Refinancing to Prepare for Retirement
There have been many stories in the news about the struggle of senior citizens trying to live purely on Social Security. According to ssa.gov, 45% of unmarried, retired Americans rely on Social Security for most of their income, but the average monthly Social Security payout is only $1,471. Unfortunately, that may not cover many people’s expenses or way of living that they may have become accustomed to before retiring.
One tool that some advisors use is replacement income. The idea is that, in retirement, your income should be 70% of your pre-retirement income. This calculation is only an estimate, but it was reported on bankrate.com that only Hawaii, Alaska, and South Carolina are exceeding the 70% target and the nationwide average of 60.27%.
And even if you do everything right, like spend conservatively and put money into 401(k) plans that offer corporate matching or IRAs, there are things in life that can’t be predicted. Many seniors have medical expenses that aren’t covered by their insurance or Medicare. They find themselves using their savings to pay for these unplanned expenses instead of using the money to travel or pursue interests.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of refinancing to prepare for retirement.
- If you can refinance to a lower rate, it can reduce your monthly payments and allow you to set aside extra money.
- If you know that you will relocate in the next few years to a smaller home, retirement community, or closer to family, refinancing may make sense to lower your monthly payment to save for this event.
- Refinancing at a lower rate could free up money that you can put toward paying off additional debt obligations.
- After years of paying your mortgage, you can make the equity you have built up work for you with a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). There are no monthly mortgage payments required, though you will be responsible to pay your property taxes and homeowners insurance. A HECM will help you maintain or establish financial independence throughout your retirement. Learn More
- You need to take closing costs into consideration because they can cancel out the savings of refinancing. A licensing loan officer can review the numbers with you.
- Having a mortgage payment while you are in retirement can cause potential tax problems. Please consult with your tax advisor to ensure that refinancing your mortgage will be right for your financial situation.
- Refinancing at a lower rate is good, but if it lengthens the term, you may not be able to pay off your mortgage and leave your home as an inheritance.
- Also, if you lengthen your term of the loan, a mortgage payment may be a strain on your finances.
- By not exploring all your options, including HECM you will not be fully educated on what program best fits your needs to ensure financial stability in retirement. Learn More
Types of Loans for Retirement
- HECM Home Loan — The HECM proceeds from the equity in your current home is available when you need it and can help you pay bills and other expenses.
- HECM For Purchase — You can also purchase a home and get a HECM in all one transaction.