Written by Reza Jahangiri, as originally published in The Reverse Review.

I hope the new year finds our readers recovered from a challenging holiday season for our industry. Between the unprecedented FHA Actuarial Report, the less than pleasant (and less than responsible) media coverage, the colorful Senate hearing and uncertainty about looming product modifications, we’ve had our fair share of presents this Christmas. So where does all this leave us as we enter 2013? 

We should take time to reflect on how many of these issues we can have an impact on. I, for one, believe that we control more than we give ourselves credit for. 

We are an industry that has to learn to get ahead of its issues. We lack the luxuries that most other industries possess because of the demographic we serve, our tie to the government, the current financial service regulatory environment and the lack of education surrounding our product.    

This needs to be the year we look to resolve the issues that have been looming over us for several years now, specifically tax and insurance defaults, nonborrowing spouse issues and the continued health of the MMI fund in connection with our product. It also needs to be the year that we tackle a comprehensive education campaign across the spectrum—from Capitol Hill to the media to the general public.

We need to stop being reactive. We should use the facts we know about the HECM and the good it can do for seniors and the economy as a sword, not a shield.

This may be one of those times where the issues make it difficult to see the forest through the trees. Still, I feel it’s important that we keep our focus on the bigger picture, dust off our jackets and get to work initiating the change that is needed for the industry to continue on its evolutionary process.