How Tapping Home Equity Boosts Retiree Health

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Having the ability to tap into home equity — and taking advantage of it — is not only good for your wallet, but for your body as well.

Every $10,000 that Medicare beneficiaries tap in home equity greatly boosts their ability to control chronic or serious health conditions, according to a study by researchers at The Ohio State University.

The research is one of several studies that indicate retirees with medical conditions who are short on funds often minimize care or avoid it altogether in an attempt to save money.

By contrast, those who have home equity that they can tap into are more likely to use the money in a way that boosts their health.

For example, the researchers found that retirees who had hypertension or heart disease typically better kept their blood pressure under control if they also tapped home equity.

This is not the first study to link access to home equity with improved health outcomes. Another study found that older homeowners are more likely to consistently take their medications if they were able to pay for them through a refinancing, home equity loan or reverse mortgage.

In determining the impact of home equity on health, researchers asked retirees with health conditions who had tapped home equity to describe how they felt. In addition, researchers looked at biomarkers of health, such as:

  • Lung capacity
  • Glucose levels
  • Blood pressure

The researchers note that it is not the amount of home equity that retirees have that improved their health. Rather, it is actually tapping into home equity that made a difference.

For more about better controlling health care costs in retirement, check out “12 Surprising Ways to Save on Retirement Health Care Costs.”

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