Hollywood’s Take on Reverse Mortgages: Help Mom, Dad Maintain Independence

“Celebrities” and “reverse mortgages” don’t often appear in the same sentence – unless of course it’s in reference to American Advisors Group’s spokesman former Senator Fred Thompson.

In Hollywood, however, it’s hard to imagine the well-to-do stars taking out a loan to help boost their retirement nest egg. But one entertainment insider tells RMD that reverse mortgages have their place in Tinseltown.

“I actually know a number of celebrities who have encouraged their parents to get reverse mortgages,” says Lisa Johnson Mandell, HGTV’s longtime West Coast correspondent and founder of AtHomeInHollywood.com. “They can have more of a sense of self-sufficiency with a reverse mortgage, instead of having their hand out to their kid [asking] for money.”

While Johnson Mandell notes it’s not a booming trend among celebs, she knows a handful who have considered this route.

“It can give the parents a sense of independence,” she says.

What’s more common for the red carpet regulars is to downsize – not necessarily to a smaller home, but to fewer homes.

“As celebrities get older and their kids move out, they downsize, and the super successful ones start getting rid of superfluous properties,” Johnson Mandell says. “They don’t need the vacation homes, ranches or villas that they once did; they like to condense.”

Retrofitting their homes to “age in place,” while a popular trend among the general public, hasn’t yet become a movement among the VIP crowd.

“We’re a vain lot here in LA – in Hollywood and the entertainment industry in general,” Johnson Mandell says. “People are more reluctant to outfit their homes so they’re visibly more accessible; they’d be more inclined to hire assistants who would do things for them instead of retrofitting their homes.”

Concierge and delivery services, from personal assistants to order-in meal services, are a more burgeoning trend.

The resale value of their homes is also an important factor keeping celebs from making aging-friendly improvements to their homes.

“Everybody thinks about resale value,” Johnson Mandell says. “It wouldn’t help the resale value for the home to be retrofitted. For some of these giant mansions in Bel Air, [for example], someone younger will probably move into them.”

While reverse mortgages may not be directly helping celebs downsize or fund their own retirement, they do have a place in Hollywood – in the homes where these celebs got their start.

Emily Study, reversemortgagedaily.com