The Pros and Cons of Reverse Mortgages

More older Americans are cashing in all their home equity. But is that their best option?

Illustration for TIME by Peter and Maria Hoey

While the recession hasn't spared any age group, it's been particularly brutal for older Americans who were counting on their (now shrunken) nest eggs to last through their retirement years. To supplement their stash, an increasing number of seniors are turning to reverse mortgages, which function essentially as a cash advance on their home equity, repaid only when they sell their home or die. The loans are available to those 62 and over, and lenders have to eat the difference if a home ends up declining in value. In the three months after February--when a provision in the economic-stimulus package raised...

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