Retiring With a Mortgage?
Are you thinking about retiring?
Many people retire with a mortgage. Low mortgage rates, recent refinancing, or lack of resources to pay off the debt are several reasons why. A Harvard University study found that nearly half of all homeowners aged 65-79 carried mortgage debt with a median balance of $77,000. Now 1/4th of households aged 80 and above carried mortgages with a median balance of $43,000. A paid-off home frees you from the stress of wondering what to do or where to go if you can’t pay the mortgage. Think about the Great Recession. Over 1 ½ million homes went into foreclosure in the first half of 2010. During inflationary times, a fixed-rate mortgage can be better than fluctuating rent, but a paid-off home gives you the flexibility to go and give as the Lord leads, assuming you’re not burdened with other debt. Those on fixed incomes who retire with a mortgage should avoid credit card debt, signing on student loans, and other indebtedness that strains your finances.
Financial stress negatively affects health and marriage which then impacts finances. Interest rates are increasing now which will make debt more expensive. However, mortgage rates are just a small fraction of interest charged for most credit card debt. So, rather than worrying about paying off a mortgage before you retire, first pay off your consumer debt and then avoid it in the future. Remember, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave to the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7) So whether you’re young or old, I hope you’ll discover the freedom found by following God’s financial principles.
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