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Investing to pay rent?

"I am a widow, 73. I recently sold my house and am renting an apartment because I could not keep up a house. I now have the money in a money market certificate paying 13.519 percent. I wonder how safe that is? I was living comfortably on my pension, but it will be a squeeze to pay rent and living expenses too. What should I do at the end of the six months? What are money market mutual funds? I am afraid of stocks, but I feel safe with real estate." -- K. R.

Although you have sold your house, you might have considered two options: (1) You indicate that upkeep prompted you not to buy a smaller house. For the difference in cost, you might have investigated the cost of paying for upkeep. It could have been expensive and possibly frustrating, but it could have been less than the difference between earnings and rents.(2) You might have bought a small condominium where upkeep is furnished. I strongly recommend that retirees own their housing as long as feasible. Most money market mutual funds are relatively risk free and have been written about in previous "Moneywise" columns. When your present CD matures, you will need to canvass the market, including money market mutual funds, to determine the highest safe return. In this chaotic interest rate environment, no one can tell where rates will be in four months.

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