My Fiscally Fit Aunt – Oh, to have her dilemma!

While I have yet to go into the fullness of the financial fiasco that is my family, there is one that stands head-and-shoulders above the rabble – probably because she’s a married-in rather than blood relative. I will refer to her as Aunt SuperNurse because she’s probably the best ER nurse-practitioner on the east coast and I think her career is very relevant to why she’s (a) fiscally fit, (b) admirably grounded, and (c) been one of only two relatives (out of ~40) that I actually enjoy spending time with. She’s been married to my uncle-the-hippy (my dad’s musically-gifted, pony-tailed brother), who has never carried his weight in the household. This woman teaches interns how to get a line on a patient, calms the crazies, paid for her wedding by growing/selling, ahem, something naughty, makes the best damn coffee cake I’ve ever had, builds her own outdoor decks (yup, she’s done it twice), and is currently putting her daughter through private college by working two extra shifts a month. How great it must be to have the kind of totally secure job where you can control your income to meet your changing needs!

Anyway, a few months ago, she arranged a $100K HELOC @ 4.5% but hasn’t touched it – it’s just there, not accumulating interest, at her immediate disposal. She’s been pondering the idea of buying a rental property for about a year but is waiting for the market to find a bottom. She might have other ideas on the table for that money, but there’s only so much I know. With the craziness that has been Wall Street this week, she is now weighing the pros and cons of accessing some or all of the money and putting it in CD ladders. Aunt SuperNurse realizes that she’ll at best break even and probably even lose a little bit, but the writing is on the wall that we’re moving to a “Cash is King” economy, and she aspires to the aristocracy! But seriously, the bank could rescind the untouched HELOC at any time, and she’s trying to decide if it’s worth the effort and the (admittedly minor) risk.

I WISH I HAD THIS PROBLEM!! But it’s kind of fun to think through in what I’d classify as a more realistic version of the “what I would do if I won the lottery” fantasy. I still couldn’t buy the roof that is currently over my head (unless Manhattan real estate prices drop by 50% AND there’s a bank willing to do a no-documentation mortgage for $250K), so I doubt I’d do anything a whole lot different than she’s planning. I’m sure there are more possibilities out there that I’m not even aware of —  but I suspect that’s the kind of thinking that, on a much larger scale, got us into this mess to begin with…?


One Response

  1. […] apartment that she uses on the occasional weekend and might allow me to borrow for 2 hours, and my aunt (her best friend), who has a nicely finished basement with a lockable door. I don’t think […]

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