The mission of this Task Force is to develop and advance, for Boomers and their financial advisors, a rational and objective understanding of the role that housing wealth can play in prudent planning for retirement income.
Before 2012, the comments in the financial press, and even the pronouncements of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), about the use of housing wealth as part of retirement income were not based on any serious quantitative analysis. Instead, these comments were rather “off-hand,” and consistently propagated a conventional wisdom that the use of housing wealth as part of retirement income planning should only be a “last resort.” In 2012, two significant research papers were published and a well-respected blog was written, all demonstrating quantitatively and quite rigorously that, for a sizable number of retirees (and soon-to-be retirees), the conventional wisdom was incorrect. Indeed, for many of those retirees (and soon-to-be retirees), their financial well-being would potentially be adversely affected by treating housing wealth as a last resort. The objective and rational approach, i.e., the quantitative analysis, used in the research cited should be applied to the financial situations of these retirees, to determine which of them could benefit, and by how much, from the appropriate use of housing wealth, adopted early in their retirement years and not as a last resort.
The retirees (and soon-to-be retirees) most likely to benefit from that approach, known in the financial planning community as the “mass affluent,” constitute between 10 million and 15 million households, the approximately 75 million “Baby Boomers.”
Hence this Task Force takes, as its mission, to develop the understanding set out in that research, and to advance its use in retirement income planning. It is essential to emphasize that the use of housing wealth to supplement retirement income: (a) Is not for every retiree; (b) Should be used prudently; and (c) Should be guided by competent financial planners using quantitative methods along with experience and judgment.