Seniors beware of reverse mortgages

  On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – September 4, 2020

by Thomas P Blake author and columnist

Welcome to new subscribers this week. As you know, I call our subscribers “Champs.” Why? Because that’s what they are. I’d particularly like to welcome Dave, a friend I’ve known for more than 25 years. More about him a little later in today’s column.

Last week’s eNewsletter featured Helen, Phoenix, age 80 1/2, whose significant other, Phil, passed away on June 27. She paid $3,000 to a company to find a senior living residence for Phil, three weeks before he died. She’s had no success trying to get some of that money back. 

Champ Larry emailed, “What a timely article!

“I’ve had a dear friend for 48.5 years who decided to get a reverse mortgage to augment his monthly Social Security check.

“He found a phone number on TV offering reverse mortgages and called them for help.

“He was fortunate. He asked me to review the paperwork before he signed and executed this loan.

“The scammers wanted $11,432.00 in loan origination fees plus 5% Interest. These fees had various bogus names. What a TOTAL RIP OFF!

“If anyone needs a reverse mortgage, I suggest getting competitive quotes from your local established banks!

“My advice for seniors: do not buy anything advertised on TV because you can usually buy it for less in your own neighborhood. Also, sometimes when they get your credit card number, you will receive stuff every month that you do not want charged to your credit card!”

Tom’s response: Good advice Larry. More than likely, your comments will help some Champs avoid be taken in a reverse-mortgage scam. I’m not saying all reverse mortgages are bad, but from the reverse-mortgage experiences, people have shared with me, nearly all were bad. I have friends who paid to get out of them. Be very careful, if you are considering a reverse mortgage.

By the way, I’ve known Larry for nearly 30 years, when he lived two doors down from me in Dana Point.

Larry is now in the longest, senior internet long-distance relationship I’ve ever heard of. Until now, that honor (at least among Champs) was held by Chris and Tina, who dated for 14 years at an approximate distance of 5,419 miles—between San Clemente, California and England. Chris and Tina married in 2017.

Larry’s senior long-distance relationship of five years with Emy totals approximately 7,405 miles-between the West coast of California and Davao City, Philippines.

 Emy and Larry – Currently stranded apart by the pandemic

The biggest drawback during COVID-19 is he is stranded in the United States. The Manila Airport is closed to foreigners. Larry and Emy hope to marry in early 2021 but with so much uncertainty surrounding the virus, they will have to wait and see.

Champ Bobbi emailed“Sorry this response is too late to help Helen, but anyone belonging to the VA has a case worker of sorts. They will work with your doctor and place you in the nearest facility most suited to your needs.

“Hospice will also advise and assist you. Never turn to outside companies, and the $3,000 dollars that Helen paid is way out of line.

“My cousin has been at a VA Facility here in Menlo Park (California) and I must say it is a beautiful, clean, building. The nursing/dr staff are outstanding and very accommodating. He turned 100 on August 3, they had balloons, birthday cake, gifts, etc. for him. His mind is still sharp as a tack, but his knees are gone and he had a foot problem, so he can’t live alone.

“His girlfriend is now 88 and could not care for him properly. She’s an angel. The sad part is not being able to visit in person, only phones. We are planning to have a window-visit outside, hoping that will work out.

Champ Rosemarie, updated us from her country, “In South Africa, restrictions are still very much in place: home by 10 p.m. and out again at 4 a.m.  Wear masks outside at all times. Borders are still closed, we can only travel around South Africa.

“We can fly overseas starting in mid-April, 2021. I miss traveling, especially to my home in Germany, to see my brother.”

                                                 Champ Rosemarie

“I am still by myself, even after starting to date 13 years ago. Lately, lots of scammers online; I know they are only online for money, so I delete them straightaway.”

Welcome to New Champ Dave

Technically, Dave isn’t a new Champ. In my and Greta’s opinion, he’s been a Champ for 23 years. He’s just a new Champ to our group. Here’s some background:

Dave and Norma married in 1961. I first met them in 1995. One of my buddies is married to their daughter Tracy.  

In the late 1990s, a healthy and physically active Norma caught a virus, completely out of the blue. Overnight, she was unable to move from the waist down. A wheelchair became her mode of transportation.

The next 23 years became a huge challenge for Norma, Dave, and Tracy.

Dave would bring Norma to social events, usually at Tracy’s house. Norma was always upbeat.

As the years progressed, Norma became more and more bedridden. The challenges became greater for her, and for Dave. However, he was always there for her.

Greta and I admired Dave’s love and devotion to his wife. He had been a successful shoe salesman in Los Angeles, calling on clients for 48 years.

Dave and I could relate to each other, we were about the same age. Dave did every possible thing he could for Norma. 

Four months ago, a few days before Mother’s Day, Norma passed away.

I talked to Dave last Tuesday evening. He’s coming out of the fog, trying to decide how to begin building a new life. Questions like: keep the house or move? To travel or not. He hopes to take a river cruise in Europe next year.

He’s trying to do what many of us are trying to do. Get rid of clutter and other stuff. He’s found unopened wedding gifts from 60-years-ago. He said he can finally park his car in the garage after 48 years.  

Of course, now in the pandemic, it’s hard to get out and be among people. I hope Greta and I can help him in that department a bit.

He’s an incredible man. A true Champ for his 23 years of ensuring Norma had what she wanted and needed. I know other Champs, like Les and Ben, have been down this path. Together, Our Champs can help Dave move through the maze.

Be wise during the pandemic this Labor Day holiday.

