Postmus, 71, is an artist in West Hills, Calif., where his wife, Skeeter, 58, owns a decorative-glass company that employs 36 people, with sales of $4 million a year.
Their home has lost 30% of its value in the last 12 months; they recently refinanced to get a better interest rate and put off planned remodeling.
Skeeter's business is closely tied to commercial and home construction. She'd like to invest in some R&D on a new, eco-friendly glass product she thinks will sell well. "Should I borrow or try to capitalize it myself?" she asks.
To fund their retirement, they're mainly counting on the equity they have in their commercial property; their stake is currently valued at $2.8 million.
WHAT THEY SHOULD DO:
Lassus says seeking a loan for Skeeter's proposed project is a good way to ensure the idea is a solid one. An outsider may ask tough questions Skeeter has not considered. Chatzky says if the couple doesn't plan on moving, falling home values shouldn't be a worry.