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Survey says: Seniors' attitude about reverse mortgages reveal progress

National Mortgage Professional
Jan 27, 2008

Survey says: Seniors' attitude about reverse mortgages reveal progressMortgagePress.com2006 Financial Freedom Senior Sentiment Survey, educating seniors, Financial Freedom, loans According to the 2007 Financial Freedom Senior Sentiment Survey, the fourth annual survey from Financial Freedom, a subsidiary of IndyMac Bank FSB, many seniors have at least heard of reverse mortgages, and nearly half of them have a positive opinion about these unique loans, yet many more seniors remain skeptical, have not heard of them or do not feel they know enough about them. The survey finds that 40 percent of seniors have heard, read or seen some information about reverse mortgages. This is consistent with the 2006 Financial Freedom Senior Sentiment Survey (41 percent) and up from 35 percent in 2005. In addition, nearly half (49 percent) reported a favorable opinion, indicating reverse mortgages were a credible financial tool (15 percent), a good idea for low-income households (14 percent), something they would consider (16 percent) or would recommend to a family member (four percent). While this illustrates the industry's success, the survey also revealed there is more work to be done in educating seniors. Still more than half (54 percent) said they haven't heard, seen or read anything about reverse mortgages or considered taking out a reverse mortgage in the last year. Roughly one quarter (24 percent) had an unfavorable opinion, and almost half (44 percent) said they have heard of them, but don't know enough about them to offer an opinion. "As an industry, we've come a long way in a short time when you consider that the industry has grown from 7,000 to over 100,000 loans in just a few years," said Michelle Minier, CEO of Financial Freedom. "For the industry to continue its growth, we need to remain committed to educating seniors, their advisors and financial professionals who play an integral role in the process. This data also reveals a tremendous opportunity for reverse mortgage lenders and brokers to connect with seniors by showcasing their expertise." The Financial Freedom Senior Sentiment Survey also found that seniors trust financial professionals less than other professionals. However, "being an expert in his field" was second only to ethics in seniors' list of reasons for trusting a professional. Regarding reverse mortgages, the survey also revealed: -Multimedia sources are the most effective forms of educating seniors about reverse mortgages. -Almost three quarters of seniors learned about reverse mortgages through a form of mass mediamedia (34 percent), advertising/infomercial (23 percent), AARP (10 percent) and the Internet (seven percent). Very few seniors learned about reverse mortgages through personal contacts such as friends or family (10 percent), a financial advisor (five percent), accountant (one percent) or lawyer (one percent). -Among the small sample of seniors who have considered a reverse mortgage, 77 percent said that their children's opinion would have little to no impact on their decision. For more information, visit
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