Q: I own several homes free and clear, including my primary residence. Since the mortgage rates are low, should I obtain a mortgage so that I can use those funds to send my children to college? They are currently in secondary schools. — B.M., Leesburg z A: Although interest rates are at an extremely low point, I don't recommend taking a mortgage on your home or rental property if the money is not needed. Once your children are closer to college age, and you have explored all options, then this may be an option to review. — Christina Pinto z Q: I plan on retiring in two years when I am 62 and receive my Social Security payments. My wife is retired now and is on a disability pension from teaching. Will she be eligible for a Social Security payment of 35 percent of what I receive? She will be 63 then. — D. R. z A: If you begin your Social Security benefits at age 62, they will be reduced by a factor for each month you begin before your full retirement age. At full retirement age, your spouse could collect 50 percent of your benefits, but hers will be reduced if she begins to collect the benefits early. If her disability payments are through Social Security, that will also affect the retirement benefits that she receives. — Dianne Webb z Q: What should I invest in if I want my money to last for 20 years? I am 80 years old and am concerned about inflation as well. — B. N., Orlando z A: There are several options that could work if you only take the interest out, leaving you with your entire principal in 20 years. If you choose an immediate annuity and are concerned about inflation, you can look for one that is inflation adjusted, or have other investments on the side to supplement the fixed income. — Cynthia Price
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