In a blink of an eye, the world changed with the coronavirus epidemic.

Beyond the health repercussions, many Americans are feeling immense pocketbook pain, both in the immediate and possibly the foreseeable future.

Retirement savings have also taken a hit. Individuals nearing retirement age may also face more difficult decisions about their financial future. Others are wondering what to do with so much freed up time.

If you have questions about your pathway forward in retirement, here are some steps and considerations you should make to maximize your financial footing during this difficult time.

Collect Social Security

At the age of 62, you are eligible to receive Social Security benefits.

The next time this opportunity will arise is at 65 years or perhaps later. By the age of 70, you will have no choice but to begin reaping the benefits you’ve earned from decades of employment.

Typically, soon-to-be beneficiaries are urged to hold off if possible to take in the maximum amount. This approach may not be as advisable during this unprecedented moment.

Apply for a HECM loan

A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage* can deliver another solution to most financial dilemmas.

For individuals 62 years or older, a HECM can maximize what is typically a retiree’s largest asset.

With a commitment of 50 percent, a HECM allows homeowners to leverage their home equity; in exchange, they’ll no longer make monthly payments on the home.

A HECM boosts liquidity, doubles buying power, and opens the possibilities to other financial advantages.

Lessen debt load

Before entering retirement life, it’s important to eliminate debt, including credit cards, student loans, and medical bills.

Your mortgage can be treated differently depending on your needs. Some retirees may decide to leverage their home’s equity for a HECM or refinance to a different type of loan.

Lessening credit burdens will only increase your financial flexibility to meet other goals.

Hold off on retirement

Depending on the economic aftershocks, finding work may be a little more difficult in the coming years. If you enjoy your current place of employment and had planned to retire soon, it’s not a bad idea to reconsider.

Hanging on for a couple of extra years can translate into increased savings, retention of health benefits, and other types of perks.

*(1) at the conclusion of a reverse mortgage, the borrower must repay the loan and may have to sell the home or repay the loan from other proceeds; (2) charges will be assessed with the loan, including an origination fee, closing costs, mortgage insurance premiums and servicing fees; (3) the loan balance grows over time and interest is charged on the outstanding balance; (4) the borrower remains responsible for property taxes, hazard insurance and home maintenance, and failure to pay these amounts may result in the loss of the home; and (5) interest on a reverse mortgage is not tax-deductible until the borrower makes partial or full re-payment. This material is not from HUD or FHA and has not been approved by HUD or any government agency.