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Vol. 17 No. 7 - November 30, 2016


Shoppers avoid the Black Friday crowds

LaPensee Plumbing Pools Air


From left to right: Lauren Zoller, Janae Rudacille and
Jessica McWhorter were busy on Black Friday at Pink and Navy.

The day after Thanksgiving signals the start of the Christmas shopping season, and for many years, it has been known as Black Friday. Large shopping chains open early on Black Friday and in recent years, on Thanksgiving evening.

Advertising is intense and the daily newspapers toss huge papers on yards, larger than Sunday editions thanks to the shopping inserts.

Black Friday is just another day to Island businesses in most cases, but that might change soon.

Pink and Navy, the boutique on Pine Avenue, started opening an hour earlier and offering discounts at a declining rate per hour, according to storeowner Janae Rudacille.

“It has been our busiest day,” she said last Friday. “This year I put it in my ad in The Sun and we’ve been busier than ever.”

Rudacille said the Christmas shopping season is busier than normal every year.

In other cities, shops saw some business last Friday, but it was from regular shoppers and tourists looking for mementoes from their Thanksgiving holiday before leaving for home.

On Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach, that was the case at Bridge Street Bazaar, according to Melissa Ender shop manager. She pointed to families looking at souvenirs.

At The Hive, Sheree McGlade, of Auburn, Ala., was looking for souvenirs with her family. She said they preferred shopping on the Island while ignoring all the Back Friday hype.

Dorothea Hennessey was looking at outfits at Irene’s Resort Fashions.

“This is they only place I shop,” she said. “I don’t care about the sales.

I wouldn't want to be in crowds like that.” Hennessey comes from Connecticut and has a place in Harbor Isle.

At Mr. Roberts in Holmes Beach, manager Linda Clayton said they have seen a lot of Canadians and British shoppers, but they didn’t see a jump in business on Black Friday. She said they are seeing the same people vacation here, but they are staying for shorter period of time.

No matter what the bargains are in town, shoppers on the Island prefer to avoid the crowds and shop the Island in many cases.

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Reverse mortgages worth another look

Investment Corner

I have written about reverse mortgages over the years, at least twice here in the Sun. My advice was that reverse mortgages were expensive for the borrower, but in the case where a retired person or couple had run out of assets, using the equity in their home through a reverse mortgage wasn’t the worst idea in the world.

I’m bringing the topic back one more time because some changes in federal guidelines have made the reverse mortgage a more attractive option for those who are over age 62, that own their home free and clear of another mortgage and who are concerned about the possibility of running low on retirement income during their lifetime

Space limitations don’t’ allow us to go into a full primer on reverse mortgages, but let’s hit some of the highlights.

• Fees are down: The up front mortgage insurance premium applied to all reverse mortgages was reduced from 2.5 percent of the loan amount to 0.5 percent by the Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act of 2013, as long as the borrower doesn’t tap more than 60 percent of the available credit balance in the first year. Other fees have been standardized and are roughly in line with a traditional home mortgage, but often lenders will issue credits to offset some or all of these other expenses.

• Education: Borrowers are required to attend a consumer counseling session to make sure they understand the nature of the reverse mortgage. The cost of this session is $125

• Borrowing limit: The limit for reverse mortgage credit lines depends on the age of the youngest borrower, current interest rates and the lenders margin. Generally, you can access about half of the value of your principal resident, up to a current maximum value of $625,000.

• Payments: You don’t need to make payment on a reverse mortgage. The money you borrow and accrued interest must be repaid when you no longer live in the home. This can be through a move to another location, or if you pass away. The home will then be sold, the reverse mortgage paid off and any excess above that can be left to heirs.

In the past, advice was generally to take out the reverse mortgage as a last resort when it was obvious additional funds may be needed. Under current guidelines, that advice is outdated. Reverse mortgage lines of credit actually grow over time, giving the borrower the ability to borrow more. So, the current advice in most situations is to establish the line of credit in your mid-60s, when eligible, and instead of borrowing, just let the line of credit rest with a zero balance.

A line of credit for about $125,000 will grow to about $190,000 in 10 years, 290,000 in 20 years and over $440,000 in 30 years. Establishing, but not accessing the line of credit until later in retirement gives the retiree a lot of flexibility. The exact loan characteristics are influenced by the age(s) of the borrowers as well as the current level of interest rates.

In summary, for those who may find themselves real estate rich and liquid asset challenged, a reverse mortgage may be a good option.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing. Visit


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