Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Paying down house vs Saving for retirement

I thought this was an interesting video from Fox Business debating whether to pay off your house or saving for retirement. The argument for saving for retirement was:
1) Lots of expenses when you are retired.
2) Housing is one of the few fixed expenses
3) You can make more after tax on your house.

The argument for paying down your house:
1) Emotional security of having the house paid off.
2) Expenses are down significantly with the mortgage paid off.

The guy arguing for paying down the house, Craig Carnick, did a poor job. His whole argument was emotional security. Ignoring that a bad couple of years in market like we might be seeing now could kill you in retirement if you are planning on that money to pay your mortgage. Not to mention the fact that when you are in retirement, you reduce he risk of some of your portfolio which makes beating the after tax mortgage payment with your after tax investments more difficult. Plus, a person making this decision probably has gotten their mortgage to the point they are paying a lot more principal rather than interest, meaning that "free" money from interest is probably not that much.

Ohh well, I do agree with Craig Carnick in that the paying off your mortgage reduces your expenses and allows you to have much more flexibility to maneuver around and meet your needs in retirement.

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