Life Happens: When Circumstances Infringe On Retirement Hopes & Dreams

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Life Happens: When Circumstances Infringe On Retirement Hopes & Dreams

Dec, 1st 2016

It was a modest house, a two-bedroom ranch in Arlington, Mass. Jerri and Richard Newman had to stretch to buy it for $169,000 in 1996, but with his job at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and her freelance editing, they figured they could swing it.

They took out a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. But their son developed mental health disabilities, including a bipolar disorder. To pay for his care, and help compensate for Ms. Newman’s interrupted career, the Newmans refinanced four times and took out a home-equity loan.

In an earlier era, the Newmans — he’s 65; she’s 62 — might now be contemplating retirement in a paid-for home. Instead, they’ve amassed so much mortgage debt, about $375,000, that...

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