Are Extra Mortgage Payments Worth It? A Look at the Numbers

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How much time and money can you really save paying a little extra on the mortgage? Well, it depends on how much you spend and when you spend it.

When most people think of loan payments and amortization schedules, they view them as linear. An additional dollar towards the mortgage now is the same as a dollar later. Or the more you pay towards principal every month, the more benefit you receive. Neither of these are true.

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How Additional Monthly Payments Affect Your Principal

Let’s look at an example to see how it actually works.


  • 30 year mortgage
  • $300,000 loan
  • Interest rate 5%
Additional Monthly Payment Time saved Interest Saved


1 year 2 months



2 years 4 months



5 years 2 months



8 years 8 months



12 years



16 years 11 months


Data via:

The first thing you’ll notice is that paying a little more each month saves you money over the long term. With just $30 in additional principal payments a month, which most of us can afford and wouldn’t notice, you can save over a year of payments and $13,458 in interest. If you upped it to $300 a month, you save $91,742 over the life of the loan. That’s equivalent to a few years’ wage for most people. 


Related: Compound Interest: Einstein Loved It — And You Should, Too. Here’s Why.

Now, the most important thing to notice about this chart is that for every additional dollar put towards principal, you get less of a return than the previous dollar. It’s called diminishing returns. That’s not what most people would expect because we’re used to getting more when we pay more.

Looking at the $30 and $60 monthly payments, you can see that $60 a month does not give you twice the return of $30 a month. Actually, the first $30 will save you $13,458 in interest, while the second $30 will only give you $12,102. To make matters worse, if you did $500 a month, you would save $124,385, but only $46,235 more if the payment was doubled to $1,000 a month.

The same pattern holds true for the time you save on the loan. The more you pay each month, the less benefit each additional dollar has on time saved.

As Albert Einstein once said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it.” 

The Effects of When You Pay & How Much You Pay

We’re not done yet.

Let’s look at when you pay and how much of an impact that has on long term savings and benefit.

Below is a chart showing the impact of paying an additional $100 a month over different 5 year intervals.

$100 a Month Extra Payment Time Saved Total Interest Saved
Years 1-5 1 year 2 months


Years 5-10 11 months


Years 10-15 8 months


Years 15-20 7 months


Years 20-25 5 months $2,708
Years 25-30 4 months $785

Data via:

Each of the payment plans above is exactly the same. However, the outcome is not. For example, if you pay $100 more a month for the first five years of the loan, you will save 1 year 2 months of payments and $17,025 in interest. Not bad. If you did the same payment plan between years 25-30, you would only save 4 months and $785. 

Let’s go a step further (not in the chart) and calculate the extra payments starting in year 10 and going until the loan is paid off (18 years and 1 month of payments). This payment plan would yield a savings of $15,401. Keep in mind that the same payment for the first 5 years saved you $17,025, or $1,625 more than the same $100 a month for the last 18 years. That’s a huge difference. 

Related: I’m Using Ancillary Income to Cover 63% of My Mortgage: Here’s How

“Time has a wonderful way to show us what really matters.” —Margaret Peters


The Moral of the Story

We tend to think that paying a little bit more won’t make that much of a difference because it usually doesn’t. In the case of paying off a loan, a little matters the most. And the sooner you do it, the better off you’ll be.

Today is a good day to start.

We’re republishing this article to help out our newer readers.

Do you make extra payments on your mortgage every month? Why or why not?

Be sure to leave a comment!

About Author

Brett Lee

Brett Lee is a licensed Real Estate Broker in Portland Oregon where he helps people achieve a better future so they can do the things that truly make them happy. Brett is also a buy-and-hold investor, property manager and investment advisor.


  1. David Roberts

    I thought since the extra money you pay early only comes off the back end, if you are a saver, its better to just save the money into the saved balance equals the mortgage balance, then send it all in.

    Seems it would be safer and not cost you any more money to save your cash up then pay off your mortgage. Then you stay liquid in case of some unplanned disaster in which you need that money.

    • Brian Christensen

      I have a 5% interest baring account. My mort interest is 4.25%. I am better served putting it into my interest baring account where I actually make money and have liquidity. It it compounded annually, so that is a bonus. My plan is to pay it all off at once. In fact I just took a HELOC to take money out and place it where I earn more interest than I pay.

