, nor am I qualified to address all these presented issues, so I’m going to address something near and dear to my heart, in which I may be able to offer some minor solutions—caring for our seniors.

Not all seniors age gracefully in place even if there is substantial wealth. There are family dynamics, logistical issues, opinionated siblings, accusations of inadequate contributions, lists of who does more, and so on. There’s a compounding of the former if there isn’t substantial wealth. Everyone has their own lawyer, and their own CPA, and their own trust and estate planner and their own financial planner, and they all have an opinion. What I hope to do in this article is to offer some practical solutions that may ease the strain on families and the elderly relatives they are caring for.

I would like to concentrate on how to access cash and preserve the cash and savings that one has for as long as possible. The theme, with the following suggestions, will be aging in place comfortably.

If a person owns a home and is at least 62, they can take a reverse mortgage on the property. Some proprietary products will allow younger ages as well. There are positives and negatives to all mortgage products. The key is to make sure that when you take any financing, it aligns with what you are trying to accomplish. Due to limited time availability and deadline pressures, some advisors are quick to negate an option because they are not familiar with the product. Take it upon yourself to understand the options and then meet with your advisor.

Let’s talk about the advantages:

  1. You preserve cash instead of paying all cash.
  2. You eliminate a monthly mortgage payment.
  3. You can preserve your stock portfolio instead of selling off to access cash.
  4. You can structure the reverse mortgage so that you use a portion to close and leave an untapped credit line portion so that you take advantage of line growth (there is a growth factor on a reverse mortgage. Any unused portion of the line grows and if you allow that, over the years you have more tax-free money available when needed).
  5. A reverse mortgage can be used for planning the following:
  6. a) To provide funding for healthcare or medical treatment:Within one’s budget, there is a need for long-term care planning to both protect one’s assets and remove any potential burden on the family. Many seniors may be forced to use their savings and/or their monthly income for long-term care coverage. A reverse mortgage allows seniors to stay in their homes, be self-sufficient and not deplete all their savings.
  7. b) To provide funding for estate taxes: If a reverse mortgage line is tapped to fund life insurance, the total estate value subject to taxes is lowered by providing life insurance proceeds for the homeowner’s heirs to pay estate taxes.

Generally, the full value of a home is subject to estate tax, but a reverse mortgage lien reduces its value, thereby lowering estate tax. (Consult your tax estate specialist.) At death, the full value of the property would not be included in estate valuation for tax purposes. The accumulated debt of the reverse mortgage would effectively reduce the property value and may lower any applicable estate taxation. In addition, accrued interest in the reverse mortgage may be available as a tax reduction upon repayment of the loan.

According to Health and Human Services, 70% of seniors will need some form of home care in their lifetime. That equates to three out of four seniors. Good long-term care policies are very expensive. If someone has abundant savings or is lucky enough to have taken out the plans years ago, I will say, great. If that’s not the case, however, accessing cash from a reverse mortgage may be a great way to pay for premiums.

Medicare, Medicap and most Medicare Advantage plans are designed to cover hospital stays, doctor bills, and some short-term skilled nursing. What they don’t cover is the cost of everyday assistance in one’s home. There are home care plans that are viable alternatives to traditional long-term care insurance. These plans do not require medical underwriting, have no elimination periods (although there is an initial 90-day waiting period after enrollment) and no age limits, and they provide in-home non-medical care services. They are not insurance plans. These are subscription-based plans that allow one to buy membership hours ranging from 1,500 to 10,000 home-care service hours.

Preservation of savings becomes key as we get older. Everybody has different needs and different risk-reward thresholds. I’m not going to go into asset allocation, but I will suggest that if a person is in their 60s or older, and they want to eliminate some risk from their portfolio or roll over some monies from their qualified pension plans, annuities may be an alternative. Annuities, when carefully structured, can provide upside (not guaranteed), while eliminating downside risk. Additional riders can be added, such as income riders and long-term care riders, which can be a great workaround from getting a standalone long-term care policy.

While I have discussed some financial suggestions for helping our seniors, I don’t want to leave out that it’s important to make calls to those who have raised us and let them know that we love them. To stand and give our seat up for someone who is our senior and to hold the door open for them. To remember that without our seniors, where would we be!

May Hashem continue to give us, his Jewish people, the strength and blessings to take care of one another and continue in the path of our patriarchs and elders. May he fortify, protect and watch over our soldiers in Israel so that they may defeat and wipe from the face of this earth all those who are our enemies.


Carl Guzman, NMLS# 65291, CPA, is the founder and president of Greenback Capital Mortgage Corp. & www.Mortgagegenius.com. He is a real estate mortgage banker and business financing expert with over 33 years experience. He currently has 214 5-star reviews on Zillow. Carl and his team will help you get the best mortgage financing for your situation and his advice will save you thousands! www.greenbackcapital.com [email protected]

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