How to Plan for the Future by Looking to the Past

Forward Planning sometimes requires looking to the past

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. – George Santayana

When we retire and drop out of the 9 to 5 workforce, it’s easy to settle in and watch the world go by. But if you’re thinking that the ups and downs of the economy won’t affect your retirement, think again.

While no one can predict the future, looking back over the last 30+ years gives us an idea of what the next 30 might bring.

retirement planning


I started my career in the mortgage business in 1981 in the Phoenix Metro area. Mortgage interest rates were 18.5% and to say the economy was sluggish would be like saying it gets hot in Phoenix in the summer.

Related: What is the perfect retirement strategy?

The Valley of the Sun was (and still is) a retirement destination and I was able to meet a number of retirees. Because 401k’s and IRAs were relatively new, most seniors were heavily invested in CDs. It was amazing how much time they spent shopping for the best rate when their CDs matured. The average yield was between 12-13% and their retirement strategy was working well for them.

Life happens in the 1980’s

President Reagan’s economic policies began to get inflation under control. As a result interest rates began to drop. By 1985 mortgage rates had declined to about 10.5%. At the same time the local retirees saw their incomes drop by 50% as CD yields plateaued at 6.5%. That was a 50% decline in their incomes! and interest rates continued to decline from there. Fortunately the economy also recovered and interest rates plateaued at 8.5% with CD yields dropping to about 5%.

Related: Ease the retirement squeeze

Life happens on “Black Monday

Do you remember “Black Monday”? October 19, 1987?

It was the largest single day drop in the history of the Dow, 508 points (22.6%). I remember my father-in-law being in full on panic mode because he was just a couple of years short of retirement and he felt his retirement plans were going up in smoke. Not only was the stock market affected but home values decreased by about 20% over the next few years. Fortunately the economy turned quickly and my father-in-law was able to retire almost on schedule.

Related: Unlock your trapped equity before “life happens”

Life happens with the bursting of the “tech bubble”

When the tech bubble burst in 2000, the Dow dropped about 20% and home values became stagnant. If there’s anything good to be said in the wake of 9/11, it’s that the FED lowered interest rates, which started the largest refinance boom in history, which in turn put the economy in high gear.

Related: The New Reverse Mortgage the best bargain in the financial markets

By 2006 our stock portfolios and home values had reached all time highs and the outlook for our retirements was bright.

Life Happens with the “Great Recession”

The Great Recession which officially lasted from December of 2007 to June of 2009 (though some might argue we’re still experiencing its effects) saw the DOW drop from over 12,000 to around 6200 AND saw home values plunge by more than 40%. For many of us whose retirement plans were vested in the market and in our home’s equity, retirement plans were becoming a distant memory.

Related: Retirement planning is tricky business

No one knows for sure what will happen with interest rates or the economy, but I can tell you for sure but they will do one of three things:

Things will go up, Things will go down, or Things will stay the same.

In only one out of three of those scenarios will you get better terms on a Reverse Mortgage than you can get today.

It’s your money, how much of a gambler are you?

The New Reverse Mortgage isn’t for everyone…but it could be!

If you’re still wondering if a Reverse Mortgage is the right solution for you but you’re not ready to sit down with one of our Reverse Mortgage Experts, then we’ll be happy to mail (or email) you Use Your Home to Stay at Home which is the official federally approved consumer booklet for those considering a reverse mortgage.