Hi Terry. I am a retired firefighter. My wife is employed and has her own retirement plan. I want to pay off some debts but don”t know which ones or if I should. First, I have less than $16,000 left to pay off my house. My monthly payment with principle,interest, taxes, and $100.00 extra to principle is $1460.00. I have a line of credit on the house that I owe $45,000 on. I have several credit cards that I owe about $30,000 on. I have in a seperate retirement account about $190,000.00 which I can withdrawal from at age 591/2, I turn 60 on Christmas of this year. Last but not least, my daughter will graduate from grad school in May of 2017. I presently support her financially at $1500 per month. What are my best options to pay down/off my debts. Thank you

Terry Says:  OMG — there is a very simple answer to all of this.  You cannot afford to be retired at age 60!  It’s that simple.  You have to find another job or several part-time jobs (and I’m assuming you are not disabled) and bring in enough money to completely pay down your credit card balances and home equity line of credit — before you retire again!! 

By my count the total is $75,000.  You should be able to do that in the next five years.   And during that time you will also probably pay off your mortgage.   If you have extra cash, start with the highest rate credit card first.

Do not touch your retirement accounts until at least age 65!  And the minute your daughter graduates, tell her she is welcome to move in– but that you cannot support her or help her pay her student loans.

I don’t want you to be old and broke — and that is the direction you are heading if you don’t face reality now, while you have time to fix things by bringing in more income for the next five years.