5 Reasons I’m Killing My Mortgage

kitchen newLast week, my staff post at Get Rich Slowly was entitled “The hassle of being in debt.”  In it, I reminded readers how I had to refinance my home mortgage AGAIN to remove my pesky and wasteful private mortgage insurance.  I also mentioned that I plan on paying off my house as soon as humanly possible.  Of course, this always stirs the pot a little.  People do not seem to understand why I would choose to prepay my “cheap money mortgage” at 3.25%.  So I thought I would lay it out there for everyone to see.  Here are the 5 reasons I’m murdering my mortgage:


Reasons I’m Killing My Mortgage

I hate debt.

I despise it actually.  I don’t like getting bills in the mail and I don’t like the crushing feeling of owing another person (or a company) six freakin’ figures.  Maybe I learned it from my parents, but I just don’t like being in debt when there are other options.  I have always been someone who chose to take the quick and painful way to do things over the long and drawn out route….and my mortgage debt is no different.  I’m pulling this band-aid off at lightening speed, bitches!!!

I want to be debt free.

…..and not just so I can call the Dave Ramsey radio show and do the debt free scream.  Wooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!  Who am I kidding?  I will definitely do that shit.  But seriously, I want to be debt free because debt is a huge burden in my eyes.  Having a mortgage payment means that I have to plan my life and my finances around it.  I don’t like it.

I want to have more options.

Right now, our stable job situation means that we are stuck wearing the golden handcuffs.  Being debt free means having more options in the future.  Not having a house payment will free up thousands of dollars per month that could be spent any number of ways.  I like the thought of having the option to take a much lower paying job if I wanted to.  I like having options PERIOD.

I don’t care about my mortgage interest tax deduction.

There, I said it.  I’ve already prepared myself for the hate mail.  I do not care one iota about the amazing tax deduction I will be missing out on when I e-file my tax return.  I don’t think that purposely staying in debt to reduce my tax liability makes much sense at all.  You may disagree, and that’s fine.

I hate dealing with mortgage companies.

MetLife, my old lender, was a huge pain in the ass to deal with.  Amerisave, the company I refinanced with, was a huge pain in the ass to deal with.  They’re all a pain to deal with and I cannot wait until I no longer have to monitor my account to make sure they don’t screw something up.  One time, MetLife took $1,800 out of my escrow account and bought “forced place insurance” without even bothering to notify me.  They said that my homeowner’s insurance had lapsed.  Wrong!  I have been with Allstate for five years and they had even paid the premium 2 months earlier OUT OF THE SAME ESCROW ACCOUNT!!!  That kind of shenanigans makes me bat shit crazy and I am tired of having to watch everything like a hawk all the time.  I’m glad to not be dealing with MetLife anymore, but I’m sure that Amerisave will be equally incompetent.  Sigh.

Anyway, those are the main reasons that I am killing my mortgage.  Like it or hate it, I’m doing it anyway.  And to all my haters, I do realize that there is an opportunity cost for choosing to pay off my home instead of investing that money.  Still, opportunity cost= schmopportunity crost.  Let me rephrase that.  I don’t care.   And according to recent calculations, we are somewhere between 26 and 31 payments away from murdering our mortgage once and for all.  I’ll keep you posted.


    • says

      Yay! Thanks for your support! It isn’t for everyone, but I am happy with the fact that I’m paying it off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. says

    Like you said, it’s not for everyone, but if you can do it and it makes you happy then I say go for it! Great point about the tax deduction. It would never make sense to keep something like a mortgage just to get the deduction. Plus, who knows if the politicians allow it to stay on the table or not.

    • says

      Yeah, I agree. I don’t mind the tax deduction….every bit helps…but I wouldn’t keep my mortgage just because I like having that tax deduction so much.

  2. Brian says

    When you are debt adverse you are debt adverse and no amount of math will convince you otherwise. I like it. I know from experience how great it is to have no housing payment and thanks to Pauline’s post yesterday realized I could “live” on around $450/month in an absolutely 100% worse case scenario because of this (of course that is hardly living).

