How the Affluent Manage Home Equity to
Safely and Conservatively Build Wealth
If you had enough money to pay off your mortgage right now, would you? Many people would. In fact, the ‘American Dream’ is to own your own home, and to own it outright, with no mortgage. If the American Dream is so wonderful, how can we explain the fact that thousands of financially successful people, who have more than enough money to pay off their mortgage, refuse to do so.
The answer? Most of what we believe about mortgages and home equity, which we learned from our parents and grandparents, is wrong. They taught us to make a big down payment, get a fixed rate mortgage, and make extra principal payments in order to pay off your loan as early as you can. Mortgages, they said, are a necessary evil at best.
The problem with this rationale is it has become outdated. The rules of money have changed. Unlike our grandparents, we will no longer have the same job for 30 years. In many cases people will switch careers five or six times. Also, unlike our grandparents, we will no longer live in the same home for 30 years. Statistics show that the average homeowner lives in their home for only seven years. And unlike our grandparents, we will no longer keep the same mortgage for 30 years. According to the Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae, the average American mortgage lasts 4.2 years.
Given these statistics, more middle class homeowners are choosing to use their mortgage as a tool just like the wealthy — those with the ability to pay off their mortgage but refuse to do so. Will you be one of those who create a new, liquid, financially secure dream?