PROBLEM: Smith was laid off from an HR director position in 2007, and Liebeck, who's self-employed, lost half her income in the recession.
Smith found a new job, but their income is still down 40%. Scrambling to pay bills, they can't afford to save. "We'd love retirement to be a possibility," Liebeck says, "but I just don't see it."
SOLUTION: The couple should refinance their 15-year, 5.25% mortgage, $29,000 HELOC, and a loan for their daughter's college into a 30-year loan, says Montrose, N.Y., financial adviser Maureen Whelan.
This will save $1,000 a month, which they can stash for retirement. Doing that, they'll have $475,000 by the time Smith is 67, Whelan says. Plus, they'll have enough home equity to sell and buy a smaller house with cash.
NEXT: Roadblock: A mortgage