I paid off my mortgage in less than 8 years

65 thoughts on “I paid off my mortgage in less than 8 years”

  1. We don’t go all out on the mortgage but there is definitely a tilt towards paying more on the mortgage. We are on our second house and around 75 percent paid off 3 years in. So I can understand the sentiment. The recent decade has been more favorable to investing then payoff, but sometimes it’s not all about return.

    1. Wow, 75% paid off in 3 years is very impressive! That’s awesome. I suppose there is always a risk with a more favorable turnout through investing, but I think personally, I would have been happy to pay off my mortgage regardless. Thanks for your feedback!

  2. I have always been in the pay-off-the-mortgage camp. I tried for a bit to ignore my gut and go with the statistics of likely getting a better return by investing the money instead of paying down the debt but, ultimately my gut tied me down and beat me into submission. Alas, I’m back to focusing on eliminating the mortgage. Having fewer living expenses is as close as I can get to living in an trailer or an Airstream – here’s lookin’ at you, Steve! 😉 #jealous

    Awesome work, Rob! In my opinion, financial flexibility is worth the possible earnings you might miss out on by keeping the debt.

  3. Thanks for sharing more of your story. Do you ever regret not pursuing baseball? I played for a year in junior college before realizing it wasn’t going to take me as far as I wanted.

    Man, I would be pissed at the guy who bought a new car instead of paying rent. That’s a shitty move if there ever was one. I bet that conversation went over well :). Roommates can be a huge pain. I roomed with some of my best friends with college. It becomes really difficult to have those tough conversations when someone isn’t pulling their weight.

    Personally, I’ve never made additional payments to our mortgage. We have a small house that is way under what we could afford. The mortgage balance will move under $100k in a couple months and we have a low interest rate. I’ve never really felt overburdened by it and the market has returned more over the past 11 years even going through the Great Recession.

    1. I try not to look back at anything in life with regret. While baseball was my #1 passion at that time, I suffered an injury that prevented me from further pursuing the sport. To me, that was a sign that my baseball career was over, and I pretty much accepted it and moved on to other interests. I definitely have tons of great memories though and hope my son will gravitate towards it when he gets older!

      Yeah, roommates can be tough. Thankfully overall, I had great roommates (most of which were close friends from college), but of course, there were a select few who stood out and were a bit frustrating at times…

  4. We jumped into a house we could barely afford to get away from roommates shortly after graduating college. We couldn’t deal with it anymore – so I feel the pain there

    We are tackling the rest of my student loans and 10k on a low interest car loan – but our main focus has been investing for the last few years. Once we are consumer debt free sometime next year we will up our investment % over paying off the mortgage.

  5. Way to slay that mortgage! Eliminating our mortgage is a big part of our long-term financial plan, but the bulk of that work is going to come a few years down the road. We abruptly decided to do some home remodeling and took on a very small loan at an even smaller interest rate so we could maintain liquidity. Once we’re all finished paying that back later this year, we’ll shift back into high gear on investing. We were fortunate to have bought our house near the bottom of the market, and now that our local market has rebounded, we have over $100k in equity.

    1. Wow, that’s a great jump up to over $100k in equity! Timing can be everything, right?? Like I said to the commenter before, that’s great that you have a plan in place to tackle debts and focus on investing. Strategy is everything!

  6. Wow I didn’t know the whole story! Roommates can be the best or the WORST! Luckily I never relied on them since Ive aways been a renter, but I had my fair share of nightmares over the years. I do sometimes feel that now owning property somehow puts me behind the curve of early retirement, but I live in LA and I don’t want to be tied down by a huge mortgage, so I have to deal with those cards.

  7. This is great! I am especially impressed that you turned down the college scholarship to avoid debt. I feel like people tend to give you a free pass on debt as long as you get some level of scholarship, not thinking through the additional costs not covered by those scholarships. You hear people make all kinds of excuses for overspending if it’s for schooling, or they get emotionally attached to a certain school, and it’s so foolish. I know I loved my time at Wheaton College, but I still wonder what kinds of funding I’d have received if I’d applied to more state schools. I was a good student, so I bet I’d have saved a bundle going a different route. Congratulations to you and your wife on debt-free living!

