(First of 2 articles) "I have a first mortgage for $161K at 7.125 percent, a second for $40K at 7.5 percent, and $50K of credit card debt at 13 percent to 19 percent. We could refinance the first and second mortgages into a fixed-rate loan at 6.25 percent. But we could also refinance them into a home equity loan at 4 percent (prime rate plus zero) and no cost, and with interest-only payments for 10 years. The sharp reduction in mortgage payments would allow us, at long last, to pay down our credit card debt rapidly. It seems like a dream come true. What am I overlooking?" You are overlooking the risk of a sharp increase in the prime rate, which could quickly turn your dream into a nightmare. Some borrowers are positioned to take this risk, but you aren't one of them. In recent weeks I ...
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