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The big financial news for this year is that the house is now paid off, fully. ...We tell no one, because it is egotistical and will probably only generate envy and serve no good purpose.

I don't think it need be egotistical. I'm awfully glad, for example, that a neighbor told us about "The Millionaire Next Door" back in the 90s. We started saving more aggressively and spending less sloppily.

We didn't exactly pay off a mortgage--we semi-retired to a lower COL area and bought a house for cash for less than the equity in the previous place. But we have told a few people, some of whom later thanked us for providing a goal to shoot for. A few were jealous, but I gently pointed out in one case that if they hadn't bought a vacation home, they could've used that money to retire their mortgage (oh...hmm, yeah, you're right!), in another case if she hadn't done a massive remodeling she could've retired her mortgage by now, another paid off his house but later remortgaged at a rock-bottom 15-year fixed rate and invested the loan proceeds (I hope he recovered his losses!).
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