By Younas Chaudhary
For most Americans, owning a home to raise their families is their dream. It is a good thing for any American to buy and own a home when they are young and are just starting out their life. I believe 50 is the magical age for anyone to pay off their home mortgage!
It is interesting to share with you that I had never heard the word mortgage until I moved to the West in the 1970’s. I had no clue what it was. We lived a simple life, and my father owned our house in Pakistan free and clear, and we had no home loan or mortgage companies those days.
The word mortgage came to me in conversations shortly after immigrating to Edmonton, Canada. I too entered the mortgage bandwagon purchasing a new town home paying $11,000 on a 30-year-loan. I was naïve and signed on it without looking at the interest I would be paying. My mind was focused on only two things: the pride of home ownership, and an affordable monthly mortgage payment. Thankfully, I got out of it, selling the townhome for almost double its value in a year.
The lending business is based on compound interest. So as a consumer, it is important to try to pay off as much principal as you can from your home mortgage early. This simple act will shorten your years on home mortgage repayments and substantially reduce interest payments. Yet, most homeowners often focus only on the comfort of an affordable monthly mortgage payment without realizing how much they are losing on interest every day by prolonging the payoff of the principal amount due on the loan.
Just an additional $100 to $500 every month toward paying off the principal on a $2,000 home mortgage can save a lot on interest and help you pay off your home much earlier. Personally, I would recommend paying off your mortgage within a 10-year to 15-year timeframe and try to be debt free at age 50 so that you can live happily, peacefully, and enjoy a good, retired life. This will allow you later in your life to consider work as a passion and not as something you need to do to pay off your home mortgage!
Always remember to take home loans with no early payment penalties. Try to make additional home loan payments on a weekly and biweekly basis as it will help you save money from interest and reduce the number of years to repay your home mortgage. Most home lenders offer that option free of cost but beware of private entities who will charge you a fee to do that.
Simple daily and monthly small sacrifices together with good savings habits can help anyone pay off their home loan early and, thereafter, live peacefully without worries of home loan payments. Always try to put in a good down payment of 20% to 30% when you buy a home, set a home loan repayment on no more than a 15-year-loan term but try to pay it off in 10 years.
Once you are in, beware of home equity loans as lenders will tempt you into giving away your home’s rising equity for their benefit. Many who purchased BMW’s and renovated their homes using home equity loans have gone bankrupt. So, avoid that temptation because this is debt, and Then, there are the infamous reverse mortgages, a Ponzi scheme to ruin the lives of the elderly. Stay away from them as well!
Begin with a detailed budget, live tight for a few years, take up a side job, and be laser focused and determined in paying off your home loan. Involving your spouse and children by talking about money and the importance of paying off your mortgage early will help you be debt free and live a joyful, peaceful life.
In life, self-discipline, and consistency in paying off what you owe early, especially your mortgage, can give you a good night’s sleep. Try to save money in areas within your control. Manage your home related costs, like turning off the sprinkler on rainy days, use less water while taking a shower, control other utility bills, and cut down on eating out so that anything extra can go towards paying off your mortgage.
And, with a small win like paying off weekly a portion of your home loan principal, make sure you talk about it and celebrate it as those important milestones will push you forward in attaining your goal earlier in your life. This will also give you peace of mind, better health, and a positive attitude.
A few years of hard work will give you lots of happiness and peace later in life because nobody can take away your home from you! In the United States of America, once you have paid off your homestead, it is off limits to creditors and debt collectors. So, remember and always keep in mind that your own home is your most solid best saving’s account and greatest safety net!
I earned $3.31 an hour at my first job in the 1970’s, and I saved over a dollar a day. This lifelong habit of discipline and consistency has helped me pay off my home mortgage much earlier in my life. If I can, why can’t you? I know that you can do it too. Blessings!
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.