Chalk this up as--hopefully--among "lessons learned" from the debacle in human economic behavior that led directly to the financial crisis, housing meltdown, and Great Recession. For, at the end of the day, it was many people believing B.S., and acting idiotically that brought down the industry. And believing that house prices would always go up was one of the myths that propelled the rest of the irrational behavior.

MarketWatch correspondent Daniel Goldstein reports on the perks and pitfalls when it comes to tapping a home’s value for cash. A home equity loan, Goldstein notes, is the simplest equity product, a loan on the equity of a home, frequently called a “second mortgage” (or just a new mortgage if the home has been paid off). A home equity line of credit, alternatively, is a little more complex, as are reverse mortgages, Goldstein writes:

Often called a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, or HECM, you make no monthly payments and depending on the program you can draw out the equity in a lump-sum or in the form of a monthly annuity, or even a line of credit. And you don’t need a credit check or income requirements: Just the equity in your home is sufficient. The catch: Reverse mortgages are only available to homeowners who are over the age of 62.

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