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more! A lot of people assume that going to a “better” college will definitely yield a higher salary, so the debt incurred is less substantial. I definitely don’t think this is always the case, but it’s a common train of thought! Thanks for your feedback!

  8. You came up with a plan and made the best decisions you could at the time. There are always unforseen rough spots especially when you are young. But going through that it seems you have really come out of it much better off. Paying off your mortgage is a great thing and will free up your life more in the future. I used to hustle and shovel snow too. I was about 10 or so and can remember being half excited to be off school for the day and the other half was I could go out shoveling and make a few bucks. I used to get out early like a little after 7am to beat out the other shovelers who would be out around 8am. I didnt make a lot but it was good money at that age. Learning how to hustle is how you get ahead. I never had roommates but lived in an apartment with thin walls. It almost was like I had roommates downstairs. To me, having your own house with you own space and privacy is definitely worth it. People can be so annoying.

  9. I have two mortgages, one on an investment house/rental that generates about 1500 in cash flow each month and primary. I always wanted to pay off the mortgages off but something more interesting always comes up 🙂
    Both mortgages are under 3.5% and I rather have the liquid cash on hand in case anything happens. But I guess when mortgage is paid off, there is not really anything that can happen

  10. My wife and I just refinanced to a 15 year mortgage at 2.5%. If I were to make extra monthly payments, I could have it paid off in 7 years. We are not planning to stay in this house long term, so we are choosing to invest in our taxable accounts at Vanguard and make the auto-monthly payment on the house. Once we reach FIRE, we will sell the house and put the equity into our same taxable account.

    I definitely do not fault someone for paying off their house. If you are planning to stay there long term it makes complete sense. Also, in times where the market is not yielding, paying off your primary home is a sure fire way to see a good return on your money.

    I’m in the same club as Steve. I don’t see the mortgage as any sort of ‘good’ debt. I’ve argued with many of my close friends that there is no such thing as ‘good’ debt. Some debts are worse than others, but none of them can be considered good. Usually those that consider some debts ‘good’ like to keep them around and justify that they are better off having them.

    1. Yes, I agree that if you don’t plan to stay in your house for very long, it may not make sense to pay off the mortgage. Everyone’s situation is unique and different. I also don’t consider a mortgage to be “good” debt, although I do lump it under the category of wealth-building debt.

  11. $400k loan for a 22 yo. That was a crazy time. It’s great that your roommates helped pay off your mortgage, though. If I could do it over again, that’s what I would do. We got married a few years after I started working so we didn’t have a chance to do the roommate thing much. We tried renting out, but it’s just uncomfortable when you’re married…
    Great job!

    1. I couldn’t imagine renting out a room now that I am married and have a kid. Although, my neighbor rented out his basement for a while, and he has a wife and kid. I think in that case though, the renter mainly stayed in the basement, so she didn’t encroach upon his family’s space all that much. Either way, slightly uncomfortable!

  12. These are great thoughts, MSM! I know a lot of FIRE bloggers are torn between paying off a mortgage and investing. I’m very much on the pay-off-the-damn-mortgage side since the numbers work in our favor in that scenario. We also want as *few expenses as possible* during FI, and a mortgage is a hefty expense ($1,000+/mo).

  13. I’m firmly on the “keep my low interest mortgage and invest the difference” side of this debate. I do enjoy stories like this though. I remember from your other guest post that you had roommates and that you helped them out financially – what you didn’t say then was how they chose to buy a new car instead of paying back rent! Some people just suck.

  14. We are in a weird position because we live in my familial home, in which is a wonderful neighbourhood. My grandparents bought it from plan in 1959 and it’s been handed down to my mom, and now I have the chance to buy it. It used to be at the edge of the city but now it is considered central and it has all the benefits of a great neighbourhood: great public transport, access to an extensive system of bike paths, amenities such as shopping but also a park (with a wading pool in summer, ice skating in winter), a local library, great schools, and a YMCA all within walking distance. It’s also far back from a main artery so my kids can wander all over our neighbourhood and I don’t have to worry.

