Lori Trawinski joined the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) in 2010 and is responsible for research and analyses of policy issues relating to mortgage lending, foreclosures, reverse mortgages, housing finance reform, consumer debt, financial services, and banking. She is also AARP’s thought leader on age diversity in the workforce. Dr. Trawinski helps lead and manage PPI’s Financial Security Team. She was also the project director of the Future of Work@50+, a multiyear PPI project examining issues related to employment challenges faced by older Americans. She frequently speaks to the press about financial management, foreclosures, reverse mortgages, and consumer debt issues.
Dr. Trawinski began her career as an economist at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, where she worked on estimation and analyses of international securities transactions in the balance of payments accounts. A bond market expert, Dr. Trawinski was vice president, director of research at The Bond Market Association and was director of debt market research at Freddie Mac. She has also worked as a consultant on securities-related issues and taught macroeconomics at Northern Virginia Community College. In her spare time, Dr. Trawinski occasionally performs as a professional stand-up comedian.
Dr. Trawinski holds a PhD in economics and finance, an MA in international economics, and a BA in financial management from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. In addition, Dr. Trawinski holds an executive certificate in financial planning from Georgetown University and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. She is currently enrolled in the diversity and inclusion certificate program at the ILR School of Cornell University.
In Her Words
“Historically, people would pay off their mortgage in 20 to 30 years and have a mortgage-burning party.” These days, however, Trawinski said, “We see that people are carrying mortgage debt at older ages, and it’s both the percentage of families carrying the debt and the amount of debt that has increased.” Marino, V., “Mortgages for Seniors? Available, but Exacting.” The New York Times, June 2, 2017.
“The biggest takeaway,” says co-author Lori Trawinski, “is that the reemployed were more likely to have searched more aggressively and more immediately after losing a previous job. Networking was key. Among the most effective action people had taken to get a job was to contact employers directly and use personal contacts.” Harris, R., “For Older Workers, Good Jobs Still Elusive,” The Boston Globe, March 30, 2015.
“Over the past two decades, a steadily growing number of homeowners have been carrying mortgage debt well into their retirement years, according to a recent study by AARP. And among those age 50 and older, 6% of mortgage loans were seriously delinquent in 2011, up from 1.1% in 2007, AARP found. ‘I don’t think people are making a conscious decision to carry debt,’ says Lori Trawinski, of the AARP Public Policy Institute and author of the study. ‘People have no choice, because they have other obligations they need to take care of.’ Many older people have relied on home equity to cover health care, home repairs, and other big-ticket items.” Laise, E., “Downsize Your Debt before You Retire,” Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, February 2013.
“‘Education debt is contributing to the huge increase in overall financial debt in this country, which is likely delaying the ability of people to retire,’ said Lori A. Trawinski, of the AARP Public Policy Institute.” Winerip, M., “Hold the Gold Watch. Kid in College,” New York Times, February 1, 2013.
“About 57,600 borrowers, or 9.8%, defaulted because of taxes and insurance in mid-2012, up from 8.1% in mid-2011, according to HUD. A borrower goes into default when he does not pay property taxes and insurance—a requirement of the loan. AARP’s Trawinski says such costs can be a hardship for homeowners particularly in states, such as New York, that have hefty property taxes, or in coastal states, such as Florida, with expensive insurance costs because of hurricane and flooding risks. … ‘A senior could be denied a reverse mortgage if the financial assessment finds that the senior cannot pay insurance and taxes and have enough cash left to live on. Seniors who are strapped for cash may be cut out of the reverse mortgage market,’ says Trawinski.” Sheedy, R.L., “Tighter Rules on Reverse Mortgages,” Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, November 2013.
- Trawinski, L., “Disrupting Aging in the Workplace: Profiles in Intergenerational Diversity Leadership,” AARP, October 2016.
- Koenig, G., Trawinski, L. and Sara Rix, “The Long Road Back: Struggling to Find Work after Unemployment,” AARP Public Policy Institute, March 2015.
- Trawinski, L., “Assets and Debt across Generations: The Middle Class Balance Sheet 1989–2010,” AARP Public Policy Institute, January 2013.
- Trawinski, L., “Nightmare on Main Street: Older Americans and the Mortgage Market Crisis,” AARP Public Policy Institute, July 2012.
- Trawinski, L., Congressional Hearing Testimony, “Oversight of the FHA Reverse Mortgage Program for Seniors,” May 9, 2012.
- Trawinski, L., Senate Hearing Testimony, “Long Term Sustainability for Reverse Mortgages: HECM’s Impact on the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund,” June 18, 2013.
Board of Directors, Department of Commerce Federal Credit Union (January 2014-April 2017)