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The Financial Planning Elephant Advisors Aren’t Acknowledging – Review of Jamie Hopkins’ Article

In last month’s edition of Advisor News, my good friend, Jamie Hopkins, Director of Retirement Research at Carson Wealth, addressed a very important subject: incorporating home equity in retirement income conversations. I really don’t have much of a review because the article was spot-on and straight to the point.

Here are a few highlights from the article:

  • Retirement introduces a new set of housing challenges.
  • The home represents nearly two-thirds of the overall wealth of the average 65-year-old retiring couple, making it their largest asset by far, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Survey of Income and Program Participation.
  • Housing costs are still the largest expense for the average American. In other words, housing gobbles up roughly 25 percent of the average salary – and that’s before taxes even come out.
  • Advisors need to recognize the importance of this topic and start taking it seriously as a crucial part of their clients’ goals and financial well being.

Read the full article here.


{Transcript} Rewirement Tips: Forgotten Asset

Hello, I’m Jamie Hopkins and I’m the Director of Retirement Research here at Carson Group. Today I want to talk to you about an asset that’s often forgotten in retirement income planning—the home.  Actually, it’s America’s largest asset. When you look at retirees in the last U.S. Census Data, the median retiree couple at age 65…guess what? Two-thirds of their wealth was in their home, but only one third was in other types of investable assets.  We can’t forget about the home; it’s just too big of an asset.

Now, most people think about the home because it provides the place you’re going to live, and we need that. I often call that housing services. So, our home provides housing services, but it’s also an asset and it can be used strategically at the beginning of retirement, middle or end to help support our quality of life: whether we’re going to tap into home equity via reverse mortgage to help with cash flow or whether we’re going to sell the house and downsize and perhaps buy our retirement home where we can age in place.

Another option is to use home equity, or the home, to help support long-term care costs. We can tap into home equity through a reverse mortgage line of credit to pay for home care, or we could even sell the home later in retirement to help fund a long-term care stay in a nursing home, assisted living facility or continued care retirement community.

When we’re doing financial planning—when we’re doing retirement income planning—we need to look holistically at all of the client’s assets, including home equity, and think about strategic ways it can enhance and improve their retirement income plan.


Don Graves, RICP®, CLTC®, Certified Senior Advisor, CSA®
Don Graves, RICP® is a Retirement Income Certified Professional and one of the Nation’s Leading Educators on the Emerging Role of Reverse Mortgages in Retirement Income Planning. He is president and founder of the HECM Institute for Housing Wealth Studies and an adjunct professor of Retirement Income at The American College of Financial Services. He has helped tens of thousands of Advisors as well as more than 3,000 personal clients since the year 2000
Don Graves, RICP®, CLTC®, Certified Senior Advisor, CSA®
Don Graves, RICP®, CLTC®, Certified Senior Advisor, CSA®
Don Graves, RICP®, CLTC®, Certified Senior Advisor, CSA®

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