The Highest Good

Summum Bonum

“Summum Bonum”. The highest good was a phrase Rome’s famed orator Cicero was inclined to recite before his audiences. The greatest good or the sum of all that benefits your fellow man/woman. It’s a phase every HECM (reverse mortgage) professional should keep in mind when approaching every potential borrower.

The highest good is also embodied as the Stoic definition of virtue. The stoic tradition held that virtue is composed of wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice.

Applying these principles lets see how each could fit into our interactions as a reverse mortgage professional.


  • Am I overwhelming the homeowner with information?
  • Are they looking for a quick fix?
  • What is their communication style and am I using it?


  • Am I willing to be direct about their current financial situation?
  • Am I willing to make less money to do the right thing?
  • Am I willing to discuss any property issues?


  • Are ethics at the forefront of how we interact in this loan transaction?
  • Am I showing sensitivity to their needs, hopes, and previous disappointments?
  • Am I willing to slow down my pace in the interest of them holding firm to the information being presented?


  • If they were my grandparents how would I proceed?
  • Did someone else try to deceive or rip them off?
  • Do my words and actions reflect the value of honesty?


Brien Brandenburg February 15, 2022 at 5:44 am

Love this. If everyone in our industry adhered to these principles it would be much easier to thwart and respond to allegations of impropriety and downright lies about how the HECM business operates. Maybe some of the national pundits who continually bad mouth the HECM product would wake up and do a real deep dive into it’s benefits and usage.

Ray Antonelli February 15, 2022 at 7:45 am

I think this is the best post in a very long time

Shannon Hicks February 15, 2022 at 8:07 am

Thank you, Ray!

John Link February 15, 2022 at 11:56 am

Thanks for sharing this, as a CSA, this is the heart of our training. We should always ask a lot of questions to establish what the client’s needs are so we know what the client’s long-term goals are, only then can we truly advise what product might be best for them.
Keep up the good work
Best regards,
John Link, CSA
Retirement Mortgage Specialist
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.


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