Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

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hahabye
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Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by hahabye »

Hi Bogleheads,

DS and I currently own a home that is worth approximately $700k in Central Florida. We owe $26k at 4.375% and based on our current payment schedule ($3,250/mo) the home will be paid in full early next year. This has always been a goal of ours, and it will be a great feeling to own the home free and clear.

However, with rates so low I am strongly considering pulling out $150-$200k in a cash out refinance at 1.875% fixed for 15 years. The purpose of the cash out would be to use the funds to bolster our emergency account (currently $111k) and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Initially my thoughts would be to dollar cost average into the market say $12k/mo for a year, or possibly put the money into a Marcus no penalty CD at .60% and wait for a correction. I am well aware that I can't time the market but it is a little scary to think of investing the entire amount while we are at historic highs.

A little background, we have no other debt, and we are conservative by nature. If we were to roll the money into the market our AA would likely be 35/25/40 VTI/VXUS/BND. DS maxes her 401k at work totaling $26k/year, I am currently contributing 10% to my 401k with plans to max out starting next year when the home is paid for or after we refinance.

I am 50 years old and my DS is 52, and our jobs are relatively stable. In addition to our current emergency fund of $111k, we have approximately $660k in retirement accounts invested approximately 60/40 VTI and VXUS/BND. Both kids colleges are fully paid for with appropriate funding in 529's to cover room and board. We do not have any taxable investment accounts at this time.

I love this forum and am interested in hearing your thoughts on whether this is a good or bad idea. Thanks in advance.
delamer
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by delamer »

How would you feel about your plan if we had another real estate crash in 2 years and your house value was down to $500,000? Suddenly, you have mortgage that is almost 1/3 of your house’s value instead of being mortgage free.

More broadly, what about if we went through another recession similar to the one in 2008-2009 where real estate and stocks were hit?
One thing that humbles me deeply is to see that human genius has its limits while human stupidity does not. | | Alexandre Dumas, fils
Mike Scott
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by Mike Scott »

I think you should think through this again. There seem to be some conflicting issues in your thinking. If you can make the the new payments on the refi, you already have additional money to invest either inside or outside of your 401k.
LittleMaggieMae
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

You all are within 15 years of actual "retirement" age, 10 years or so away from "early retirement"...

Have you been doing "retirement" income estimations? Do you know what your "retirement number" is? Are you on track to hit your "retirement number"?

It looks like you all had a goal of "pay off the house ASAP" - why did you chose that goal? Did it fit into your retirement plan (or some other plan)? And has that plan changed?

In your shoes I would start seriously working on a plan for retirement (versus - I'm working til 65 because that is "retirement age" - I'll think about the financial side of it when I'm 64. OK, I think most people start out thinking that way. :) When you get into your late 40's and early 50's it's good to have a "mid life" crisis and actually think about retirement (and what that actually means for/to you) and start running some numbers. Doing so either tells you "wow! I don't have to work til 65" or "OMG - I need to make some changes or I may have to work beyond 65" AND since you are doing this ahead of time - you have TIME (10 to 15years) to either take advantage of/make the most of the feel good or to work on fixing the "uh oh!".

I'd base weather or not to do a cash out refi on if doing so helps or hinders my retirement goals.
Freetime76
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by Freetime76 »

My thought is noooooooooooo don’t doooooo it.... :D

To explain:
1. You and DS had a long term goal.
2. You are incredibly close to reaching this goal.
3. Don’t go gettin’ all squirrely now. :wink: Finish strong, my friend.
(Don’t treat property like it’s a bank....to delamer’s point, if the market tanks and real estate drops and interest rates rise, you’ll be taking a bath in it no matter how conservative your allocation is. If you needed or wanted to sell, you wouldn’t be able to without a loss. I take into account more than job security in this analysis.)

A paid off piece of real estate is a great asset to a secure retirement. That’s my own opinion and experience from numerous family members.

You are not missing out, nor are you unsophisticated by simply owning free and clear. It really does feel different. Try it!! See what you think when your names are on the deed with No Lien. Wow. Freedom.
Please spell out new acronyms. Thank you.
rockstar
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by rockstar »

This is troubling and deja vu.

