The strategies that Greene describes fall into two main categories. The first involves using reverse mortgages as a cash cushion when stock or bond markets are depressed. Retirees whose income strategies involve regularly scheduled liquidations of parts of their portfolios can take a disproportionate hit if they have to sell during a down market, as many found out the hard way during the 2008-09 crash; falling back on a reverse mortgage could help them maintain a steady cash flow without selling assets at a discount.
The other strategy involves using a reverse mortgage to avoid rising into a higher tax bracket. Withdrawals from traditional IRAs are taxable, but tapping a home for income could allow some retirees to make smaller withdrawals; it could also keep their taxable income below the threshold at which Uncle Sam takes a bite out of Social Security benefits. (One counter-intuitive approach that an adviser describes to Greene: using a reverse mortgage to make payments on one’s mortgage, to avoid withdrawing nest-egg money for that purpose.)
Most large banks no longer offer reverse mortgages, and consumer advocates have accused some brokers in the field of fraud and high-pressure sales tactics; as Greene notes, anyone pursuing these strategies should tread carefully and skeptically.