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Pay off your mortgage. April 27, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben makes a point of reading, or at least skimming, all the Yahoo! news articles on their home page every morning, after reading the local paper and The Wall Street Journal. It isn’t easy, but I feel that it’s relevant.

Admittedly, seeing a feature about the Boston bombings sandwiched between NFL picks and the latest celebrity gossip makes me sick. But apparently Yahoo! feels that a so-called news mashup will appeal more to their constituents than allowing them to choose their own categories to follow, as used to be the case. Apparently, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lack of underwear is more relevant than Pope Francis’s determination to end the corruption of the Vatican Bank.

So today, I happened upon a headline on Yahoo! that informed people that the smartest possible financial move they could make was to pay off their mortgage. Our friend Ben heartily approves. When I bought Hawk’s Haven, the cottage home I share with Silence Dogood in the precise middle of nowhere, PA, I took out a 15-year mortgage. But, thanks to my beloved Mama’s premature demise, I could have bought the property outright. Yet everyone told me to take out a mortgage instead.

Don’t, if you don’t have to. Those so-called tax breaks are worth nothing compared to the security of owning your home outright and not having to worry about ongoing debt. Yes, this will mean buying a modest home that you can actually pay for. But oh, God, it’s worth it. The same is true of buying a trusty used car outright rather than mortgaging your soul and your future to pay for a new car. Peace of mind is priceless.

I have always bought used cars for cash. I sadly didn’t buy my house for cash when I had the chance. Instead, I listened to family, friends, and so-called experts and took out a 15-year mortgage. I did, however, pay not just the mortgage payment, with its then-exorbitant interest, but also paid down against the principle every month. Hawk’s Haven was completly paid off and ours in 12 rather than 15 years as a result. Now no one can take it away from us, despite our reduced circumstances, because we owe no one.

Okay, our house isn’t a palace, it’s a cottage. Our cars are well used and well loved, not the latest and greatest. But they’re ours, and no one can take them from us. Please consider this when you make your own investments. Being enslaved to a bank by living on credit is a pitiful thing. Our friend Ben just wishes that someone had told me this when it could have turned my life around.

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