Linda, who requested her last name not be used, is 73 and loves animals. She has two emus, two goats, two cats, three dogs and many chickens and ducks, who live with her on two acres of land outside of Nampa, ID.

“I’ve always loved the outdoors. Carl and I never had kids, but we always had lots of animals to keep us company,” says Linda.

Linda and her late husband Carl bought their tri-level house 31 years ago and quickly added a wrap-around porch, because “we wanted a country-looking house.”

The couple moved to Idaho in 1991 after Carl accepted a job at a linen company owned by Linda’s uncle. Both were hard workers, but Linda and Carl never had the opportunity to save for retirement.  

Linda and Carl were married for 51 years. She grew up in Los Angeles, while Carl was born and raised in Sacramento. The couple spent their first 20 years together in Sacramento. Linda was a secretary and a bookkeeper and Carl owned a photography studio.

“Most of our retirement income came from Social Security,” says Linda. To make ends meet, Carl drove a long-haul truck for the U.S. postal service to make a little extra cash.

One day at church, Carl was talking to a friend about money issues when the topic of reverse mortgages came up. The friend recommended to Linda and Carl that they contact Kyle Buck, a loan officer who lived nearby, to learn more about reverse mortgages and to see if it made sense for them.

“Linda and Carl were really concerned about running out of money, so we designed a reverse mortgage plan to help them achieve their retirement goals,” says Buck.

During the consultation, Buck explained how a reverse mortgage worked, answered their questions, and estimated what they might qualify for. Afterwards, Linda and Carl met with an independent HUD-approved housing counselor to discuss the numbers provided by Buck and other possible options besides a reverse mortgage.

After carefully thinking it over, the couple proceeded with the reverse mortgage and it closed the week before Thanksgiving in 2014.

The couple had no mortgage on their home. The property appraised for $267,000, which allowed them to establish a $47,000 line of credit to draw down as needed and to receive $500 a month.

“The funds we got from the reverse mortgage allowed us to pay the bills and live a more financially secure life,” says Linda. “Every month, the lender direct-deposited that $500 into our bank account.”

Over time, Linda’s and Carl’s home increased in value. They ended up refinancing their reverse mortgage three times over the next seven years to access additional equity. The last time was in December 2021, just a few months after Carl passed away. The home appraised for $600,000, which allowed Linda to increase her line of credit and receive a new monthly payment of $1,500.

Linda greatly misses Carl, but she’s also thankful that the reverse mortgage is still providing her with the necessary funds to live a financially secure life in her golden years. When she’s not hanging around the animals, Linda says she enjoys making homemade greeting cards for friends and family. “I make cards for birthdays, anniversaries, you name it,” she adds with a smile.