  2. Kenneth LaVoie

    One thing to note: If you look at an amortization chart, you’ll see the payment split between interest and principal. In the beginning it’s mostly interest, and incrementally switches over to mostly principal. Looking ath payment #1, for example, let’s say it’s 30 principal and 500 interest on a 530 payment. That 500 is what you’ll pay in interest on the 30 of principal over 29 years and 11 months. This is why it’s so magical if you start early. Let’s say the next one is 31 p / 499 interest. If you pay that 31 extra along with the 1st payment, you’ve just saved 499. That one payment of 30 kills the last $530 mortgage payment and lets you burn your mortgage one month early.

    • Kevin Siedlecki

      That is not correct. The interest number on the amortization chart is the interest you paid on the balance of the loan for that month, not the amount of principal you paid down. For a simplified example, if you have a 100,000 balance on a 5% mortgage, your interest for one month is about $417. If you pay a $450 mortgage bill, you paid the $417 in interest on $100,000, plus $33 in principal. So next month you will pay interest on $99967, which will be slightly lower than the previous month, which is how the payment stays the same but the balance and principal/interest ratio changes.

      If you played your numbers out, you’d be saving about $6,000 a year by paying an extra $30 a month, which would get you to the $13,000 lifetime savings in just over two years.

      I’m not saying don’t pay it down early; everything Brett says above holds true, and depending on the rate and terms of your mortgage, if can make a lot of sense to pay it down early. Just don’t expect the magical result of Kenneth’s example.

    • Karen Lindstrom

      That is exactly what I do. I printed an amortization schedule out and I add extra payments that are different each month. How I figure out what extra to pay is the next 2 months of principle payments. So for me, I’m knocking off two extra months with each payment. So I’ll be paying 3 years worth of payments in 1 year. I like doing it this way because I can cross those months off and add up the savings in interest easily. So far this calendar year, I’ve saved $14,000 in interest on my $2100/month payment!!! But I’m 5 years into the 30 year Loan when I finally am in a financial position to add these extra payments. I wish I would have had the insight to start this 5 years ago when my principle payments were tiny and the interest was huge. I always tried to pay a little extra but when I sat down to figure out how much I had actually paid extra it was small. BEST ADVICE!! Is to get a 15 year mortgage. Your principle and interest payments are almost equal from the beginning. And remember, banks have figured out how to get the most out of you because the average homeowner only stays in a mortgage for 7 years so the front loaded interest is only in their benefit. Not the mortgage payer.

      Before you get a mortgage, compare a 15 yr to a 30 yr amortization schedule. You’ll be shocked at the amount of interest you’ll pay for 30 years. For usually a few hundred dollars a month a 15 year can change your financial future!!!

    • Brian Flack

      Yes this is perfect example, I printed a amortization table for my mom’s mortgage and showed her that in the beginning only around $50 was going towards principal and that just an extra $50 was basically like making 2 payments and now her balance is down to what it would of been after her next payment would have been made. She is now over 8 years ahead and her balance is now where it would have been in in 2026 had she not made those little extra payments! Saved 8 years worth of those big interest payments. It’s simple but the average person doesn’t understand how it works.

  3. Edward Synicky

    Kevin you are correct but Kenneth has the right idea. Paying early in the mortgagee cycle will save more interest than paying later. That said I do not think you should be paying down the mortgage when you are starting to invests. You need to grow your base of wealth b purchasing cash flowing properties that also have a shot at appreciation. Appreciation will make you wealthy but cash flow will put bread on the table. Let your residents pay down your mortgage and you save your money to purchase additional properties. As soon as you have the number of properties you need to meet your goals of passive income then stop buying and now concentrate on paying down the mortgages. After 20 years you will have a payment of $500 but your balance may have dropped to such a low level that freeing up that $500 makes eminent sense.

    • Kevin Siedlecki

      Edward, I agree. While looking to grow a portfolio, a dollar is much more valuable in the bank preparing to become part of the next down payment than going toward loan paydown. It really depends on the individual investor’s goals, and the terms of the loans. Right now, I am in my early 30s, interested in growing my portfolio, and have fixed sub 5% rates on all my loans. If I were 15 years older, interest rates were up around 8%, or I were no longer looking to grow my portfolio, paying the loans down could make sense.