This isn't the first post to say: let me cash out my real estate equity and invest in the market. What could possibly go wrong?
02nz
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by 02nz »

hahabye wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:45 pm The purpose of the cash out would be to use the funds to bolster our emergency account (currently $111k) and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.
Really, you have stable jobs, are about to pay off your mortgage (which reduces the need for a large emergency fund), yet need to bolster a $111K emergency fund? Sorry but that just sounds like justification for what really is just borrowing to put money into the stock market.

With that rate I'd draw down the EF to pay off the mortgage ASAP, for a guaranteed 4.375% tax-free return. And then I'd put the extra cash flow toward tax-advantaged accounts (if you're not maxing yet) and then into taxable.
Miguelito
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by Miguelito »

02nz wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:43 pm
hahabye wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:45 pm The purpose of the cash out would be to use the funds to bolster our emergency account (currently $111k) and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.
Really, you have stable jobs, are about to pay off your mortgage (which reduces the need for a large emergency fund), yet need to bolster a $111K emergency fund? Sorry but that just sounds like justification for what really is just borrowing to put money into the stock market.

With that rate I'd draw down the EF to pay off the mortgage ASAP, for a guaranteed 4.375% tax-free return. And then I'd put the extra cash flow toward tax-advantaged accounts (if you're not maxing yet) and then into taxable.
No question.

I often am similarly tempted. We have >80% equity and 9 years of a 10 year loan left at 2.5%. But the truth is we have plenty leftover to invest, and there is no need to expose ourselves to more risk there.
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grogu
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by grogu »

I’m admittedly more aggressive than a lot of posters (and you say you’re conservative), but I think your plan is reasonable, at least from a financial perspective. You really ought to do better than 1.875% over 15 years by investing in the stock market. Even if the stock market crashes, you still would have a sizeable portion of house equity leftover. (If the housing market crashes, you’re losing money regardless of whether you have $200k tied up in a mortgage/after-tax account or in home equity.) As for the psychological aspect, that’s for you to decide--as a conservative investor, would you be OK with a 30-50% loss? If you haven’t done so already, you should review some of the “should I pay my mortgage off early?” threads; your question really is just a variant of that.

4.375% has been a non-competitive rate for quite some time now, yet you can get 1.875% for a cash-out (what are the points/costs?). Curious why you hadn’t done a no-cost refi to a lower rate sooner (and still kept paying the original monthly payment)? I realize a $26k balance isn’t generating that much interest, but make a decision and do something--either refi or pay it off--to stop that unnecessary bleeding.
Gibby45
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by Gibby45 »

I would pull money out of the EF to pay off the current mortgage and look at HELOCs instead of a cash out refi as a way to bolster emergency savings/have cash at your disposal. With the HELOC your home is still owned free and clear until you choose to draw the funds and you will have a large pool of cash available for the next 10-15 years. You should be able to find a HELOC with a low intro rate for the first year. The HELOC rate will be variable, but you can find a variable rate at or below prime since this is for your primary residence. You can have your cake and eat it too (sort of).
babystep
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by babystep »

hahabye wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:45 pm Hi Bogleheads,

DS and I currently own a home that is worth approximately $700k in Central Florida. We owe $26k at 4.375% and based on our current payment schedule ($3,250/mo) the home will be paid in full early next year. This has always been a goal of ours, and it will be a great feeling to own the home free and clear.

However, with rates so low I am strongly considering pulling out $150-$200k in a cash out refinance at 1.875% fixed for 15 years. The purpose of the cash out would be to use the funds to bolster our emergency account (currently $111k) and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Initially my thoughts would be to dollar cost average into the market say $12k/mo for a year, or possibly put the money into a Marcus no penalty CD at .60% and wait for a correction. I am well aware that I can't time the market but it is a little scary to think of investing the entire amount while we are at historic highs.

A little background, we have no other debt, and we are conservative by nature. If we were to roll the money into the market our AA would likely be 35/25/40 VTI/VXUS/BND. DS maxes her 401k at work totaling $26k/year, I am currently contributing 10% to my 401k with plans to max out starting next year when the home is paid for or after we refinance.

