Q.: I'm 61 years old and my husband is 64. We recently had a home built. Our mortgage is only $58,000, which is small compared with the one we had. Our monthly payments are small, and the mortgage is for 30 years. We can afford to double up on the payments, but does it make sense at our age to pay extra and pay it off in 10 or 15 years? Or would it be smarter just to save that money? The house is valued at more than $250,000. – Reader, via email
A.: The one important ingredient that you failed to include is the interest rate on the mortgage. If the rate is in the neighborhood of 5 percent or less, my inclination would be not to pay off the mortgage early. I believe that interest rates are going to creep upward, and your current rate, if it's a good one, will look like money from home.
If you are more comfortable with a home that's paid for, by all means, belly up to the bar and pay off as much as you can so that by the time you are fully retired, the house will be paid for. That is more of a warm-and-fuzzy-feeling solution than a solid financial one.