Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Retired couple contemplates buying a new house

DEAR HARRY: My wife and I are in our 70s, and we live in a two-story twin home in Lawndale. Our mortgage is paid off, and our only debt is a few thousand dollars on two credit cards. We are looking for a one-story home in the Far Northeast, maybe Somerton. Our present home would bring about $150,000, and we're looking in the range of $250,000 to $275,000. We have accumulated about $975,000. This includes the value of our home, IRAs, CDs and savings accounts. I get $325 a month in Social Security plus $2,500 in pensions. My wife gets $1,600 in Social Security and no pension. When we find the new house we're looking for, do we pay cash or go for a mortgage? How much mortgage?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: Why are you carrying any credit-card debt? You're paying a whopping interest rate. Get rid of that, like, yesterday. At your ages, why go into debt on a mortgage if you can afford not to? You'll still have a substantial "reserve" and be able to live at a level at least equal to the way you live now. I suggest that you make sure you will be near important facilities: your doctors, a good hospital, a place of worship, entertainment and close family. Try to live by wearing out, not rusting out!


Email Harry Gross at, or write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19107. Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.

Harry Gross Daily News Personal Finance Columnist
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