Mortgage Loans and Financial Security Among Middle-aged and Older Americans

TitleMortgage Loans and Financial Security Among Middle-aged and Older Americans
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsZhang, Q
Academic DepartmentFamily Sciences
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Date Published10/2019
UniversityUniversity of Kentucky
CityLexington, United States
Thesis TypeDoctoral Dissertation
KeywordsAging, Financial security, Mortgage Loans, Mortgages

Mortgage loan debt is prevalent among middle-aged and older Americans. With higher average outstanding balances, many people are unlikely to pay off their mortgage debt by retirement. Meanwhile, as people age, health shocks are more likely to occur. Medical expenses may compete with mortgage payments and relate to financial insecurity in later years. In order to alleviate financial strain during times of financial hardship, senior homeowners may find reverse mortgage the solution they are looking for. Targeting American adults age 50 and older, this dissertation investigates mortgage loan debt and financial security using panel data from the Health and Retirement Study. Chapter 1 provides an overview of this dissertation and three studies. Chapter 2 investigates whether retirement preparedness plays a role in mortgage status at retirement, shown here as whether a person has mortgage debt and how much the remaining balance is (Waves 2004-2014). Chapter 3 examines health impact on likelihood of paying off mortgage loans under different health conditions, with estimates on expected time to mortgage payoff (Waves 2004-2014). Chapter 4 focuses on reverse mortgages and their impact on senior borrowers’ financial satisfaction and liquidity constraint (Waves 2010-2016). Chapter 5 summarizes major findings in three studies and highlights the contribution of this dissertation toward middle-aged and older Americans’ financial security. Limitations of three studies are discussed in Chapter 6. Three studies provide evidence on 1) the importance of preparedness on reduced mortgage burden; 2) adverse impact of health shock on likelihood of mortgage payoff; and 3) using reverse mortgages to reduce financial strain and increase financial satisfaction. Implications are addressed in each study.

Citation Key10233