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Financially Speaking

Picking the Right Mortgage Options

In retirement, a house is not only a home

Two points: You have a better shot at retaining some equity if you take the loan in the form of a credit line, so you borrow only what you need each month. And don't take a reverse mortgage in your 60s. Save these loans as a last resort, for money in your older age.

6. Walk away. If you can't afford the house and can't sell it for enough to pay the mortgage against it, walk away and rent. Don't run through your retirement savings in a futile effort to hold on. Discuss your options and the risks with a bankruptcy attorney. This is a country of second chances at any age.

7. Go RV-ing. Sell your house and buy one of those homes you see traveling the interstates. You'll find plenty of state and private RV parks where you'll meet people just like yourself. With Wi-Fi, you can do business on wheels. Or, stop at destinations that hire seasonal workers. You'll find tons of tips at the RetirementRVs website.

8. Retire near friends. This is especially important for single people — widows, widowers, the never-married. You lose your "work family" when you retire. You'll need longtime friends to keep you company in older age. I know a widow who left friends in Florida to live near her son in Tennessee. He visited often but couldn't spend an afternoon in cards and chat. She felt unmoored and moved back.

9. Retire separately but together. What if you want a rustic cabin in the woods while your spouse wants an urban high-rise? We're on the cusp of long-distance retirements, where couples sell the family house and use the cash to pursue different dreams. Yes, you can do it and reunite — in cabin or city — in the end.

Jane Bryant Quinn is a personal finance expert and author of Making the Most of Your Money NOW. She writes regularly for the Bulletin.

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