Should We Drain What’s Left in the IRA to Pay The Mortgage? – Susan

“Dear Steve,

My husband has a IRA account that he had transferred from his previous job, and it was not much. We took money out last year to keep our heads above water. Now we are down to only $15,000.00 in our account. We see losses everyday, and we need the money now to survive. He had cuts in his hours on the job, and I am on Permanent Disability. I told my husband to just close it out, and pay the taxes on it. Due to his age, we have no penalty to pay. At least it would be mortgage money for a few months so we can see where the economy is going. We cannot afford to play watch and wait to see if it will end up all down the drain.

Should we leave it and see if it makes more money before we draw from it?


Dear Susan,

I wish I had a magic wand to waive and make the situation better for you.

It looks like the strategy of using the money to stay current on the mortgage would be a failed one. I would not recommend it.

Now, you may still need to liquidate the account to help you get through but we have bigger issues here to tackle first.

So what is the game plan in a few months once that money is gone? Where do you plan to live then once you default on your mortgage payments?

I’d rather see you first exhaust all possible benefits you may be eligible to apply for. See Benefits.gov for additional benefits you might be able to use to help make ends meet.

If you want to see where the economy is going, I can help solve that mystery. You should expect the economy to not improve any time soon. It will improve at some point in the future but there is no expectation it will rush to improve in the next year or so.

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That doesn’t mean your husband might not get some additional hours back but that is dependent on his employer and not the economy at large. It’s tough out there.

If you can’t stay current on your mortgage on the present income then we need to address that issue now, and not a day before you get kicked out.

With what you can afford, are their any rentals in the area you can afford? Let me know and let’s take this solution in logical steps.

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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