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the 1 thing you should change on your mortgage today




The 1 Thing You Should Change on Your Mortgage Today

I just got off an email and I couldn’t wait to share it with you. I was being interviewed on paying off our mortgage and I have to get this out quickly.

The question went:

“When you switched from a 30 year to a 25 year mortgage how much did your payments go up and how much did that make in your interest savings over the mortgage?” – JC

First a bit of background

We paid off our mortgage in 6 years. In doing so, we used a lot of tactics and tricks to beat our mortgage into submission (yikes violent description). A lot of them are mortgage specific, we had a lot of options on our mortgage.
That means the terms on your mortgage would dictate if you could or couldn’t do these types of tricks.


However, there is one trick that everyone can use regardless of their situation.

The 4 Parts of a Mortgage that Matter

When it comes to a mortgage there are a few things that  you can change, if you change one then something else changes. They are:

  • Amount of the loan/mortgage
  • Rate of Interest
  • Amortization of the loan (length of time to pay off the loan in full)
  • Payment

If you change one of these, then one (or more) of the others change too.

For instance, if your interest rate goes down, then you get a lower payment.

If you increase your payments, then the length of the loan goes down.

All pretty standard stuff, but I wanted to get it out of the way.

So here was my reply to that earlier question.


“I’m doing great! Thanks for asking. Our regular payments increased by about $70 bi-weekly switching from 30 to a 25 year amortization. The interest difference was huge!!! Over 30 years the interest would have been around $313,000 switching to a 25 year the interest was $252,000. So, around $61,000 in savings over the life of the mortgage from making that change.” – Me

The 1 Thing You Should Change on Your Mortgage Today


The 1 Thing You Should Change on Your Mortgage Today

Change the Amortization Period

If you are able to change the amortization period on your loan, it would do you well to cut down the length of the loan (Amortization period). This is going to save you tons down the road.


The one number no one wants you to look at

When you are getting a mortgage everyone focuses on one thing.


It makes sense, this is what is going to affect your day-to-day living. But what I was strongly suggested to do and what I’m even happier I did it looking back was look at your interest over the life of your mortgage.

The One Thing That No One Wants You To See

Buying a house is a big deal. It’s a rite of passage for many, and it’s the North American dream to own your home. But the cost of that dream is often ignored.

If I had stayed with a 30 year amortization. I would have paid nearly the same amount of interest as my principle.

That meant my mortgage would have cost me $633,000 and not the $320,000 I originally signed up for. That’s a lot of interest when you think about it.

That’s nearly double. That’s ridiculous.

By changing my mortgage from a 30 year to a 25 I saved $61,000 over 25 years. (That would be awesome for our Save the Savings Challenge). All for an extra $70 every two weeks, which is about the cost of a fancy coffee every day.

For those of you wondering if you cut your amortization to the following numbers this is what savings you would have on a $320,000 mortgage with 5 % interest rate.

Amortization Increase in bi-weekly payment  Interest Savings
















Anyway I’m glad I got this out, if you are looking for away to save money I hope this helps. It may be hard to find that extra money every couple of weeks but boy oh boy does it add up over time.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are looking for a more in-depth guide I invite you to check out our Guide



The 1 Thing You Should Change on Your Mortgage Today

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  1. Reply

    This is a fine suggestion that my wife and I plan to implement in the next few months. I strongly believe the reason that more people don’t do this is because they hear words like “principal” and “amortization,” get really freaked out, and decided to just keep paying their standard monthly payment.

    • Reply

      Thank you! It’s true the long and scary words can cause us to gloss over them and not want to think about them. When you pay attention to the details it can save you huge!

  2. Hetty


    We bought our house 5 years ago/ 30 years. We started early on to pay an extra $128 bi-weekly. We just renewed our mortgage for 2 years fixed for 2.09%. We only have 15 years left, talking about savings. Our goal is to pay off our mortgage in 8 years. So, thank you Andrew for sharing your experience, it helps us to believe in our dreams and take the required right action.
    One thing that I like to do these days is talk with my friends about it as so few of us educate ourselves. It seems like we just go with the flow of what the bank/broker says and then we have the tendency to forget about it. By talking with my friends/family about it it keeps me alert and helps them to look at it different.

    • Reply

      That’s a great goal Hetty. I’m glad it helped. When I started our mortgage payoff journey it was hard because no one else was doing it. At the end of it I’m happy we did it when we did. It’s so great that you have a plan to be free in 8 years.

  3. Reply

    When I get a mortgage, I’m going to try like heck to lower my term as much as I can by making significant extra payments. 61k of savings is a lot. That could easily be someone’s yearly salary. Congratulations on paying off the mortgage in 6 years!

    • Reply

      Thanks! I think it’s the biggest part of this is to make sure you can handle the payment and to not max out your house (meaning buying a house that is at your price limit). The more wiggle room you have the quicker you can pay it off.

  4. Sarah Rebar


    Why wouldn’t you keep the longer term loan but pay extra every month to shorten the loan amortization period? The lower payment would give you some maneuvering space should a life event reduce your income.

    • Reply

      Great point Sarah! Depending on your mortgage terms you could do it that way too, as long as you are disciplined to do it. It really depends on the person and their commitment to paying off their mortgage faster.

  5. Reply

    Great content!

    My wife and I will have to look into this. I’m sure we can find a way to generate that addition income to take care of the increased mortgage payment.

    Insightful information. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Reply

    It makes sense to refinance if you can get a lower interest rate, but otherwise I agree with Sarah Rebar above to keep your loan and pay extra each month rather than refinance and incur the extra associated costs.

    If you’re getting a new mortgage, though, getting a 15 year loan forces you to get it paid off in half the time AND it likely has a lower interest rate. Win-Win!

  7. Reply

    Great post, Andrew! I definitely agree with Julie and Sarah in that treating a 30 year mortgage like a 15 year can be more beneficial in many instances. However, if you’re looking to “force” yourself into making those extra payments, a shorter term mortgages is a great way to do that.

    Question for you, though. Did you need to do any calculating on if paying off the mortgage early instead of investing the money was going to be more beneficial? Reason being, depending on how low the mortgage rate is, you may get a better return on investing instead of the “3% or 4% rate of return” on paying off your mortgage early.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    Thanks for the post!

    • Reply

      Thanks Tim! Everyone is different in how they treat their extra payments. If you aren’t able to change the period you can put the difference away, you would just be losing interest on the difference while it sits in your account until you can put it on the mortgage. Really when it comes to paying off your mortgage early it’s about hacking your habits and saving yourself from doing something else with that money while it sits in your account. Everyone is different.

      To answer your question about calculating the pay off versus investing. I didn’t do any calculations because I knew that investing could have yielded better results but when we started the financial crisis was still in effect and this seemed like the right move for us at the time. Did we lose out by not investing? Probably, but I eliminated our largest monthly cash flow item and are now free and clear of it for good.

      It was a cash flow decision for us, and given the markets at the time we decided this was best. Let me know if you have more questions I’m happy to answer them. 🙂

  8. Reply

    My lesson from this article is to be very knowledgeable about the terms and conditions of the mortgage. I’m not sure that many people in Barbados take any of these things into consideration – they’re just so excited to get a home, that they don’t even think twice. Personally, I’m scared of mortgages, because the thought of having it hanging over my head for 25-35 years is like a horror movie.

    • Reply

      First of all Danielle, if you are in Barbados that is awesome. I’ve always wanted to go there. Mortgage are definitely a scary thing, but they don’t need to be when you understand your options. A little bit of knowledge can help calm those fears. Remember just because it’s a 25 year loan doesn’t mean you need to take that long to pay it off.

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