The Bright Lady: Cindy Sloan Butts; Educator, Financial Professional, Author and Editor, Mother, Grandmother, Member of Temple Sinai for 30 years Cindy’s blog: http://www.csscribe.com/
Cindy and I met when I joined a Colorado networking group that she was facilitating. From our first meeting, we began a personal and professional relationship that continues to this day.
I am a Mortgage guy and Cindy is an insurance professional. During that first meeting, after the members had shared information about their businesses, she called on me to stand and introduce myself and my business.
“Mark is new to our group, he’s in the mortgage business. Mark, please tell us about who you are and what you do.”
“Thank you. Greetings all, and I appreciate the opportunity to be part of your group. First off, I am in the mortgage business, but I only do Reverse Mortgages.”
“Reverse mortgages,” Cindy interrupted. “Please forgive my jumping in here, but I’ve never met anyone who does only Reverse Mortgages. I don’t even know much about your product. Why did you decide to specialize in that specific area?”
“My parents owned their home, free and clear but they needed more income. I decided to find out if a Reverse was a good idea for them. After doing a great deal of research, we decided it was good possibility. I looked for a mortgage person who could help them and I found one. My parents came out of the meeting with an appointment for counseling and I came out that meeting with a new job. I’ve been working with Reverse Mortgages ever since,” I said.
I sat down and the group kindly gave me a polite golf-clap. After the meeting, I waited to talk with Cindy, the leader. After a few moments she saw me and came over to complete her introduction.
“I’m Cindy Sloan Butts and I represent (life insurance group) We are so glad you came. We don’t have anyone like you that I know of in our entire network,” Cindy said.
“I am glad to be here. This is the first networking group I’ve ever paid to join.”
“May I ask you a few questions about a Reverse Mortgage?”
“Sure,” I said.
“How old does a borrower need to be?” she asked.
“At least one borrower needs to be 62.”
“I’ve worked with senior groups for many years and most of what I’ve heard about Reverse Mortgages, to be blunt, is negative. Why is that?” she asked.
“I’m not sure why, but I know in my parents’ situation, my siblings didn’t like the idea of a Reverse Mortgage. Then again, none of my siblings knew anything about a Reverse Mortgage. In my experience, people who hold negative opinions don’t know a great deal about this loan.”
“That would explain a great deal. To be honest, I don’t know much about them either. So a Reverse Mortgage is a loan?” Cindy asked.
“Yes, it’s a loan. Like any loan, you own the house, keep the place up and are responsible for paying the taxes and insurance. The big difference between a Reverse Mortgage and traditional mortgages is the spectacular options you have with a Reverse Mortgage.”
“Is one of those options that if a person owns the home free and clear, they can take money out every month?” Cindy asked.
“That is true, but that is also true if you have a mortgage on your home. Most of the people who I’ve worked with had a mortgage. So they were able to use the Reverse Mortgage to pay off their current mortgage, and they were able to take out some money when they needed it” I said.
“Let me get this straight. I, or someone else could pay off our existing mortgage and not have a monthly payment?” Cindy asked.
“That is correct. You are not required to make a principal or interest payment. You can, but you don’t have to make any payments,” I said.
Cindy pulled me to back of the room and said, “I didn’t know much about a Reverse Mortgage, and I wish I had known more along time ago. I worked with many seniors who were struggling financially, and a big part of the struggle was their house payment.”
“I am glad we could talk about this. Now you might understand why I only do Reverse Mortgages, and even why I started my own mortgage company.” I said.
“So you could offer the options to people,” she said.
“Yes, that’s why,” I replied.
Cindy makes the following addition to my story:
One of the most important lessons of this note is that too often, whether in regard to working with seniors or the population as a whole, we make assumptions that ultimately work against our clients. Assuming that a reverse mortgage is unsuitable is an excellent example.
We should never assume that our seniors don’t want or need long term care insurance. Likewise we should never take it for granted that they have proper financial services consultation or life insurance. It is vital that we ask the difficult questions, assure our seniors that our primary functions are as advocates and that there are no questions that they should hesitate to ask.
By this time, we have all become aware that seniors are the most common targets for misrepresentation or extortion. Consequently, we can all take active roles in preventing these events while providing the best care, advice and intervention. Shalom.