I am 50 years old and my DS is 52, and our jobs are relatively stable. In addition to our current emergency fund of $111k, we have approximately $660k in retirement accounts invested approximately 60/40 VTI and VXUS/BND. Both kids colleges are fully paid for with appropriate funding in 529's to cover room and board. We do not have any taxable investment accounts at this time.

I love this forum and am interested in hearing your thoughts on whether this is a good or bad idea. Thanks in advance.
I would do this:
1) Pay-off the home now by using the cash from 111k. You will still have 85k in cash.
2) Start maxing out the 401k now from the new savings of $3250 per month.
3) Whatever is remaining after 401k max, use that to start increasing the emergency fund to the level you want.
4) After the EF is done then start investing in taxable.
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Brianmcg321
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by Brianmcg321 »

This is a terrible idea. Pay the house off and be done with it. :sharebeer
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123
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by 123 »

Why not sell the house to cash in all your equity and lock some away with the $250K capital gain exclusion(s)? You can just rent and invest some proceeds as you wish. Buy a house again when the real estate market crashes.
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gr7070
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by gr7070 »

hahabye wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:45 pm to use the funds to bolster our emergency account (currently $111k)

take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.

dollar cost average into the market say $12k/mo for a year

possibly put the money into a Marcus no penalty CD at .60% and wait for a correction

it is a little scary to think of investing the entire amount while we are at historic highs.

we are conservative by nature.

our AA would likely be 35/25/40 VTI/VXUS/BND.

In addition to our current emergency fund of $111k
Y'all sounds like the last people who should do this.

What did you when the perfect opportunity hit in Spring 2020? Did you take half your bloated EF and buy equities? Did you rebalance near the low?
Admiral
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by Admiral »

Where is your $100k+ emergency fund if not in taxable? In a bank account? Mattress?

That sounds like an excessively large EF... and esp since you will soon have much lower fixed costs.

Take $50-75k of the $111k and invest it. Problem solved, without a cash-out refinance.
Topic Author
hahabye
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by hahabye »

Thank you for all the replies, I sincerely appreciate all comments. To answer some questions:

I lived through 2008 with eyes wide open and I saw home prices collapse by 50%. I know a lot of folks that were bankrupted by the crash, luckily I wasn't one of them. I am not looking at this as an opportunity to leverage my home to 80% LTV. I would pull out a maximum of $175k which would leave me with plenty of equity even if home prices again crashed by 50%. Additionally, I would invest in a conservative 3 fund portfolio as stated in my original post, I am not taking the money to Vegas or investing in Dogecoin and Gamestop. Again, the only reason I am even considering this is because of a sub 2% fixed interest rate.

EF is currently in a 9 month no penalty CD at Marcus paying .55%

I currently have a HELOC with a zero balance but the interest rate is P+ .31

Selling the house isn't an option, we have a high schooler and we live in a fantastic school district.

We never refinanced because our mortgage balance has been under $100k for a few years and most banks were not interested in refinancing such a small loan amount. Additionally, we never gave any thought to doing a cash out refi because rates weren't sub 2% that I was aware of.

Thanks again and I hope this helps.
59Gibson
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by 59Gibson »

I do not think it's a great idea. Eliminating debt is a form of diversification. RE and stocks can go down together, they're probably joined at the hip now more than ever.
Admiral
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by Admiral »

hahabye wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 6:56 pm Thank you for all the replies, I sincerely appreciate all comments. To answer some questions:

I lived through 2008 with eyes wide open and I saw home prices collapse by 50%. I know a lot of folks that were bankrupted by the crash, luckily I wasn't one of them. I am not looking at this as an opportunity to leverage my home to 80% LTV. I would pull out a maximum of $175k which would leave me with plenty of equity even if home prices again crashed by 50%. Additionally, I would invest in a conservative 3 fund portfolio as stated in my original post, I am not taking the money to Vegas or investing in Dogecoin and Gamestop. Again, the only reason I am even considering this is because of a sub 2% fixed interest rate.

EF is currently in a 9 month no penalty CD at Marcus paying .55%

I currently have a HELOC with a zero balance but the interest rate is P+ .31

Selling the house isn't an option, we have a high schooler and we live in a fantastic school district.

We never refinanced because our mortgage balance has been under $100k for a few years and most banks were not interested in refinancing such a small loan amount. Additionally, we never gave any thought to doing a cash out refi because rates weren't sub 2% that I was aware of.