      If you plan to retire and live off your rental income, then paying the loan down early is about as close to literally buying time as you can get. Once you have a portfolio that brings in enough income to live off of if there were no mortgage, then the sooner you pay down that mortgage, the sooner you can do that. You can get higher ROI by putting that money toward a down-payment on another property, but that might not be right for everyone’s goals.

  4. Ruud van de Beeten

    Last month and this month I’ve paid 2000 EUR extra. I think that, even with the low interest rates and government subsidy in the Netherlands, making extra payments is wise.

    Not only do I make extra payments to pay down my mortgage, I also invest in the stockmarket. Why? Because of diversification.

    The only reason I’d like to save money into a savingsaccount is to get enough for a downpayment on a rental property.

    I’d also want to link to an article from Mr Money Mustache. He explains what type of investment is wise:

  5. John Thedford

    I don’t believe in early payoff on rental properties if possible. I will continue to let me tenants pay off the mortgage one month at a time. On a personal residence there might be some value in an early payoff. Mortgage interest deductions for your homestead are almost worthless.

    • Aleksandar P.

      Bingo! Finally some common sense in the never ending discussion of paying “extra” mortgage. As you stated, it all comes down to opportunity cost and how much return you can get from that “extra” invested somewhere else. Nowdays, when mortgage interest rates are on historical lows, the last thing I need to do is to make “extra” payments toward my mortgage.

      • What about when you retire and you still have $1000 per month mortgage payment. Based on the 4% rule, one would need an addition $333k in savings to get the $1000 needed for the mortgage payment. (based on 10% tax rate which is way liberal) Also, capital gains would take 20% of your investment earnings. I think the real factor to this discussion is ones age. If you are in your thirties and have a low interest mortgage, then pay the minimum payments. If you are in your 50s, pay the mortgage off before your retire.

    • Kevin Siedlecki

      There may be a good reason not to, as I’ve mentioned in other comments here. Paying your loan off means more cash flow without having to buy or manage another property. If you’re in real estate for cash flow over growth, or are planning for a time in your life when you will be, then early or extra loan payments can make sense for you. Like any other investment vehicle, real estate can be used in different ways by different people depending on their individual goals, risk tolerance, and time of life.

  6. Vincent Priore

    Excellent discussion. I have been paying extra principle on one of my properties (the first I ever bought and lived in for several years) but am now re-evaluating. I’m in my mid-30’s and very much growth-oriented so this has given me reason to think. I have a fixed mortgage at 4.5 and am confident I could outperform elsewhere.

  7. Kenneth LaVoie

    For you folks commentiing, i’m sure age doesn’t come in to play, but with real estate we often value cash flow vs. ROE. Hence, you can look at pre paying mortgages in another way…
    One more thought … (I posted completely erroneous info with my first post, so I’ve got to redeem myself or go down in flames trying here!! haha!)

    Instead of comparing returns “apples to apples” what will your return (cash flow %) be during the remaining term of the mortgage if you pay it off?

    For example, I have a SFH with 38k balance and 14 years remaining. If I pay that 38k off today, I get $3,779 a year extra for 14 years which is a 9.9% return for those 14 years. 14 years and 1 day that scenario ends. But you get the picture. If you’re 60 years old, this is sort of (but not 100%) like putting your money in an Annuity. You can do a similar but slightly more complex analysis with incremental pre-payment (i.e putting $100 per month extra). Sure the 4.5% you’re saving might pale compared to putting that money in lending club, another building, or a stock mutual fund, but once the mortgage is gone, your return equals the amount of the PI payment for the remaining term of the original amortization period.

    • Kevin Siedlecki

      I agree with you this time! There is definitely a solid strategic use of paying extra or paying early. It’s not going to give you better ROI than spreading your money around to multiple properties, but it can generate more cash flow from the properties you already own, or get you closer to getting that cash flow. If you’re investing to build wealth or grow your portfolio, get the longest amortization and lowest payment you can, and put nothing in it. But, just like your stock/bond portfolio changes as you near retirement, your strategy on paying loans off can, too.

  8. Shaun Reilly

    What I think people often miss is that few things in the world are black and white. There is no reason that you have to either accelerate debt payment or build your portfolio. It is very easy to have a blended strategy to do both.

    Brett actually did a fabulous job of laying out the rational for that here.
    He did a good job showing the diminishing returns where each subsequent dollar you throw at it you will not get as much out of it as the previous one. Hence you can get good results with little payments.
    He also did a great job showing the value of starting early. So the “maybe in 15 years after I am done with my growth phase” rational cuts any benefit you get in half easily.

