I’ve been concerned with my dilemma even before the market downturn we are presently in. If my portfolio (very diversified) is around $500,000 plus, does it make sense to maintain a mortgage in the amount of $87,000? My broker from Smith Barney insists that it is a good thing, that the $425 per month interest is OK, since my $87,000 is invested and making (?) money for me. However, I am also paying his commission on that amount each month. In that money I have an annuity worth about $125K, which we are going to start tapping, according to his game plan. Most of the other investments are in munis. May I have your opinion?
George

Greenacres, Fla.

George,

Pay off the mortgage — get rid of the debt. Your broker is suggesting that your mortgage is making you money because of the tax deductions. But you can get the same deductions from giving money to worthy charities instead of sending money to the bank. The difference is you don’t have the risk of debt and his commissions.

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