Time to Cash In and Move On?


My mother is 90 years old and lives in Omaha, as do many of our relatives. Omaha is the area we are both originally from. I would like to sell our home and move back there. My husband will do this, but considers it unwise since he is 67 and I am 63. To move, we would have to sell our home and cash in about $90,000 in mutual funds. What do you think?

I encourage you to consider your question from three perspectives. First, as it relates to your marriage, second as it relates to your mother's needs and, finally, considering your financial situation.

Remember the importance of considering the needs and concerns of your husband. It is important for you to discuss the various issues involved with him in order to honor your marriage sacrament. Remember the words in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

An open, loving discussion between the two of you can go a long way toward better understanding the pros and cons of each option, and drawing you together as you make a decision.

Here are some starter questions. Does your husband have any concerns, other than financial ones, regarding relocation to Omaha? Would you both prefer to live in Omaha even after your mom passes on? I'm sorry to mention that, but it's an important question. I'm sure you and your husband will come up with additional issues that should be considered as well.

Second, obviously you'll want to make a decision that honors your mother, remembering St. Paul's words to Timothy: “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). What you and your husband will need to work through is determining the best way for you to be involved with your mom.

If other family members are in a position to take the lead regarding Mom's care, and your desire to move is more a function of being close to your mother and your family, you could consider making periodic, extended trips to Omaha. You might find that fulfills your desire to be close while also providing a good answer as it relates to your finances.

The third area to consider is the financial impact of a move. I would encourage you to prepare a “pro-forma” budget for the Omaha scenario. Such a budget should take into account changes in income and expenses related to such a move. Ask yourselves whether now is the right time to put more of your resources into a home and relocation. Do you have to dip into your savings to such a level that you are concerned about being able to make ends meet? Do you have adequate funds set aside for retirement if you tap into the mutual funds you mentioned? Remember to take into account any taxes you would incur on the sale of the home and of the mutual funds.

Once you have taken into consideration the needs of your marriage, your mother and your financial circumstances — and you have spent time in prayer with your husband — you'll be in a position to make a decision that honors your mom and your marriage.

God love you!

Phil Lenahan is available to present his seminar

The Road to True

Financial Freedom to parishes and other groups.

For information, go to catholic.com/seminars.asp.