HOW TO PAY OFF YOUR MORTGAGE EARLY
• Pay a little extra each month. Any payments made over the minimum payment go to your principal on the loan, instead of towards the interest. Over time you can significantly reduce the amount owed and cut down the time of loan repayment, even by years (see graph).
• Refinance to lower interest rate or shorter-term loan.
Both options lower the total interest you are paying, either due to the lower rate (if you don’t already have a low-interest rate) or the shorter amount of time for the interest to build. This allows you to save money long-term, either through reduced monthly payments because of the lower interest rate or by paying the loan off faster.
If getting rid of your mortgage faster, or altogether, is important, downsizing can be a great way to get there. Selling your house and using the profits to purchase a smaller home could mean having no mortgage at all, or at least a smaller one. Using the same monthly payment as before you could be debt-free faster.
• Save money! Interest builds up, especially over the course of a 30-year loan. Paying off your mortgage early can save tens of thousands of dollars on built-up interest.
• Return on investment (ROI).
When you put your dollars towards your home, you know exactly what your return on investment will be. Real estate, the stock market, and the economy are ever-changing and investing in your home is a comforting way to be sure that your money is going to the right place.
• Reduced cost of living.
Mortgage payments take up a big part of one’s take-home paycheck. Getting your mortgage paid off faster allows for a lower cost of living. This can create more financial freedom, allowing you to save money, which can then be put into retirement, kids’ college funds, travel, and more. It could also give you the chance to work fewer hours, or even work a job you always wanted but previously couldn’t afford the pay cut.
• Lose the tax break. Mortgage interest paid throughout a year can be listed as a deduction on your taxes if you itemize. Taxes are complicated, so it’s important to talk to an accountant or tax specialist while figuring out if the tax deduction is worth keeping the longer loan.
• Lost diversification.
From Todd Tresidder, a financial mentor, “this one is ‘the biggie’ so pay close attention… Most investor portfolios are denominated in their domestic currency and thus carry the risk that inflationary government policies will depreciate their investment purchasing power over time. A residential real estate mortgage is the only practical way for most people to short their domestic currency and hedge against inflationary economic policy.”
• Life happens.
There are times when extra income could be better spent on investments, retirement, a more comprehensive healthcare plan, college funds, and more. For many Americans, medical bills are the primary cause of bankruptcy and investing in a better healthcare plan could be a wiser financial decision over paying off a mortgage faster. In some cases, insurance could be a more financially secure option than a paid-off mortgage.
• Investments. Many hold the opinion that it is better, from a long-term perspective, to put extra income into investments rather than higher mortgage payments. Saving for retirement, investing in stocks, and having a diverse investment portfolio are things that can, over time, bring you even greater financial freedom and stability.