home equity

6 reasons (5 good, 1 bad) to spend your home equity

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Maybe: Use equity as retirement income
Maybe: Use equity as retirement income | AleksandarNakic/Getty Images

Maybe: Use equity as retirement income

Some retirees use a HELOC to meet their current income needs in years when their investment returns aren't sufficient for that purpose, Tilp says.

But again, there's a risk because eventually the retiree will have to make payments on the HELOC.

"If their investment returns don't pick up, they'll need to cut back elsewhere or borrow more against the line of credit, which can start a dangerous downward spiral," Tilp warns.

Another option is a reverse mortgage, which allows seniors to borrow against home equity without making payments. Instead, the loan is repaid when the senior dies or moves out of the home or the home is sold.

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