How Paying Off the Mortgage In 7.5 Years Changed My Outlook

How Paying off the mortgage in 7.5 years changed my outlook | Guest Post by Rob from Mustard Seed Money

Today I have the pleasure of sharing an awesome story of another blogger who shares his experience and vast knowledge about personal finance. I think the story that he's telling today about how he became completely debt free by paying off the mortgage changed his outlook is something we are all striving for and some of us might have even completed as well. I would encourage to you to check out his story here and then head over to view more of his expertise over at MustardSeedMoney.com to learn more! I hope you enjoy and I'll let Rob take it from here.

My parents instilled in me from a young age that debt was detrimental and something to be avoided.  Growing up, I noticed my parents’ obsession with paying off their mortgages.  Each month, they would make extra payments in order to have the house paid off as soon as possible.  I didn’t quite understand why they would do this.  I figured if the bank was loaning them the money, that they should spend their money elsewhere.  But, they believed that the less debt they had, the better they slept at night.

Buying My First Home

It wasn’t until I bought my own house that I fully understood what they were talking about.  I bought my first home in 2004.  I honestly thought that I would stay there for two years and then flip the house for something bigger and better.  Living in the house going on 13 years now, it is obvious that things did not go according to that plan.  

Affording the Home

When I originally bought the house, it was definitely more than I could afford by myself.  But, as you know, banks weren’t really concerned about that during this time.  I took on three other roommates to help defray the bills associated, but I was still paying over half my paycheck towards the house.  

At that point, I knew I needed to increase my pay.  I went back to school at night, at my local community college, in order to pick up accounting credits.  By doing so, I was able to qualify for higher-level jobs.  These night classes opened a door to an accounting job in the government, which also coincided with a pay raise.  

Tackling My Mortgage

Even with the extra cushion, I began to hate my mortgage.  Watching so much of my paycheck leaving each month was difficult to swallow.  So then I went back to my parents to obtain some insight into paying off my mortgage.  They explained how much interest I would save, and right after that, I created my own amortization spreadsheet.

I became obsessed with the amortization spreadsheet.  Whether it was a couple extra dollars or a whole bonus, I was constantly tinkering with the spreadsheet to see the outcome of different scenarios.

I knew at that point that I needed to earn even more and figure out ways to cut down on some of my expenses.  At work, I continued to look for projects at work that would allow me to move up and make more money.  I was fortunate to excel on those projects and receive recognition through promotions over the years.  

The best advice that I received was that I should continue living off my old salary and apply any extra money towards the mortgage.  So that’s what I did relentlessly.

Paying off the Mortgage vs Investing

I know some may think I am crazy for paying off my mortgage early. Click To Tweet

I know some may think I am crazy for paying off my mortgage early.  Instead, I could have invested this money into the stock market.  I recently plugged in all the numbers to see how much money I would have made if I had invested in the stock market instead of into mortgage.  The difference between the two was 0.1%.  As many remember, the 2000's were a lost decade when it came to the stock market.  So, by paying off my mortgage, I was more than happy to forgo the 0.1% I would have gained in the market.

Difficulties

I have to admit, at times it was a little difficult to deny myself some splurges.  My friends were driving brand new BMWs, Mini Coopers, and Lexuses.  There I was, driving a turn of the decade Honda that had dents all over it with peeling paint.  Being a 20-something single guy driving a beat up Honda was not exactly winning me any awards with the ladies.  My wife even admitted after we got married that she paused when I pulled into her driveway to pick her up.  Needless to say, she looked past that, and we’ve been happily married, and debt-free, for four years now.  Neither of us regret that old Honda because it allowed us to achieve financial freedom that much sooner.

Life Post-Mortgage

I was able to pay off my mortgage in 7.5 years. When I finally paid it off, it didn’t really sink in until a couple months later. There was no party or celebration. Looking back, I wish I had done something to commemorate that milestone a bit more.