    Currently, we pay rent to my mother (and she lives in my condo downtown & her rent covers those bills) so we just switched homes when I started a family, and she retired and wanted the freedom to travel & have no house maintenance. As she wraps up her financial affairs, she wants me to buy the house off her which we are set to do in early 2018. If I save 50k this year we will also be able to be mortgage free, which is a huge boon. For us – with two small kids and roots in this community – buying is a good choice, especially since we will be getting a deal. Rent in our city is such that if we had to rent in our area it would be way more expensive than owning. Also, as a kid who got shuffled around and moved a few times, I am not interested in uprooting my kids away from the neighbourhood.

    On top of that, we are looking to buy back my defined contribution pension for $17300, so it is a tight year!

      1. Definitely! It’s an adorable post-war bungalow that is small, which is my preference. I plan to keep the condo as a rental sort of indefinitely considering it is only a few blocks from Parliament Hill right downtown and is in a prime rental area. It still has a mortgage but it is low and as an income property it will be worthwhile to keep.

  15. I don’t think I would have been responsible enough at 22 to take on $400K of debt for a home. Kudos to you Rob, seems like you’ve been on a great path from early on. Some bumps along the way but the room mates facilitated the mortgage payoff, so I would see why you’d be willing to endure it again. Good luck reaching FIRE!

  16. I knew you had paid off your mortgage, but didn’t know it was $320k! That’s an amazing accomplishment. My relationship with paying off my mortgage is “it’s complicated”. Buying our current home with a large mortgage was not my favorite financial compromise with my husband and I put it on autopay and try to ignore it. We have no issue affording the payment, so I’ve just decided to focus on retirement, college funding and HSA accounts instead.

    1. I don’t think you are alone in having a “complicated” relationship with your mortgage. They are a necessary evil these days, but that’s good that you have no issues affording the monthly payments! I always encourage people to focus in on what gives them the most peace of mind.

  17. I was so scared of investments until 3 years ago, then took 12 months to take the plunge, so we really hammered our mortgage. In our case, we would have been better off investing rather than paying off the mortgage, but complete debt freedom does give a huge psychological boost and the security of your own home.

    1. Thanks for sharing Sarah!!! I can definitely understand some of the hesitation with stock market especially going into year number eight of the bull market. Hopefully the psychological boost that you got by paying down your mortgage outweighs the investment piece 🙂

  18. I think you were so smart to buy a house and have roommates early on. I wish I had thought about that back in my 20s!

    Congrats on paying off your mortgage so early! We have 3 investment properties and have incrementally started increasing the principal payments on one. We’ve also grown a sizeable savings account with the intent of either paying off a mortgage or purchasing another investment property. I go back and forth on what we should do. I admire you for making the decision at such a young age and following through!

    1. Wow three investments properties is pretty impressive. I have a friend that has a couple as well and he is making bank. I asked if he was planning to expand more and he said “Why, I’m making enough money that I don’t have to work anymore so why take a chance on a potential headache.” I couldn’t disagree with him 🙂

      1. Two of them were unintentional investment properties and simply pay for themselves. 😐 Your friend has a good point and I don’t think we would even consider purchasing another if we were meeting our passive income goals.

  19. I focus on investing more than paying off mortgages. The interest rates on mortgages are very low and the market typically does a lot better than 4% or so.

    It’s an age-old question of whether it is better to pay down a mortgage or invest. You really can’t go wrong with either.

    1. Thanks for sharing Lazy Man!!! I definitely got lucky paying off my mortgage during the lost decade of the 2000s. I think I would definitely think differently if I started to pay off the mortgage in 2009 and lost out on the tremendous growth during this eight year bull.

  20. It is awesome to see that you have always been a saver and been very money savvy. It took me slightly longer to get into that bandwagon.

    FIRE by 2020, that’s COOL! We are debt free besides the home mortgage.

    Given the extremely low interest rate, I don’t intend to pay it off. When the kids go to college, we plan to downsize and buy a home without any mortgage.

  21. What an incredible story! Thanks for sharing! A young colleague of my father’s did the same thing right out of school and I was always very jealous. Not an easy path for you or him but the benefits sound tremendous.

    My husband and I are working to pay off our mortgage as fast as possible now, but that balance still makes my skin crawl. Good luck with FIRE!

