Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, September 5, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 11


Mountain View News Saturday, September 5, 2020 




Dear Savvy Senior:

What can you tell me about reverse mortgages? The 
coronavirus damage to my retirement account has 
me considering it but want to make sure I know 
what I’m getting into. Cash-Strapped Senior

Dear Cash-Strapped:

Massive job losses, a volatile stock market and 
low interest rates caused by the coronavirus pandemic 
has caused many cash-strapped retirees to 
consider a reverse mortgage. But there’s a lot to 
consider to be sure it’s a good option for you now.

Let’s start with the basics.

A reverse mortgage is a unique type of loan that 
allows older homeowners to borrow money 
against the equity in their house (or condo) that 
doesn’t have to be repaid until the homeowner 
dies, sells the house or moves out for at least 12 
months. At that point, you or your heirs will have 
to pay back the loan plus accrued interest and 
fees, but you will never owe more than the value 
of your home.

It’s also important to understand that with a 
reverse mortgage, you, not the bank, own the 
house, so you’re still required to pay your property 
taxes and homeowners insurance. Not paying 
them can result in foreclosure.

To be eligible, you must be 62 years of age or 
older, own your own home (or owe only a small 
balance) and currently be living there.

You will also need to undergo a financial assessment 
to determine whether you can afford to 
continue paying your property taxes and insurance. 
Depending on your financial situation, you 
may be required to put part of your loan into an 
escrow account to pay future bills. If the financial 
assessment finds that you cannot pay your insurance 
and taxes and have enough cash left to live 
on, you’ll be denied.

Loan Details

Around 95 percent of all reverse mortgages offered 
are Home Equity Conversion Mortgages 
(HECM), which are FHA insured and offered 
through private mortgage lenders and banks. 
HECM’s also have home value limits that vary by 
county but cannot exceed $765,600.

How much you can actually get through a reverse 
mortgage depends on your age (the older you are 
the more you can get), your home’s value and the 
prevailing interest rates. Generally, most people 
can borrow somewhere between 50 and 60 percent 
of the home’s value. To estimate how much 
you can borrow, use the reverse mortgage calculator 

To receive your money, you can opt for a lump 
sum, a line of credit, regular monthly checks or a 
combination of these.

But be aware the reverse mortgages aren’t cheap. 
HECM loans require a 2 percent upfront mortgage 
insurance payment, plus an additional 0.5 
percent annual charge, on top of origination 
costs and lenders’ fees. Any amount you borrow, 
including these fees and insurance, accrues interest, 
which means your debt grows over time.

To learn more, read the National Council on Aging’s 
online booklet “Use Your Home to Stay at 
Home” at

Also note that because reverse mortgages are 
complex loans, all borrowers are required to get 
counseling through a HUD approved independent 
counseling agency before taking one out. 
Most agencies charge between $125 and $250. To 
locate one near you, visit, or call 

Other Options

If you have a short-term need for cash, there are 
other options you should look into. For example, 
many low-income seniors don’t realize they qualify 
for the earned income tax credit, a refundable 
tax break that can put cash in your pocket. You 
also could use to search for 
financial assistant programs you may be eligible 

Another possibility is a regular home equity loan 
or line of credit. This type of borrowing requires 
you to make payments, and lenders can freeze or 
lower limits on lines of credit, but the borrowing 
costs are much lower.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. 
Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.
org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC 
Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” 


HAPPY BIRTHDAY! …September Birthdays*

Clem Bartolai, Pat Hall, Donna Anderson, Teresa Chaure, Cathy Gunther, 
Esther Macias, Sheila Pierce, Nancy Sue Shollenberger, Patti O’Meara, Judie 
Cimino, Mary Steinberg, Geri Wright, Parvin Dabiri, Denise Reistetter and 
Nehama Warner. 

 * To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 
626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not required


The City of Sierra Madre is following these procedures to provide current communication in light of 
COVID-19 and keep the Senior Community and families informed of essential information and resources. 
City staff are monitoring email communication daily, and although employees are minimizing 
direct engagement and practicing social distancing in the community, please note that voice messages, 
emails, and social media responses are being addressed in the most efficient and timely manner.

If at any moment additional information is needed, please contact City Hall Administrative Services at 
(626) 355-7135, Monday-Thursday from 7:30a – 5:30p, as they are taking messages and e-mailing the 
appropriate person.

For messages that may trickle in otherwise, please note our team is remotely checking voicemail daily at 
the Community Services Department, (626) 355-5278 x702.

Community Services Department will continue email communication with Senior residents and aging 
community members.

If you know of family members or neighbors who may benefit from accessing information electronically, 
and to receive the department’s Seniors Newsletter via email but may not otherwise have been included 
on an email group list, please send your request with email address to the following team members:

Lawren Heinz and Clarissa Lowe

Community Services Department will continue Electronic Seniors Newsletter on a weekly-basis 

Community Services Department will continue with mail drop-off of newsletters at the Sierra Madre 
U.S. Post Office Box (unless otherwise advised).

