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Yes, this is exactly the debate that arises when we talk about this -- is paying off the mortgage the best deployment of resources? For us, I suppose many would answer that it is not. And as with snowballing debt, sometimes the most optimal choice is not the most comfortable choice. For me, three things point to paying off being the wiser course. DH is 10 years from full retirement age, we already have significant investments in other areas, and the market has experienced a significant rally recently. Also, paying off the mortgage will leave some funds available for investment. And right now, I'm not finding a lot of really interesting investment opportunities. I have cash (from dividends) in my Rollover IRA that has been building for quite a while as I look for opportunities that I like. I'm thinking about several, but have not pulled the trigger on any yet.

I've followed the arguments that one should keep a mortgage and invest, because mortgage interest rates are low. They make sense financially, assuming the mortgage holder is comfortable with the leverage and the ongoing commitment to pay principal and interest.

But I can't shake a deep conviction that it's not as simple as analyzing finances with interest rates and Monte Carlo simulations of possible results for the S&P 500 or total stock market index. A lot of personal factors come into play.

In my case, I know myself to be very security oriented, which is not the same thing as having a low risk tolerance. I paid my mortgage years ago, and never seriously considered taking a new mortgage or home equity loan with the idea of having more to invest. Having no mortgage means I have a lower bar of required expenses before I can retire. I cleared that lower bar about a year ago, and retired a few years earlier than I thought I would.

Now, I have no mortgage. I'm fully invested across a taxable brokerage account, a traditional IRA funded by rolling over my last 401(k), and a Roth IRA. My Fidelity Financial Adviser thinks I'm invested too aggressively in stocks. I think bonds don't offer enough return to be worth their risk right now, and I'm comfortable with a portfolio of stocks throwing off more in dividends than I need to draw to cover living expenses.

Yeah, my net worth is lower than a bunch of frequent posters on the Retirement Investing board; but it's enough for me. Life is good, financially. I don't need to make the picture more complex by adding leverage in the form of a mortgage.

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