Reverse mortgage isn't good option for 70-year-old

DEAR BRUCE: I am 70 years old. I currently own a condo that is worth $60,000. My savings consist of $9,000 in case of emergencies. My only income is $1,600, Social Security disability. I live in a state where the income is good enough for me to afford my bills. I can afford the $450 rent.

Also my only other bill is my car payment that is around $400 a month. My reason for writing to you is to ask if a reverse mortgage would be something that I should look into. — G.G., via e-mail

DEAR G.C.: You mentioned the two bills that you can afford to pay monthly, but I don't understand how you can waste $4,800 in car payments. That $4,800 a year can and could be used for other things.

I don't think that a reverse mortgage is a good idea for you at this time in your life. The reasons given: your age being the bigger factor. The older you are the more someone can benefit from this service. It never has to be repaid during your lifetime. I would find other ways for you to use your money to better your lifestyle.

DEAR BRUCE: I recently received a statement about an unpaid bill that dates back nine years. They told me that this would go on my credit report. However, instead of checking with the company concerned, I stupidly paid the bill. That was money I did not have, so I used a credit card. Did I make the wrong decision? — Reader, via e-mail

DEAR READER: Yes, I think you made a mistake here. I assume that the unpaid bill was legitimate. The likelihood is that the company that you mentioned had purchased that bill for a few pennies on the dollar and would have settled for significantly less. However, that having been said, the bill has been paid and the only thing that you should have insisted upon is that the bill show as having been satisfied on your credit report.

In the event that the obligation continues to show up on the credit report, you should put it in contest with the agency that the bill has been satisfied and send some documentation to prove your contention. They should then show it as being paid.

Send your questions to: Smart Money, P.O. Box 2095, Elfers, FL 34680. E-mail to:

Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns.

Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.

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