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Should you pay off your mortgage?

Which is better: To retire without a mortgage or keep the mortgage and retire with a bigger nest egg?

More Americans approaching retiring face what some describe as worrisome levels of debt, especially mortgage and credit card debt.

Consider: More than half 55% of the American population age 55 to 64 carry a home mortgage, and about the same fraction 50% have credit card debt, according to a paper presented at the 15th Annual Joint Meeting of the Retirement Research Consortium held earlier this month in Washington, D.C.

What’s more, that debt isn’t going away after retirement. Among people age 65 to 74, almost half had mortgages or other loans on their primary residences, and more than a third held credit card debt according to the paper, Debt and Debt Management among Older Adults.

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