19 Comments

  1. Whoooo!
    Just having that option is an amazing accomplishment that you’ve both worked so hard for!
    I agree with you that there are too many uncertainties at this time, especially with education to make such a big decision. I’m 100% team pay off the mortgage but in this situation, I’d delay it a bit further as well till things are more concrete.

    Massive accomplishment having the option!
    Anxiously awaiting that payoff post though 😉

    • Thanks! I think so, too. Knowing we have the option is a great feeling, but I also really want to see what the fall brings with our jobs!

  2. When you get near the end of the mortgage, you just don’t save that much money by paying it off early. When I realized we’d be saving at most like $500 of tomorrow’s money, I stopped prepaying (except to round up the numbers to make them even). Early prepayments when your regular payment is mostly interest are just worth so much more than late prepayments when your regular payment is mostly principal.

    Personally in your situation, I’d make a bigger payment now (but enough that you still have a healthy emergency fund) and then not pay it off right away when it got smaller. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

    Get Rich Slowly has an excellent mortgage prepayment spreadsheet somewhere that makes it really easy to see how much interest you will save (and how many months you will shave off) with different prepayment schemes.

    • That’s a really good point!

      We’ve been paying extra on our mortgage since we got it, and have just now crossed the line where we pay more in principal than interest each month.

      Which is great, but it’ll still be a while for us until it makes no sense to prepay.

      Penny, I think it is awesome that you guys are so close to paying it off in your 30s!

  3. You have given a lot of thought and consideration to this situation. The one benefit of being mortgage free that may factor in here is how quickly your savings will grow after. Without a regular mortgage payment your monthly cash flow will be much higher therefore potentially accelerating your savings. I know when we paid off our mortgage it felt like we were printing money every month.

    All that being said, this pandemic is unpredictable. Normally we would be investing more regularly but have decided to increase our emergency fund for the time being. As a fellow teacher I also feel like I have stable employment for the next school but there are a lot of unknown factors. It’s better to be comfortable than stressed.

    When this all passes over and things are a bit more stable then it will be time to deploy the cash and reach some milestones.

  4. Way to go! It’s a huge milestone that comes with a lot of peace of mind. I, too, am in “there’s a pandemic, let’s not do anything risky with our savings”, and I’m glad we avoided putting out emergency fund in the market.
    Knowing we have savings, even with all of *this* going on has helped to calm at least part of my worries. Still plenty worried about everything else!

  5. Wow. I am impressed with your emergency fund and your mortgage paying off abilities! I agree, things are super unpredictable right now. Because of this we are focusing on building up our emergency fund and paying down some debt from last year and it is really hard to not think about what else we could be doing with the money in our emergency fund. Like I could pay off our super low car payment but it wouldn’t save us enough every month to make a difference and we are only paying about $12 a month in interest which isn’t much. We should have it paid off by next spring so that money is way better off in our emergency fund right now.

    • I do find myself playing a lot of “what if” money mind games, and I’m trying to stop myself from doing that. I think you’re right to prioritize your emergency fund!

  6. spiffikins

    I was on track to pay off my mortgage in August of this year – but then the pandemic hit, and while my job is still ok – things are definitely more uncertain than I’d like.

    I skipped paying extra on my mortgage in April and May – which pushed my payoff date out a couple of months. I put that extra money in my savings account as a quick efund – and ended up needing to use it to cover some unexpected things.

    This morning I did my “regular” extra payment – and at this point I am planning on continuing as I have been and pay off my mortgage in November – the money I save at this point by paying extra, is minimal, as someone else pointed out.

    But the psychological benefit of finishing this year – making that goal of paying off my 30 year loan in 10 years – is pretty big, and I’m not willing to let that slip away, even by a few months 😀

    Then I can spend 2021 beefing up my emergency fund with what I *had* been putting toward the mortgage every month – and that will knock off another goal!

    • I love how you acknowledge the psychological benefit. I think–for me anyway!–it motivates me mentally to keep going with this goal and with others. Good luck to you!

  7. I’d wallow in the satisfaction of knowing I COULD pay off if I wanted to and still have a year of money left. Probably wouldn’t do it either as much as I’d itch to, because while we may be pretty sure we have income for another year, I never take income for granted more than one year out. In a pandemic? That’s a no-squared. I might make a big payment, though, just to hit the principal with a good wallop.

    With one thing and another, I often second guess my huge cash cushion but the security of knowing I don’t have to sell stocks low because I need the cash today, in a potentially crappy situation of job loss and/or illness is pretty huge.

  8. Way to go! Even though you’re not rushing out to pay it down right this second, it’s still pretty cool that you’re in a position to be able to do that, if you wanted to. I think the logic makes sense, though. We’ve made a similar decision with the student loan on our end — we’re not at “pay it off completely” level, but we’re stashing away all the extras for now since it just…makes more sense to hold it in savings, given the uncertainty of everything. Still, I feel good knowing it’s there and that, hopefully, when things get back to some semblance of normal, we can start putting it to the intended use.

  9. I think, given your reasons, you’re making a wise decision. Nicoleandmaggie makes a great argument too for not rushing to pay it off. And if you’re about 20 months from paying it off, why bother rushing it when you can invest the money or keep some liquid for any future catastrophes that hopefully never strike? If you’re mainly paying the principal, take your time. It’ll be gone soon enough. Great job! I wish I was that close to being mortgage free!

    • It’s completely psychological, and it always has been. But yes, I’m just trying to savor being able to be done with it if we want. Thank you and good luck to you!

  10. Elizabeth

    “…our mortgage balance [is] low enough that we could actually pay it off and still have a year’s worth of expenses covered.”

    Gurl, please. Pay off your dang mortgage. OR find an investment for all of the cash you have sitting there beyond a 12 month EF.

    If you miss the debt, you can get another mortgage! And at historically low interest rates! But you won’t. It will give you added peace of mind and enable you to take more risk with your career(s) and investments and make you feel super proud and accomplished and financially ahead of everyone else.

    I’m a banker, and I’m not averse to leverage. But you apparently have a **it ton of CASH money just sitting there losing value to inflation in case of…what? The worst case scenario – that you pay off your mortgage and THEN both lose your jobs and THEN neither of you can figure out how to earn a dime OR qualify for any government benefits for more than 12 months – is so far fetched it’s not really worth considering. If that happens we’ll all be in Great Depression II or WWIII and up a creek, savings or no. And anyway, you owe the money regardless. If the worst case happens at least you’ll own your home and can’t be foreclosed upon.

    You’re doing amazing! Don’t let fear guide you. If your home was paid off you wouldn’t borrow on it to keep a pile of cash there “just in case.” In case of a giving emergency? Haha you have a good heard but you are reaching there I have to say.

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