JUST because you own a home doesn’t mean you have to keep carrying a mortgage — about a third of American homeowners don’t, according to the Federal Reserve.
Assuming you have the cash — perhaps in a savings account or certificate of deposit earning less than 1 percent interest — should you pay off your mortgage early? It’s a question that has both financial and psychological components.
“It’s a slam-dunk to tell someone to pay off a credit card or pay off a car loan or pay off a line of credit,” said Gary Schatsky, the president of New York financial planning firm ObjectiveAdvice.com, but paying off long-term debt like a mortgage is more complex.
First, do you really have the cash? “The overriding issue has to do with the sum of money you’re not going to need for a prolonged period of time,” Mr. Schatsky said. If you ever needed the money again, it could cost you hundreds, even thousands of dollars to borrow it back, assuming you could even get a new loan, he said. “Will I regret giving up liquidity in exchange for a long-term debt reduction?”
And would you really want to forgo a low mortgage rate? “Even though it feels good, you’re probably never going to get a better rate to borrow at in your life,” said Robert B. Walsh, a principal of Lighthouse Financial Advisors In Red Bank, N.J.
By TeresaHames – June 18, 2011