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Because I have not held a job at a participating entity for the past 5 years (I switched to the private sector), the money I previously contributed to a state-run retirement pension is about to be refunded to me. After federal income taxes are withheld, I'll have about $13,000 to use.

Our home mortgage has a variable rate and I want to refinance to a 30 yr fixed in the near future before rates start climbing much further. So I'm trying to decide whether I would get more bang for my buck in the refinance process from having an additional $13,000 of equity in my house via applying this towards the balance on my HELOC, or whether the smarter play is to pay off a couple high interest CCs (or more accurately, pay off one and pay off a majority of a second).

The specs:

-$175,000 primary mortgage, variable rate, currently around 4%
-$33,500 HELOC at 6.5%
-$8,174 CC at 18.99%
-$8,767 CC at 15.24%
-$4,865 CC at 9.69%

So the options are:

1) Roll $13,000 into an IRA that doesn't help me with my refinance or my too-high credit card debt
2) Put $13,000 towards the HELOC, gaining equity but leaving myself with lots of high interest CC debt
3) Put all $13,000 towards the high interest CC debt, leaving myself with ~$3,900 at 15.24% and ~$4,800 at 9.69%.

Both options 2 and 3 will improve my FICO score and should help get me a lower rate on the primary mortgage. Just not sure if gaining that extra equity would make enough difference in my fixed rate to balance out all the money I'd save on the high interest CCs if I go that route.
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