Readers Need to Know: Pay Down Debt or Invest? and Help! Horrible Odor in Leather Couch

I love it when readers send me their questions. Today I pulled the following letters from the EC mailbag. Dear Mary: We are better off than most. We have no credit card debt. We have several hundred dollars in cash stashed away in a safe in our house. And we have about $5,000 in savings. Our 401(k) accounts and Roth IRAs have a total value of about $50,000. My husband is 41, and I’m 35. We have two kids and have 529 college savings plans for them. Our mortgage is our biggest payment. Should we pay down our mortgage with extra income or put the extra money into our retirement accounts? —Peggy Dear Peggy: Before you’re ready to do either, you need to beef up your emergency fund so that it’s at least enough to pay all of your bills and keep food on the table for at least six …

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