Tom and Patti Petry are the all-American couple. Married 53 years, they worked hard, she at the prestigious Claremont colleges in accounting services for 35 years, he as a tool-and-die maker. The bills always got paid on time, and if there was money left over, they would set it aside for a “date night” and listen to music, their shared passion.
However, it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Both had to retire earlier than they had planned. Tom, a Vietnam veteran, had open-heart surgery in 2008. Meanwhile, Patti decided to take her employer’s offer of an early retirement package during the Great Recession rather than risk getting nothing if she were later let go as part of a money-saving workforce reduction.
Now both 74, they had two primary goals for the next stage of their eventful and purpose-driven lives. They wanted to continue living in the beautiful home that they have lovingly maintained for 47 years, including an extensive remodel, and wished to create a small safety net so that it would complement their modest savings and allow them to maintain their current lifestyle.
“We wanted to be able to take care of ourselves,” Patti said, adding, “We didn’t want to become a financial burden to our son and his family.”
After sharing their financial goals with their son Mike, he asked whether they had ever considered a reverse mortgage to help fund the next phase of their retirement. Even after the home equity loan they had taken out a few years earlier to remodel their home, they still had substantial equity, so a reverse mortgage seemed like a sound and practical option worth exploring.
Mike put his parents in touch with Robin Beamon, an AAG Loan Officer whom he knew from a business networking group they were members of. About two months after their first meeting with Robin, their loan funded. It has allowed them to continue living in the home they have loved for 47 years while paying off their existing mortgage and giving them the safety net that they always wanted. Of course, like with any mortgage, Tom and Patti will need to continue to pay their property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. They’ll also be required to maintain the home, but will now have more resources for future renovations.
“It’s exactly what we were looking for,” Tom said.
For Tom and Patti, the service they received was as important as the loan they received.
“Robin was exemplary,” Patti said. “He was kind, considerate and very understanding. He never badgered us. He carefully explained our different options and gave us all the time we needed to absorb everything.”
And there was a lot to absorb. Tom and Patti’s quest for a reverse mortgage had begun in the meet-and-greet, pre-COVID era, but with the lockdown, virtual meetings and teleconferences became the new normal. As always, they handled the transition like pros. When their in-person counseling session was switched to a phone call, their counselor was astounded by their depth of knowledge.
“The counselor said she was amazed that we already knew so much,” Patti said.
In a word, Patti described the entire reverse mortgage process as “seamless,” leaving them looking ahead to a satisfying summer and a secure retirement filled with lots of music and walks exploring the nearby botanical gardens. Tom also plans on making good use of his mechanical skills, making new cigar box guitars.
“It will be nice when this all passes,” Patti and Tom agreed. “We’re very much looking forward to things opening up again. Either way, we feel prepared.”