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.