HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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dies. The house must be sold or refinanced then. Heirs are not personally liable if the payoff balance exceeds the home value when the property is sold. However, heirs do inherit the remaining home equity, if any, after paying off the reverse mortgage loan and interest.


Loan origination fees and FHA mortgage insurance premiums are typically higher on reverse mortgages than ordinary mortgages. Interest rates may also be higher than other options. Social Security and Medicare eligibility are generally not affected by a reverse mortgage, but needsbased government programs such as Medicaid may be affected.


Swaim, who has been loaning money professionally for 40 years, says if you need money immediately, instead of applying for a reverse mortgage, consider selling your house and finding a place to rent. If your children really want to help you, they can buy your house from you while you continue to live there.


 “Before you enter into a reverse mortgage, I suggest you go to a banker you trust and tell the banker your situation,” Swaim said. “Is there a substitute solution that is less dire than a reverse mortgage? Chances are the banker can work out some other way to help you through a financial crisis.”


For more information, visit http://www.reversemortgageadviser.com.

How does a reverse mortgage differ from other mortgages? Why did one financial adviser call a reverse mortgage “an option of last resort”?


Although private banks sometimes make reverse mortgages (often referred to as a home equity conversion mortgage, or HECM), these days most senior citizens apply for reverse mortgages through a government program administered through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Eligibility requirements include:



The loan amount of a reverse mortgage is based on the age of the youngest borrower, interest rates and the lesser of the home’s appraised value or sale price and the maximum lending limit.

REVERSE MORTGAGES ALLOW YOU TO LIVE IN AND STILL OWN YOUR HOME

The older the applicant and the greater the equity in the home, the greater the loan amount you can apply for. Even with the reverse mortgage in place, you still own the house and remain responsible for all upkeep, property taxes and insurance.


One feature of reverse mortgages that appeals to many people is living in the house without a monthly mortgage payment. When your application is approved, the money can be paid out in different ways: through a lump sum, a line of credit, in monthly payments for as long as the applicant lives and occupies the home or various combinations of these. Remember, however, that with each payment you receive, your equity in the house goes down. Little or nothing may be left for you if you sell the house before you die.


John R. Swaim, senior vice president and lending manager at First Southern National Bank, headquartered in Kentucky, says you cannot move to a nursing home or anywhere else and rent your house with a reverse mortgage in place. Reverse mortgages are nonrecourse loans. The full amount of the reverse mortgage, plus the interest, is due when the owner moves out of the house or

MARTHA EVANS SPARKS

Martha Evans Sparks is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

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