Using a Reverse Mortgage to Pay Down Debt

March 31, 2011 · Print This Article

You don’t usually get to retirement without a certain amount of financial discipline. However, even the best of us hit setbacks at times. As a retiree, the consequences of going off-budget are a little more troublesome, since there is little extra income to throw at debt.

According to a series of articles in The Financial Post in 2010, an alarming number of Canada’s seniors are even declaring bankruptcy. There are also increasing numbers going into retirement with debt loads, something that has not been the case traditionally in the past.

Not everyone’s retirement is the idyllic cottage-on-the-lake picture that the retirement commercials like to paint. If this is the case for you, you are certainly not alone. Thankfully, Horizon Equity has reverse mortgages that can help you get and stay out of high-interest debt, simply by using the equity in your home. You can avoid bankruptcy and Canada Revenue pension garnishing by paying off your debt using that equity.

The best part of this is you aren’t paying off your debt with more immediate debt, unless you choose to make interest payments monthly. You can choose to pay off both the debt and interest only when you sell your home, meaning that you can truly pay off your high-interest debt and not look forward to more.

Financial planning resources for seniors

If the debt did not arise from an unforeseen expense, you may want to speak to a financial counsellor who can help you plan and follow through on a retirement budget. Personal finances are a mystery even to the brightest of us, and getting a bit of help is not a bad idea. The best part is that finance counselling is usually offered free for seniors.

The government of Canada offers resources for financial management for seniors broken down by province on its website. Simply choose your province and click on the resources that are available for you.

Some tips to help stay out of debt

  • sign up with a free personal finance tracking website like Mint.com to set up a budget and get e-mail alerts when you go over it in any particular area
  • consider purchasing a hybrid or more fuel-efficient vehicle to save on gas if you do a lot of travelling
  • ask your power company for any programs they have that can help you isolate areas where you are wasting energy in the home
  • install measures like low-flow shower heads to save on heating costs

Contact Horizon Equity to talk about how a reverse mortgage can eradicate your debt today.