One of the biggest assets seniors have is their home, and in some situations those who are facing challenges in retirement may be able to live a bit more comfortably by tapping into their home equity, explains a recent article from U.S. News & World Report.

Using a home as a retirement fund is one solution the articles gives. “With traditional pensions disappearing and Social Security payments remaining relatively flat thanks to the current low-interest economic environment, some say home equity is the logical place to look for money in retirement,” the article says.

Of the options, a reverse mortgage may be the most attention-grabbing for those homeowners who may have been skeptical in the past or who just aren’t sure what exactly a reverse mortgage does.

The article points out that a reverse mortgage today is certainly not what a reverse mortgage was in the 1980s. Until recently, the product hasn’t had the best reputation, but now with many new consumer protections, it’s safer than ever.

Reverse mortgage loans wouldn’t necessarily makes sense for seniors who plan to sell or move within the next few years because interest rates may be higher for a reveres mortgage than for other mortgage products, the article explains. But for those who are hoping to age in place, the reverse mortgage product could be extremely useful if unexpected costs come up in retirement.

Another tip the article gives is to make sure seniors keep an open line of communication with their family members if they do decide to go through with a reverse mortgage, so adult children know exactly what their role is in the transaction.

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