Losing the home-equity gamble

Home Sale Hindsight

Q: I’m 61 years old and in a bad situation. In 2006, I paid my house off and retired as chief financial officer for a public company. I wanted to invest in a new technology, so I called this mortgage broker who was always sending postcards to me in the mail. I had very little income, but had just entered into an agreement to work part time as the CFO for a startup earning a six-figure salary. The mortgage broker was able to get me a loan with nothing more than my Social Security earnings documentation and a letter from the startup’s president.

I pulled about $600,000 out of my home, with a first and a second mortgage (of course, now my home is worth only about $400,000). But I didn’t realize that the first mortgage was a pay-option loan, so every month, my loan balance is going up. My investment opportunity flopped, so the money is gone.