Some homeowners ‘ARMed’ and ready

Debunking the allure of the 30-year fixed mortgage

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Adjustable-rate loans, especially those with an interest-only component, recently have been shunned and criticized, hammered and nailed. If you are looking for sympathy in your daily life, simply mention at your kid's weekend basketball game that you have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) set to adjust in May. Ever since the mortgage mess began to unravel, consumers have raced to fixed-rate loans, reportedly with a newly found "pay-it-off" mindset. While this appears to be great news, it does not ensure that these same folks will not dip into their home's equity when the housing market eventually returns. That sort of discipline has yet to be proven among the baby boomers that have showed a tendency to refinance or take out a home equity loan for cars, vacations or a hot stock tip. In reality, refinancing to a 30-year, fixed-rate loan may not be the best strategy for a homeowner looking for lower payments while hoping to reduce the principal. For example, let's ...