6 Mistakes I Made Paying Off My Mortgage Early
While we have been pretty happy about paying off our mortgage, not everyone feels the same way. Sure haters are going to hate, and everyone has their own opinion about whether paying off the mortgage is the right move or not. I’m still comfortable with our choice.
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However, the more I look back on it, the less perfect paying off our mortgage seems. In fact, the longer I look at the past 6 years the more I realize there were tons of mistakes that I made. Here are the mistakes, I made paying off my mortgage early. These are just ones I can think of, I’m sure there are more.
Mistake #1 – I didn’t invest
I’ll just come out first with the BIG one and let all the “pro investing” people have their day. While I don’t personally see this as a mistake, there are a lot of people out there who do. Soon as you bring up paying off your mortgage early there are a ton of people who think it’s the foolish financial thing to do. Really the market could have tanked and I would be better off financially doing what I did.
The fact that the overall stock market entered into a massive bull run for 6 years makes my decision to pay off the house a dumb financial choice. But it made sense at the time. Wealth wise, however, it would have been better to do it the other way.
Still when you look at the chart below and see where things were in 2009 and 2010. I still can’t fathom putting money into the market at that point. Not when I had so much debt sitting on the mortgage.
Mistake #2 – I locked into a fixed rate when variable would have been cheaper
We have been in a period of unbelievably low rates for a very long time. I’m not smart enough to say that I could see it happening. In fact, I lived in fear that the rates would change at any time. I was lazy. I didn’t want to look at the variable rates every week and see if my rate was ticking upwards. I wasn’t wanting the mental anguish that I imagined (yes imagined) would happen if rates were to go up. I figure in the first two years alone this cost me around $10,000. Not smart, not cool.
Mistake #3 – Paying to get out of our mortgage to get into a shorter better rate mortgage
I paid to get out of one mortgage to get a better rate, which didn’t save me tons in the end. I did this for mental reasons. The savings, in the end after the fees to get out, were between $1000 and $2000. But the mental aspect was HUGE!!!! Switching from a 10 year to a 4 year and telling ourselves that this was our deadline.
Financially it made little to no sense. If we didn’t pay it off when we changed it I and had to go into a new mortgage those amounts would have surely been wiped out by interest over the same period
Mistake #4 – Bought a Bigger House Than We Needed
I bought more house than I needed. Man, does that feel good to let out! This isn’t a mistake paying off the mortgage, but it was still a mistake. We could have very easily gotten by with less and been mortgage free earlier. Or better yet, made it work in our smaller house and been all the better for it.
We kept having this idea of success was living in a big house and really it’s not. A bigger house might impress people but it’s a time suck. We have more house to clean and maintain, more house to furnish and overall just more money that will go out the door because of it. Now we have a bigger house that needs more furniture, a basement that will probably stay unfinished for another 10 years, and a yard that takes me several hours a week to maintain.
Mistake #5 – I Threw Everything at Our Mortgage
This was our strategy and it cost us in opportunity. The thing that kept sticking in my mind was. “What if I’m wrong?” “What if this is the dumbest thing I could do and my family suffers for it?” I’m not sure why I had these thoughts, but they were definitely there. Trips with the kids we didn’t go on. Special outings with friends and family that we had to say “No thanks” to. They all kind of left me feeling a little bit empty and asking “Is this worth it?” I guess that could be another one, mental anguish. 🙂
Many opportunities were missed, sure in the grand scheme of things they aren’t that big but when you start saying “No” to every offer eventually people stop asking. Throwing everything at our mortgage also kept us in a scarcity mindset, which I am trying to escape. Not because I think it’s bad, but because I find it gives me a certain tightness in my stomach that I would prefer not to have. Does that make sense to anybody else?
Mistake #6 – I didn’t live in the moment
This one isn’t a mortgage thing but it was something I was very aware of the whole time we were paying off our mortgage. Watching people buy new toys, live their lives of luxury and fun, while we chipped away at our debt was very bothersome at times. I’m not saying spending money is a way of living in the moment, but there were a lot of times when I thought “Why am I doing this” and “Is this really going to be worth it”.
There were countless times that my wife and I came home from someone’s place, seeing the new things they had got, or new trips they had been on and we were envious. Sometimes jealous in fact. All we had was each other, to tell ourselves “This is the right thing”. Not knowing for sure if it actually was THE RIGHT THING.
Honestly, when you embark on paying down a ton of debt you are going to be doubting yourself a lot. It’s normal. Turn to people who have already done it (like parents or bloggers) and see how happy they are to be free. Reach out to them and tell them the trials you are having, it will get better.
There you have it! My 6 mistakes I made paying off my mortgage. What do you think, leave a comment below and let me know if you think I did the right thing paying off my mortgage early or if I should have taken a longer time?