Mortgage Confidential: Should I pay off my mortgage or invest?

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Mortgage expert David Reed invites Walletpop readers to ask him questions about real estate financing. Leave your questions in the comment section of this post.

Q: I am 54. I currently have a 15-yr mtg. 10 yrs left as of this month. Should I consider refinancing to a 30 yr and using the 700+- to invest else where? 5 yrs to have enough equity in house vs. vs 45k in cash to invest in 5 yrs-
thanks. -Steve

A: Two things I noticed: Your current note is five years old, meaning you obtained your current mortgage in 2003 when 15 year rates were in the 4's. Second, in ten years you'll be close to retirement age. Without knowing anything else about your financial picture and assuming you're going to retire in that house, I would hold off from refinancing into a 30 yr mortgage, you'll be paying on that note until you're 84.

If you continue to pay off your current note and retire mortgage free that's like giving yourself an automatic "raise" when you retire. Instead, consider an equity loan on your current property and invest that. That's my take.

Real estate finance expert David Reed is president of CD REED Mortgage Bankers in Austin, TX and author of Mortgage Confidential: What You Need to Know That Your Lender Won't Tell You and Mortgages 101: Quick Answers to over 250 Critical Questions About Your Home Loan.

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