Without audience targeting are Google Ads Dead? Think again…
Early this month Google announced new restrictions for targeting specific audiences. The restrictions apply to content related to housing, employment, credit, and those who are disproportionately affected by societal biases. The news of these restrictions created quite a stir among industry brokers and lenders who heavily rely upon targeted Google ad campaigns. All which may have you asking if these changes will kill future reverse mortgage advertising on the world’s most popular search engine. In just a moment we’ll hear from our online SEO expert Josh Johnson to find out.
Google’s restrictions are not necessarily novel nor unexpected. It was just over two years ago Facebook faced scrutiny from federal regulators for allowing those offering credit or housing finance to restrict ad audiences by race or religion among other questionable metrics that would violate HUD’s fair housing rules. An investigation by ProPublica broke this news in October 2016. It was nearly two years later in August 2018 that HUD filed a formal complaint against the social media giant for discriminatory advertising practices. Seven months after HUD’s complaint Facebook announced sweeping changes. Both Facebook and later Google, took a blunt approach much to the chagrin of lenders and service providers.
What ad filters are going away? In its official release Google revealed, “credit products or services can no longer be targeted to audiences based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or ZIP code.”
Is this the end of Google ads for reverse mortgages? To answer that question I reached out to Josh Johnson who heads up Reverse Focus’ Online Dominance SEO program and Google marketing. Here’s his explanation.
Here’s what makes Google unique from other platforms and why reverse mortgage Google ads will continue to reach the intended audience.
To summarize, older homeowners are intentionally seeking out reverse mortgage information on Google which means, yes-your ads will be seen by your target audience, even though you can no longer target specific age groups.
The 5 Questions Your Sixty-Something Homeowners are Asking? Are you prepared?
It’s not a mistake that the age of eligibility for the federally-insured reverse mortgage is 62. Americans in their sixties begin to seriously consider the merits of continued full-time work against the rewards of a more leisurely lifestyle. Here are five factors each pre-retiree is likely to contemplate before bidding farewell to report to work each day.
First is their retirement readiness. One facet that’s typically ignored in favor of crunching numbers is psychological preparedness. Newly retired individuals can begin with feelings of excitement and anticipation only to fall into a morass of depression, anxiety, and restlessness. Aging expert and author Sources of Income/Cashflow says, “people spend more time planning a wedding than planning retirement. It’s very important to think about your identity and what you’re losing, and how you get a new identity. What would give you a sense of meaning and purpose?” Next is financial readiness which is typically determined by creating a post-employment budget. This will include reliable sources of monthly income throughout their retirement years. The good news is their expenses may be considerably less when factoring in they’re no longer raising children or incurring ongoing costs related to employment such as transportation.
Second, are sources of income and cash flow. Some may decide not to completely disavow employment and instead find part-time work. One retiree I know took a job at the local historical society- a job she finds much more enjoyable than her previous career. Typical income sources are defined pension benefits, investment dividends or distributions, royalties, Social Security, and distributions from 401(k)s and IRAs. The magic of the reverse mortgage is that it can help close many gaps in monthly cashflow that are often found when considering retiring. A portion of the home’s illiquid value is converted into an available standby line of credit, monthly tenure payment, or simply retires the burden of an existing monthly mortgage payment. Of course, those pesky property taxes and insurance do remain until death or home do you part.
The third question almost every soon-to-be retiree faces is when to begin taking Social Security benefits and that question hinges on whether to take full or reduced benefits. As the ratio of retirees to active workers continues to grow Uncle Sam has moved the goalposts over the years with those born before 1938 being able to take full benefits at the age of 65, and younger retirees seeing a graduated reduction based on age. Some look to not only their need for the monthly benefit but their likely life expectancy with those in poorer health opting to start sooner rather than risk dying before collecting a full benefit. As a reverse mortgage professional you will want to avoid giving advice on when to begin drawing benefits, but again, knowing the considerations involved is useful to understand the homeowner’s mindset.
The fourth consideration revolves around Medicare. Fewer workers are retiring with a medical insurance benefits package. The good news is they can enroll in Medicare at the age of 65 and purchase a Medicare supplement policy that is typically much less expensive than the private insurance premiums they would pay individually.
Fifth, and lastly are Required Minimum Distributions. Did you know that while 401(k) and IRA deductions reduce taxable income distributions must be taken to avoid penalties, in many cases up to 50%?! For decades retirees had to begin taking distributions or payouts from these accounts at the age of 70 1/2. However, thanks to the 2019 SECURE Act and increasing life expectancy that age is 72. Some younger retirees in their early sixties have postponed taking money to avoid more taxable income from these accounts while allowing them to grow by using a reverse mortgage. Either way, the money must be systematically withdrawn.
Understanding these five factors can help reverse mortgage originators increase their confidence when working with both financial professionals and homeowners. Be mindful to stay in your lane not providing unlicensed advice but also recognize that your foundational grasp of these basic concepts will not go unnoticed. It will help not only build rapport but trust and efficiency in helping shape a plan that best meets the need of the homeowner.