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lowstudent,

"Not taking out a mtg, with all the additional costs involved can be different, but an existing mtg? I definitely decided not to pay mine down,"

We have used this method for a long time. Currently, we have 2 mortgages. I am looking at paying one off. It is on the "lot" we built our home on. Here is why:

We have maintained our cash cushion in our savings account ( mentioned here: http://boards.fool.com/howard-quotthat-time-frame-needs-to-b... )

It does not earn much but we considered it "spent", not a part of our portfolio. We maintain it around 3 years of expenses.

Some changes we have made over the past few years have produced a different opportunity. We did Roth conversions of our two insurance annuities. They are not "annuitized" and simply pay 4.5% APR, paid daily.

In the past when they were trad IRA's, I used them as brokerage cash for our trad IRA's, draining them down to a minimum in 2000 and 2008 with smaller amount used during a few corrections. I was able to replenish them during good times without any restrictions. Having that on the Roth side was very enticing.

A bit ago, probably because it is getting harder to guarantee the 4.5% payout, I received letters for the two accounts that limited deposits to the original 1982 contract terms. This put the brakes on using them for investing cash because the replenishment period increased quite a bit.

I decided recently to use them for the years 2 and 3 of our expense cash while retaining year 1 in the savings account.

The excess cash in savings will go to expenses until it gets to the 1 year level we need. I may pay off the smaller mortgage since it will simplify cash flow. In the savings account, it earns much less than the mortgage interest.

The other option is push the cash into brokerage. I may put some in. Still thinking about it.

Things change over time ...

Gene
All holdings and some stats on my profile page
http://my.fool.com/profile/gdett2/info.aspx
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