What can seniors expect from the Liberals?

Canadian Seniors
Canadian Seniors
What can seniors expect from the Liberals?

Canadian seniors worried about finances may be wondering what changes they can expect now that a majority Liberal government has been elected.

“The comments we hear from seniors, every day, are that government changes are needed to areas affecting finances. Some are struggling while others face dire financial challenges,” notes Yvonne Ziomecki, SVP, HomEquity Bank, the only bank dealing exclusively with seniors.

“The most important promise of the Liberal government to retirees is what it won’t do and that is end pension income splitting. My spouse and I split my pension income. At the same time, the Trudeau government will introduce a new Seniors Price Index to ensure that Old Age Security benefits keep up with actual rising costs. Both policies will help us to remain in our home, which is a major priority for us,” explains Joyce Wayne, Professor Emeritus Journalism, Sheridan College and blogger, www.retirementmatters.ca

“On the downside, Justin Trudeau has pledged to cut the Tax Free Saving Account yearly contribution from $10,000 back to $5,500.  The increased TSFA limit was a critical piece of my retirement plan. Now I must calculate how much faster I’ll need to withdraw funds from my RRSP, and that means adding to my taxable income,” she adds.

According to the Liberal party website ‘Retirement Security For Our Seniors’ section, the new government plans to:

  • Restore eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement to 65, allocating an average of $13,000 annually to the lowest income Canadians as they become seniors.
  • Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement for single, lower income seniors by 10% providing up to an additional $920 per year for Canada’s lowest income seniors. Current benefits generally ensure couples are able to stay out of poverty, however more than one in four single seniors is defined as low income. This will allocate $840 million by 2019 and benefit 1.25 million seniors, including 900,000 single women.
  • Develop a new measure for the cost of living faced by seniors: the Seniors Price Index. OAS and GIS will be indexed to this new, more accurate and more generous measure, rather than to the Consumer Price Index that reflects the wider population.  In periods when the Consumer Price Index grows faster than the Seniors Price Index, the traditional Consumer Price Index will be used. Pension income splitting will remain.
  • Work with provinces and territories, workers, employers and retiree organizations to enhance the Canada Pension Plan.
  • Introduce a more flexible and accessible Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefit so six months of benefits are available to those who provide care to a seriously ill family member, rather than only those caring for a loved one at risk of death.
  • Commit to a new, 10-year investment of $20 billion in social infrastructure, prioritizing significant new investment in affordable housing and seniors facilities.

HomEquity Bank, the only Canadian bank working exclusively with seniors, helps elderly people remain in their homes through its CHIP reverse mortgage solution, www.chip.ca and Income Advantage products. Seniors can supplement their income via reverse mortgage monthly or lump sum payments.

If you are looking for more information on a CHIP Reverse Mortgage please give me a call at 705-717-5598 or 647-559-5049 or email me at mcurry(at)mortgagewellness.ca. You can also use the Reverse Mortgage Calculator to see how much you would qualify for and get pre-qualified in minutes.

Michael Curry
Certified Reverse Mortgage Specialist
HomEquity Bank

The Mortgage Wellness Group Ltd.

About HomEquity Bank

HomEquity Bank is a Schedule 1 Canadian Bank offering the CHIP reverse mortgage solution www.chip.ca. The company was founded 29 years ago as an annuity based solution addressing the financial needs of Canadians who want to access the equity of their top asset – their home.

For further information: or to interview Yvonne Ziomecki or Joyce Wayne, please contact: Teresa Donia, iAMBIC Communications, teresa@iambic.ca, 905-508-5550; Yvonne Ziomecki, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales, HomEquity Bank, yziomecki@homequitybank.ca, 647-723-6812

Reverse Mortgage Study

Homequity Bank

reverse mortgages

HomEquity Bank teams with Equifax Canada to study Debt in Retirement

Mortgage debt amongst seniors is increasing right across Canada, and for those aged 70 and older, it has increased 12 percent in comparison to 2013. That is based on the final results of a debt in retirement research study carried out by HomEquity Bank and Equifax Canada.

