Financial strategies for retired homeowners

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Financial strategies for retired homeownersFinancial strategies for retired homeowners

The recession and subsequent housing crisis has been especially hard on older homeowners, forcing them to rethink how they will plan for retirement. The downturn took away jobs, forcing early retirement for some. The housing crash erased the home equity millions of homeowners spent decades building and threatens to limit the options retirees have when it comes to utilizing their homes to sustain their retirement.

Q: What are the best ways that a senior can use their home to help fund retirement? Is a reverse mortgage a viable product?

Dr. Harold R. Christensen, Ph. D.

Professor of Economics at Centenary College of Louisiana

A: For many retirees, home equity represents the largest asset that is held. However, they quickly realize that a house is not as liquid as a savings account, investment portfolio, or even an IRA. In many cases, equity can be liquidated by refinancing. The advantage of refinancing is that there may be a tax advantage in the payment of mortgage interest; the disadvantage is that payments must be made. For retirees that need a significant amount of cash to repair their home or other expenses and who have the income sufficient to keep up payments, refinancing is a reasonably good strategy.