Thanks again and I hope this helps.
Your savings and overall net worth are fine for your age. Pay off the mortgage and continue to save... and you'll have even more to save once it IS paid off.
lakpr
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by lakpr »

Another vote to payoff the mortgage, forget cash out refi. If you are investing the proceeds in a "conservative" portfolio in the market, part of that portfolio is, by definition, in bonds, which are yielding 1.3%. You are borrowing at around 2%, and because interest from cash out refi is not tax deductible, while the interest from bond funds is taxable, you are effectively borrowing at 2% after tax but turn around and lending at 0.9% after tax. Why does that make any mathematical sense?

If you want to leverage your home equity and invest in stocks, do so; there is an argument and rationale there. But investing in anything that includes bonds is just irrational.
Miguelito
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by Miguelito »

lakpr wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:47 amIf you want to leverage your home equity and invest in stocks, do so; there is an argument and rationale there. But investing in anything that includes bonds is just irrational.
That part I agree 100% with. If you make the move, it's to be aggressive and go all in on stocks.

Not that I necessarily disagree with the other parts of the post, but there are nuances there.
sc9182
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by sc9182 »

Unless you are planing to get mo-money via lender credits as my bud planning to do (and pay it fully off within 60 days).

viewtopic.php?p=5988812&sid=b17e52573ac ... b#p5988812
delamer
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by delamer »

hahabye wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 6:56 pm Thank you for all the replies, I sincerely appreciate all comments. To answer some questions:

I lived through 2008 with eyes wide open and I saw home prices collapse by 50%. I know a lot of folks that were bankrupted by the crash, luckily I wasn't one of them. I am not looking at this as an opportunity to leverage my home to 80% LTV. I would pull out a maximum of $175k which would leave me with plenty of equity even if home prices again crashed by 50%. Additionally, I would invest in a conservative 3 fund portfolio as stated in my original post, I am not taking the money to Vegas or investing in Dogecoin and Gamestop. Again, the only reason I am even considering this is because of a sub 2% fixed interest rate.

EF is currently in a 9 month no penalty CD at Marcus paying .55%

I currently have a HELOC with a zero balance but the interest rate is P+ .31

Selling the house isn't an option, we have a high schooler and we live in a fantastic school district.

We never refinanced because our mortgage balance has been under $100k for a few years and most banks were not interested in refinancing such a small loan amount. Additionally, we never gave any thought to doing a cash out refi because rates weren't sub 2% that I was aware of.

Thanks again and I hope this helps.
I just don’t find it credible that you’d be comfortable going from having an essentially paid off house worth $700,000 to one worth $350,000 with a $175,000 mortgage — or 50%. Especially if the $175,000 that you drew out and invested is now worth only, say, $100,000.

There’s a probability that it’ll work out fine (both house and investment value will continue to rise) and there’s a probability that it’ll be a disaster (both house and investment value will drop significantly). And there’s plenty of other possibilities along the continuum, including job loss, illness, and who-knows-what-else.
One thing that humbles me deeply is to see that human genius has its limits while human stupidity does not. | | Alexandre Dumas, fils
Miguelito
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by Miguelito »

sc9182 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:01 am Unless you are planing to get mo-money via lender credits as my bud planning to do (and pay it fully off within 60 days).

viewtopic.php?p=5988812&sid=b17e52573ac ... b#p5988812
I can't see how a lender would expose itself to such risk. There has to be a clause with very expensive early payoff fees. Otherwise good for your bud and he better hurry before the lender goes bankrupt.
sc9182
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by sc9182 »

Miguelito wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 9:46 am
sc9182 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:01 am Unless you are planing to get mo-money via lender credits as my bud planning to do (and pay it fully off within 60 days).

viewtopic.php?p=5988812&sid=b17e52573ac ... b#p5988812
I can't see how a lender would expose itself to such risk. There has to be a clause with very expensive early payoff fees. Otherwise good for your bud and he better hurry before the lender goes bankrupt.
Its simple-interest loan, no early penalty - just like any other mortgage (specifically, cash-out mortgage) that is out there .. it be interesting to see how/how-well bud closes/funds and pays-it-off within couple of months and such.. am eager to fully understand their process as well - if bud's cash-out refi goes well within strict closing time-lines and meets expectations.

