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Should We Pay Off Our House Early Or On-Schedule?

Hey all,
I just turned 54 and will likely pay off my home in just over 2 years if I continue to make the regular payments. I could pay off the balance ($34k) today, but that would take most of my savings.
What are your thoughts on the best course of action? I have always wanted to be debt free and this is my final piece of the puzzle. I have no car payments at this time and 3 kids under 14, married with a working wife, but her income isn't large.

---------------------Hi Dan,You must be so excited to be so close to the mortgage finish line. It sounds like you and your wife have been diligent with your finances and deserve congratulations for being almost debt free!I can understand your desire to pay your home off as quickly as possible so let’s look at some options:

Paying off your mortgage will almost deplete your savings which would leave you without much emergency money. That’s a scary place! You never know what could happen, especially with 3 kids under 14. Of course, you would have the extra cash flow to build your savings back up but that’ll take time. For this reason, depleting your savings to pay off the mortgage is not something I would recommend.

If you kept to your scheduled payments, your home will be paid off in about 2 years. That’s not too far away and the timing would still put you debt free before you retire and before your kids' graduate. This would be a huge accomplishment and something that will help you better prepare for retirement. This option would also preserve your savings so you’re covered in the event of something unexpected.

Another option that might scratch your itch to pay off your home faster is to make a one-time additional payment. Since you’re near the end of your loan, any extra payments would make a big difference and accelerate time to pay off. We recommend keeping 3 months worth of expenses in emergency savings, so subtract this amount from total savings and any leftover is what would be applied to the principal balance. You could potentially get the best of both options with this approach. 

I hope this gives you the information you need to make a thoughtful decision. You are in a good financial situation right now and maintaining your emergency savings is very important. Two years will be here before you know it and you’ll be debt free!Best wishes,Gayle