Is it time to pay down that HELOC?
We recently had a CPA firm refer a client to us that was in need of financial assistance. She was a 68 years old, recently retired widow. She owned multiple rental properties and was in the process of a large home renovation when we first sat down with her.
We initially met with her and her daughter to gain a full understanding of her financial picture. It was imperative that we learned about her goals and objectives in retirement. She explained what her ideal living arrangements would look like.
Her income consisted of her late spouse’s Social Security benefit and rental income from two of her four rental properties. Without making any adjustments to her situation, based on her existing income and expenses, she was on pace to run out of money within 10 years. One of the first action items we suggested was to invest a larger portion of her cash for a higher return, which added immediate value. We also reviewed her annual expenses to help define and fine-tune her retirement income withdrawal strategy based on a budget that she was comfortable with. We evaluated her rental properties and their viability for generating income and helped determine which property to consider selling. We prioritized which financial actions to takein a short-term, medium and long-term timeframe.
We recommended that an outstanding HELOC of approximately $190k with a variable interest rate (currently 6.5%) expiring in 2021 be paid down aggressively with available cash. The rental property that was identified as a candidate to be sold was going through a major renovation. It became clear that the benefit of the renovation would not offset the mounting costs. The renovations were put on hold and a real estate agent was engaged. It was suggested that the property be placed on the market as is. Within a couple of months, she received an offer on the property. Selling one rental property and then strategically using the proceeds to achieve the best possible outcomes based on various what-if scenarios that were presented during our financial plan review meeting, was identified as a key factor in her success. We also recommended that she consider a bookkeeper who could help keep her retirement budget on track.
Gaining her trust was instrumental to the success of the financial plan and implementing the proposed recommendations. We still have work to do, but she is now on a clearly defined path for success which will allow her wealth to last throughout her lifetime. As her situation evolves, we continue to monitor and update her plan to keep her on the right track.
If you are looking for financial guidance, whether it be for a one-time financial plan or continuing advice on your investments, we invite you meet with us here at First and Main Financial for a free consultation. We would be more than happy to sit down with you, assess your current financial situation and review with you our services to help navigate your own financial future.