There's an age old debate in the financial independence community about whether one should use extra cash to pay down their mortgage or invest it in the stock market. I have googled this endlessly, read tons of internet forum threads about it, and personally flip-flopped several times about whether I would invest all my extra funds, use them to pay off the mortgage, or a combination of the two.

Mathematically speaking, investing my extra cash in a low cost index fund and paying the minimum on my mortgage would historically give me better returns over a 30 year period. That's not the only factor though!

Life Without My Biggest Expense

The reason I decided to pay off my mortgage boils down to having options and flexibility. If I don't have that big payment every month, I could work part-time and spend the rest of my time on hobbies and business ideas. I could work a 9-5 for one year, save most of it, then live off the cash for the next 3 years while I explore other interests. If I get laid off, my emergency savings will last longer and I would only need to get a minimum wage job to cover my basic living expenses.

The Mental Ease of Not Having a Mortgage

I think there will be psychological benefits to paying off my home too. I will feel more at ease. I will be completely debtfree (no more saying "I'm debtfree except my house"). I'll sleep easier knowing that I don't have a big loan hanging over my head. My house will remain mine as long as I pay the yearly property taxes and get lucky enough to avoid eminent domain.

It's PERSONAL

You may decide that prepaying your mortgage isn't for you--and that's okay! You should consider all of your options and choose what is best for you and your loved ones.

If you decide you want to pay off your mortgage, make sure you know your WHY.