Many fellow Americans that have worked their entire lives, weathered several recessions and depressions, put their children through school, helped many in need, and faithfully paid their mortgages for decades are now being taken advantage of once again. Most have followed all the rules necessary to be considered fiscally responsible, yet because of "legal fraud" by the financial sector and policies effected by purchased politicians, their years in retirement will be compromised.
The Plutocracy, the one percent has walked away with a large percentage of their 401Ks, their SEPs, and to some extent their financial security. Because of stagnant or falling real wages, much of the working middle class have maxed out on their credit in the attempt to maintain their standard of living. For a Plutocracy that feeds on perpetual growth, from where will it feed now? An old and well-crafted financial instrument known as the reverse mortgage is being marketed on steroids to a baby boomer population.
Most Americans amass most of their wealth within their homes. Each generation in a responsible family is better off when the previous generation wills their assets forward. Reverse mortgages are yet another financial instrument that stunts the growth of the middle class by encouraging home owners to extract the capital out of their homes and use it as a supplement to their retirement or to simply splurge. Inasmuch as most reverse mortgages are federally regulated, their upfront costs are very high. These costs amount to free cash for the bank and mortgage insurance companies, your money transferred to them for a marginal service.
The big dirty secret is that reverse mortgages, like student loans pre-Obama, are nothing but a no-risk gift to the bankers, a wealth transfer engine from the masses to a select few. When the "owner" of the home dies, the government pays the bank any difference between the amount owed (interest plus principal) less the sale price of the home. If the heirs want to keep the home, they must pay the loan off in full. If the amount owed is more than the value of the home, the heirs must pay 95 percent of what is owed to the bank with the government paying the rest. What is the reason for the bank being in the transaction? It is there simply to extract from the government and the homeowner. They have absolutely nothing at risk for the profits they make.
Reverse mortgages mask a systemic problem that affects the American worker, a backward and inhumane retirement system. Every American worker makes a vibrant economy possible by providing 40, 50 or more years of work, taxes, and spending. It is appalling that a worker is incapable of having Social Security capable of providing a decent living. No one should have to deplete all of their assets to survive.