Martha started her career in real estate in 2005, continued her journey through many different positions, and is now 100% focused as a reverse mortgage planner. She has always had a desire to help people solve their financial problems, and her current role allows her to do just that. She loves helping her clients, typically people over the age of 60, to understand how a reverse mortgage works and how it can help them to live a better retirement with fewer financial worries.
Shanks has found that there are two elements that keep her motivated in this field, the education aspect of the reverse mortgage field and helping people create real solutions to serious problems. As Shanks says, “Sometimes reverse mortgage has a bit of a bad rap”, so Shanks enjoys opening people’s eyes to the reality of what a reverse mortgage is and how it can help them. To her, it is a very pleasant experience when she can get a client to understand what a reverse mortgage is and have that “ah-ha” moment. The other aspect that keeps Shanks motivated in the field is how great it feels to be part of the solution for a client’s problem. An example of this is, one of her clients who was running out of assets to pay for their care, and Shanks helped them by setting up a reverse mortgage which provided the finances to keep their home and pay for care.
Shanks believes that being detail-oriented and being able to identify “red flags” are very important traits that help lead to success in this field as an agent. As Shanks says, “I have a 40-point questionnaire that I go through now, and I always say, this is to identify any red flags.” She knows that identifying and handling any red flags early on will help make the process doable and easier. Other traits that would help someone find success in the field are also a good degree of patience and the ability to educate others, and Shanks has these traits in spades.
Shanks's primary clients are people who are over the age of 60, own a home, and have at least 50% of the home’s value as equity. By narrowing her range of clients, she is more efficiently able to provide her services. On top of working with these clients, she also has referral sources and works with financial planners, meaning that she works with people who aren’t exactly in her targeted audience but have a financial planner who would be working with her. An example of one of her recent clients is a 99-year-old woman who had very little technology to work with and had lost track of a few important documents. Shanks helped that women reacquire the documents and get access to the reverse mortgage, providing the funds needed to continue her care while staying in her home.
When she is not helping her clients create solutions for their financial problems, Shanks enjoys plenty of activities such as cooking, traveling, and going outdoors. She enjoys hiking around the Pasadena area in California and traveling to areas such as Iceland and Ireland. While travel has slowed down currently, she plans to get back to it once the environment for it becomes better. When Shanks cooks, while she can cook most things, she likes to barbecue chicken and steak, making side dishes to go with what she cooks.
Shanks thoroughly enjoys community work, and currently is working with her neighbors in her area to help create a better environment. She helps out in the NAIFA community as well, calling new members who joined in the California area and checking in on them, gathering information about their thoughts and opinions. Shanks has also recently signed up to contribute to NAIFA's political advocacy program, she supports and advocates for the program as she knows how well it will impact the future. She believes that being involved in policy changes is a very interesting and rewarding experience that she would recommend to NAIFA members who may be hesitant in joining.
Thank you, Martha, for your loyal service to our industry and association. We’re proud to call you one of our own.