Wildwood, New Jersey
Roger remembers when he recommended a
reverse mortgage to his parents after his father’s health
began to decline. This was in the early Nineties, not
long after the Federal Housing Administration
introduced the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage.
“They weren’t interested,” says Roger. But he kept
information on the program anyway, just in case. In
2005, he suggested to his ailing mother that she get a reverse
mortgage to pay for the care she needed to remain at home.
Same response. No.
“My mother ended up dying in this house,” he said. “She was in
her Nineties when her health started to decline, but she refused
to go into hospice. She wanted to be live here until the very end.”
After his mother’s passing, Roger remained in the home his parents
built in Wildwood, NJ in 1982, and got a reverse mortgage.
“It’s a small house, just 30 feet by 100 feet, but that’s typical for
the area,” he explaines.
Roger grew up in New York City, but every summer his parents
brought the family to Wildwood, a shore town up the boardwalk
from Atlantic City. “I make sure my grandkids get to do the
same thing,” he said.
After Roger graduated from high school, his family moved to
Wildwood permanently. He went to college and then into
the military for four years where he served as a second lieutenant.
After leaving the service, Roger moved back to New York City
and worked for a community development agency, then as a
probation officer, followed by a stint at Grumman in the
aerospace division. He retired as a program analyst for the
Department of Health and Human Services.
“I’ve had a very interesting work life,” he chuckles. “My favorite
job was in community action, working for a community
development agency. This was the late Sixties. Money was
coming into the inner city neighborhoods, like Harlem, for
revitalization efforts. It was an exciting time.”
Even so, by the time he retired in 2001, Roger admits he hadn’t
attained much in the way of retirement benefits. “By the time I
retired, I was living on Social Security and a small pension,” he says.
His motivation for getting a reverse mortgage was to completely
remodel his parent’s home, and pay off all his debts. He
contacted Wendy Whitaker of Princeton Mortgage Corporation
and got a reverse mortgage in 2006.
“I installed a new roof, a new back porch…I basically remodeled
the whole house,” notes Roger. “Then I paid off all my debts
and back taxes. I helped out my family too. I called my brother
and asked him how much credit card debt he owed. He told me.
Then I paid that off too.”
He bought a new car with cash and has managed to do a little
traveling as well.
“I’m not living a lavish life by any means, but I count myself
lucky, because I’m retired and completely debt free,” says Roger.
“Not many retirees can say the same thing.”