The research was carried out in July of 2015 and concentrated on Canadians aged 55 and older. It analyzed the main categories of debt including: mortgages, lines of credit, bank loans, car loans, credit cards and retail cards. The study provided a comparison period of 2013 and 2015.

“At HomEquity Bank, we’re not surprised to see the results of this study. Every day, we hear from seniors who are having difficulties with debt. It can be due to insufficient pensions, the high cost of living or costly health care issues, but debt is increasingly a concern for many seniors,” states Yvonne Ziomecki, SVP, HomEquity Bank.

Conclusions of the study:

Mortgage debt is growing fastest in the Greater Toronto Area and Quebec and less so in Alberta and British Columbia
In 2015, 16.5% of people aged 55 and older are holding a mortgage. This is an increase of 10% from 2013
The average mortgage balance for Canadians aged 55+ grew by 11% from $158,000 in 2013 to $176,000 in 2015
The average mortgage balance is highest in the 55 to 60 age group, at $189,000, and lowest for the 75+ age group at $134,000
Seniors aged 71 and older with a mortgage have an average balance of $140,000
Overall debt for those 70+ has increased by 12% between 2013 and 2015 versus only a 4% increase for those under 70.

“It’s shocking to find Canadians 71+ are still carrying hefty mortgages,” notes Laurie Campbell, CEO, Credit Canada Debt Solutions. “By this age, they are fully retired and there’s no opportunity to increase their income.”

In fact, the study is showcasing a more relaxed attitude towards debt, she adds, “and this can jeopardize retirement.”

The best case scenario is to “have your financial cards in good order in your early 50s and mortgage free by retirement,” Campbell explains.

HomEquity Bank, the only Canadian bank working specifically with seniors, helping elderly people remain in their homes through its CHIP reverse mortgage solution. Seniors can supplement their income via reverse mortgage monthly or lump sum payments or a combination of both. HomEquity bank also mortgages new home purchases allowing people to purchase a more expensive home without mortgage payments.

For more information on reverse mortgage products, and how they work, contact Michael Curry at 705-717-5598 or 647-559-5049 or use the contact form HERE.

About HomEquity Bank

HomEquity Bank is a Schedule 1 Canadian Bank offering the CHIP reverse mortgage solution. It was founded 28 years ago as an annuity based solution addressing the financial needs of Canadians who want to access the equity of their top asset – their home.

About Equifax

Equifax empowers businesses and consumers with information they can trust www.equifax.ca. A global leader in information solutions, Equifax leverages one of the largest sources of consumer and commercial data, along with advanced analytics and proprietary technology, to create customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

SOURCE HomEquity Bank

Reverse Mortgages – Good or Bad Idea?

chip reverse mortgage

A lot more Canadians are using the economic value of their own property to make up for financial shortfalls, as they head towards retirement life. Many over the age of 55 find themselves house rich and cash poor. Numerous senior Canadians are on their way into retirement with either too much personal debt, or not enough savings, or in many cases both of those.

As they leave behind the labor force their earnings decrease but their financial obligations continue. So many are facing this scenario and managing it becomes stressful. Many property owners in this situation ask themselves if a reverse mortgage is the answer, since it would allow them to take funds out of their home, and continue to live there. Reverse mortgages can relieve financial challenges and allow seniors to live a little, do some renovating, or maybe give their children financial help.

Reverse mortgages are a good idea, but they should only be taken into consideration after all alternate options have been explored. Reverse mortgages do carry a higher rate of interest than a conventional mortgage although not much different from second mortgages or lines of credit. They do erode the equity in your principal investment, which in turn might need to be sold later. If you are prepared to overlook this, you are probably under financial pressure or perhaps you are not living the life you want after years of working hard.

HomEquity Bank offers reverse mortgages in Canada, the greater part of which are in larger more expensive cities like Toronto and Vancouver. The bank provides them through the Canadian Home Income Plan (CHIP).

