FAR, Morningstar pact aims for reverse mortgage education

“As a leading retirement solutions company, FAR has leaned into an education-first approach to home equity. Education and engagement with financial planners have long been cornerstones of our mission at FAR and have led to vital paid partnerships with the Financial Planning Association and the Stanford Center on Longevity,” Sieffert said. “FAR launching this marketing relationship with Morningstar will strengthen both our teams as we provide financial advisors with access to education about our specialized products that can be used as a tool in retirement planning. This will help them deepen conversations with clients around home equity as part of their retirement strategy and empower more Americans to thrive in their later years.”

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A key difference in FAR’s approach with the Morningstar alliance is that the education will be “upstream” as opposed to “downstream,” Sieffert noted. She expounded on the point when asked whether education into reverse mortgages already exists as part of the lending process: “Yes, third-party counseling is required for all borrowers but that happens downstream as part of the application process,” she confirmed. “Our work with Morningstar is upstream of borrower counseling. It’s focused on education for the financial advisor, and this is about a systemic change. Financial advisors are not always deeply knowledgeable on the myriad of home equity products available to people over age 55.”

Such “upstream” educational efforts also ensure that information is being conveyed that may fill in some critical blanks consumers may have in their knowledge, she added: “They may also be missing practical examples of when and how home equity can help support a long-term retirement plan, so these discussions aren’t coming up in retirement planning – and they should be,” she said. “The resources and tools we provide at FAR will help advisors make that holistic financial strategy a reality for their clients, especially those with invested assets under $2.5 million who are more at risk of being knocked off course. Knowing how to incorporate home equity into a strategic retirement plan will strengthen the guidance that financial advisors provide to their clients.” 

Ultimately, Sieffert added, FAR’s education seeks to separate the wheat from the chaff. There is still stigma attached to reverse mortgages, she agreed, that may have been misconstrued in early industry marketing.

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