When the stock market collapsed two years ago, Grace Murphy's 401(k) savings collapsed along with it.
But the Gainesville, Fla., school teacher, 53, still liked her odds of an early retirement. Thanks to Florida's robust housing market at the time, she envisioned eventually tapping into her home equity to help make a fruitful retirement a reality.
"At that time, I really thought the real estate market down her would hold just fine," Murphy says. "I guess I was wrong about that."
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