Personal finance experts often address reverse mortgage questions and concerns from the general public, which typically involves a discussion of the pros and cons of these financial products.  Suze Orman, known for years of experience providing personal financial expertise, including hosting the Suze Orman Show on CNBC for over a decade, has often answered questions and provided her opinions on reverse mortgages. 

In addition to her time on CNBC, Orman has written 10 New York Times personal finance bestsellers and has frequently appeared as a guest on television shows; today, she hosts the Suze Orman Women & Money Podcast.  She also has a detailed website today covering many financial topics, including home equity, retirement planning and strategies, “playing retirement catch up,” pensions, Social Security, and choosing a financial advisor — among other topics. 

Throughout her various channels and media outlets, Orman has commented many times on reverse mortgages — sometimes with varying opinions depending on timing, economic cycles, and other factors. 

ARLO presenting Suze Ormond on reverse mortgages

What has Orman said about reverse mortgages?


In 2011, CNBC published an article by Orman titled “Reverse Mortgages: Know the Risks and Rewards.” In the article, Orman raised many of the common concerns about reverse mortgages, including the fact that if a borrower can’t afford their home long term, such as in the case of not being able to afford property taxes and homeowners insurance, a reverse mortgage can lead to the borrower having to move from the home. 

“My recommendation is that you think of a reverse mortgage as a last-resort emergency fund in retirement, not a primary piece of your retirement plan from day one,”

In stressing that borrowers understand the full terms of the loan and how it works, Orman noted the specific types of payments for which reverse mortgage borrowers remain responsible throughout the life of the loan. 

“While a reverse mortgage can indeed be a viable way to generate income, it is very important to understand that after you take out a reverse mortgage, you will still be responsible for paying the property tax, the insurance premium, and all the maintenance costs for your home,”


In 2021, Orman responded to an inquiry from a senior reverse mortgage holder on the “Women in Money Podcast.” Orman indicates in the podcast episode that the borrower had contacted her after taking out a reverse mortgage upon her husband’s passing.

According to Orman’s description, which Reverse Mortgage Daily recapped at the time, the borrower had been convinced to take out the reverse mortgage to eliminate her forward mortgage payments. 

“What she didn’t understand is that when you get a reverse mortgage, if you owe money on your house, part of the reverse mortgage proceeds are used to pay off the mortgage that you have on the house,” Orman said in the episode. “So now the house is free and clear, and you owe the reverse mortgage that money, so to speak, because that comes off the amount of money they’re going to give you.”


Recently, Suze Orman answered a question about reverse mortgages during another episode of her “Women in Money Podcast.” While she mainly focused on reverse mortgage cautions in her response, she pointed to one crucial factor that impacts reverse mortgage borrowing power: interest rates. 

Current interest rates factor significantly on the amount reverse mortgage borrowers will qualify to receive with a reverse mortgage, so it’s always important to consider the interest rate environment when applying and utilize a reverse mortgage calculator to understand the different factors that apply, including interest rate, home value, borrower age, and the amount owed on the home. 

Ultimately, in her financial advice throughout the years, Orman advises caution to senior homeowners considering reverse mortgages due to the potential downsides

Reverse mortgages are not one-size-fits-all

Despite Suze Orman not recommending reverse mortgages for all borrowers, this type of loan can benefit homeowners who understand the pros and consToday, many borrowers are using reverse mortgages not as a loan of last resort but as a part of a comprehensive financial plan that allows them to utilize their home equity instead of selling other investments such as stocks or as a home equity line of credit that can be used for emergency needs and/or home improvements that may allow the borrowers to remain at home while they age. 

Prospective borrowers need to work with a reputable lender who can help explain the benefits, costs, risks, and rewards that reverse mortgages present.  Borrowers need to understand that there are ongoing responsibilities associated with reverse mortgages, including the home’s upkeep and payment of taxes and homeowners insurance, and that a reverse mortgage is not a one-size-fits-all approach. 

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