Paying off a mortgage can be smart for retirees or those just about to retire who are in a lower-income bracket, have a high-interest mortgage, and don't benefit from tax-deductible interest. It's generally not a good idea to pay off a mortgage at the expense of funding a retirement account.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You might want to pay off your mortgage early because… You have a high mortgage interest rate. If you're paying more than the current rate and can't refinance, a mortgage payoff may make more sense. You have adequate emergency savings and insurance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
According to a 2019 report from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, 46% of homeowners ages 65 to 79 have yet to pay off their home mortgages. Thirty years ago, that figure was just 24%. There are several smart ways to retire without a mortgage.
The homeownership rate among Americans under 35 years was 37.8 percent in the second quarter of 2021. In contrast, almost 80 percent of those aged 65 and older owned their home. The homeownership rate is the proportion of occupied households which are occupied by the owners.
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.
Once your mortgage is paid off, you'll receive a number of documents from your lender that show your loan has been paid in full and that the bank no longer has a lien on your house. These papers are often called a mortgage release or mortgage satisfaction.
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.
“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.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the median average retirement income for retirees 65 and older is $47,357. The average mean retirement income is $73,228. These numbers are broken down into median and mean to more fully understand the average retirement income.
If you own your home outright or have a lot of equity, selling could help you fund your retirement. But renting in retirement could end up being more expensive than aging in place in a paid-off home, where you'd be responsible for just yearly property taxes and maintenance.
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
The Federal Reserve data suggests that these are the average debt levels by age: $9,593 for ages 18-23. $78,396 for those 24-39. $135,841 for 40-55.
But if you can supplement your retirement income with other savings or sources of income, then $6,000 a month could be a good starting point for a comfortable retirement.