DEAR BRUCE >> I am 66 years old and planning to retire this year. We have 27 more years on a 30-year mortgage. My wife wants to pay more toward the principal of the mortgage each month. I say we should save the extra money. What might be our best course of action?

— J.H.

DEAR J.H >> How much interest are you paying on the mortgage? If the interest exceeds what your money is earning elsewhere (and I think it's possible), you're best off paying as much as you can. In the event that the interest is less than the money is earning, continue to pay off the loan according to the mortgage term.

You recognize that it is very unlikely that you will pay this mortgage off. But if there is any way you can be putting more money toward the principal under the circumstances that I have outlined, it would be good idea.

DEAR BRUCE >> How much money should I put away for an emergency fund?

— H.E.

DEAR H.E. >> In my opinion, very little. Why? Because you can invest the money and earn 5 percent or more instead. A good, solid credit card could be used for emergencies.

There is no point in allowing money to earn less, which is what it will be doing if you put it away. It's better to invest the money and keep the credit card, where the money isn't costing you a penny until you use it.


DEAR BRUCE >> Is leasing a vehicle these days still better than having a loan for three to five years?

— J.R.

DEAR J.R. >> Since when did leasing become better than having a loan? It seldom is. Unless you're leasing the automobile for business, I would buy it. Keep researching for the best deal.

DEAR BRUCE >> I have a weak disposition for market volatility. I am 64, retired, but with no pension. I plan on starting Social Security next year. What do you think I should do with $50,000 in savings?

— Anita

DEAR ANITA >> You have no pension and you'll be relying on Social Security next year. What should you do? Despite having a weak disposition for the market, maybe the answer here is to get over it! There are many strong places that you can invest the kind of money you described and have at least 5 percent a year coming in.

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