Conventional wisdom recommends that retirees eliminate all debt, including mortgages. In fact, the common trajectory used to be that a person in his 20s or 30s would purchase a home with a 30-year mortgage, which he would finish paying in his 50s or 60s just prior to retirement.
In the 21st century, things are not so cut and dried. Many people wait until later in life to purchase homes. Rather than paying off their mortgages in a linear fashion, they periodically use refinances, second mortgages and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) to access their home’s equity, and they buy and sell homes at a faster rate than was common a generation ago. The result is that people carry much heftier mortgage balances into retirement, prompting the decision of whether to use savings to pay it off. READ MORE