10 Alternatives to a Reverse Mortgage

6. Rent to vacationers

Guschenkova / Shutterstock.comGuschenkova / Shutterstock.com

Happily for cash-strapped retirees, the sharing economy has appeared just in time to add cash to meager retirement incomes. A couple of years ago, the New York Times reported that Airbnb estimated 260,000 of its 2 million listings were offered by people 60 and older.

Plus:

  • The income can be enough to help you stay in the house, or at least to postpone the time when you can enjoy it before you must sell.
  • You get to continue living in your home.

Minus:

  • You must share your home with strangers — not a happy prospect for everybody.

To learn more, visit Airbnb and VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) and Homestay, and check out “15 Tips to Profit By Renting Out Your Home to Visitors.”

7. Take in a monthly renter

Ralf Kleeman / Shutterstock.comRalf Kleeman / Shutterstock.com

Renting a portion of your home on a monthly basis may deliver enough income to let you keep your digs. Carefully screen candidates, and get help from a trusted friend if you’re not sure how to do this.

Plus:

  • Seniors, especially singles, may enjoy the companionship.
  • Rents are rising rapidly across much of the U.S. If your mortgage payment is low, you might even be able to pay your mortgage from rental income.

Minus:

  • Loss of some privacy and total control over your home.
  • You’ll need a degree of savvy to screen candidates for safety, and to manage financial and social transactions.

8. Apply for weatherization assistance

zlikovec / Shutterstock.comzlikovec / Shutterstock.com

Weatherproofing your home can help you cut your costs.

States — through the federal government — offer weatherization programs that allow people with low incomes to stay in their homes through loans, energy improvements and lower utility bills. States often give preference to people over 60, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Contact your local Area Agency on Aging (type in your city, state and ZIP code) to learn where to apply, or ask your electricity or heating fuel utility provider.

Plus: Even just delaying getting a reverse mortgage helps by letting you to borrow the larger sum available when you are older. Do what you can to put off the decision for a while.

Minus: Even with assistance, you might face some upfront costs before you reap energy savings later.

9. Apply for property tax relief

pathdoc / Shutterstock.compathdoc / Shutterstock.com

Many counties and states provide property tax discounts for seniors who meet low-income guidelines. Call your county assessor’s office to learn of any state or county programs that exempt low-income seniors from property tax payments, that let them postpone paying property taxes or that give them a partial tax credit.

Plus: You will put money back into your pocket. Who doesn’t like that?

Minus: The amount of money you save can be relatively modest.

10. Take a 401(k) loan or distribution

Jerry-Rainey / Shutterstock.comJerry-Rainey / Shutterstock.com

Perhaps you’re still working and not yet drawing on retirement funds. Look into taking a distribution from your 401(k) plan (no penalty after age 59½) or borrow from it if your plan allows.

Plus: This can be a good option if you do not face penalties for early withdrawals.

Minus: It’s risky to raid your retirement savings earlier in life instead of letting the money continue to compound.

Are you thinking of getting a reverse mortgage? Have you already got one? Share your experience in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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