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"Then they paid off their 30-year mortgage several years early. I thought they were stupid to live in a house made out of money while the stock market was zooming."

My parents did the same thing. About 3 years ago they paid their mortgage off, which was about 12 years early. My father used to say there are 10 rules for financial happiness. He'd say Rule #1 is to stay out of debt and the other 9 rules don't matter.

Now they are ready to retire several years early and will probably bring in more money in retirement than when working due to pensions/401ks/IRAs/taxable accounts and ... no debt.

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