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Plan to Enjoy!

Retirement is meant to be a time of celebration; however, many find themselves with a feeling of dread as they ponder how they can even afford to retire. As you look to the “second half” of your life, consider these tips to ensure these upcoming years of your life are some of the best years of your life.


Downsize debt before you retire

Mortgages and credit card debt, along with the financial needs of college-age children and elderly parents, are taking a heavy toll on baby boomers and older retirees. Nearly half of boomers expect to retire with debt, according to a recent survey by Fidelity Investments. 

Credit Card Bills

When faced with overwhelming credit card bills, focus on paying down the debt with the highest interest rate first. And if it will take more than a few months to pay off the cards, consider consolidating your balances on a card offering a 0% interest rate—bearing in mind that you could face a steep rate increase when the promotional period is over. 

Mortgage Debt

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. Some seniors struggling to make mortgage payments may be able to downsize to a smaller home and slash their maintenance, insurance and tax bills at the same time. 

Alternatively, those who have good credit may be able to take advantage of today's low interest rates and refinance their mortgage. If you are current on your mortgage payments but having trouble refinancing because the value of your home has dropped, the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) may help. This Federal program, which is available for mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, helps borrowers refinance even if they owe more than the value of their home. For information on HARP and other programs designed to help homeowners, go to MakingHomeAffordable.gov.

Financial Counseling

Another great resource when considering debt, is working with a non-profit counseling agency. MMFCU is proud to partner with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota to provide members the services to help conquer your debt. For more information on services provided by Lutheran Social Service, visit, lssmn.org/debt.

Source: business.financialpost.com


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