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Pay Off Debt or Invest Retirement Funds

Should I pay off my debt or save for retirement?

My husband recently had to go on disability retirement. He receives $68,000 including SSD and pensions. I make 75,000 a year. We have a combined 110,000 in retirement. He says we should take out 60% of retirement to pay off debt because if something happens to him I'll receive SS on him and also a portion of his pensions. We owe $25,000 in credit card debt and $300,000 on our mortgage.

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Bill's Answer
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I agree with your spouse in general, but not about the specifics of his plan.

The interest expense on the credit card is not deductible. Therefore, consider taking a distribution from the retirement account and zero the credit cards as quickly as possible, and then leave them that way. That leave you $85,000 in the retirement account.

You should consider rebuilding the retirement account quickly. You both have adequate income relative to the mortgage expense to allow you to save a large amount each month if you have a handle on your expenses. I urge you to look very closely at your expenses, and create a plan to save at least 10% of your monthly income into the retirement account.

Find a financial planner that you feel compatible with and create a balanced plan for investing the retirement account. With your monthly savings and your investment results you should rebuild this account quickly and given enough time and disciplined savings you can double the size of this account in two years. Then do it again in another thee years.

You do not mention if you have life insurance. Consider getting enough to cover the balance of the mortgage if it is affordable given your ages and health.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.



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