My mom is 75, and I’m the executor of her estate. She has $500,000 in retirement accounts, and the only debt she has is around $70,000 on her mortgage. Most of her money is in the stock market, with only $20,000 in a money market account, and this worries me. She lives well within her means, so am I wrong to be concerned? Also, do you think she should go ahead and pay off her mortgage?
Yes, I would recommend she go ahead a pay off the mortgage. If she can do that at age 75, and still have $430,000 left, that’s the way to go.
Now, being in the stock market at her age sounds like a shock to you. I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all. It’s not what the typical financial planner tells you to do. For the most part, they’ll tell you to get super conservative with your money as you get older. But from what you’ve said, she’s not going to use this money. She’s going to use the income from this money. So, the money’s going to be left alone. If she’s in good mutual funds, and not single stocks, I’m not worried about her.
Let’s pay off the mortgage, and then she can start taking her income off the remainder. With the house payment out of the way, she won’t need as much in terms of income, because she won’t be sending money to the bank to pay the note on the house anymore. I’m comfortable with that. I’m 58, and I’m 100 percent into stocks through mutual funds. I don’t have anything else, and I really don’t ever plan on changing that!
* Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 14 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.