    I say go for it and let me know what day you are going to call into Dave so I can hear your scream, youtube and go viral!

    • says

      Oh yes! I cannot wait! We will still owe money on our rental properties though but I don’t count it as our personal debt since it’s a business and our tenants pay the mortgage.

      So, can I gather from your comment that you are mortgage free?

      • Brian says

        We are mortgage free. We paid cash for our house. We were in a right place, right time situation since we purchased my grandmother’s house after she passed away. It made sense for us because we liked the area, the schools are good and it just made things easier on the family in general.

        Yeah, if/when we have rentals I wouldn’t count those either since they are investments and leverage is extremely useful for businesses.

  3. Diane says


    First time reader and I’m hooked. I loved your post and your humor! Thanks for the smiles and good read this morning!


      • Marty says

        Holly , it was great hearing your story and your not caring about the logistics of keeping a mortgage opposed to not owing the man . I am married , 42 yrs old with 3 kids . I have always hated paying that 2,000.00 monthly nut and especially giving them all that free interest money , I felt like it was money down the drain . I paid off my house in january 2013 and it felt and feels wonderful .We owe nothing vehicles and boat were all bought cash . I too am all about the band-aid effect .

  4. says

    I am right there with you, Holly, especially regarding the interest deduction! When I was in mortgage lending, I always told people: If you want a deduction, do some charitable giving – it’ll have more of an impact, and you won’t be bound to your mortgage lender any longer. I can’t wait till ours is paid off!

  5. says

    I totally agree. If getting out of debt has a high importance, then it makes more sense to do this than to invest the difference. Many people will argue for one or another in terms of approach, but I always like to point out that paying down debt faster is never a bad option.

  6. says

    WOOOHOO DO IT! We are still undecided about how long we want to live in our current house. Luckily our mortgage is not THAT high so if we wanted to, we could pay it off within a year.

  7. Sally says

    Good for you, Holly! DH and I are also frugalistas and paid our mortgage off years ago. I don’t regret it a bit; I’m actually proud of it. Peace of mind trumps profit every time!

  8. says

    Damn Holly, no apologies from you today! A local radio station here (89.3 the current) plays a lot of different music – more non-mainstream stuff and they have a “no apologies track” each day and play whatever they feel like and make no apologies – that’s what I feel like your post was today. The “no apologies” blog post of the week!

    One of my biggest pet peeves is when people try to say that there is one way and only one way that is the correct way when it comes to personal finance. In this case, you could easily argue that keeping the low-interest mortgage is smart, but you could (and did) equally argue that it makes sense (for you and others) to pay down your mortgage as quickly as possible. One answer that works for me may not be the answer that works for you, and so on. I loved the “fight” you had in this post!

    • says

      That is damn near amazing, I think. I’m glad we refinanced because it was the right thing to do financially…..but it was a huge pain and it almost made me crazy.

  9. says

    When I worked with clients who wanted to pay off debt first, my job as an advisor wasn’t to convince them otherwise (why would I tell someone THEIR goal wasn’t appropriate…huh?), but to help them get there as quickly as possible. Removing the PMI and refinancing drives down your out of pocket costs so you get to your “heaven” more quickly. Awesome.

  10. says

    I don´t even have a mortgage, but I already feel inspired to have this attitude when I do get one. 20-30 years of paying down a mortgage is quite normal in Norway, but I really, really don`t want to be part of that! Now I only have to start talking about my thoughts to BF, so that when the time comes and we`re ready to buy an apartment/house, we are upfront with each other in terms of how long we want to be paying the mortgage.

  11. says

    Giving you a gigantic HELL YEAH on this one! I, too, love my mortgage interest tax deduction, but I’m not willing to hold onto a mortgage forever just because of that one factor. I also couldn’t agree more about how not having a mortgage opens up a world of possibilities. Kill it, lady! :)

  12. says

    Killing your mortgage is a great plan, if that’s what you want to do. I would probably take all of that extra money and invest it instead. You don’t really get anything out of making bigger payments on your mortgage, you just have less money on hand.

