Dave Says: Why You Should Never Borrow Against Your Home

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Posted: Jul 01, 2020 9:57 AM
Dave Says: Why You Should Never Borrow Against Your Home

Source: AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Dear Dave,

We’d like to start preparing for the future, but our debt is preventing us from investing for retirement. Would it be okay to use a home equity line of credit to start investing? We were thinking the eventual returns might justify doing this. 

Nick

Dear Nick,

No! Never put something as important and meaningful as your home on the line just for the sake of investing. Do not borrow against your home!

I’m guessing you’re new to my way of doing things, so let’s start from the beginning. First, follow the Baby Steps. Getting $1,000 in the bank as a starter emergency fund is Baby Step 1. Next, pay off all your debts from smallest to largest—except for your home—using the debt snowball method. That’s Baby Step 2. It’s time then to revisit your emergency fund, and bulk it up to a full three to six months of expenses in Baby Step 3. 

Now, it’s time to really start thinking about your future and retirement. In Baby Step 4, take 15 percent of your gross household income and start investing it for retirement. Start with your company’s 401(k) plan, up to the full employer match. Then, invest the rest into Roth IRAs. One for you, and one for your spouse, if you’re married.

Here’s the thing, Nick. Investing becomes easy at this point, because you’ve freed up your income. And that’s the most important wealth-building tool you have!

—Dave