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Don Graves

Personal Finance, Retirement, Investing
“Don Graves is passionate about helping those who advise retirees understand how the New Reverse Mortgage helps both them and their clients accomplish their goals!”

HECM Advisors Group

Job Title:

President and Founder


Don Graves, is the president and founder of the HECM Institute for Housing Wealth Studies and an Adjunct Professor of Retirement Income at The American College of Financial Services. He is considered one of the nation’s leading educators on HECM Reverse Mortgages in Retirement Income Planning.

Don has a skill for common-sense analysis and application, a strategic focus on advanced HECM education, as well as nearly two decades of experience in the Home Equity Retirement Planning space. His teaching course at the American College currently has more than 14,000 advisors enrolled and his personal practice has generated more than 12,000 HECM consultations, leading to nearly 3,000 clients.

As both an educator and a skilled practitioner, Don has a unique perspective that very few share. As a Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP®,) he understands the powerful principles and strategies regarding retirement income planning, its design, intent, risks and limitations. He is masterful in showing how and where housing wealth/reverse mortgages intersect with retirement income planning.

Don has been quoted in Forbes Magazine and has been featured on PBS sponsored shows as well as other venues and programming. He is a sought after professional speaker regarding the changing face of reverse mortgages and how they can seamlessly integrate with a comprehensive retirement income plan.

Don served as a guest member on the Funding Longevity Task force (now part of the American College). This group was instrumental in providing the research that led to FINRA reversing their-long standing position on Reverse Mortgages.  Don’s recent article Can Reverse Mortgages Hedge the Most Common Retirement Income Risks? was recently published for the Society of Financial Service Professionals.

In addition, Don’s work was highlighted in an American College article featuring Nobel Laureate Robert C. Merton “Making a Case for Reverse Mortgages in Retirement Income Conversations”  as well as a Forbes Article “5 Ways a Reverse Mortgage Can Help Your Retirement” that was written by one of Don’s students summarizing the salient points of Don’s lectures.

He holds an undergraduate degree in Finance from Temple University as well as graduate studies in Economics at Eastern University.  Don resides in Greater Philadelphia, is married and has three children.


BS, Finance, Temple University

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July 2017
    Retirement, Financial Planning, Real Estate

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    Debt, Financial Planning, Real Estate
Should my wife and I look for an alternative to a reverse mortgage?
100% of people found this answer helpful

This is an excellent question. There are a few simple things you want to ask yourself first:

  1. Is it our desire to remain in our homes as long as possible? 
  2. Is it financially sensible for us to stay in our home as it exists now
  3. How would or could our life/retirement be different if we no longer had to make a monthly loan payment?  

An honest answer to those questions will open up a broader conversation about the best ways to use Home Equity in Retirement Planning.  Here are a few possible scenarios:

  • Today's HECM Reverse Mortgage will make around 50% of your homes value available (maybe a little more). So lets say around $100,000 
  • From that you would pay off the $65,000 and the $15,000 loans respectively
  • The Big Question is: What does eliminating that mandatory monthly loan payment do for your Lifestyle and Retirement?  

Since you are on a fixed limited income, does the savings that comes from not having to make a monthly loan payment make sense and add value. If it does then the HECM is worth exploring. If not, then here are a few common alternatives:

  • Sell the home and rent (even senior subsidized rental) depending on your situation. This allows you to create a nest egg after the sale of over $100,000 and you live off of that combined with your current income
  • Sell the home and downsize or supersize using the HECM for Purchase. This too creates a nest egg, but using the HECM for Purchase also eliminates the need for mortgage payments in your new home
  • Refinance to a lower rate and lower payments.  Because of your age, fixed income and inflation, this solution may just be putting a Band-Aid on the problem as you would still have a monthly mortgage payment and the stress of making that payment as you age

I suggest answering the questions above. I did a PBS sponsored video on Reverse Mortgages in Retirement Income Planning, you can find it by clicking HERE  -dg

June 2017