I am 81 years old. I have a mortgage balance of $118,300. I also have a $110,000 Individual Retirement Account (IRA) invested with a bank. Should I withdraw the money from my investment and put the money down to reduce the mortgage?
The best option for you will depend on what the rest of your money looks like and what your ultimate goal is. Regardless of why you ask this question, I think you need to consider how it will affect your cash flow as well as your flexibility in accommodating unexpected expenses.
Consider these questions as you think about your next move. (Looking for help with a financial question? This tool can help match you with potential advisors.)
What is your goal with this decision?
Consider what made you ask this question in the first place. Which one is best for you depends in part on your own personal “why.”
Do you want to do whatever will lead to the highest financial return? In this case, This is more of a math problem. Comparing the interest rate on your mortgage to the return you can expect on your investment – and the risks associated with it – will be key.
Do you want to simplify things? If that’s the case, and you can get rid of the entire mortgage, this will definitely do. You will remove two accounts with their associated payments, withdrawals, and tax filing implications for both. I get it – I made decisions that wouldn’t have been justified strictly in a spreadsheet because it would reduce complexity for me.
Do you have concerns for your heirs? I’ve had conversations with retirees who didn’t want to leave their beneficiaries with an unpaid mortgage for fear they wouldn’t be able to keep the house. If this is part of what’s driving you, talk with a counselor and attorney about planning your estate. They will help you understand your options and be able to guide you.
These are just examples of some of the common causes you might think of. My point in putting it up is to suggest that you first establish to yourself why you are considering this and what you hope to achieve. This is a necessary step for making the right decision. (Looking for help with a financial question? This tool can help match you with potential advisors.)
What is the immediate impact on your budget and cash flow?
Whatever the reason, make sure you don’t leave yourself without enough liquid assets.
Do you take regular IRA withdrawals and use the money as part of your regular budget? If so, how will IRA depletion affect your cash flow? Do these withdrawals cover a significant amount of your spending?
The one thing that strikes me about this particular point in your situation is that taking out the entire balance will not completely cancel the mortgage. You still have the payment but without being paid by the IRA.
Assuming this is traditional Tax deferred Irish Republican ArmyYou’ll owe taxes on the full amount, so be sure to account for that. But even if we ignore the tax impact, you’ll still owe about $8,300 on the mortgage. Will you be able to cover this amount with other savings to pay it off in full? If not, can you comfortably cover the payment until it’s paid without relying on an IRA? Whatever the case, make sure you don’t bring yourself back into the financial corner where you have a file especially Paid house but then struggles to keep up.
You may not count on an IRA at all. If you can live comfortably on Social Security, pensions, or other savings, great. It may be the case that you only take required minimum distributions (RMDs) because you have to from an IRA and you don’t need the money to get it. If this is the case, of course, it’s less of a concern.
I suggest that you think carefully about this idea and give it significant weight in your final decision. (Looking for help with a financial question? This tool can help match you with potential advisors.)
Consider what makes you ask this question, as well as the cash flow and tax ramifications of withdrawing from your IRA. These considerations will help inform your final decision.
Brandon Renfro, CFP®, is a SmartAsset financial planning columnist and answers readers’ questions about personal finance and tax topics. Do you have a question you would like answered? Email AskAnAdvisor@smartasset.com and your question may be answered in a future column.
Please note that Brandon is not a participant in the SmartAdvisor Match platform and has been compensated for this article.
Find a financial advisor
If you have questions specific to your investment and retirement situation, a A financial advisor can help. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be difficult. Free SmartAsset tool It matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors serving your area, and you can interview your own advisors at no cost to determine which one is right for you. If you are ready to find a counselor who can help you achieve your financial goals, let’s start.
Retirement planning? Uses SmartAsset Social Security Calculator To get an idea of what your benefits could look like in retirement.
Photo credit: © iStock.com / Inside Creative House, © iStock.com / Dean Mitchell