With that said, about six months later, my wife and I decided to plan a dream trip to Europe.  The best part of the trip was I wasn’t worried about the money.  Sure, we were still frugal and stayed at affordable, but nice, hotels.  But I didn’t have "saving money for the mortgage" on the forefront of my mind.  It allowed us to really enjoy ourselves.

So what’s life like now?  Since the mortgage is paid off, my wife has the ability to take care of her special needs sister full-time.  If we still had our mortgage, we wouldn’t be in the same position that we are now.  On top of that, I decided that since I don’t have a mortgage anymore, that I would pursue projects at work that actually interested me.  

Surprisingly, by pursuing projects that I am actually passionate about has led to me receiving two promotions since I’ve paid off my mortgage.  People had always encouraged me to pursue my passion, but that advice was hard to apply when I was so focused on trying to pay off my mortgage.

Being debt-free has changed my life for the better! Click To Tweet

Being debt-free has changed my life for the better, and I wish it upon everyone else who is reading this.  While it may seem intimidating and daunting at first, start with baby steps, and you, too, can achieve financial freedom.

Are you ready to finally take control of your finances? Let my budgeting spreadsheets help!

Just fill out the form below and I'll send you the link to get the same exact budgeting spreadsheets that I use each month!

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I view myself as a regular guy with an extremely disciplined financial work ethic. As I share the knowledge and wisdom that I have garnered over the years, I hope to equip people to reach their own personal financial goals and ultimately financial freedom.
Posted in Finances, Guest Post, Home Ownership, Paying Off Debt and tagged .

39 Comments

  1. I have a lot of respect for the discipline you showed to achieve your goal, Rob. While I’m not as big on paying down low interest debt as other financial bloggers, I recognize the peace of mind it has provided you. And the 2000s was definitely the right time to make that decision with the weight of two significant recessions bringing down the market.
    Go Finance Yourself! recently posted…Is Your Emergency Fund Bloated?My Profile

  2. I can’t wait to be debt free. I’ve had to use cards to pay for my uni fees but once I qualify and earn more money I can start to pay them back off! Well done to you!

  3. Paying off your home mortgage is a great accomplishment MSM! The key thing is that you set a goal and you made it happen and that is always something to be proud of.

    Unlike most PF bloggers, I have a different perspective. I don’t believe in paying low interest debt off, especially in such a low interest rate environment.
    Michael recently posted…Drinking WaterMy Profile

  4. That is one heck of a great accomplishment! It really does free up a lot of the monthly budget. We do still carry a mortgage payment but I am looking forward to the day that it is gone. There can be a discussion whether the money could be invested at a higher rate of return but that is a personal decision that is not all encompassing for everyone. Cheers buddy!

    • Hi Brandi,

      Thank you for your feedback! My wife does feel blessed to be able to stay at home and care for her sister and also our son. Paying off our mortgage was definitely the right decision for us.

      MSM

  5. Getting our mortgage paid off is our number one goal. As you mentioned, we may be a bit crazy for wanting to get it paid off (especially since our rate is 2.75%), but we just can’t stand having debt; it’s our last remaining debt.

    Mrs. Need2Save was crunching numbers over the weekend and got our last payment down to sometime around November 2020.
    Mr. Need2save recently posted…The Decade of Big DecisionsMy Profile

    • Wow November 2020 is just around the corner. I will definitely be rooting you on and I can’t wait to hear all the adventures you have after you pay it off 🙂

  6. Great job and we’re so happy for you guys! A paid-off house sounds amazing. We’ve still got a few student loans and also don’t plan on staying in our current home much longer, but when we buy our next home, we hope to pay it off as quickly as possible!

  7. We rent right now, and are working to pay off our student loans as soon as possible. Eventually, I’d like to buy a house, but my concern is that we are considering moving, and I don’t want to buy a house and then move again. Kudos to Rob to paying off his mortgage, though!
    Alex recently posted…Back to Blogging {The Next Level}My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Alex!!!

      Sounds like you are crushing some student loan debt!!!

      Hopefully you can find your forever home soon and not worrying about moving in the future 🙂

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