Home Run: A playbook for hitting it out of the park with Canada's fastest growing demographic

HomeEquity Bank's book offers insight into effectively marketing to and serving Canadians 55+

Home Run: A playbook for hitting it out of the park with Canada's fastest growing demographic

Home Run: The Reverse Mortgage Advantage, co-written by HomeEquity Bank’s president and CEO Steven Ranson (pictured above) and executive vice president Yvonne Ziomecki (pictured below), offers insight into effectively marketing to and serving the Canadian 55+ demographic. The book, which features several industry experts, makes the case that the reverse mortgage product is a comprehensive tool for Canadian homeowners to consider as part of their retirement planning strategy— one that clients, and the brokers that work with them, cannot afford to overlook.

Yvonn Ziomecki

“A lot of people later in life live on fixed incomes and go without while living in $1 million or $2 million homes, and that’s just not right,” said Ziomecki.

The fact is, Canadians approaching retirement have to consider many factors, and there aren’t always resources available to help. Despite having more wealth in their homes than ever, todays older Canadians also carry significant debt, and the shift from defined-benefit to defined-contribution pension plans has made it harder to save for retirement. With Canada Pension Plan payouts averaging $700 a month, its not surprising that many Canadians find themselves needing to supplement their income.

Home Run takes a compelling look at the real estate market, aging in place and how those 55+ can make the most out of their retirement and their house — it fills a gap in the space as an “easy to understand, relatable tool” that lets people know what they should be thinking about and looking at, Ziomecki said. Many of HomeEquity Bank’s customers are sophisticated and have managed their money well, but their average age is 73 years old. To that end, Home Run is not a technical financial book, but a candid look at the issues at play that includes stories from customers, experts and employees. The ultimate goal is education, and broker partners who work so closely with clients are “in the perfect position” to help with that.

“Some brokers might feel it’s not for their client because they’re in a different segment but I guarantee every broker has customers in their database who could definitely benefit from the product,” Ziomecki said.

Dustan Woodhouse, Mortgage Architects’ president, who is quoted in Home Run, said the main reason brokers tend not to promote the reverse mortgage is because of the misconceptions about the product. Trying to explain the option to clients, while bringing in the adult children who have their own misconceptions about it, makes it “an area that is ripe for misunderstanding and conflict,” he said.

Two common myths — that HomeEquity Bank somehow ends up owning the house, or that the interest will eat up all the equity of the home — are addressed and debunked in the book, hopefully moving the needle on creating a greater understanding of the ways a reverse mortgage can truly be a lifesaver.

“Knowledge is power — and understanding the options is important,” Woodhouse noted.

Chapter 6 tackles how to talk with families about money, as it is important that brokers have holistic conversations to really understand client needs. Uncovering that can lead to interesting outcomes and solutions, Ziomecki said.

Brokers are all about relationships and options such as reverse mortgages are critical to a complete circle of care for their clients. If a broker is working with first time home buyers or people moving up the property ladder, it’s a great opportunity to explain how their parents or grandparents could use equity in their home to help with the downpayment, for example, and make everyone happy.

“Money is meant to enhance our lifestyle and our relationships, and money locked in a savings account or a house doesn’t do anything,” Ziomecki said. “To the extent you can get some money out of your house to help your adult children buy a house — or help them through COVID, or start a renovation in your own home or take a trip — that’s what life is all about.”

Through HomeEquity Bank’s business development managers, copies of Home Run will be available to broker partners in the hopes that they’ll “read it and get excited about it, and pass it on to their clients who can read through and make the right decision for themselves,” Ziomecki said.

“It may not be the right product for everybody, but we want more and more people to know about it and more and more people to consider it — I think there’s so much opportunity in reverse mortgages.”

If you would like to learn more about how a Reverse Mortgage could help your clients — or to request a copy of the book itself — please contact your HEB BDM

To read a summary of the first chapter, please visit the blog.

Home Run: The Reverse Mortgage Advantage is also available for purchase at amazon.ca, Apple Books and Kobo.