Problem #63: My mortgage has been a chain around my neck too long. I’m ready to be rid of it.
So if you’ve been reading my posts for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m trying to pay off my mortgage as quickly as possible. Being debt-free, really debt-free, not just “baby step 2″ debt-free, is something my wife and I have set up as a goal for us.
I wanted to go through some of my reasoning, and share my mortgage payoff calculator spreadsheet (I’m a bit of an Excel nerd).
Now, we’ve only had our mortgage for about 2 years now. Which is long enough to become part of the family, but more in a I can tolerate you once in while sorta way. You know what I mean. That relative that you only see once in a while. And even then, it’s too soon. That’s how we feel about our mortgage. It’s time to say goodbye. If only it were that easy, right?
But we’ve decided to really crack down, and start dumping all our extra money at it to make it go away faster. So, here’s my reasons for getting rid of “second cousin Billy-john” (I apologize if your name is Billy-John).
The first reason should be fairly obvious. When we pay off our mortgage, we’ll be debt free. Finally! Just being able to say that we have no debt sounds exciting. Think about that: No debt. Say it to yourself: No debt. At all. NONE whatsoever.
As debt is a burden, anchor, chain, or some other “heavy” metaphor, being rid of it is liberating and stress-relieving.
And as only 25% of all Americans are now debt-free according to this article, we would be joining relatively exclusive company. If you don’t have getting out of debt as a goal, what are you waiting for? Your debt will only drag you down. The wealthy may have started with debt, but they also paid it off quickly.
Improved Cash Flow Possibilities
With no debt, including a mortgage, our monthly cash flow will be freed up considerably. For most people, us included, a mortgage payment is the single largest “thing” you pay every month.
Hopefully you don’t have student loan payments larger than a typical mortgage ($1000 – $2000). If so you have an extreme debt emergency. Like right now!! Get on paying that off – IMMEDIATELY!
With the money that we used to pay our mortgage, we can now start investing more in one way or another. How quick do you think $1000/month will build up in an investment account? In ten years that $1000/month will be worth $173,000 compounded at 7%! Meaning that $120,000 I put in will earn me a cool $53,000.
When you don’t have any debt, you have flexibility. You can not only invest more, but you can also buy more of those things you’ve put off. Like an upgraded car (still with cash), or perhaps a nice family vacation.
For me that thing would be a riding mower. Although I might break down and buy one sooner. I have about 3/4+ of an acre that I mow with a push mower. It takes almost 3 hours. Or just slightly longer than 3 Dave Ramsey podcasts. And before you start brandishing your comment typing fingers, “he’s so soft, in my day . . . “. I know, I know, I’m a wimp. If I was serious, I would keep the push mower, and invest the money instead. If only for the exercise and the sheer manliness of being able to say I use only a push mower.
We’ll see. I haven’t yet made up my mind. But with improved cash flow, specifically less money going out, I have the option to do what I want.
I’ll get a Guaranteed 3.9% Return
If someone asked you to invest some money with them, and they would give you 3.9% guaranteed, no questions asked, no hidden fees, zero risk, would you do it? I probably would, but let’s check the other options that also have a 100% guarantee that you will NEVER lose your money.
In a traditional checking account you may get 0.1%, if you’re lucky. You won’t lose money (although with inflation, you basically are losing).
In an online savings account (I use Ally – they are fantastic), you can get 1.20% currently. While this is closer to inflation, you still aren’t exactly breaking even. And again, you can’t lose your money.
CDs are another option. At Ally the best you can get is 2.25%. While this is better, we still aren’t at 3.9%.
So, I would most certainly do the deal. As this is the interest rate on our mortgage, it follows that by paying off our mortgage early, we’ll save in interest over the life of the loan. And we’ll earn 3.9% on that money.
While it’s not the same rate of return as you could theoretically get from investing in . . . say, an index fund, it’s guaranteed. Which means zero risk. And whenever we can reduce risk, I consider that a win.
So how do we figure out how much faster we can pay it off? With a mortgage payoff calculator, and extra payments of course.
Tracking the Extra Payments For Your Early Mortgage Payoff
There are many calculators out there that can help you figure out how much faster you can pay off your mortgage. But they all are basically the same. You add an extra principal payment to your regular payment. They are limited to one choice of extra principal, and that payment is applied to every payment until the mortgage is paid off – in the calculator.
But if your money situation is like most people, you have extra money some months, but maybe not every month. Things come up. Or maybe your side hustle is seasonal. So you want to calculate unequal principal payments. Those online mortgage payoff calculators can’t handle that. No worries. Sometimes you have to just do it yourself. So I made my own.
I did say I was an excel nerd. My spreadsheet above (which you can download for free) will allow you to enter a different extra principal payment each month. Or you can apply a single amount across all the payments (like the online calculators). Feel free to download it and give it a try. And then let me know what you think.
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How about you? Do have the fire to eliminate your mortgage and all other debt?
Let me know in the comments, and please share this post.