    • says

      Oh Johnny Moneyseed…..you are so incredibly wrong. What I will get from accelerated mortgage payments is a completely paid off place to live for the rest of my life. Pretty sweet deal, I think, since we are in our early thirties. Plus- we are already saving and investing as we speak as well as saving for retirement. We also have rental properties so paying off my mortgage is just part of my early retirement plan. The money that we prepay our mortgage with is the same stuff that most people spend eating at Applebees once a week and buying new clothes and iphones.

      • says

        Can I agree with both Johnny Moneyseed and Holly? I hate having a mortgage/debt intensely. However, I see myself making over 10% interest in Lending Club. So, a $100,000 investment in LC balances out $300,000 in mortgage debt. As much as I can’t stand my debt, if I can just put up with it for a little while longer, I think I’ll be much better off.

        • says

          Sure. Different things work for different people. The only thing is that investing in Lending Club or anything else has some risk and prepaying your mortgage has zero risk. Its a sure thing. My personal philosophy is to take a balanced approach. We save and invest and prepay our mortgage. That way I feel like I’m covered no matter what happens :).

          • says

            “My personal philosophy is to take a balanced approach.”

            I have to admit that the day I don’t have to pay the mortgage anymore will be a very happy day!

  13. says

    Lol at “schmopportunity cost.” I think it’s amazing, and completely unfounded in the 30’s range (with my friends at least), that you’ll have your house paid off so quickly. Go Team Holly and Greg!

  14. says

    Go for it Holly!!! I’m with you, who actually WANTS a mortgage payment? We’ll all be cheering with you when you send in your final mortgage payment! :)

  15. says

    I generally argue not paying mortgages off early but due to your cirmcumstances of hating debt so passionately it makes sense for you to pay it off emotionally more than it would make sense for you to take the financially logical path.

  16. says

    I don’t blame you in the least for paying off my mortgage. Having no debt at all is pretty close to being financially independent! My current mortgage company just did something similar to me out of my escrow account. I cancelled my homeowners insurance and bought a policy with USAA the very same day. To insure I had continuous coverage I paid the annual premium out of pocket. A week later I got a letter from the mortgage company advising they went ahead and paid the new premium…..Buttheads. Bow I have to wait to get the excess premium back from USAA. Luckily I’m in the process of refinancing so I’ll just bring that excess to close to pre-fund the escrow account.

  17. says

    This is crazy, Why would you do this?? 😉

    I am just kidding. This is why personal finance is, well, PERSONAL. You can do what you want, when you want to do it. I think that if this is what makes you happy, then get on it. I don’t have any issues with paying off your mortgage early. I will be doing it in our next home.

  18. says

    Haha the debt free scream, really, people do that? hilarious! I get your point, that’s why I bought my house cash, in spite of all the other aspects of having low interest debt on the mortgage and leveraging the money elsewhere. it feels awesome!

  19. says

    Alright Holly! Killin’ it! Now, mathematically, I’m understand keeping a low-interest mortgage around. But philosophically and emotionally, people will not be motivated enough to “AGGRESSIVELY INVEST” as they would be to “KILL DEBT”. Think about it. You hate one, and the other is just something that’s nice. I, personally, would be WAY more motivated to kick debt out of my life than to ramp up my investing a bit. No one is going to sacrifice life’s luxuries to agressively invest their money. No. But they will to get ALL debt out of their life.

    I’m still on the fence for us about this. mostly because I have such little margin in our budget that my mortgage payoff would probably go from 30 to 25 years or something, and I’d rather invest a little more than dump every cent into somehting that will still take FOREVER to pay off.

