USA Today – Michael Corbett, The Motley Fool
The clear advantages of paying off your mortgage as quickly as possible have changed quite a bit over the past few years. The urgency to pay it off has somewhat diminished, as interest rates have plummeted to historical lows. It’s no longer the black and white decision it was back when interest rates hovered between 6% and 9%, and even the 11% to 13% we saw a couple of decades ago.
I am a big proponent of paying down that ugly mortgage beast as soon as is practical. But, before you go cutting a check to the bank, there is a pecking order of financial priorities you need to address before you consider tackling your mortgage.
In order of importance, here are the places you need to put your financial attention first:
Take The Cards Off The Table: Pay off all credit cards with high interest rates. Consider the huge discrepancy between credit cards with interest rates of 13% – 23%, and a 4% mortgage interest rate.
In Case Of Emergency: You need to build an emergency fund, ideally 8-12 months of living expenses. Yes, today’s job market is improving, but if you suddenly find yourself facing a layoff, you need to be prepared to sustain up to one year of living expenses.
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