Educating seniors to make the best choice for their unique situation

by Kymberly Bach

Mike Poole has been working with Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, also known as reverse mortgages, for over 10 years, and has been with TowneBank for eight of those. He shares how much he enjoys helping seniors with a big smile on his face. “It’s not a job to me; I absolutely love what I do!”

His mission statement makes it clear that his ultimate goal is to help his senior clients attain peace of mind knowing that they can have financial security. That mission is to help each client understand the benefits of a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage and to assist them in making an informed decision about whether it is right for them.

“There is so much information available on reverse mortgages that it can sometimes be overwhelming, and while the product and the program are somewhat generic, they both have evolved. The way the product applies to different people’s situations makes it personal to them,” Mike explains. “For example, there are no two couples that have the same debt or income structure and/or short and long term needs. Everyone is unique in that respect, so while the product is broad, its application and effects are specific to the individual circumstances of that particular homeowner.”

One of Mike’s satisfied clients, B. Courtney recalls, “I had considered doing a reverse mortgage for quite some time. I had seen the ads on TV and heard some things through various places, but I just wasn’t sure if this was the way to go. I finally decided to contact TowneBank Mortgage and I can honestly say it is the best thing I’ve ever done financially! I now live with peace of mind knowing my financial problems are gone and I can still maintain my pride and dignity knowing that my children will also receive an inheritance. The reverse mortgage has been a win/win for me and my family; thank you TowneBank Mortgage for the guidance and caring approach.”

Mike goes on, “One of the most common questions I am asked is, ‘Can I get a reverse mortgage if I don’t have a mortgage anymore?’ Many people who have repaid their mortgage don’t think about this as an option, but about 50 percent of my clients have already paid off their homes,” Mike affirms. “In the past a reverse mortgage has come across as a ‘needs based’ product in that one would only get one if they had to; but since April 2015, credit and income qualifying factors have brought a lot more credibility to the program. In addition, we are required to make sure clients have enough income capacity to be able to pay their property taxes and insurance.”

Fifty percent of homeowners who are eligible for a reverse mortgage receive their equity in a line of credit, which is set up to compound and grow over time. Mike elaborates, “Since people are living longer the number one concern of retirees is making sure they have enough money to live on. Here’s an example: a client who owns their home with a value of $285,000 puts a reverse mortgage in place at age 62. After closing costs, the homeowner would receive $141,000. The strategy is that the client doesn’t now need and may never need this money, but it’s there if something arises. After 11 years, if the funds are not used, the $141,000 turns into $280,000; and after 20 years, at age 82 and after closing costs, there would be $457,000 available in the line of credit. The great part of the program is that the client would have access to it at any time. It’s better to be proactive and set it up early so it’s available when the need comes to light. However, the challenge of this program is all about educating people, and the line of credit feature is the most unknown. I want to change that. And possibly the best part of this program is that there are no catches.”

Although homeowners meet the age qualification of the program at age 62, reverse mortgages are not meant to be retirement plans. However, they can supplement an existing retirement plan. B. Mitchell, another TowneBank customer, says, “The reverse mortgage allowed us to eliminate our mortgage payments so we can retire more comfortably. TowneBank Mortgage was so knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with. They explained things in a way that was easy to understand and without any pressure. We are extremely happy we chose the reverse mortgage with TowneBank.”

The Reverse for Purchase Program
allows a client to eliminate the principal and
interest payment on a new residence,
making it a great way to downsize,
move closer to family,
or move into a senior community.

Mike Poole can help create a more comfortable retirement

Mike is very excited about another change to the program called the Reverse for Purchase Program, implemented about eight years ago. Since life expectancy has increased and the varying needs of seniors are impossible to guess, this could be a useful financial option. This program allows a client to eliminate the principal and interest payment on a new residence, making it a great way to downsize, move closer to family, or move into a senior community. Of course, it is still necessary to pay the existing insurance, taxes, and any other required payments.

Historically, the average age of those clients who get a reverse mortgage has been 73; however, recently it has dropped to 67. “If a 62 year old is considering waiting the five additional years, for whatever reason, they are losing the gift of time. And if the client is planning on staying in their current residence, then this is absolutely the best thing they can do,” Mike emphasizes. “One of the best ways to make this program work for a client is for them to be in the home they want to stay in, and not to make any assumptions about the choices. If a client comes to talk with me just for a few minutes, they get the opportunity to be educated about the possibilities.”

Mike often attends meetings of the Mayor’s Task Force on Aging. “It’s a great way to serve the community and I am always learning something new about our senior population,” he says. “I think that gives me a real advantage in understanding their needs and helping my clients.”

His customers’ well-being is Mike’s top priority, so most of the time he will meet with potential clients in the comfort of their own home. Sometimes having a trusted advisor present, such as an adult child, is helpful so that everyone is on board and understands the entire program. Being able to maintain independence and not becoming a burden to their children is of the utmost importance to most seniors. However, each individual must weigh their options according to their own situation.

Mike says proudly, “I am available for my clients anytime they need me and I have a special understanding of the issues and concerns facing the senior population. It’s the greatest feeling in the world when you know you can help. And I’m really easy going; I don’t try to sell anybody anything. I just want my clients to become knowledgeable so that they are able to make an informed decision about what they consider best for them. At the end of the day, that is all that really matters,” Mike concludes.

TowneBank Mortgage - Mike Poole

1435 Crossways Blvd.
Chesapeake, VA 23320