Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Marie, 75, has lived in her East Side Philadelphia row house for 30 years. “I love this neighborhood. We all look out for one another. If someone gets sick, a neighbor is there to help out with meals or whatever needs you may have.“

Like so many retirees, Marie‘s only source of income was Social Security, which made it extremely difficult to pay bills, or even eat nourishing meals.

Harassed by creditors, Marie found herself behind on her property taxes, and she had very little money for food. “I was picking mold off my bread, so I could eat,“ she said, “and I was watering down my soup to make it last longer.“

The stress became debilitating. Joan suffered numerous heart attacks and was constantly in the hospital.

One day, when her close friends came to visit, they found Marie with the tax collector. Soon after, Marie had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.

Her friends offered moral support and helped Marie research possible solutions. Throughout the entire bankruptcy process, Marie was terrified she would lose her home.

But then the friends discovered reverse mortgages and put Marie in touch with Wendy Whitaker at Princeton Mortgage Corporation. Because the bankruptcy was already in process, it had to be cleared first before the reverse mortgage could proceed. Along the way, Marie almost passed away. “The doctors looked at me and said, ’you know, Joan, we almost lost you on March 13th around 10 a.m,‘“ she says.

Wendy stepped in and helped alleviate some of Marie‘s stress by personally dealing with the mortgage company and other creditors that were pestering her.

Just when things were looking up, and the loan was weeks away from closing, the margin on Marie‘s interest rate increased. This, in turn, reduced the amount of available funds she would receive to a level that would not allow her to pay off the existing mortgage. “I told Marie, ’you are going to be able to keep your home,‘“ says Wendy. And Princeton Mortgage gave up its origination fee to make up for the loss of funds caused by the margin increase. Joan got the reverse mortgage, paid off her debts, is receiving $300 to $400 in extra income each month, and has survived. “I feel great now. I can buy food, clothes that are not second hand, and pay off my hospital bills. The reverse mortgage saved my life,“ she adds.