    Using the numbers in the article that is a $1,610.46 payment
    Let’s do something totally innocuous and make a $5/month over payment.
    I hope we can all agree that $60/year should not materially effect your portfolio building abilities.
    So if you do that you will shave 2 months off the loan and save $2,346.91 in interest.
    As has been briefly mentioned in some comments once the loan is paid off your cash flow goes up. In this case you get 2 months of the extra $1,610.46 as well as $910.98 the previous month as you won’t owe a full payment on that last one. So that is $4,131.90 that goes right into your pocket those 3 months that would not otherwise.
    To do this only pay $1,785 over the course of 27 years and 9 months. (Barely more than one month of that extra cashflow)
    Also since it is all equity you get the somewhat difficult benefit of having a higher equity stake in the place so if you did sell, or refi, or take out a LOC you will pocket more money/get a bigger line while you do it.

    This is with a trivial amount, most people should be able to do 10x this without it really changing any of their strategies (on a single property, if you are doing $50/month of 10 mortgages that will add up to real money).

    Anyway point being you can do little things to make big long term impacts without messing up plans for an aggressive growth phase.

  9. Ciprian L.

    If your interest on the loan is 5% and you can earn 5.5% on your money by investing it in something else is 0.5% gain on the extra money that you have. It doesn’t meter if it is $5 or $1000 extra a month.

    • Shaun Reilly

      This is the flaw in all these arguments.
      WHAT can you invest $5 in that will make any money?
      If you are putting it away to save up to get something that will pay better it isn’t doing anything for you in the interim.

      Let’s say you are buying rentals with conventional financing (If you aren’t then all this mortgage stuff doesn’t mean anything to you anyway) and your area isn’t stupid cheap but fairly inexpensive and you can get places at about $100K. You will need to save $20K for a down payment.
      Since we are talking about having a mortgage that can be paid down we will say you already have a rental that after all your expenses (Including reasonable factors for vacancy and CapEx, since you are in it for the long haul) you have $100 of cashflow you will put right into your investment account to grow for the next down payment.
      You also have a JOB that you will continue to work to pay the bills, have extra money to put towards investing and of course to actually be able to qualify for these loans. From that you feel you can also put another $200/month into that account after all expenses and any other saving/investing you might do.
      So now you have $300/month going into that account which means it will take you just over 5.5 years to be able to go out and get another place.
      Same scenario but you decide to put an extra $5/month on your mortgage and put away $295/month for the next down payment. Now it will take you… just over 5.5 years to save for the next one… You will need roughly 1 extra month to get there.
      So assuming perfect efficiency (You get a property under contact the day you have $20K saved and close a bank loan in 30 days [hahaha…]) the worst argument you can make is delaying a purchase by 1 month.
      In reality it will likely take at least a few weeks to get an accepted offer and then 45-60 days to close on it so if you are willing to risk going out and looking while you are still $200-300 light on the down payment you probably have no difference at all.

      Both scenarios you will own the same 5 houses at the end of 30 years and be a couple years into saving for the next one.
      The difference is in the $300/month one you got each of the next 4 houses 1 month faster, if you have perfect efficiency. You also I suppose would have the currently negligible interest you might get in your bank account on the extra $5/month.
      In the $295/month plan you will have saved $2,346.91 in interest and would have increased your cash flow from the first property by $4,131.90 over the last 3 months. Which BTW if you put in the investment account you are much closer to buying property #6 then you are in the first plan now.

      Obviously a TON can change over the course of 30 years however the ONLY thing anyone can point out in any of these scenarios that is GUARANTEED is the effect of the extra payment. It is also pretty hard to argue that $5/month or $60/year or $1,800 over 30 years will materially effect anything in your life or investment career.

      • Brandon Phillips

        Why is someone putting all of their money in a savings account in this scenario? Of course a mortgage will beat a savings account. How about we use something logical like the stock market, Roth IRA or 401K.

        The $5 that you put down on your mortgage exactly 5 years ago saved (assuming 5% interest here) you $1.41 in interest as of today. I put my $5 in my Roth IRA and, using exact numbers from my portfolio, I turned that into $8.43. So I made $3.43 vs your $1.41 on the same $5 investment. So I made 243% better ROI than. If we turned this into a discussion of the entire life of the loan like 30 years or if you use larger investments than $5 then those numbers will grow much bigger making your argument even worse.

