One way to fix America’s retirement system is to provide better access to housing equity in retirement, according to a recent paper published by economists Ben Harris and Martin Neil Baily of the Brookings Institution.

The paper, based on the recently published book, “The Retirement Challenge: What’s Wrong with America’s System and a Sensible Way to Fix It”, discusses seven policy reforms to help improve the current system.

What they’re saying: “For older Americans with substantial housing wealth but limited financial wealth, retirement presents an agonizing choice: Sell your home and live off the proceeds, or “age in place” without access to a primary source of wealth,” says the paper.

  • “One solution is to offer better access to reverse mortgages, which allow retirees to age in their residences while accessing the money in their homes.”
  • Specific policy recommendations include offering conversions between traditional and reverse mortgages and less costly “small dollar” reverse mortgages.