City Social Media will continue via Facebook as well as Instagram, and information sharing will include 
updates as details becomes available.

Mater Dolorosa - Sierra Madre Meal Pick-Up Program provides seal-packaged frozen meals, 5-per 
person every Thursday, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. at Hart Park House Senior Center 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. 
Donations are accepted. Call (626) 355-5278; x702 or 704.

YWCA Intervale Meal Program - Effective Wednesday, April 1, 2020

YWCA has transitioned their distribution of take home meals at the Sierra Madre Hart Park House Senior 
Center to a home-delivery meal program. Participants previously reserved for meal pick-up as of 
Wednesday, 3/25/20 were informed that they would begin to have their meals delivered to their homes, 
beginning Wednesday, April 1, 2020 until further notice.

For any additional participants calling in that are at a high risk and need meals delivered to, please 
provide us their name, date of birth (they must be 60+), address and phone number and Community 
Services Department will for-ward this information to our County Contact.

Food Banks Support: Seniors & Families:

If someone is outside of our local area and in need of a food bank, they can find one nearest them by 
going to and typing in their zip code; or call from the list here:

First Church of the Nazarene-Pasadena 3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. 626-351-9631

Wednesday 10:30 am-12 pm 

Pasadena Senior Center 85 E. Holly St. Pasadena 626-685-6732

Foothill Unity Center 415 W. Chestnut Ave. Monrovia 626-358-3486 Monday 1 pm-3:30 pm, 
Wednesday & Friday 9 am-11:30 am

Lifeline Community Services & Economic Development 2556 N. Lake Ave Altadena

626-797-3585 2nd and 4th Wednesday 12 pm-2 pm & 8:15 pm-9 pm

Morning Star Outreach Ministry 1416 N. Mentor Ave Pasadena 626-794-4875

2nd & 4th Saturday 11 am-1




A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder

In response to a series 
of wildfires that 
ravaged Southern 
California in 2017, 
I wrote a previous 
article explaining 
why your family 
should have a “go-
bag” ready in the 
event a natural disaster or other emergency strikes 
your home. Go-bags originated with the US military, 
which requires its personnel to always keep 
one on-hand packed with the essential items 
needed to survive for at least three days following 
a disaster. 

 When you have just minutes to evacuate, you 
won’t have time to think about what you should 
pack to survive the days—or weeks—to come, so 
the time to prepare for your family’s safety is now. 

In 2020, we’re not only dealing with deadly wildfires 
again in California, we’re still in the middle 
of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already 
killed more than 180,000 Americans and seems 
unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

In light of the increased dangers posed by the pandemic, 
I decided to update my previous go-bag article. 
Although most of the items you should have 
in your go-bag remain the same, here we’ll cover 
the supplies and documents you should pack to 
deal with COVID-19. Whether you are forced to 
temporarily relocate somewhere other than your 
home, require hospitalization, or are subject to 
quarantine, the pandemic comes with unique 
risks that call for additional preparation.

The go-bag revisited

Before we discuss the estate planning and other 
key documents you should include in your go bag, 
we need to mention some general supplies to include 
to help protect your family from contracting 
COVID-19. Along with the personal sanitary 
items listed in the previous article, you should add 
the following items:

Face masks and/or face coverings 

Hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol

Lysol or other disinfectant sprays

Disinfecting wipes

Disposable gloves

Now, when it comes to your estate plan, even if 
you have all of the necessary planning documents 
in place and updated, they won’t do you any good 
if your loved ones don’t know about them or can’t 
quickly locate them during an emergency. Without 
immediate access to your plan, if you become 
seriously ill or injured, medical and financial decisions 
can be dangerously delayed or be made by 
someone other than the people you would want. 

And the need for your plan to be easily accessible 
is particularly urgent during the pandemic. Due 
to the highly contagious nature of COVID, there’s 
a good chance your family members will not be 
allowed to accompany you if you are hospitalized 
or forced to quarantine. For these reasons, adding 
your estate plan and other important documents 
to your go-bag is a must. 

While all of your estate planning documents 
should be included in your go-bag, be sure to include 
your up-to-date medical power of attorney 
and living will along with copies of your health insurance 
or Medicare card and a summary of your 
medical history. In your medical history, you’ll 
want to mention any chronic underlying medical 
conditions and illnesses, as well as list all prescriptions 
drugs, over-the-counter medications, and/
or supplements you are currently taking—and 
don’t forget to list any known allergies.

Make sure your loved ones know about your go-
bag, and where to find it. To make it as portable as 
possible, download your plan and other essential 
documents to a thumb drive you can carry in your 
go-bag and upload additional copies to the cloud.

Safeguard your belongings—and memories

While protecting your family’s health, safety, and 
well-being is the primary purpose of packing a 
go-bag, you should also take steps to prevent the 
financial devastation that can result from having 
your home and other property destroyed in a disaster. 
Obviously, having the appropriate levels of 
insurance coverage in place is your first task. 