    I’m going to write about this too (seems to be a hot topic this month), but basically, once I’m (consumer) debt free, I’m going to split my extra money 3 ways. 1/3rd college investing, 1/3rd regular, pre/post-tax investing, 1/3rd mortgage. I think. Or maybe I’ll do all mortgage until my PMI is gone. I dunno.

    Aggghhh, I relaly hate this topic, but mostly I just want to say you guys rock, and owning your house outright in your early 30’s is ALL KINDS OF WEIRD! IN AN AWESOME WAY!

  20. Opinionated says

    I’ve been subscribed to you via RSS for a while, but I have yet to publicly comment on any of your blogs. I just wanna say you fuckin rock. I love your writing style and your advice.
    You are brilliant.

    “I don’t care about my mortgage interest tax deduction.
    There, I said it. I’ve already prepared myself for the hate mail. I do not care one iota about the amazing tax deduction I will be missing out on. I don’t think that purposely staying in debt to reduce my tax liability makes much sense at all. You may disagree, and that’s fine.”

    If I didn’t have to pay the damn mortgage, I wouldn’t be worried about getting any of the damn taxes back!

    Love and positive energy.

    • says

      Thanks so much for your kind words!

      I totally agree with you about the mortgage interest tax issue. I won’t have a mortgage. Do you really think I am going to miss the few hundred dollars that not paying taxes on my mortgage interest saves? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Jim says

        My wife and I just paid off our mortgage 26 years early two weeks ago. I did the math and even though I lost a $9,000 tax deduction, I also am not paying $15,000 in mortgage interest! Woo hoo!!!!!! Debt free and loving it. :)

  21. says

    Hey, we’re paying off our mortgage as we speak little by little it will be gone in the next couple of months. We just paid a huge chunk of it yesterday and I’ll be blogging about the psychological affects of paying it down after seeing 6 figures in the savings account. You know what though, when there is no mortgage we can invest until our hearts content. What we do know as a fact is our interest rate and what we also know is that no one has a secure job. The faster the roof over our head becomes ours the weight is lifted and life becomes just a little bit sweeter! Go for it!

  22. says

    You know I would I love ALL your reasons and once we have our mortgage we plan to do away with it as fast as possible. You have do to what’s right for you. Person finance & debt isn’t only about economics and figures. It’s also about taking into consideration how you feel about debt.

  23. says

    Well, we don’t have cheap mortgage rates here like you do, and the longest fixed term is only 5 years. So you can bet we’d be focusing on the mortgage like a mofo once we buy!

  24. Emily says

    Amen girl! Never ever apologize for wanting to do this. We paid ours off last April and I really wanted to have shirts made to proclaim our freedom!

    People thought we lost our marbles and/or were insanely rich (maybe the first, definitely not the latter). It is an unbelievable feeling that we rejoice about at least once a month.

    Can’t wait to cheer you guys on with your journey towards freedom.

  25. says

    This is awesome Holly! My wife and I are trying to knock out our mortgage by the end of the year. Our reasoning is along the same line as yours in that we hate debt and we want options. I think people underestimate the value of freedom and having options. For me, that’s one of the biggest arguments for paying off the mortgage sooner.

  26. says

    I’m a FAR cry from even thinking about living mortgage free. I still have a shitload of debt to worry about first, but in about 5 years we’ll start aggressively paying it off. I’d love to have my mortgage paid off by the time I’m in my early 40’s. Go you!

  27. says

    For the haters, have you ever heard anyone say they regret paying off their mortgage? All I’ve heard is how great it feels. I have heard people say they should have gotten rid of debt when times were good. It would be great to invest any excess money, but who actually does that? We buy crap we don’t need and keep paying the dang mortgage. I’ll scream with you when you kill it. You can scream with me a few years after that.

  28. Brian says

    Good points! Being someone who’s been highly leveraged a couple times in life, I’ve learned that being out of debt, or having sufficient liquidity to pay off your debt at any time of need, is simply peace of mind. For the same reasons you list not wanting to carry a mortgage, I have the same for not wanting to get INTO a mortgage, i.e. sacrifice the majority of my savings for the sake of placing a down payment on a home. Yes, I rent now, but the pessimist in me is always fearful of job loss in this economy. Having cash in the bank and the ability to relocate wherever employment takes me helps me sleep at night.

