I pretty much lost a friend over his getting into the reverse mortgage business. His incessant trumpeting about what a great service he was doing for humanity (never stop selling!) got to be too much. There's no doubt that reverse mortgages put money in old people's pockets and may go some way toward making for a more comfortable retirement. So of course I can see the appeal to those with less than secure finances. And for those with no heirs, well, why should they care one whit about the value of their estates when they croak? Among the legacies of slavery we still live with a century and a half on is the great disparities in family wealth between black and white people. Now, some of that data should be taken with a large grain of salt. The overwhelming majority of the super-rich are not black folks, so that skews waaaay upward the averages for white family wealth. If in a sample of 1000 white families we include that of one Jeff Bezos, well, we all on average got a whole lotta dough, even if I can't afford a Big Mac. Still, though, having a grandma who helps finance one's college education is a big leg up that is afforded many white people and very few black people. Getting Dad's 8-year-old car because he wants a new one and can afford to lose the few thousand dollars he might have gotten in trade-in happens pretty much all the time in white families. I've never inherited a dime, and doubt I ever will. I have this in common with a large percentage of white people and a much larger percentage of black people. Reverse mortgages make it all the likelier that the progeny of working-class people will remain in the working class. It's another way for wealth to trickle up. What's needed is for lower-income whites and blacks (and Hispanics, and … ) to make common cause, because we are the clear majority, and it remains in the interest of others to keep us squabbling among ourselves. Alas, we have this legacy of racism that keeps getting in the way. As Lyndon Johnson put it, "If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."