But to make sure the insurance companies fully 
reimburse you for what you stand to lose, you 
should also take video and photos of all your belongings. 
Such visual documentation can not only 
ensure you are able to replace your assets, but that 
your insurance claim is processed as quickly and 
smoothly as possible. 

Finally, if you own your home, it should be titled 
in your living trust and your living trust MUST 
be identified as an “additional named insured” on 
your homeowner’s policy. Pull out your policy and 
check for that now. This often-overlooked detail 
can cause big problems in the event a claim must 
be made.

Dedicated to empowering your family, building 
your wealth and defining your legacy,

A local attorney and father, Marc Garlett is on a mission 
to help parents protect 
what they love

most. His office is located 
at 55 Auburn Avenue, 
Sierra Madre, CA 91024. 
Schedule an appointment 
to sit down and talk 
about ensuring a legacy 
of love and financial security for your family by calling 
626.355.4000 or visit for more 


It has been a busy week, more 
so than any other week. Just 
when I thought I was caught 
up, some-thing else presented 
itself without my permission.

That seems to be what life is all about. I remember 
my father telling me when I complained to 
him how busy my life was and how my employer 
wanted me to do a lot of work, "Son, that's life.

To be sure, he was right. My father has been right 
many times, and if only I would have listened to 
him, I would not have experienced some of the 
problems that I did. Just don’t let him know I said 

In the middle of trying to sort out my mess this 
week, I sat back in my chair, took a deep sigh, 
and then noticed my old fishing rod in my office 

It has been there ever since we moved into this 
house. I forgot that it was there, and as I looked 
at it, I remembered some of the times I had with 
that old fishing rod.

I smiled and thought to myself, "If only that fishing 
rod could talk," what stories could the fishing 
rod tell?

As a young person, I spent a lot of time fishing. 
My grandfather taught me the art of fishing. He 
was a great fisherman and had many great stories 
about his fishing adventures.

I remember one day I spent fishing with him. 
That night around the kitchen table, he began 
telling about his fishing exploits. I sat there listening 
in awe. The stories he told had nothing to do 
with the day we spent together fishing.

He would look at me in the middle of the story 
and say, "Ain't that so?" Of course, I am never go-
ing to contradict my grandfather. I know that I 
will be in his shoes one day, and I want to make 
sure I have earned the right to wear them.

Enthusiastically nodding my head, I would say, "It 
sure is, grandpa." He would smile and go on with 
the story.

Looking back, I wished I had taken notes of all his 
stories. It would have been a fascinating book to 
read, I am sure.

It is not that fishermen tell lies; they rearrange the 
truth. What good is the truth unless you can em-
bellish it to the entertainment of those listening?

My grandfather certainly entertained people 
with his stories. I never knew if people believed 
his stories or not; nobody ever contradicted him. 
They listened, laughed, and enjoyed every story 
he told.

One time, after one of his storytelling episodes, 
we were out in the garage working on some of his 
fishing equipment. We were alone, so I thought it 
might be a good time to get the scoop on what he 
was doing.

"Grandpa," I said thoughtfully, "where do you get 
all of those stories about fishing that you tell us?"

He looked at me, laughed most heartily, and said, 
"I get all those fishing stories from going out to 
the creek and fishing."

Then he looked at me, winked, and said, "Just, 
remember. There is some truth in every story I 
tell. It's up to the listener to figure out what is true 
and what is not." Then he let a burst of hearty 

With a solemn look on his face, he continued, 
"The thing about fishing is not simply catching 
fish, but entertaining your family and friends 
with what you could've done if it went your way."

As I was sitting in my office looking at my fishing 
rod, I begin to understand for the first time what 
my grandpa was trying to say.

I spent a little time reflecting on some of grandpa's 
stories, and even now, I was chuckling. His 
sto-ries never get old, and my laughter never goes 

One of the things I learned from my grandfather 
in connection with fishing is that you have to 
make the most out of everything you do.

I remember a friend who went fishing and came 
back grouchy and complained that he did not 
catch anything. He wasn't fun to be around, to be 
sure. All he could think about was what he did 
not do.

My grandpa was quite different.

"Did I tell you," grandpa would begin a story, 
"about the fish that got away?" He never waited 
for a response but went directly into the story, 
and every time he told that story, the fish got just 
a little bit bigger.

Everybody would laugh and enjoy the story almost 
as much as grandpa did telling it.

The fish that got away was more important to 
my grandpa than the fish he caught and brought 
home. Once you bring the fish home, cook it and 
eat it, that is its end. But the fish that got away is a 
story that goes on and on.

I never could figure out if my grandpa was lying 
or just exaggerating. Being my grandfather, I gave 
him the benefit of the doubt and just reminisced 
about his stories.

Thinking about my grandpa's stories, I remembered 
something that Jesus said. “And ye shall 
know the truth, and the truth shall make you 
free” (John 8:32).

My grandpa could exaggerate his fishing stories 
for the enjoyment of everybody listening. When 
it comes to real truth, the only truth that matters 
is Jesus Christ. Only His truth can really set us 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: