What a Difference a Word Makes!

The biggest challenge my industry faces is debunking the myths and the reputation of the HECM program.  “What is a HECM”, you might ask.  Well, it stands for Home Equity Conversion Mortgage.  That’s the official name for the HUD program that most know as a reverse mortgage.  In a dramatic example of the premise that “perception is reality”, a group of about 80 professionals who work with elderly Americans sat through an hour long presentation about the HECM program.  The words “reverse mortgage” were never uttered.   At the conclusion of that presentation they were asked to raise their hands if they thought the program was a viable financial tool that should be considered as a part of retirement strategies. Virtually all of them raised their hand.  Another group of about 80 professionals was given precisely the same presentation but “HECM” was never uttered.  Instead the presenter consistently identified the program as a “reverse mortgage”.  When asked if the program merited serious consideration very few raised their hand!  The most informative, balanced discussion of the program’s reputation that I have seen is by a Forbes contributor.  Please have a look at it here.

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