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We refinanced down from a 30 year (which we were 5 years in) to a 15 year about 6 months ago, thereby wiping out 10 years on the mortgage.

I'd suggest you look into refinancing back to 30 years. (If you look on the "Buying a Home" board, you can find out lots of hints on how to refinance with little or no upfront costs.) If, a few years down the road, you find that you can afford to (and want to) pay your mortgage down faster, you can do so without refinancing; just pay extra each month.

By financing out to 30 again I'll essentially be in a 35 year mortgage for the house.

Think of it like this: A loan is a way of renting money from a bank, and a mortgage is usually a very cheap money. Why rush to give it back? You can basically use someone else's money to finance your retirement, and at least in the case of a mortgage, the fee you are paying on the loan is usually smaller the probable investment return.

I've always heard the adage that house debt is good debt. But I'm of the school that the best debt is no debt at all.

I agree: The best debt is no debt at all. But there is a range of badness when it comes to debts, and mortgage debt isn't so terrible.

Also, in your case, you aren't taking on any new debt, just changing the terms for paying back an existing one.

I hate having banks holding the key to my house.

The bank doesn't really "own" your house. We talk about it like that, but it isn't really true.

Are there any good formulas to derive at a decision, aside from actually sitting down with a CFP?

Your best bet would be to sit down with a calculator, pencil and paper and figure out (a) how much refinancing your mortage would cost you over 30 years versus leaving it at 15 years and (b) how much your 401k would be worth in 30 years, making some reasonable assumptions about market return (e.g. 11% for a broad-based index fund). Go with whichever seems best. Don't forget that you get a mortgage interest deduction and your 401k is tax deferred as well.

Good Luck,
JDOyster
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