I think it’s safe to say the maths on paying down a mortgage fast has been well and truly proven on this site. But why then do so many people day to day still carry a huge, forever ongoing mortgage throughout their lives? Today we’re going to look at the top 3 reasons this occurs and how to avoid them.
1. Zero Focus
You don’t know what you don’t know. Sometimes it’s not that a person is stupid, doesn’t understand or can’t understand but that they just don’t even know about the idea to begin with.
This is a huge limiting factor for the vast majority of people and is actually why I started Mutilate The Mortgage in the first place, to get the word out to everyone, especially Australians, that paying off a mortgage in 15, 10, 5 years is entirely possible on average Australian wages.
(Small side note: If you believe this like me please do share this site with as many as possible. Paying off a mortgage in 10 years vs 30 will save your friends and family literally hundreds of thousands of dollars and significantly change their lives for the better. All of the information on how to do this is on this site and freely available too)
Even if the person knows about the concept and the maths behind paying down a mortgage quickly this doesn’t mean they’ll actually take the advice. As they say, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink!
Whether it’s because they’re lazy, too busy, focused on something else important or just being a mindless zombie watching the idiot box every night, the average Joe hands hundreds of thousands of dollars of their hard earned money over to the banks over the life of a loan.
How To Avoid This: If you’re reading this piece then chances are you do know already that paying off a mortgage in under 10 years is absolutely achievable for any average wage earners. If you don’t know this, please read more of the site starting here.
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2. Loss Of Motivation
While paying off your mortgage in 10 or even 5 years is a fantastic, literally life altering achievement… it’s still 5-10 years worth of work. A lot of this “work” can and should be done by automation, but you will still need to ensure you stay motivated over that time period.
It’s very tempting to be committing so much of your salary towards a mortgage and imagine how else you could spend it. Fancy cars, holidays, a bigger house… the list goes on. It takes a good amount of patience and discipline to continuously kill your mortgage year after year after year.
Automation takes a lot of this pressure away which is why I advocate for it so much. However it’s also what a lot of new, unknowing people are missing when they try to pay a big mortgage down.
They’ll start out super committed, be killing it and then 1, 2 years in loose site of the main goal or worse, get sick of making the extra repayments. They’ll start spending some of the money on other things and maybe even totally forget to make the manual repayment a few times.
How To Avoid This: The main way to avoid this is to use automation. Have your bank automatically transfer the extra repayment each fortnight and just put the entire thought of it happening out of your mind. Enjoy your life, have fun and just check in on the figures every 6-12 months or so.
It’s also super important to have a really solid and important motivator behind why you want your mortgage gone. Do you want to have kids once you’re mortgage free? Do you want to have absolutely zero debt? Maybe you want to be super financially secure so you can start your own business or do another semi-financially risky thing. Whatever it is, make sure it’s visible in your spreadsheet to always remind and encourage you.
3. Lifestyle Inflation
This is one of the easiest traps to fall into and as such, must be monitored very, very closely. I’m not even slightly joking here, please take it super seriously. Slowly and imperceptibly increasing your expenses is ridiculously easy to do. So easy and so damaging.
Starting new streaming services, buying more computer games, going on more vacations, buying fancier cars, going out to dinner more, treating yourself to things more and more often. There are near infinite ways to slowly leak money and many ways to fight this.
Most don’t even care about lifestyle inflation and see it as a great, fantastic thing! Who doesn’t love a new car or more massages? But you also need to recognise that these things always come at a cost. Both monetary and in other ways too.
For the purpose of this article we’ll only focus on the monetary aspect and obviously this ends up eating into your mortgage savings rate. Over the years though I’ve thankfully developed a number of elegant solutions to really beat the lifestyle inflation monster down.
How To Avoid This: To start with make sure whenever you get a raise you always update your mortgage repayment amount for that new increase. If you’re now earning $10,000 a year more (after tax) guess what? Your repayments are now $10,000 a year higher. The result is you get out of debt faster and you don’t introduce any lifestyle inflation.
Next try and practice Awesomeness Inflation as much as possible. If you don’t know what that is read that link and here’s a few of my favourites to try. This ongoing practice not only ensures you’re going in the opposite direction of regular lifestyle inflation, but it also gives you something to focus on and distract yourself from the shinny things people will always be selling.
Finally another great way I’ve found to fight lifestyle inflation is by tracking and generally cutting expenses. Even “rough” tracking will alert you when your expenses start to creep up and the ongoing task of cutting or figuring out ways of lowering expenses obviously helps too. We have a full 5 part series in exactly this.
Check out our huge 5 part series guide on cutting your expenses
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Be The 1%
Paying off a mortgage whilst simple mathematically, can be quite difficult to do in practice. There are tips and tricks to significantly help you with it which you can find all over this website for free.
Hopefully they’re enough to help guide you and ensure you don’t fall into the most common of traps that the masses almost universally do. If you’ve managed to pay your mortgage off in under 10 years or are multiple years already into that journey, congratulations. You are the 1%!
The benefits include: 1) How to pay off your mortgage faster than 99% of people with one hour a month of work 2) How to get rid of your debt and have the freedom to spend money on the things you love, guilt free 3) Clear outline of how to setup your expenses, mortgage and general finance 4) How offset accounts work and how to get the same result without being gouged by the big banks 5) How to cut through the crap and focus on the things that truly matter when taking down a mortgage 6) How to adjust the strategy so it works for you, even if you have kids, even if you only have one income 7) How to do all of these things and maintain a normal social life (and never be cheap).