Barry H. Sacks

Barry H. Sacks, Ph.D., JD

Barry Sacks is a 1973 graduate of Harvard Law School. Since 1974, with the enactment of ERISA (the pension reform law), he has practiced as a tax attorney specializing in pension plan law. For the past 10 years, he has been listed in the peer-selected “Best Lawyers in America.” In 2015, he was designated as Best Lawyers’ “Lawyer of the Year” in the field of retirement plan law for the San Francisco Bay area. In addition, Barry holds a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from MIT, where he completed a doctoral dissertation that involved substantial mathematical modeling.

Barry published the pioneering research paper modeling a strategy that uses reverse mortgage credit lines to mitigate the effects of adverse sequences of investment returns in retirement accounts (Journal of Financial Planning, February 2012). The paper was written with co-author Professor Stephen Sacks. The retirement income strategy described in the paper, embedded in software that manages the flow of retirement income, has been granted two patents. A sequel to this paper is currently in preparation, expanding the range of application of the strategy. This paper is being written with co-authors Peter Neuwirth, FSA, and Professor Stephen Sacks. In 2016, Barry published a paper on the deductibility of the interest accrued on reverse mortgage loans (Journal of Taxation, April 2016).

Barry has been a frequent speaker on those subjects, both live and in webinars, to financial planning groups, estate planning and trust attorneys’ and accountants’ groups, reverse mortgage lenders’ groups, and to graduate tax seminars at law and business schools.

While developing his model for the use of reverse mortgages in retirement income planning, Barry became aware of the particular needs of retirees (or soon-to-be retirees) who are in the process of divorce. These needs are of special concern in cases where the retirement savings are divided between the parties or where one of the parties has received most of the retirement savings but not much (or none) of the value of the home equity. As a result, Barry has worked with his co-authors on a paper (to be submitted to a professional journal) that addresses these retirees’ needs.

Barry lives in San Francisco and Sonoma, except when he is traveling in faraway exotic places.