Bob Hull and his wife, Cheri, live in an old neighborhood in the southeast part of Boise, ID. Bob grew up in Bakersfield, CA, and moved to Boise in 1979. He met Cheri, who is from Yakima, WA, in a restaurant in Boise. “I had seen her a few times there,” Bob says. “I got to talking to her, I asked her out, and the rest is history!”
They’ve been married 15 years now. Cheri has two grown daughters with families of their own.
At 66, Bob Hull says he works as a specialized carpenter because he wants to—“not because I have to”—thanks to the reverse mortgage that he and his wife now use to help pay expenses.
Bob is a carpenter, who spent much of his career with drywall and stud framing, as well as working with acoustical ceilings. Now he works in the highly specialized field of “clean room” construction for Micron Technology, which produces memory and storage solutions for digital data systems. Their highly sensitive devices must be manufactured and assembled in sterile, dust-free environments. Bob has been with a company that contracts with Micron for the past 25 years.
“Over that time, I guess I’ve progressed to the point that I got really good at what I do,” Bob says.
Cheri is in the antiques business, serving as assistant manager of a prominent antiques store in Boise.
Bob, 66, and Cheri, 65, are very active, but Bob recently started thinking about retirement or semi-retirement.
“I wanted to feel a little more secure about our future,” he says. “I heard about reverse mortgages through a friend who is a real estate processor, who put us in touch with Kyle Buck of Mutual of Omaha Mortgage. Kyle was very good, and it was a great experience working with him. He took us through the whole process step by step, answered all of our questions and was very supportive whenever we needed it. He prepared us for the counseling session and made a complicated procedure fairly easy.”
“The reverse mortgage has taken the burden of monthly payments off of us, and we can use our energy more productively in other places,” Bob adds. “Now, I’m in a position where I’m working because I want to, not because I have to. That makes your attitude a whole lot better. I can now gauge when I want to retire.”
Buck says it was great working with Bob and Cheri. “And I was very gratified that he said the reverse mortgage let him set his own retirement date, which, if he wants, can be earlier than he had thought,” Buck adds.
With the proceeds from their loan, Bob and Cheri bought a truck and utilized the line of credit, while no longer having monthly housing payments. They live in the single-family house that Bob bought in 1987.
“It’s about 1,200 square feet, which is plenty for us, with two big bedrooms and living and dining areas,” he says. “There is a half-basement that we use for storage and tools. The appliances are all upgraded. We’ve done a lot of work on the house, and I built a really nice patio out back. It’s an older home and neighborhood, and we’re close to anything we might need: grocery stores, pharmacies and good restaurants. We’re at an age where we’ve grown out of partying. Now we just like to take life as it comes.”
The house is furnished with antiques Cheri has come across in her business, some of which they’ve also refurbished. They both enjoy gardening and driving in the mountains. “Cheri’s family still lives in Yakima, so we drive to Washington State, and we also like to drive to the coast.”
In addition to the freedom that the reverse mortgage has afforded him, Bob says, “I’ve got a lot of projects going.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, his construction work was classified as essential, so retirement still isn’t in the picture.
“We’ve continued working, almost as usual,” he says. “There is only one entrance open to the building where I’m working. They have a scanner and you have to badge in. Two or three weeks ago, they handed us each a mask when we came in. Sometimes, it takes two people to do the work, so we’ve been concentrating on the tasks we can each do alone.”