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Personal Finance

In Defense of Reverse Mortgages

The retirement-income tool has its critics, but Alicia Munnell of Boston College's Center for Retirement Research says it makes a lot of sense for many retirees.

Critics say reverse mortgages, which allow seniors to tap their home equity for income while remaining in their homes, aren't for everyone, with high fees and a history of shady practices by some lenders. But others say that, when used responsibly, reverse mortgages can be a valuable addition to a retiree's financial tool kit. Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, recently spoke to about how retirees can use reverse mortgages well. Munnell is co-author of the forthcoming book Falling Short: The Coming Retirement Crisis and What to Do About It and an investor in Longbridge Financial, a company that offers reverse mortgages.