A substantial number of Baby Boomers are set to exit the workforce, but data reveals that a large percentage have yet to save enough money to sustain them in retirement.
This year’s Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute showed that only 32% of retirees were very confident in their ability to live comfortably throughout their Golden Years.
Furthermore, a recent Harvard study indicated that seniors have been the fastest-growing group of people filing for bankruptcy, citing that as of 2015, those aged 55 or older made up 20% of bankruptcy claims.
So why aren’t seniors putting enough cash aside? Some say the phasing out of 401(k)s and pensions are forcing them to stray away from their traditional safety nets.
And that's why homeownership investment companies are popping up around the country, offering homeowners ways to access their home equity to make ends meet in their later years.
New York-based NestEgg seeks to do just that with its "sell to stay" program. NestEgg hooks homeowners up with a broker who will help them sell their house to an investor, who will buy the house but allow the seller to live there for as long as they like.
Sellers receive a down payment (which ranges between 15-40% of the purchase price) plus an ongoing monthly payment, which NestEgg determines according to an estimated "occupied value" of the property.
As the new owner, the buyer is responsible for home repairs, large maintenance expenses and property taxes.
To participate, homeowners cannot have a mortgage that exceeds 10% of the home's current value, and the lien must be paid in full at closing.
While there is no minimum age requirement, NestEgg says its average seller is 75 years old.
Founder and CEO Michelle Belcic said the idea is to allow clients to access this massive source of wealth to bolster their finances in retirement.
“That’s why it’s called NestEgg – maybe someone is sitting on a nest of wealth and they don’t even know it,” she said.
Belcic said the fear of the unknown often prevents people from utilizing their home equity, which tends to be their biggest asset, even though it could provide them with a dependable cash flow.
“Brokers are excited, because it’s something that’s a little different,” Belcic said. “It just makes sense. It opens up a whole new revenue stream that seniors didn’t have before.”
Although the company just launched in May, it now has plans to expand beyond New York and will be partnering with in-home care providers and transportation services to ensure seniors thrive in their homes.
“We are passionate about helping people live their best in retirement,” Belcic said. "Many of our family friends are retiring, and we want to give them all a better option to live well in retirement – even if they don't have enough saved up.”