ZOOMER Magazine


The Security of a Reverse Mortgage


Many people over 55 own their homes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with expenses. A recent Equifax report revealed that Canadians age 56 to 65 hold more non-mortgage debt than average, and even those over 65 are sinking deeper into debt. For many Canadians, a reverse mortgage may be the answer. It’s a loan that allows you to continue owning your home, make no monthly loan payments, and pay no taxes on the funds you receive.

Some Canadians turn to a reverse mortgage because they want to travel the globe in their retirement years, or purchase a winter home in a warmer climate without having to move or sell the home they love. Some homeowners are simply trying to keep up with the cost of living. A pension doesn’t always keep step with mounting electricit­y bills, property taxes and other expenses.

Dr. Gordon Atherley and his wife, Audrey, didn’t have luxury vacations in mind when they contacted HomEquity Bank, a federally regulated, schedule 1 Canadian bank that has been serving homeowners for over 30 years. The Atherleys just wanted a solution specifical­ly designed for Canadians aged 55 plus, that would help them make ends meet, and allow them to stay in the condo they’ve owned in Oakville, Ontario, since the 1980s.

“We like our condo,” says Gordon, 85. “We can sit on the patio and get the sun, and we can walk down the centre of Oakville and have a coffee or something to eat. It’s very convenient.” Best of all, they have a spare bedroom, a cherished space that Gordon has converted into a broadcasti­ng studio. Gordon earned a medical degree in Britain and a doctorate in epidemiolo­gy and bio- statistics. He also served as president and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Occupation­al Health and Safety (CCOHS). But one of his greatest passions is broadcasti­ng. For several years, Gordon hosted Family Caregivers Unite, a live Internet radio show. He isn’t ready to stop now. “Retirement isn’t for me,” he says. When he left CCOHS, “it was as though somebody had snipped the cable between me and outside life. That’s why I decided to broadcast.” With a CHIP Reverse Mortgage he was able to keep his broadcast studio, and continue working and living in the home and neighbourh­ood he cherished.

Gordon can’t see himself living anywhere else. Yet he knows his day-to-day expenses are only going to increase as time goes on. “This condo we live in is 50 years old,” he notes. “It’s inevitable that the monthly fee we pay is going to rise.”

Before Gordon reached out to HomEquity Bank, he didn’t know much about reverse mortgages. “I was dimly aware of them, but I hadn’t pursued them,” he says. It was Gordon and Audrey’s daughter who suggested they consider this option. “I looked at the informatio­n and saw it could be very much what we wanted,” Gordon recalls.

Today, he says, he and his wife feel more secure. Financial stresses are no longer front-and-centre in their lives. Says Gordon: “The reverse mortgage solved our problem.”

Today, Gordon and his wife feel more secure. Financial stresses are no longer front-and-centre in their lives.

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