        I can guarantee that you paying down your mortgage early will always be a loser versus any number of other investment options.

  10. Brendan Morin

    Great article, I love articles that do a thorough numerical break down. Also lots of great discussion here. A few commenters brought up the fact that this doesn’t consider opportunity cost. If you’re not sure whether or not mortage paydown is right for you, considering your current investment purchase strategy can help shed some light on what is right for you:

    1. What is your risk tolerance? The higher your risk tolerance the less mortage paydown fits your strategy.
    2. If you could, would you lever up and purchase every future property for 0% down? If yes, paydown is probably not for you.
    3. If someone offered you a 60-year amortized loan, would you take it? If so, paydown is probably not for you.
    4. Do you plan to sell or 1031 your property before paying off the loan? This one can vary by situation, but if so, paydown makes less sense here.

  11. Nice article and the comments below are all relevant points.

    At the end of the day, it depends on where you are in life (your age), your ability to get a higher return somewhere else (opportunity cost) and your investment strategy.

    For me, I am 46. I am about to close on my 10th and final investment property (for now!). I also actively invest in the stock market.

    Age: I want to pay off my homes in 12-15 years so I can retire on the cash flow on the homes by the time I am 60.

    Investments: the stock market is bizarro right now, going sideways and not up. Can I really earn better than my mortgage rates of 4-4.5% in the market? RIght now I am not. And whoever is getting a 5% interest rate in savings account (As mentioned at the top of these comments) please let me know! I don’t plan on buying more investment properties (for now, or until the next real estate crash).

    So my goal will be to pay down the mortgages. But the key here is that I am not going to pay off one mortgage, and then move on to the next one. I’ll aggressively start throwing extra payments onto all the mortgages as soon as I can to get me quickly down the amortization schedule. As the article did a great job pointing out, you pay MUCH more interest than principal at the beginning of your amortization schedule at the end. So it makes sense instead of paying off one mortgage and then moving onto the next one, to instead throw money at all the mortgages simultaneously.

  12. Peter S.

    How does this information apply to bi-weekly mortgage payments? I’m set-up to pay 1/2 of my monthly mortgage ever 2 weeks so I effectively make 13 payments per year. Does this make more or less sense than just paying an extra ~150/mo?

  13. Darrell D.

    Excellent Article. I wish you would have mentioned the 15 year loan. With a lower interest rate, the payment isn’t much higher than a 30-year loan. No added payments or number crunching needed. 30 year mortgages are rip off for new/young home owners.

    • Jonathan Fowler

      Disagree because a 30-year fixed rate mortgage can give you the advantage of making a lower payment if income is tight/lost for a short period, while giving you the flexibility of deciding if you want to make extra payments or use extra cashflow for to build up savings or acquire more properties.

  14. Darrell,
    15 year mortgage payments tend to be about 50% more than a 30 year loan. It is a personal preference, but I prefer spreading out the loan, the difference in cash flow of $100 vs $350 is huge. Once I have a decent reserve set aside, I can refinance or pay down more. I think for a new investor starting out, a 15 year mortgage is more risky.

    • Darrell,

      I share the opinion of Melroy. Interest rates are at historical lows. So the difference in interest rate of a 30 vs 15 year loan in minimal. And I am risk averse when it comes to mortgages. So if I or my wife temporarily lose our job we are still comfortably able to make payments versus a 15 year loan. So my investment properties are all 30 yr … and then as we make additional money/bonuses, etc we immediately set out to throw some of that extra money into paying the mortgates down (in the early years of the mortgage where it can make a difference…as the article above so aptly points out). Right now, with the stock market being the way it is I am happy to throw any savings at the mortgages for the time being.

  15. Del Cheetah

    Leveraging comes into play here also. If you’re paying extra every month, you get the benefits of interest savings, early payoff, PLUS increasing your equity in the property. Those extra payments go directly towards principal, so you can take a LOC on the first property and use it to purchase another. Pay your mortgage off sooner and still have the $ available to invest. I think it’s a win/win.

