3 ways retirees can build a cash cushion

When home won't sell on open market, innovate

DEAR BENNY: I read your recent column regarding bridge loans. I would like to look into a bridge loan for my parents, who are both in their 90s. They have moved into an independent living community and are almost out of money — and their home of 61 years will not sell.

Who do I call to get a bridge loan? It’s the only way they will be able to stay where they are because they are cash-poor. I hope you can steer me in the right direction. –Beth

DEAR BETH: A "bridge loan" is generally a loan to help a consumer buy another home before the old home is sold. When the old home is sold, the bridge loan is paid off. In effect, the loan is a "bridge" between the two houses.

So I don’t think you are referring specifically to a bridge loan. I see three possible alternatives. First, see if your parents can get a home equity line of credit (called a "HELOC"). I assume their house is free and clear of any mortgage. Talk with your local banker about this.