As the unemployment rate rises, more mortgage borrowers must choose between default and making the payment out of savings. That can be an agonizing decision.

"I was laid off recently but am reasonably hopeful of finding another position soon … We have stayed current by drawing down our IRAs, but there is only about $4,000 left, enough to cover us for one more month. Our family is counseling us to keep the $4,000 left in our IRAs and not make the next monthly mortgage payments. Do you agree?"

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