  29. says

    Amen! I’m doing the same thing. I also think its to your advantage to pay as much as you can off now while rates are low. If/when they go up, the extra money you could have used to pay down principle will be going towards interest with a higher mortgage rate, so its to your advantage to pay down the principle now!

    The only time it would make sense to NOT pre-pay on your mortgage is to keep that extra cash for another investment or future plan, like buying a second property. But unless you’re sticking to a budget and have a definite plan… it could be dangerous having all that extra cash sitting around asking to be spent!

    • says

      Yeah. I think we will buy more rental properties in the future, but for now our hands are full with two. Once our house is paid off, I think we may focus on buying more properties.

  30. says

    It seems like you have excellent reasons for paying off your mortgage. Who cares if others don’t understand? Just go for it.

  31. says

    Now that we’ve saved our emergency fund, that means we can double our principal payments on our mortgage each month, which saves us a 10 years and well over a hundred thousand dollars of interest over the course of the loan.

    I completely agree with you on the mortgage interest deduction and the overall psychology of debt.

  32. says

    Reason number 0 should be, “Because I can!” :)

    Unfortunately, I have other, higher interest debts that I have to handle before I can start paying extra on the mortgages, but you can bet I’ll be travelling a similar road as soon as my own reason. Great luck!

  33. says

    I don’t think you’re crazy at all! But then again, I’m paying down mine aggressively as well. Chopping $1k/month off of my expenses would be amazing! That would make it way easier to take a job with a smaller salary, which is my current plan starting in early 2015. So for now, I’m maxing out all tax-advantaged savings vehicles and then paying down my mortgage with all the leftover funds. So far, I’ve paid down almost $40,000 of my (originally) $286,000 mortgage, in about 8 months!

    • says

      Oh and I’m with you on the mortgage interest tax deduction! My interest rate and property taxes are so cheap that it really doesn’t mean that much to me. At. All. To some people, saving $1,000/year on taxes is something, but when you’re paying upwards of $20-30,000+/year in income taxes, I’d rather not pay the interest than save on income taxes.

  34. says

    This rant is equal parts truth and hilarity. My husband loathes debt as much as you do, and nothing incenses him more than mortgage insurance. We just went through our second refi and luckily the value of our home is high enough to cancel out mortgage insurance. I’m pretty sure he did the “happy dance” when he heard the news. Being debt-free is one of his main goals in life and though I wasn’t nearly as obsessed with debt before I met him, I definitely understand his fixation now. Thanks for the entertaining and brutally honest post!

  35. says

    Oh heck yeah.. I am with you. The financial freedom that you would get from not having a massive mortgage payment eating half of your paycheck would be absolutely liberating. You guys really arent that far away in the grand scheme of things.

  36. says

    26-31 payments left, that is wonderful, I envy you. Of course, I do hope you are able to murder your mortgage and I hope to be following in your footsteps, although I admit I am no where near as close. Keep us posted!

  37. Alice says

    You go girl! Awesome! Not having a mortgage payment will be so liberating. I’m planning on following suit once I pay off the student loans.
    I hate when people try to explain to me how I’ll lose a tax deduction. In no way does paying $10,000 a year to get $1000 back make sense.
    Also by making a charitable donation, I can get the same tax break.
    And you are already saving for retirement and investing, so paying off the mortgage is like diversifying. Risk management.
    Debt haters unite!

  38. says

    Go for it! I don’t feel like I need to pay our mortgage off early, but that’s me. It sounds like having a mortgage makes you feel like your choices are limited, so if this allows you the freedom to make different choices, then it’s sounds like the right plan for you.

