by Rob Gebby, former Rural Carrier at U.S. Postal Service (2001-2017)
DONT pay off your mortgage! DONT pay extra payments! (Unless you want to pay ahead a couple months “just in case”. Instead, SAVE UP 6 months of cash needed to cover ALL your bills. THEN start paying off all of your debt EXCEPT your mortgage. Why? Because your house is going UP in value while your mortgage is going DOWN and your wages are going UP. Your interest is tax deductible and there are MUCH better uses for your money! (I will explain in a minute but first I want to give you some advice.)
NEVER take a second mortgage. It sounds great to use equity to buy a car since the rate is low and the interest is deductible yet the term of the loan is 20–30 years and you will only keep the car 3–5 years (unless you are REALLY smart….smarter than me) and keep your cars until they fall apart. Remember, houses generally go up in value while 99.9% of cars ALWAYS go down in value.
Always pay your credit cards IN FULL each month. Dont buy anything on them if you cant afford to pay off. INTEREST IS THE DEVIL! Use your credit card for EVERY single purchase you make. Get cash back rewards. Use the card that gives you the best rewards. If you already carry a lot of debt, DONT put extra money into your mortgage. Put ALL of your extra money into paying off the smallest credit card, then when it is paid off, the next smallest, etc until your house and car are your ONLY debt. Then focus on those. Credit card charge 12%-25% interest and it isnt deductible. INTEREST IS THE DEVIL! Pay those cards off (but DONT close them, it will hurt your credit score). Just dont use them unless you can pay them off each month and try not to buy things that you dont need. Limit “treating” yourself.
Now, once you get have 6 months of saving in the bank and all your debt is paid (EXCEPT the house), START SAVING the maximum amount you can in your 401K and your Roth IRA. You are probably paying 4% or so (3% after your tax deductions) on your house while your 401K (historic average) will earn 8%-12%. Your money is MUCH better working gaining big interest than paying off a tax deductible loan on a property that is rising in value anyway. You buy the house for $200,000 and in 30 years it will be worth $400,000 even though your mortgage payment NEVER CHANGED! Use the money that would pay off the mortgage to earn BIG BUCKS!
I can tell you this is NOT just my advise. There use to be a program called “Turning Debt into Wealth”. I purchased the program and reviewed it and this was THEIR plan. I returned it for a refund because I was already doing this anyway.