Here is how reverse mortgages work:

To qualify you need to be over 55 and own a home, you can get up to 55 per cent of its value depending on your age. The money is tax-free and you do not have to pay anything back until you want to sell your house or you die. Then the principal and accrued interest is due in full, within six months or at closing of the sale of the home.

The rate is somewhat higher than a conventional mortgage mortgage with an “A” lender. HomEquity is offering a 5-year fixed reverse mortgage at 4.99 per cent compared to rates under 3% for a first mortgage to clients with excellent credit. After the five-year term is up, the rate is renegotiated and will depend on market conditions at that time.

The real cost is very easy to forget about as you are not making any payments unless you want to. HomEquity Bank, says their typical consumers are in their early 70s and borrow on average $110,000, and usually sell their home within six to eight years.

Ziomecki says the process involves a home appraisal and those with mortgages would not be turned down, though they would be able to borrow less. Applicants must have a lawyer to ensure they understand what’s involved. HomEquity encourages the entire family to get involved to avoid acrimony later.

HomEquity sees four types of customer:

Debtors (35%): They have poor money management habits and may be maxed out on department store and bank-issued credit cards. They have large credit lines and in some cases huge mortgages. It adds up to a reduced credit rating, and they often cannot obtain additional financing from their bank.

Spenders (30%): They desire a much better lifestyle without having the repayments. It could perhaps be a holiday home or a significant home refurbishment. They may not want to have a credit line given that they would have to make a payment each and every month.

Cash poor (17.5%): This group cannot make ends meet. Their pension income and savings are moderate. Many are single women or widows who did not work outside the home. They need the extra cash to stay afloat.

Unanticipated needs (17.5%): This could be big bills or a desire to deliver an early inheritance to their children. If the latter, giving the money makes them feel good.

HomeEquity had a banner year in 2014. Its reverse mortgage business increased 23 per cent and was worth $309 million. As more Boomers head into retirement, the company says it expects the growth to continue.

CHIP Reverse Mortgage Facts and Misconceptions

Facts and common misconceptions about Home Equity Mortgages

– As soon as you are approved for a reverse mortgage in Canada, you are accepted for life.

– Anyone can easily meet the requirements for a home equity loan no matter what your credit rating is or your income level.

– Most individuals will still have equity remaining in their residence when they decide to sell it and in generally HomEquity Bank customers average around 50% equity kept in their property.

– Nobody is allowed to sign final documentation for a reverse equity mortgage without having first received Independent Legal Advice from their lawyer. This requires all Canadian seniors must receive independent counsel before a reverse mortgage can be prepared.

– The CHIP mortgage program is not complicated, and many people have characterized setting up these home loans as one of the least complicated financial transaction they have ever arranged.

– Reverse home loan rates are not as expensive as many people think, and can be as low as Prime plus 1.25% they can be less expensive than a line of credit or second mortgage.

– The money is always tax free because it is a loan and not actually income as defined by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.

– In the event that one spouse passes away, there will be no changes to the terms and conditions of the equity financing arrangement. The equity does not have to be repaid and you do not have to move or re qualify.

– Using the equity in your home can provide an opportunity to diversify your retirement portfolio. There are investment opportunities which pay higher returns than the interest on a CHIP mortgage. This difference can create an income over and above the reverse mortgage payments received.

– If part or all of the CHIP funding is used for investment, there is an option to repay the interest each year and preserve your equity.

– The interest cost associated with a CHIP reverse equity mortgage are also offset somewhat by rising home values.

The rules in Canada are different when it comes to this type of financing, please do not look to U.S. sources for information. For Canadian relevant information visit: www.barriemortgagebroker.ca/reverse-mortgages/

Michael Curry
VERICO The Mortgage Wellness Group Ltd.
Call (705) 717-5598
email mcurry@mortgagewellness.ca

home equity mortgage

For more information on The Canadian Home Income Plan you can visit the Canadian Government’s website: www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca