When I paid off my $86,000 mortgage in two years, I got two reactions from people. Most wanted to know HOW I did it, but some people wanted to know WHY I did it.
There are two camps when it comes to mortgage payoff. Well, maybe three.
You have people who will do anything to eliminate debt. They want to go to sleep at night knowing they own their home outright. It’s about financial and emotional security to them.
Then, there are those who argue with hypothetical scenarios and fancy charts that investing is the only way to go.
The third camp is somewhere in the middle. Despite my personal success story, I believe that paying off a mortgage isn’t for everyone.
My explanation is below, but first here’s where top personal finance experts stand:
Dave Ramsey supports paying off your mortgage. It’s baby step number 6 of his 7 steps to financial freedom. Ramsey has a great mortgage calculator on his website to help homeowners track their progress. I used this throughout my own journey.
“I don’t know one seriously wealthy person who buys a home and has a mortgage,” Suze Orman told NBC’s “Today” back in 2010.
In another media appearance, Orman recommended eliminating the mortgage for people who are nearing retirement and plan to stay in their current home forever. If you won’t stay in the home forever, Orman says don’t pay it down.
David Bach is another advocate for destroying the house payment. He recommends getting a 15-year mortgage if you can swing it. That’s what I was able to do. On FinishRich.com, Bach says the key is to buy a home that you can afford and to pay it off as fast as possible.
Ric Edelman belongs to that second camp I mentioned. He says “Owning your home outright is like having money buried under a mattress.” On his website, Edelman explains why he believes you should have as big of a mortgage as you can afford.
MORTGAGE FREE MIKE’S THOUGHTS
I don’t regret my decision to pay off my mortgage, but I realize it’s not going to work for all homeowners.
When I bought my home, I made a goal to pay off the loan in five years. I achieved my goal ahead of schedule because I was passionate about it. For young people, retirement can be hard to visualize. It’s just so far out. Sure, I contributed to my 401K and Roth IRA during my mortgage payoff, but I didn’t have the drive to invest additional money that I can’t touch for decades. That’s why paying off the mortgage worked for me. I saw the finish line, which motivated me to accomplish my goal in a short period of time.
I didn’t follow one specific personal finance expert’s recommendations during my journey. Instead, I cobbled together a workable plan that fit my lifestyle. There may not be a one size fits all approach, but there is one that will work for you too.