Progress to Date

  • Original Loan Amount: $204,000.00
  • Balance at Beginning of 5-year Goal (1/1/08): $188,983.82 @ 6.00%
  • Balance at Refinance in February 2009: $148,000.00 @ 4.625%
  • Outstanding Balance: $0.00 (PAID IN FULL!!!)
  • Latest Payment Date: April 2011
  • Latest Additional Principal Amount: $17,623.22
  • Amount Ahead of Schedule (since refinance): $121,462
  • Time Ahead of Schedule (since refinance): 7 years 10 months
  • Interest Saved Last Month: $23,972.48
  • Total Interest Saved: $28,435.55 ($1,037.74 on original mortgage; $27,397.81 on current mortgage)
  • Months Remaining in 5-year Goal: 20
  • Average Monthly Principal Needed to Meet Goal: N/A (Goal achieved)
  • Progress List Explained

Monday, October 13, 2008

Life Goes On

Two Fridays ago my sister called me at work with news that my grandfather had died. My wife and I took bereavement leave and arranged to fly down to Texas to attend the funeral. We visited with family, and helped my parents, aunt, and cousin begin the unwelcome task of cleaning out my grandfather's house.

Following the funeral, we attended a reception with family, then went out to dinner. My wife turned on her phone to call and check on our dogs (they were staying with a friend), and found a voice message from her father stating her grandmother had been hospitalized. We were not scheduled to return home right away, so for the next two days she was in close contact with her family, hoping for good news about her grandmother's condition.

We flew back to New Hampshire on a late flight, arriving at our house at 2 AM, then woke up the next morning and drove two hours to my wife's hometown to be with her family. Her grandmother fortunately made a recovery and was able to return home. After more than a week of family gatherings, we made our way back to our house with mixed emotions, yearning for a night of good sleep.

We probably won't be making a meaningful extra principal payment this month. Last-minute airfare is rarely inexpensive, and in today's economy the airlines are not willing to offer discounts for funeral travel as they did in the past. After including the cost of a hotel, a rental car, meals, and other miscellaneous expenses in Texas, along with the gas, food, and other purchases we made in my wife's hometown, we spent around $1,500 this month which was not in our budget. This is coincidentally the same amount I was hoping we'd put toward our mortgage in October (above and beyond our normal payment).

I asked my wife if we should use our emergency savings to pay for the funeral trip, so that we could stay on track to meet our 2008 mortgage prepayment goal. After a discussion, we decided that while the expense was unexpected, it was not truly an emergency. That money is reserved for loss of income, health-related bills, or sudden expenses that must be covered quickly in order for us to keep our home and our jobs (for example, if our furnace suddenly breaks in the middle of January). And since we were slightly ahead of our 2008 goal after September, we decided to take the hit on the mortgage in October, and focus on minimizing our spending through the end of the year. If we somehow are able to make any additional payment on the mortgage this month, I will consider that a bonus.

Although this blog's title may sound morbid, Death to the Mortgage is ultimately about life. My wife and I are taking steps to gain control of our financial life now, so that we can have the freedom to enjoy the rest of our lives together, unencumbered by debt. As our grandparents reminded us last week, our time in this world is finite. We want to make the most of the time we have left. We believe that retiring our mortgage debt early is an important first step toward achieving our dreams.

Granddad, thanks for the memories. You are loved, and will be missed.