Just as Quaero was about to knock on the door to his apartment, Will surprised him by opening it quickly.
“Come with me.” Will muttered as he abruptly stepped past him.
It was Tuesday. Quaero enjoyed work on Tuesday because it meant that he would get his next lesson on retirement success from the wealthy retiree, Will Pecunious, a resident of the senior living complex where Quaero worked as a handyman. Will was always full of surprises and today appeared to be no different.
They walked through the maze of hallways defining the complex and exited the front door into the blistering heat. The sun beat down on the unlikely pair as Will stopped a few blocks away and sat at a bench overlooking a local playground.
Will smiled at the sight of countless children swinging, twirling, hanging, and giggling.
“Alright, I give up. What’s this all about?” Quaero asked confused.
“Shh….” Will silenced him putting his index finger to his lips. “Just watch.”
Quaero knew not to question the old man. He obeyed, occasionally stealing a glimpse of Will who sat with a sweet and innocent smile on his face.
“Look there.” Will pointed to a little boy who appeared about two years-old in blue overalls and a green t-shirt and was running and laughing by himself.
“What about him?”
The little boy was adorable. He ran to his mother who was sitting on a nearby bench holding a baby, spoke with her for a split second, and then took back off to hit the slide. Quaero noticed the little boy did this several times.
“Funny, isn’t it?” Will said.
“Our innate nature and desire for that sense of security. To know that there is a certainty in our lives before we can go out and enjoy ourselves.”
“Will, I really don’t have a clue what you are talking about.”
“Quaero, if you notice that little boy will never leave his mother for too long. Sure, he’ll go and play for a few minutes, but he always returns to make sure his mother is still there. He needs to cling to that certainty before he can go back out and enjoy himself.”
“I noticed that. But what has that got to do with retirement?”
“That sense of security rarely leaves us as we age. Most people want to know that certain elements are in place to ensure security so they can truly be free to enjoy themselves, worry free. I often come across retirees who ask me if their houses should be paid off in retirement. Usually, their gut is telling them to pay it off, but some financial genius is telling them not too. He’s telling them to keep the mortgage and invest the money.”
“Yeah, I meant to ask you about that. Are you telling me having a mortgage in retirement is wrong?”
“Every situation is different, Quaero. Under the right circumstances, it is not necessarily a bad thing. However, watching this boy play on the playground makes me wonder why anyone would advocate a retiree getting a new mortgage on a house that is paid off? So, what, you can possibly make a few bucks by investing the money?”
“Our mortgage will be paid off in 18 months and I had spoken with someone who told me to refinance it and invest. I guess that idea is out the window. What about a reverse mortgage?”
“A reverse mortgage is different. That is a financial tool designed for a very different reason and can come in very handy to the retiree who is experiencing financial challenges. No, I’m talking about the traditional mortgage. Pay it off and live your life.”
“That makes sense to me. I’m sure Maria will agree.” Quaero replied.
“The wives usually agree with that one. Now what do you say to pushing me on the swing? I didn’t come all this way to just sit on this bench like an old man.” Will said as he began to walk at a very quick pace towards the swing set.
“Wait for me” Quaero replied as he began to chase him down the small hill.
Next Issue: Lesson #8: “Social Security”
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