  16. Jacob Pereira

    Great article, but just like most people here, I think that there are a number of additional factors that should be considered before you pursue a strategy that includes paying down your mortgage early. The opportunity cost of not investing that money somewhere else (historically stocks pay about 7% annually, and real estate investments seem to pay above 10% for most investors here), inflation (average of about 2%, which adds up over 30 years), and the fact that you’re reducing the time on a loan that is at a historically low rate. The most important factor, and one that I didn’t see mentioned in the comments, however, is that our wise old Uncle Sam has decided that we should be able to write off our interest payments. I won’t go into the numbers here because they are way too variable, but if you figure that about a third of your interest gets deducted, that majorly changes the calculations. In my opinion, unless you have a huge aversion to debt, paying down your loan early rather than reinvesting your money should be avoided at all costs.

  17. Jerry Rien

    I missed this article, so I am very glad you re-posted it as I think it is one of the best blogs I have read in months. Both the authors blog and the comments given after contain a lot of info. that has answered questions I have had as too the best use of capital. invest and expand or pay down debt, and if so when.

  18. Laszlo S.

    Great article Brett, unfortunately not many people understands it. Some I know are remortgagimg their house soon as they build up some equity. Not investors, just spend the money on things.
    When we bought our home, we paid every cent left over back to the mortgage. Paid 60k back in 4 years with less than 7k interest.
    On the down side, I cannot get the equity out of the house to invest. We live in Ireland, and the banks are not allowed to give mortgage on your home if it’s fully paid…

  19. Jered Souder

    For mom & pop investors that don’t understand money, finance, interest and accounting, this is good advice. However, for people want to invest intelligently and are disciplined, this is the opposite of what they should do. This strategy is what the lower and Middle class do but the Rich do not (I realize some Rich people do this with regards to their home but not in regards to their businesses and investments). You do not mention opportunity cost just nominal amounts saved. But at what cost? What is the after tax return on investing your current cash resources in your debt (bonds)? People say they want to pay off their mortgage to increase cash flow but by paying extra, you are actually decreasing your cash flow to achieve higher cash flow later (all else being equal, how long will it take to receive a cash flow increase on your $50/m mortgage payment? Unless you refi, your minimum payment (on most mortgage products) won’t change until the property is fully paid off. When you pay down your mortgages you are buying your own bonds. For most Corporations, if they are paying significant amounts of earnings towards their own Bonds, investors would be upset. For young people, they should not be heavily investing in bonds (even if they are their own). They should be buying Real Estate or Equities. If you are in your upper 50s or 60s and you are going from higher risk to lower risk, then maybe buying your own bonds is a okay idea. Anyone that wants to be an investor should not be paying down their mortgages. My alternative suggestion is that they really analyze the amount of cash reserves they should be holding and make sure you maintain those ( I believe many real estate investors do not have good liquidity ratios). Find 1-5 year CDs and hold them no matter what (you will “lose” money on these versus inflation, until you need them and then they will be invaluable because they will save you form losing assets your don’t want to part with through sale or worse). If you have to use the money in your reserves then you have either over calculated your reserves needs or you are in a bad situation and need to figure out how you are going to get back on track. (HELOCs and other LOCs are NOT reserves though having them is good for acquiring new deals). Next, if you have extra cash beyond your required reserves, look to new investment opportunities in Real Estate or Equities. This is how high level investors operate. Let the amortization pay off your mortgages (I don’t know if interest only still exists in stabilized rental properties but they is a similar but different situation). This analysis of why you should pay extra is too basic. Warren Buffet made a bet on the SP500 index versus activily managed funds. The bet took place starting in 1/1/2008. Even after getting crushed by the 2008 financial crisis, the SP500 index had return 7% annually for the last 9 years. Why would you invest in your own bonds (mortgage) at an after tax return of 4% on a 5% started interest rate mortgage? My rates are in the 2.875-3.99% so my returns on paying down my mortgages is even worse. Invest heavily in tax preferred investment accounts and real estate. This is what 95% of investor should be doing with their excess cash.

  20. Nathan Smith

    My wife and I have cash set aside for investments however are in a holding pattern right now as we have a lot going on. In the meantime we had a 2nd mortgage on our house that had a 7.5% interest rate.

    Rather than keep paying interest on that and because we were not doing anything with our cash……..we decided to pay off the 2nd mortgage.

    Obviously if I find an investment that makes more % than my mortgage that is the way to go, however in this case I did not want to keep paying 7.5%.

