Planning for retirement brings up numerous and varied questions about how best to plan for your financial future. One of those often is: Should you pay off your mortgage?
The short answer is yes. One of the best ways to lessen the stress of worrying about the economy or the direction of the stock market is to own your home debt free at or before retirement.
There are some myths around whether yes is the best answer to that question. One of them is related to the value of tax deductions.
The popular but inaccurate argument is that you’ll pay more in income tax because of the lost interest deduction. To that argument I have a challenge: The first person to give me a logical answer to this question—How do you make money when you give away $1 of interest to the mortgage company and receive back $.15 to $.35 (depending on your income tax bracket) from the IRS? —Gets $10,000.
It all comes down to one thing: The single biggest hurdle to overcome in building and keeping wealth is eliminating debt.
If you no longer had to make your mortgage payments, credit card bills or car payments, you would have more freedom with your remaining investment funds because you won’t need to get as high a return. Lower investment returns aren’t necessarily bad provided you’re lowering your risk proportionately.
For answers to more common questions related to retirement planning, check out Brian Fricke’s book, Worry Free Retirement.