Jan/Feb 2022 RMM

EVERYTHING NEW YOU NEED TO KNOW People are talking about ... FHA Drafts New HECM Handbook The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) drafted new sections in its Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1 that consolidated approximately 150 Mortgagee Letters and other policy documents that are currently used by mortgagees when originating or servicing Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs). The posting was a continuation of the FHA’s progress toward a consolidated, authoritative Handbook 4000.1 that will make it easier to do business with FHA. When the final version is eventually published, the HECM origination through servicing sections will provide mortgagees, servicers, appraisers and other stakeholders with a comprehensive policy resource and replace existing HECM guidance. Learn more at bit.ly/3pNoT5L. Senior Housing Wealth Exceeds Record Homeowners 62 and older saw their housing wealth grow by 3.7 percent or $339 billion in the second quarter to a record $9.57 trillion from Q1 2021, according to the latest quarterly release of the NRMLA/RiskSpan Reverse Mortgage Market Index (RMMI). The RMMI rose in Q2 2021 to 334.71, another alltime high since the index was first published in 2000. The increase in older homeowners’ wealth was mainly driven by an estimated 3.4 percent or $381 billion increase in home values, offset by a 2.2 percent or $42 billion increase in senior-held mortgage debt. U.S. Drops in Global Retirement Rankings The United States slipped one spot to No. 17 among developed nations in the 2021 Global Retirement Index (GRI) released in mid-September by Natixis Investment Managers (Natixis IM). The ninth annual index, a snapshot of the relative financial security of retirees in 44 countries, shows that many Americans feel that their retirement dreams are slipping away, notably as a result of the macro-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased government debt, rising inflation and persistently low interest rates, according to Natixis IM. Highlights: • The U.S. dropped one place from last year with lower scores in health, happiness and government debt and a higher ratio of retirees to workers. Iceland ranked No. 1 for a third consecutive year; • Three-quarters (77 percent) of Americans surveyed by Natixis IM think that rising government debt will lead to reduced Social Security benefits, making it harder for them to make ends meet in retirement; • Four in ten say, “It’s going to take a miracle” to retire securely, because COVID-19 made it more difficult. Read the full report at bit.ly/3El8Xvh. Study: One-Third of Retirees Can’t Afford Long-Term Care In the second of a three-part series, an Issue Brief published in September by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College concluded that about onethird of retirees do not have the resources to afford even minimal long-term services and supports (LTSS) and only about one-fifth could cover severe needs. A growing concern is whether retirees will be able to meet future needs for long-term care without exhausting their resources. The first brief concluded that about 20 percent of retirees will escape the need for LTSS and 80 percent will need at least a year of part-time support—with around a quarter requiring full-time support for several years. “The results show that about a quarter of retirees can cover severe care needs for at least five years using income, financial assets and informal caregivers. At the other extreme, about one-quarter of individuals cannot afford What’s News continued on page 8 What’s News REVERSE MORTGAGE / JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 7