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Comparing mortgage pay down strategies

 

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Question:

Should I keep a mortgage and use money to invest or should I pay off aggressively? Someone told me 'not to use your home's equity to invest'.

Answer:

I can easily agree on that. Do not extract equity to invest. But I also would like to make a point that debt secured by a house is better than other debt and if you pour all your money into paying off the mortgage, you may end up in trouble. It is great that you refer to grandparents who survived the depression. Example story:

2 brothers Mike and Bill, each buy a house for 100k, both have same income. Mike makes a 15 yr mortgage and pays additional principal. Bill has an interest only mortgage and pays some principal every month, as if it was a 30yr term. He makes it in fact a 30-yr mortgage. (Yes, I know that this requires character to actually pay the principal.)

After 10 years, both lose their job. The houses are now worth 150k. Mike's loan balance is $40k.

Bill's loan balance is $85k - he did not pay down as much, but he has $50k in CD accounts.

Their net worth is very similar. Mike has 110k equity. Bill has 65k equity plus 50k in CDs = 115k.


But now they lost their jobs.


1) Mike has reserves for 6 months maybe. Bill has reserves for several years ($50k)


2) Being unemployed, Mike cannot refi his 15yr loan into a 30yr loan easily. He still has to make the bigger payment.


3) Which house do you think the bank is more eager to foreclose on. The one with 110k equity or the one with 65k equity?


My example assumes that the CD yields approximately the same rate as the mortgage. That's not unrealistic at all. In fact, if you get a low interest loan chances are that your CD account yields a higher rate than the loan.


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Comments:

2008-03-04, 11:21:36
anonymous from United States  
bull pay it down all the brother with a 15 year loan has to do is refinace at 15 year . he is not going to lose his equity. i'm a conservitive money person , i pay down my principle as i go saving interest . people dumb enough to pay interest only deserve what they get.
2008-05-10, 03:22:25
anonymous from United States  
wow, that comment showed a lot of thought. first, I'd like to see you refi with no job. at least the bankers will get a good laugh when you fill out the ap. second, people dumb enough to pay down a 5% mortgage when they could earn 8% on a CD only deserve what they get.
2008-12-12, 06:00:08   (updated: 2008-12-12, 06:00:41)
anonymous from United States  
First, earn 8% on a CD? Where, sign me up.

Second, only in the US, the country of debt, there are people who still think that it is worth dragging a huge debt (mortgage) forever. DEBT IS SLAVERY, SET YOURSELF FREE ASAP.
2009-01-17, 11:32:45
anonymous from United States  
Hilarious to see people criticize someone for paying down a mortgage..

The only folks that are critical are the ones (financial advisors,brokers) that stand to lose huge commissions when people wise up and pay down their debt instead of throwing their hard earned money into the stock market(which is not guaranteed)..Don't give this BS about historical returns.7-8% per year...That is bunch of BS..No historical calculation can explain what has happened in the Stock Market the last 2 years..Even the most brilliant investors have lost their shirts...Most Economists and stock market gurus are now saying that the liquidity crisis is not over..and over the next few years..US Stock Market will be lucky to generate 4-6% per year...

So all of you @ssclowns out there that are so quick to criticize the pay down on a mortgage need to wake up....Double Digit gains each year in the Market may be gone.

Each person's financial situation is different and thus, paying down for one person may make sense, while it may not make sense for someone else who is a risk taker..and willing to gamble with their money..

 

 

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