So another volley in the great debate on whether to pay off one's home mortgage or to invest extra money elsewhere.
As you will see, Al Clark's review of the topic comes down the same place I do: paying of the mortgage will always be the best option. No one can disagree with the peace of mind of having no home mortgage to pay. Now if we can just get rid of utilities and taxes!!!
Be careful to note, continuing to pay "yourself" after the house is paid off is where some serious retirement aid can happen
|IS PAYING DOWN YOUR MORTGAGE EARLY A GOOD IDEA?|
Paying down your home mortgage balance faster than the loan contract requires can be a more powerful concept than you might think. Not only can it provide peace of mind, it can help you build a significant retirement nest egg so you can enjoy your golden years -- and live in a debt-free home.
Here's what you need to know about the strategy and how to proceed.
Basics of Paying Off a Mortgage Early
The accelerated mortgage pay-down idea only works for individuals who have positive cash flow and/or available cash. It's not an option for those who are already struggling to pay their monthly bills.
Finally, the accelerated mortgage pay-down idea is far more powerful if you continue pumping the monthly accelerated mortgage pay-down amount into a retirement savings account after your mortgage has been paid off.
With the preceding thoughts in mind, here are some illustrations to show how the accelerated mortgage pay-down strategy might work.
Illustrative Results for 45-Year-Old Individual
Let's say you are 45 and in good financial shape. You have cash on hand and positive monthly cash flow after paying bills. Even better, you expect to be in the same comfortable position for the foreseeable future.
Assume you have a $400,000 remaining balance on a 30-year first mortgage that you refinanced two years ago at a fixed rate of 6 percent. Your monthly payment for principal and interest is $2,460.
Here's the catch: You have a whopping 28 years to go before the mortgage will be paid off if you stick to the prescribed monthly payment schedule. You will be 73 years old when the mortgage is paid off. This is not a great situation. Until recently, the "conventional wisdom" was to not worry about how old you might be by the time your mortgage was finally paid off. That was because many people thought home prices were "certain" to go up 8 or 10 percent a year. We know better now.
Strategy No. 1 (Aggressive Pay-Down):Say you decide to start paying $4,000 per month instead of making the scheduled monthly payments of $2,460. You will pay off your $400,000 mortgage balance in about 11 years and 7 months, at about age 56 1/2, instead of paying it off in 28 years, at age 73. You will earn a guaranteed 6 percent rate of return because that is the rate of interest you avoid on the accelerated principal payments. If after the mortgage is paid off, you continue the program for another 8 1/2 years by putting $4,000 a month into a retirement savings account that earns 6 percent annually after taxes, you will accumulate about $530,000 in the account by age 65. This seems like a more reasonable plan than sticking with the status quo and making mortgage payments until age 73.Illustrative Results for 55-Year-Old Individual
Let's now assume you are 55 instead of 45. Everything else is the same. If you start paying $4,000 per month instead of the scheduled payments of $2,460, you will pay off the $400,000 mortgage balance in about 11 years and 7 months, at about age 66 1/2, instead of paying it off in 28 years, at age 83.
It's Advantageous to Continue the Program after Pay Off
The accelerated mortgage pay-down strategy can clearly be beneficial in and of itself -- because interest charges are avoided and debt is eliminated from your personal balance sheet. Another advantage is that you can stop and restart the program anytime.
However, the biggest payoff is reaped by those who have the cash flow and discipline to continue even after the mortgage is gone. By "continue the program" we mean taking the monthly amount that was previously dedicated to the accelerated mortgage pay-down strategy and putting it into a retirement savings account. As the illustrations show, impressive amounts of retirement savings can be accumulated in this fashion.