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.
It's typically smarter to pay down your mortgage as much as possible at the very beginning of the loan to save yourself from paying more interest later. If you're somewhere near the later years of your mortgage, it may be more valuable to put your money into retirement accounts or other investments.
Paying off your mortgage early can save you a lot of money in the long run. Even a small extra monthly payment can allow you to own your home sooner. Make sure you have an emergency fund before you put your money toward your loan.
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.
Paying off your mortgage may not be in your best interest if: You have to withdraw money from tax-advantaged retirement plans such as your 403(b), 401(k) or IRA. This withdrawal would be considered a distribution by the IRS and could push you into a higher tax bracket.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With your mortgage paid off, you do not have to send the mortgage company any more money. Send discharge of mortgage letter to your county: Your mortgage company should send all of the required documents to your county clerk's office notifying them that your home is no longer bound by a mortgage.
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.
Much like extra repayments, a lump sum payment can have a significant impact on the life of your home loan and the amount of money you can save. Making a lump sum payment, particularly in the early years of your loan, can have a big effect on the total interest paid on the loan.
Those withdrawals typically trigger more taxes, while reducing the pool of money that retirees have to live on. That's why many financial planners recommend their clients pay down mortgages while still working so that they're debt-free when they retire. Increasingly, though, people retire owing money on their homes.
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.
When you pay your mortgage off in full, the loan servicer reports the balance paid in full, ceasing the ongoing credit benefits. Paying off your mortgage in full does not directly hurt your credit score, as long as the rest of your accounts are paid as agreed in a timely fashion.
Utilizing 401(k) funds to pay off a mortgage early results in less total interest paid to the lender over time. However, this advantage is strongest if you're barely into your mortgage term. If you're instead deep into paying the mortgage off, you've likely already paid the bulk of the interest you owe.
Many Retired People Don't Expect to Pay Off Mortgages
The survey, "Retirement and Mortgages," by national mortgage banker American Financing, found 44 percent of Americans between the ages of 60 and 70 have a mortgage when they retire, and as many as 17 percent of those surveyed say they may never pay it off.
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.
“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.
While the average age borrowers expect to pay off their mortgage is 59, the number of survey participants who have no idea when they will pay it off at all stood at 16%. In 2019, 9% of those asked didn't know and in 2020, 11% gave this answer.
Invest more in retirement
Life after a mortgage is paid off may include maxing out your IRA each year, and saving up as much as possible for the future. You can also begin to think about the home you'd like to retire in. If that's the home you just paid for, you're all set!