Exploring the Retirement Consumption Puzzle

by David Blanchett, CFP®, CFA

Wanting to learn more about consumer spending in retirement? This article discusses the following topics:

  • Empirical research on retiree spending has noted a “retirement consumption puzzle,” where retiree expenditures tend to decrease both upon and during retirement. This decrease in spending is inconsistent with general economic theories on consumption, which suggest individuals seek to maintain constant consumption over their lifetimes.
  • Government data on consumption was analyzed in this study to understand how retiree consumption actually changes over time.
  • The results of the analysis suggest that although the retiree consumption basket is likely to increase at a rate that is faster than general inflation, actual retiree spending tends to decline in retirement in real terms. This decrease in real consumption averages approximately 1 percent per year during retirement. 
  • A “retirement spending smile” effect is noted. This finding has important implications when estimating retirement withdrawal rates and determining optimal spending strategies.

Propriety Reverse Mortgage Products Could Eclipse FHA’s HECM Program in 2019

Written by Jamie Hopkins on July 2, 2019

The reverse mortgage market world heads in reverse away from the government created Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) and towards new propriety products. This is an encouraging sign because any healthy market needs competition, innovation, and variety. However, recently HECM program has been the driving force behind the reverse mortgage world, leaving many without an ideal solution to utilizing home equity as part of a sustainable retirement plan.

The article can be found here.

Busting Three Half-Truths About Reverse Mortgages

By Jamie Hopkins on June 24, 2019

Hear from Jamie Hopkins in this Forbes article regarding the public’s opinion on reverse mortgages: “A few years back, I conducted and published research in the Journal of Financial Planning that showed Americans don’t understand reverse mortgages. In fact, respondents scored below 50 percent on a 10-question true-false quiz.

One possible explanation for the poor performance is a lot of misinformation floating about. A recent USA Today article titled “Considering reverse mortgages? Better to reverse course on this risky course” confirms my belief. The article contains many half-truths and misunderstandings and projects a negative connotation of reverse mortgages onto the reader.””

Why The Announcement Of The Academy Of Home Equity Is Such An Important Development

By Jamie Hopkins, Esq., LLM, MBA, CFP®, RICP® on June 20, 2019

When it comes to retirement planning, discussions about downsizing, refinancing, making renovations to the home to support aging and reverse mortgages are ignored in most financials plans. This void is shocking since home equity is typically the largest asset that most Americans have as they near and enter retirement.

This gap in planning is why a new development at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana is so important. A group of researchers, thought leaders, planners, and industry experts, formerly of the Funding Longevity Task Force, have just joined Dr. Craig Lemoine at the University of Illinois Financial Planning Program. In the past, the group consisted of independent researchers, including myself, which is important to note as I discuss the new organization. The team formerly tested retirement income strategies and the role of home equity in financial plans. While much of the group’s research then focused on reverse mortgages, the academy is committed to investigate a broader study of home equity and retirement security.

For full article, click here.

Picture of Jaime P. Hopkins
Jaime P. Hopkins, ESQ., MBA, CFP®, LLM, CLU®, ChFC®, RICP®

Jamie Hopkins, Esq., LLM, MBA, CFP®, RICP®, is the Director of Retirement Research at Carson Wealth and a former professor of Taxation at The American College, where he helped co-create the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) education program. Jamie strives to increase the retirement income security of Americans by delivering practical and trusted retirement research and education. His most recent book, “Rewirement: Rewiring The Way You Think About Retirement,” details the behavioral finance issues that hold people back from a more financially secure retirement. He has been selected by InvestmentNews as one of the top 40 financial service professionals under the age of 40 and was also selected by The American Bar Association as one of the top 40 Young Attorneys in the country. In 2017, Trusts & Estates Journal awarded Professor Hopkins the Distinguished Author Award for his article on the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule. He holds his LLM in Taxation from Temple University School of Law and his J.D. from Villanova University School of Law.

Reverse Mortgage Lenders Pivot as Sales Falter

By Greg Iacurci on May 24, 2019

“The reverse mortgage market is evolving for the first time in a decade, as the industry pivots to address sagging sales and what it sees as a new opportunity presented by the number of baby boomers retiring.

Reverse mortgages are a type of loan that allows seniors to tap their home equity, as a lump sum or line of credit, without having to make out-of-pocket payments. The market has been dominated by a single product, a home equity conversion mortgage, which is insured by the federal government and sold by approved lenders. “

Full article can be found here.

The FHA Can Improve its Reverse Mortgage Program by Changing Servicing Protocol

By Laurie Goodman and Edward Golding on May 31, 2019

The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) lets seniors tap into their $7 trillion in housing wealth to help them pay for living expenses that many have difficulty affording. But this program has proved very costly to the FHA, prompting the FHA to narrow the eligibility of the program, resulting in decreased participation.

To find out more about the potential solutions to this issue, click here.

FHA Commissioner Talks HECM Program Health, Second Appraisals

By Chris Clow on June 2, 2019

The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program is a unique hybrid of the public and private sectors, with a great deal of interest directed toward the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) who set the policies by which that program operates.

Full article can be found here.

Finding A High-Quality Reverse-Mortgage Lender

by Wade Pfau on May 30, 2019

A common question I receive regards how to find a trustworthy reverse-mortgage lender. This is not necessarily easy for those beginning the process with little more to rely on than an Internet search engine. A starting point may be with personal referrals from your financial advisor, or from friends or family who have felt satisfied with their lenders. I am also willing to help readers find the names of local lenders from reputable companies if you write to me providing your city and state. I am not compensated by reverse-mortgage lenders for giving such referrals.

Full article may be found here.