Bust through retirement roadblocks

There are plenty of obstacles along the route to retirement. These three couples found strategic ways to get around theirs.

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Roadblock: A mortgage
Roadblock: A mortgage
Randy and Els Shircel, 60 and 56, live in Cheyenne, Wyo., where he is an Air Force deputy director and she is a housewife.
Name: Randy and Els Shircel
Location: Cheyenne, Wyo.
Salary: $129,000
Nest egg: $500,000 $61,000 per year in pensions

PROBLEM: Randy was transferred in 2007, so he and Els bought their home near the peak of the market. They paid $395,000, but Randy estimates it's worth $375,000. He'd like to retire in two years, but with a mortgage of $190,000, the couple are worried about the strain the payments will place on them in retirement. On the other hand, they'd shell out 40% of their savings to pay off the loan.

SOLUTION: Financial planner Jacob Gold of Scottsdale advises the Shircels against paying off the loan. Els will get only a fraction of Randy's pensions if he passes away before she does, so she may need to lean on their retirement funds.

But since the couple have considered moving, Gold suggests they sell their five-bedroom home -- even at a slight loss -- and use the equity to pay cash for a smaller place in one of their desired cities: Dover, Del., or San Antonio.

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Last updated September 29 2010: 10:55 AM ET
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