Is 30 too old ... for a mortgage?

It may be time to have a re-think! About what? About 30-year fixed rate mortgages.

I know, this is practically sacrosanct territory in this country and questioning it is like questioning, well, God or country.

But there are those who are, in fact, raising some questions about the wisdom of this American institution -- most countries offer only adjustable rate mortgages.

For one thing, the typical American picks up and moves every 5 to 10 years, says theWall Street Journal (subscription required). That makes a 30-year fixed rate mortgage sort of silly on the face of it.

More to the point, though, some argue that you can actually save money, in the long run, with an adjustable rate mortgage so long as it is not the type where you don't even bother to put a single penny down up front!

Just one example -- an adjustable rate loan but where there is a fixed rate for the first five years. Since you would be paying off interest and principal, you can actually come out ahead of the game on this one.

Look, the main point is this: The country is simply not in the same place it was back in the 50's or 60's ... Hell, it isn't even in the same place it was at last month!

It may turn out that the 30-year fixed rate mortgage remains the best bet for most homeowners in this country; but, considering the economic mess the housing market currently finds itself in, it certainly can't hurt to give some serious thought to new ways of doing things.

Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle."
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