  39. the other jim says

    Seriously – were you “channeling” me? I swear I thought I was reading my own thoughts/philosophy when I read this. LOL. We intended to be mortgage free by Jan 2016, but, alas another “child” expense has erupted. Nonetheless, we will be mortgage free by Jan 2017 – at the absolute latest.

    Good for you. You and your readers have me so excited about being mortgage free I am almost tempted to throw caution to the wind and pay this house off with some of our retirement savings – damn the penalties/taxes. It would only be a fraction of our investments and I would love to have this damn mortgage dead and gone. Talk me down from this ’cause I could do it right now with one email.

    • says

      Don’t do it!!!!

      Be patient. Keep your money in your retirement savings!!!

      January 2017 will be here soon enough and then you can be completely debt free!!!!!

  40. Seth W says

    Right on! I’m a little late posting this but I agree 100% with your mentality towards debt. I get really frustrated listening to people at work drone on about how it doesn’t make any sense to pay off mortgage debt since it is supposedly so “good”. And then these same people all get extremely nervous whenever layoffs seem likely.

    I’m currently only have the mortgage debt left, and my goal is to be completely done with it by June 2014, at which point I’ll be 4 months shy of being 34 years old. I’ve told a few people about my goal, but whenever I do I get looked at like I’m bat shit crazy. Instead of being encouraged, I get listed one reason after another of why I’m making a mistake. “You should be investing the money”. “You should enjoy yourself more while you’re young”. “Mortgage debt is good because its tax deductible”.

    Investing might make sense *if* you actually are going to use the money for that purpose. However, most of the people I’ve heard spew out that line are more apt to spend that money on their weekend or a new car. I’ve also seen a lot of self-proclaimed investing geniuses lose their shirts over the past few years, and now they wish they had something to show for all their hubris.

    Dont get me wrong, even with my super aggressive debt-free target, I still save more than 95% of the people I know. I just would rather use my extra money to rid myself of financial obligations than taking fancy trips and eating at fancy restaurants. Once my debts are paid off, maybe I’ll treat myself to a few more luxuries, or maybe I’ll continue to save aggressively. Whatever I choose, it won’t involve sending in a mortgage payment year after year after year.

    So kudos to you for your attitude towards your mortgage! Its rare to find people who can think outside of conventional wisdom!

    • says

      Isn’t it crazy how confused it makes people? It’s like it has been drilled into their brains that they have to pay on their home for thirty years. And the tax deduction argument is just stupid. Why spend a dollar to save what….28 cents on taxes? It makes no sense.
      People, like you said, also act like we’re missing out on some amazing investment opportunities. First of all, I already save and invest. I have retirement accounts that we put 15-20% of our gross income into and I also have rental properties. Still, I suppose I could invest all of my mortgage prepayment into something high enough risk to make some money. However, if I choose the wrong investment for those funds, I could easily lose some of the principal and end up behind compared to prepaying my mortgage at the pitiful 3.25%.

      Anyway, I know I’m preaching to the choir! Congratulations on almost having your house paid off. We are right behind you. I hope you will email me or something when you get it paid off. I will write a story about how awesome you are!!!

  41. Spiro TzakisSpiro says

    Holly!! I’m so glad there are others with the same thought pattern as myself. You hit the nail on the head with that one. Being mortgage free will be total freedom in life. The pressure would be released and you could then actually stop and look left and right and smell the roses. I’m in a similar position. I’m 25 living alone in my own town house. Im on a misson from hell to get the mortgage monkey off my back ASAP. Because like you, we recognise that with such a financial drain off your shoulders, your quality of life with rise dramatically. Guilt free holidays, shopping, buying that car you’ve always wanted, Persuing other dreams or goals that are impossible because of the financial commitment. So many people become complacent about it and just accept it, with the attitude of that a mortgage is just a part of life. I say to hell with that. There’s going to be pain, regardless, but the question is how long do you want to have it. Your ban aid analergy was great lol. Rip it off, endure the pain, and it’ll subside and be done with it. Thanks :) Spiro

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