  22. Wow, that’s a great story! Good for you!

    I still can’t believe the way they were giving out loans back then… that was totally part of the cause of the real estate bubble and burst.

    My husband and I own four properties free and clear and then we have mortgages on three others that were previous residences and now are rental properties. We are going to sell the one with the most equity and pay down the unit with the smallest mortgage, but after that, I don’t intend to pay down the last mortgage. I don’t want too much of my own money wrapped up in equity for a rental unit. Plus, our main residence is paid for, and also love seeing someone else pay that mortgage nut. 🙂

  23. Great story, MSM! Paying off a mortgage quickly is very intriguing… one less fixed expense to worry about. As I get closer to knocking out my student loans, I find myself thinking about what I want to do about our mortgage. Pay off quickly? Invest the difference? I might hedge a bit by making the standard payments while putting aside extra money in a separate “mortgage payoff investment fund.” We’ll see…

    1. Thanks for sharing SRGO!!! I was nervous when the market was imploding so I thought it made sense for me to pay off my mortgage. With the market at an all time high I do wonder how much higher it can go but timing the market is a fools game or at least I’m not very good at it 🙂

  24. Congratulations!! I almost felt like I was reading my story here minus the roommates. I bought my house very young too right out of university. We paid our current mortgage off in 5 years and it was the best decision ever. Perhaps the frugal way of life both Mrs. CBB and myself lead from a young age helped get us to this point but we don’t feel like we were deprived of anything. We’d do it again if we had to.

    1. That’s awesome to hear that we have similar stories. It’s definitely been a huge blessing that we paid off our mortgage. I’m so glad that my wife was on board with the decision because she could have easily said no. Although I have a feeling that if our money values didn’t line up that we wouldn’t have made it this far 🙂

  25. We just paid off our house last November. Bought it in 2000. I had an overpayment plan set up to be done in another 7 years. But I looked at one of our mutual funds which had made us a good amount of money since 2006 and a couple of stocks which had done very well. You never know what the stock market has in store, but I did know that at that moment we had enough to pay it off. Our mortgage was pretty inexpensive, and we have no other debt. It does feel real good not having a mortgage payment. I also calculated that we only losing $175 a year in tax write offs.

    We took our new found money and 25% we keep in checking just to make life easier (groceries, bills, etc)
    40% we keep in checking to offset the extra money that gets taken out from her paycheck because we now can maxed out my wife’s 401k to 24,000 a year (which also get us an extra $1,200 a year in free matching money from her company), and the 35% we put into our Roths every month.
    Glad we paid it off!

    1. Congrats Gary on joining the mortgage free club 🙂 Sounds like you have definitely found useful ways to use the money and invest. Seeing that you have 25% in checking just to make life easier was definitely one of the key factors for us as well. Not seeing that mortgage payment leave our checking account each month gives us plenty of room. I definitely don’t feel like I am living paycheck to paycheck anymore.

  26. Paying off a $400,000 mortgage in 8 years is impressive! Congrats. It took me 13 years to pay off mine after originally having a goal to pay it off in 10 years.

    The problem is, I have a couple more mortgages! I’m going to slay my vacation property one within 5 years. It has a 4.25% rate for a 30 year.

    But I’ve got a primary at 2.35% for a 5/1ARM that’ll I’ll not accelerate payments until the month of the ARM adjustment.

    Sam

    1. Since I have only one property, I’d say it’s much more impressive to have multiple properties that you’re paying down 😉 That primary interest of 2.35% is unbelievable. I can definitely understand why you don’t want to touch that.

  27. I’ll have to dissent here. I love having a low interest rate mortgage. The money I am saving from not paying off my mortgage early is being invested into high yield equity investments. For fun, I track my “mortgage payoff ratio.” That is, taxable investments, plus cash in savings/ divided by existing mortgage principle.

    I used to pay extra on my mortgage until I realized the math simply didn’t make sense.

  28. Your story is amazing!

    I can’t help but ask, but were you freaked out taking on a 320k mortgage at that age? You must have landed a really great job to be able to tackle that mortgage. Im in the process of buying a house at the moment myself. I personally feel a little nervous about taking on this debt, but your story has motivated me to try to pay it off early!

    If you could give one piece of advice on paying your mortgage off early, what would it be?

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