You should aim to have everything paid off, from student loans to credit card debt, by age 45, O'Leary says. “The reason I say 45 is the turning point, or in your 40s, is because think about a career: Most careers start in early 20s and end in the mid-60s,” O'Leary says.
Mortgages are the largest debt owned by many Americans, but paying them off before reaching retirement age isn't feasible for everyone. In fact, across the country, nearly 10 million homeowners who are still paying off their mortgage are 65 and older.
“If you're going to stay living in that house for the rest of your life, pay off that mortgage as soon as you possibly can,” Orman tells CNBC. Without a mortgage, you'll have more financial security in retirement, she says.
Paying off your mortgage early is a good way to free up monthly cashflow and pay less in interest. But you'll lose your mortgage interest tax deduction, and you'd probably earn more by investing instead. Before making your decision, consider how you would use the extra money each month.
While mortgage rates are currently low, they're still higher than interest rates on most types of bonds—including municipal bonds. In this situation, you'd be better off paying down the mortgage. You prioritize peace of mind: Paying off a mortgage can create one less worry and increase flexibility in retirement.
Using one of these options to pay off your mortgage can give you a false sense of financial security. Unexpected expenses—such as medical costs, needed home repairs, or emergency travel—can destroy your financial standing if you don't have a cash reserve at the ready.
Dave Ramsey is certainly one of America's leading voices on finance. Ramsey is averse to debt of any kind and believes you should pay off your mortgage as fast as you can. In fact, he recommends that people only take out a 15-year mortgage that is no more than ¼ of their take-home pay.
What is the most significant downside of paying off your mortgage early? The biggest drawback of paying off your mortgage is reducing your liquidity. It is far easier to get money out of an investment or bank account than it is to get money from the equity you've built in your home.
Key Takeaways. Carrying a mortgage into retirement allows individuals to tap into an additional stream of income by reinvesting the equity from a home. The other benefit is that mortgage interest is tax-deductible. On the downside, Investment returns can be variable while mortgage payment requirements are fixed.
The main reason not to use your 401(k) to pay off a mortgage is that it takes funds away from your retirement nest egg. Not only are you removing a lump sum from your retirement account, but you're losing years' worth of accrued interest on that money.
Try to pay off higher interest debt and build an emergency fund first. Investing that money in the stock market might earn you a better return, despite the volatility in today's financial markets, leaving you with more money in the long run than if you just paid off the mortgage faster, experts say.
Mortgage Debt in the US
In 2019, the average American mortgage debt was $213,599. This figure increased to $215,655 or by nearly 1% (0.96%) in 2020. If we go further back, the difference is a bit higher. For example, in 2015, the average balance owed for mortgages was $184,323.
Kevin O'Leary, an investor on “Shark Tank” and personal finance author, said in 2018 that the ideal age to be debt-free is 45. It's at this age, said O'Leary, that you enter the last half of your career and should therefore ramp up your retirement savings in order to ensure a comfortable life in your elderly years.
It's also better to start saving for retirement early, so you can reap the benefits of compound interest over a longer period of time. As a general rule, the younger you are, the more you should prioritize your retirement savings over your mortgage.
Paying your mortgage off early, particularly if you're not in the last few years of your loan term, reduces the overall loan cost. This is because you'll save a significant amount on the interest that makes up part of your payment agreement.
What are the benefits of being mortgage free? Having more disposable income, and no interest to pay, are just some of the great benefits to being mortgage free. When you pay off your mortgage, you'll have much more money to put into savings, spend on yourself and access when you need it.
It's often more beneficial for newer owners to be aggressive with their mortgage payments. This is because your money is typically going towards the interest on the loan, not the principal itself. This means that any extra payments will reduce the total amount of interest owed over the course of the entire loan.
If you follow Ramsey's advice and pay off your mortgage quickly, it does provide a feeling of security, but this is an emotional benefit that you get by giving up financial benefits. You feel warm and fuzzy because you are lowering your risk, but you also reduce your potential financial rewards.
A home equity loan could be a good idea if you use the funds to make improvements on your home or consolidate debt with a lower interest rate. However, a home equity loan is a bad idea if it will overburden your finances or if it only serves to shift debt around.
According to the Survey of Consumer Finances, the percentage of households headed by an adult aged 65 or older with any debt increased from 41.5% in 1992 to 51.9% in 2010 to 60% in 2016. Median total debt for older adult households with debt was $31,300 in 2016 – more than 2.5 times what it was in 2001.
Average Retirement Debt: The Numbers
Three in 10 devote more than 40% of their monthly income to debt and a quarter have a mortgage with more than 20 years remaining on it. More than half say they intend to enter retirement debt free, but only one-quarter of retired Boomers actually are debt free.
50 years or older = $96,984
Baby boomers have an average debt of $96,984, according to Experian. Mortgages, credit card bills, and auto loans are the three main debt sources for those in this age group. Although this is less than the average debt of those 35—49, it could still spell trouble for two primary reasons.
Here's the average debt balances by age group: Gen Z (ages 18 to 23): $9,593. Millennials (ages 24 to 39): $78,396. Gen X (ages 40 to 55): $135,841.