But this is not-much-different than typical lender paying lender-credits towards closing-costs (at times, could reach $5K-$15K or higher depending on a few factors). What would run-of-the-mill Lender do - if one turns around and Refi soon again ? Wouldn't lender lose those credits -- but the lender 'attempted' to protect themselves by setting a higher rate .. guessing they get most/all of those 'credit $$s' when they sell this "above-market-rate" loan to the market .. someone in mortgage industry care to opine ?
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grogu
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by grogu »

Miguelito wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 7:54 am
lakpr wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:47 amIf you want to leverage your home equity and invest in stocks, do so; there is an argument and rationale there. But investing in anything that includes bonds is just irrational.
That part I agree 100% with. If you make the move, it's to be aggressive and go all in on stocks.

Not that I necessarily disagree with the other parts of the post, but there are nuances there.
Despite (or maybe further to) my earlier post, I also agree with this.

Another option, if the OP decides not to do a cash-out refi, would be to increase the stock allocation in his retirement fund, knowing he has $700k in equity that effectively* acts as a large bond holding to offset his total overall asset allocation.

*Various caveats omitted for shorthand.
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MillennialFinance19
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by MillennialFinance19 »

hahabye wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 6:56 pm
We never refinanced because our mortgage balance has been under $100k for a few years and most banks were not interested in refinancing such a small loan amount. Additionally, we never gave any thought to doing a cash out refi because rates weren't sub 2% that I was aware of.
Really, you couldn't find a lender to refi $100k when you had piles of equity? I'm not sure you looked very hard...

Back on topic... I think you should pay off the mortgage ASAP. Then, buy a nice bottle of wine or whiskey (whichever you and your spouse fancy) and celebrate.
For the love of God, stick to your plan!!!
Miguelito
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by Miguelito »

Having that much cash relative to a small, high interest mortgage, I would:

1) Pay that mortgage off from savings in a heartbeat .
2) Then I'd think about what to do next.
thewizenut
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by thewizenut »

I agree with Miguelito, pay off the mortgage ASAP to avoid any more interest, then figure out what's next.
thewizenut
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Re: Cash Out Refi-Thoughts?

Post by thewizenut »

I think this is one way to think about it. It's a little complex but tax efficient, supported by market history and suitable for a conservative investor.

Assumptions:

1) You plan to itemize even if the mortgage is paid off.
2) Rates won't get much cheaper.
3) Housing market is RED hot. Correction (or worse) is coming. Your home is near an intermediate peak in value.
4) You're currently maximizing tax deferred deposits (I know this is not the case currently but I would simply pull from your emergency fund over time for this).

Order of operations:

1. Take out an 80 LTV loan (hear me out...yeah I know...famous last words)
2. Determine the improvement to your home that would drive up it's value long term in the biggest way (Finished basement, An Addition, etc).
2. Determine the improvement budget.
3. Take HALF of what's left and put it in the lowest cost 20/80 fund you can find, leveraged 2x at a taxable brokerage.
4. Keep the OTHER HALF in cash or cash equivalents (and use it to max your 401k).

Why this is smart:

1. You get a VERY low cost loan to improve your home and ultimately it's selling price.
2. You get to write off the interest from the portion of the cash-out refi used for the improvements.
3. You get to write off the margin interest on your margin loan
4. You still have cash to:
- meet any margin calls (VERY unlikely even in 2008)
- get the full 401(k) deduction each year
- pay off the loan even IF your home decreases in value, because you pulled cash out at the high and your investments relative to LTV will be enough to pay it off.
5. You diversify away the idiosyncratic risk of your home. People forget that your home is not an investment in "real estate" as a sector, it's an investment in YOUR HOME (123 Main st)...individual homes can have depreciation events that can be catastrophic. An investment in a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds does not carry idiosyncratic risk.
6. 20/80 qualifies as a Conservative investing approach but you're already carrying a 60/40, a 2x leveraged 20/80 will carry a similar risk profile.

-----

Ok, now tell me what I missed. I am sure there is something. This question is particularly pertinent to me because I am considering advising my parents to do this very thing. Be as brutal on feedback as you can.
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