The payout from a reverse mortgage can be used for almost anything, but just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should. How you use your reverse mortgage payoff will have a significant impact on your financial security. With that in mind, some ways to spend your loan payout are better than others.

Generally speaking, it’s best to be conservative with your reverse mortgage payout. By all means, you could make those home renovations and pay off those unexpected health care expenses. You could also get rid of your credit card debt. You could treat yourself to vacation or help fund a grandchild’s college tuition. Whatever you do, make sure you have enough left over to last the rest of your retirement. This last idea, for many younger seniors, can be difficult.

First, the younger you are when you take out your reverse mortgage, the longer the payoff has to last. According to the Social Security Administration, the average life expectancy for men who reach the age of 65 is 84.3 years. For women who reach age 65, the average life expectancy is 86.6 years. You need to consider these statistics, especially since the younger you are, the less payout your reverse mortgage provides. If you’re financially comfortable in your sixties, you may want to wait on taking out a reverse mortgage until you’re in your seventies.

However, what we’re seeing is a trend among retiring baby boomers to take out reverse mortgages early, and then treat the payout as disposable income. Fair enough–you can use the money in any way you see fit. But using reverse mortgage payouts to go on round-the-world trips, treat yourself to a shiny new sports car, or hit the Vegas blackjack tables may not make the most financial sense. Everyone’s situation is different, of course, but it makes more sense to be fiscally conservative with your loan payout.

This is one reason why the Federal Housing Administration requires all reverse mortgage applicants to receive financial counseling from an independent, third-party prior to finalizing a reverse mortgage. It’s a chance to determine if you’re going to get the maximum use out of your loan’s value. Hopefully you’ve got a long, healthy retirement ahead of you. Make sure it’s a financially secure one.