DEAR BENNY: We will soon have our mortgage paid off. Our home is valued at $120,000. Unfortunately, we owe about $50,000 in credit-card debt. I took early Social Security and work part time. My husband will take full Social Security next March and continue to work full time. So we had planned to pay extra on the debt with his Social Security check and the fact that we will no longer have a house payment. This will likely take at least two years. However, we wonder if it would be more beneficial to re-mortgage the house for the $50,000 to pay off all the credit-card debt. Obviously it would be a lower interest rate and would be an income tax deduction. What do you think? –Jean

DEAR JEAN: No one wants to have mortgage debt, but sometimes you have no alternative. On the other hand, no one wants to be "house rich and cash poor."

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