  21. kell Witkowicz

    Love this article and the comments! We have a 30 year at 3.25% on our residential home. We have been here for 4 years so far and have been paying PMI. We want to invest in rentals, but should we pay off that pmi first or just save for a down payment on a rental? There is about 7,000 left to go (we can pay that off in 3 months).
    Thanks for any insight!

  22. If you have enough income that you are considering paying down your mortgage, here are some ideas to consider. First, have a 12 month emergency fund in cash or cash equivalents to meet future bumps in the road. Second, pay off all credit card or other high interest debt. Third, if your employer offers a dollar for dollar matching 401K, you should probably invest some of your retirement savings there, It’s hard to beat a 100% return that their matching contributes. Fourth, strike a balance between savings and investments to ensure your are protected, at least in part, should a market correction reduce your investments. Lastly, tax time is a perfect time to conduct your annual financial review. You probably have all your financial data collected. With your taxable income identified, it’s pretty straightforward to establish your annual budget, short and long term goals, identify your assets and debts and determine your net worth. Tax time is the perfect opportunity to review where you are, where you want to be and how you are going to get there. If you are considering paying down your mortgage, it means it’s time for this annual review. Paying down your mortgage is inherently neither good nor bad but it should only be done in accordance with your annual review and be part of a long term strategy.

  23. Steve Vaughan

    I liked this article, Brett. Thank you for breaking it down and showing what even small additional principal payments grow to.
    Holy slice and dice little $30 a month ROIs in the comments. One of the reasons I won’t bother writing a blog. Effort to reward ratios arent mentioned. ‘I would rather invest at 5.5% than earn 5% with principal paydown.’ Yeah, but you’re leaving out risk and effort. Can’t do $30 Or $60 extra on auto pay to shorten your payment by years?
    Here’s something simple. Round your payment up to a round number. If your payment is $927.65, make it an even $1000. I have never paid off a mortgage and looked back wishing I’d kept the extra cashflow I didn’t miss anyway or wished I still had decades of payments remaining.
    All of you that analyzed the crap out of $30 wasted more effort than it would take to just increase your auto pay to save thousands in the long run. If $30 a month matters that much to you, you have bigger problems than maximizing the ROI of your every little dollar.

  24. Susan Maneck

    In my opinion it really all depends on your interest rate and sometimes how much insurance your lender makes you carry in insurance. Wells Fargo used to make me carry the full replacement value of one of my propertieas both in regular insurance and flood insurance. This in an area where houses could be bought for less than $50 a square foot. I started making extra payments because I wanted to get rid of that mortgage as soon as possible. Eventually Wells Fargo changed their rules and I stopped making the extra payments. The normal rule of thumb for me is to pay off whatever has the highest interest rate first. And if I my investments bring in a higher rate of return than my debts cost me, then I pay as slowly as possible. It is all a matter of doing the math.

  25. Clint Larson

    Inflation is what I’m trying to wrap my mind around.

    It would seem to me that, sure, you’re saving a good amount of money on the life of the loan by paying down the mortgage. In today’s money. I think the savings total could only be considered in the context of when the loan is paid off.

    With inflation factored, it seems the return you get by paying extra is not good. I’m calculating the $13000 saved with $30 extra paid per month is worth maybe around $6580 by the time the loan is paid off, so that’s only about $19 saved in year 2046 for the $30 you put in today.
    Negative return on the extra payment over the long term.

    I’m buying my first house and would like to hammer this out – am I missing something here?

  26. Bryan Konopacki

    What is the opinion if the mortgage you are trying to pay down is your own? Recently my wife and I decided to put off purchasing our first investment property to focus our energy instead on paying down the mortgage on our first primary residence. When we closed on our primary 2.5 years ago, we put over 50% down and our loan was only for $100K. We currently began paying over $2K/month to secure our home where we live with two kids. After the mortgage payment, we still save approximately $1,500 towards our next down payment once we pay off our loan in 4.3 years. Any opinions on the ROI of that strategy (3.75% on mortgage) vs. utilization of the liquid elsewhere? Were not really seeing anything attractive (safe) with a larger interest rate. Thanks in advance!

    • Laura Verderber

      You’re so close to paying off your house. Just finish doing it. If something happens, you still have that nice amount of cash to weather any storm. After you invest and don’t have the cash, you will still have a lower cost of living. You are reducing risk this way.

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