Matt and Cheryl – Successful senior internet long-distance relationship

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – June 21, 2019

by Tom P Blake

Matt and Cheryl – A successful senior internet long-distance relationship

                                      Setting the stage–October 2015:

Cheryl, 68, twice divorced from “two very unhappy marriages.” Lives in Ohio. Owns a horse and a home. Two kids, both married. Grandchildren in Ohio nearly grown. She’s lived within 30 minutes of them from the time they were born. All family members live in Ohio and she has many friends there as well. She’s also very involved in her church.

Using free online dating site OK Cupid. Answered 600+ questions on Cupid questionnaire.

Cheryl says, “I know many of your readers have expressed skepticism regarding the safety and efficacy of online dating. I did background checks on a few of the men I was interested in.”

Cheryl  considers herself to be a ‘word nerd’—she has a collection of inspiring quotes she tries to live by. Example she provided:

“May I have the courage today to live the life that I would love, to postpone my dream no longer, but do at last what I came here for, and waste my heart on fear no more.”  Author unknown.

Matt, 68 (three months younger than Cheryl), widower, one daughter living in her own home in same city as Matt, in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan. Using OK Cupid, Answered 400+ questions on OK Cupid questionnaire.

Getting to know a potential mate the correct way: a step-by-step process

Cheryl says, “When Matt and I were on OK Cupid in 2015, questionnaire answers were multiple choice, however, there was space to add comments to answers; Matt and I both did that on many questions.

“Answers were grouped by category, making it easy to check potential compatibility regarding issues such as religion, political views, etc., and there was a category that essentially identified ‘deal breakers,’ which was also very helpful in ‘weeding out’ potential partners.

“Hence, when we started communicating, we already knew quite a lot about each other.

“We progressed from on-site communication to email to phone calls to Skype-dating calls. Prior to giving him my email address, I Googled him and ran a basic background check.

“By the time we went on Skype, we had enjoyed nightly extended phone calls, often 2-3 hours! The Skype-dating calls were wonderful as you can see each other and enjoy facial reactions.

“In April 2016 (five months after initial contact), I flew to the U.P. to meet Matt in person, and, visit the U.P. for the first time. I stayed a week, at his apartment, which may have been somewhat ‘brazen’ of me, but even that short time living under the same roof increased our understanding of each other.

“In July 2016, Matt drove to my home in Ohio, stayed for two weeks, and met my family and friends. By then, we had fallen in love and decided we wanted to spend ‘the rest of the journey’ together, and I had decided to move to the U.P.

                                 Relocating for senior love to begin a new life

Cheryl continued, “I moved from Ohio to the U.P. of Michigan in Sept. 2016 to be with him (11 months after first contact). It was a big decision, as I wanted Matt to have the opportunity to live close to his daughter when she married and had children. We moved into Matt’s home.

“I like the U.P. and have made a new life for myself here, joining a church, working part-time at an elementary school, and am boarding my horse at a wonderful facility where we are starting a non-profit program called ‘Hoofprints of Hope.’

“The goal is to provide equine experiences for at-risk kids. Matt has been involved as well offering business-planning advice gleaned from his experiences as a city manager and economic development specialist, and he is planning to do some grant writing for the organization.

“Regarding the cold weather (Tom had asked me about this), until this past winter, our weather wasn’t much colder than in Ohio. This past winter was exceptionally cold, but I put blankets on my horse–he’s in the barn at night–and I just layered-up! I’m REALLY hoping this winter isn’t as cold!

“I’m a graduate of Ohio State University. Tom also asked if there was an Ohio State vs. Michigan rivalry, as there is in football. We aren’t into football so that’s a non-issue.

“Matt, unfortunately, has dealt with several health issues including cancer in the three years that we’ve been together, but fortunately he is now cancer-free.

“I am still encouraging people to try online dating utilizing precautions such as background checks. If you want to be in a loving relationship you must make an effort to find it! It won’t find you!”

                Keeping in touch with family and friends

Cheryl continued: “We return to Ohio to visit at least once a year, and my daughter and family visited us here in December 2017.

“Matt and I feel extraordinarily blessed to have found love with each other at our age–72 now! We know it would not have happened had we not taken a chance on the internet. We both feel the format of OK Cupid was instrumental in our finding each other.

“I learned much more about potential partners online than when meeting men in a social situation.

“I reported several obvious scammers during my online searches. Maybe Matt and I just got lucky, but before we met, I interacted/communicated online with several nice and genuine men.

“Hopefully, we can inspire others to search for and find love and happiness.

 “My sister and I had parents who were married for 60 years, so a new woman in our dad’s life (after Mom passed) was quite a surprise! However, she was a lovely person who made Dad’s last three years very happy, and we remained close to her until she passed.

“Dad said,  ‘Life is for the living,’ and his decision to seek happiness in his later years with a new partner was influential in my decision to do the same. In addition to finding happiness myself, I hope I have also set an example for my kids and grand kids of overcoming difficulties in life.”

Tom’s comment: Thanks to Cheryl, for so willingly sharing the “Matt and Cheryl” meeting. Six long-distance dating tips from this story:

  1. Finding love after 50, 60, 70 or even 80 can happen, but it takes work, time and likely some money
  2. Cheryl and Matt made the right moves: Putting themselves out there. Progressing to Skype-dating. Doing background checks. Meeting face-to-face within a year.
  3. A willingness to relocate by at least one person
  4. Acceptance of and dealing with complications as they arise—biggest one is usually health issues. Other issues could be money or children
  5. Being close in age can help, but, isn’t mandatory
  6. Having similar interests.

Reminder: The Senior Meet and Greet is this coming Thursday, June 27, at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, 34085 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point, CA 92629. 5 to 7 p.m. Beer and wine, $5 each. Complimentary appetizers. 949 412-9008. No need to RSVP

Tutor and Spunky’s – Dana Point California