Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for Me?

For many retirees, the bulk of their life savings is in the equity they've built up in their homes. Yet getting at that home equity can be a challenge. Are reverse mortgages the right answer?

In the following video from The Motley Fool's series on retirement investing, sponsored by TD Ameritrade, Fool consumer finance expert Dayana Yochim talks to Dan Caplinger, the Fool's director of investment planning, about the basics of reverse mortgages. Dan notes that for those who don't want to sell their homes, a reverse mortgage has the attractive benefit of allowing you to get regular income while still living in your home. Yet Dan also goes through some traps of reverse mortgages, including provisions that can allow a lender to make your loan come due immediately if you stop living in the home. That has led to horror stories for some families, where the borrower on the reverse mortgage went to a nursing home or other facility and therefore triggered their reverse mortgage to come due. Dan recommends being smart about structuring a reverse mortgage to avoid those pitfalls, and also considering your other income resources to make sure you understand all your options.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2014, at 8:07 AM, HallmarkAbsSvce wrote:

    Great article Dan. I work with many reverse originators who are constantly battling many of the misconceptions that are out there!

    It lays out some of the benefits and caveats very clearly.

    I would like to embed the video at the Hallmark Abstract Service blog with a link back to TMF but do not see the html. Is it available?


  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2014, at 8:09 AM, HallmarkAbsSvce wrote:

    If you can email it to me my email address is



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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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