I thought it would be fun to play a game where we pretend I told some people about our plan to pay off our mortgage as fast as we possibly can and then share their maybe real, maybe fictitious responses and then how I responded to these suggestions in my head.
Suggestion from my Doctor: (rolling her eyes) “Why don’t you just split the difference and pay it down really fast for 2 years and then pay it at regular speed for whatever is left?”
Response: We don’t want work really hard for 2 years and then drag the remainder of our debt around for another 16 years – that’s how long this plan would last.
Suggestion from an employer: “You could just pay it like a 15 year mortgage and it would be done in 15 years. Then it wouldn’t be so hard”
Response: Yeah but then it would last for 15 years instead of less than 4. Why would we extend the very thing we are trying to get out from under? If we have to choose between living on a tight budget for less than 4 years or living on a medium-tight budget for 15 years I will always choose tighter, more uncomfortable for a shorter amount of time.
Suggestion from a family member: “I don’t think that’s a good idea. You wouldn’t be able to write off the interest on your home loan if you paid it off”.
Response: We pay almost $10,000 a year in house payments if we pay the regular amount. We are not saving $10,000 a year in taxes by deducting the interest from our home loan. I don’t care who gets my money, either the bank gets tons of it or the IRS gets some of it. I want to keep more of it. Also paying our mortgage off early will save us over $72,000 in interest over the life of the loan. We’ll be ok without the tax write off.
Suggestion from another family member: (laughing and scoffing) “Then what? Are you going to quit your job and go on government assistance after you pay off your mortgage?”
Response: What!?! That response says more about you than it does us. We don’t only have jobs because of our house payment. We work because it brings value to our lives, allows us to contribute to society, reach other goals and enjoy life. If the only meaning work had was paying our mortgage I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have bought a house, that’s too much pressure on a job. This response was hurtful to both of us until we were able to accept that it actually had very little to do with us.
Fun right? Those were all real responses to our plan; none of them were made up. And these are only some of the verbal responses; I get a lot of eye-rolling. But I don’t care. It’s not anyone else’s plan – it’s our plan. We came up with it, and we will own it. Nobody else has to do it, so I just try to ignore the comments. But the closer the commenter is to us the harder it is to ignore them. Sometimes I have to remind myself that with most people the comment isn’t usually about me but more about the person saying it.