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Ten Reasons to Avoid a 30 Year Mortgage

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Fact:  A 30 year loan at 3.625% for $300,000 has a fixed payment of $1368.
        The 1st payment is made up of $906 interest (66%) and $462 principal (34%).


1.  It will take 10.5 years before the above equation will have $684 principal and
     $684 interest.  Compare that with a 20 year loan which has 50.4% interest
     and 49.6% principal as the makeup of the first payment.  It will only take 4 months
     to be equal.  The 15 and 10 year fixed loans are even better than that.

2.  If you do not get any benefit from the interest on the 30 year you are wasting
     about $80,000 in interest which is 26.6% of the loan. Check with your tax adviser
     and see how well you would do with the standard deduction instead of itemizing
     using your home loan interest and real estate taxes.  You might be surprised at
     the outcome.

3.  If you purchased the house with 10% down you will have mortgage insurance for
     at least 5 years before you reach 80% loan to value.  This will cause you more
     expense that doesn't benefit you financially.

4.  If Congress takes away the home mortgage deduction you will pay an amazing
     amount of non taxable interest which be similar to rent on your own house
     because it has no financial value.  The total interest on this loan is $192.000
     over the 30 years.


5.  If you were to take a 15 year loan the total interest will be $69,700 and will free
     your payment after 15 years.  You then could make the payment to yourself and
     save  $369,700 plus interest.  You would be worth twice as much as someone
     who stays with the 30 year from start to finish.

6.  You will pay off a 10 year fixed, a 15 year fixed and 90% of a 20 year fixed before
     you payoff 1/2 of the 30 year fixed.

7.  If you are looking to build your net worth the 30 year loan will take 11 years to
     payoff  25% of the loan.  This will leave the building of net worth  primarily
     to appreciation and will also keep you vulnerable to a down turn in real estate

8.  The 30 year fixed is the highest interest rate of all the fixed loans, always!
     It is currently 3/4% higher than a 15 year fixed.

9.  Doubling up on payments on a 30 year loan will help pay it off faster.  The amount of 
      interest you pay will still be more than any other fixed loan.

10. You will not be a "rock star" at a cocktail party because many people either haven't
      a mortgage or have shorter term mortgages at lower rates.


It is time to stop the normal pattern of everyone taking a 30 year fixed.  Even with the above reasons, however, it will not be easy.  There are a few reasons why most people haven't even considered other loan types and they are as follows:
    A. 90% or more of all mortgage advertising is on the 30 year fixed.  It isn't about the 30 year fixed it is really about
        the lender that is offering the loan and why they should be  your lender of choice.
    B. Because all of the family of almost every borrower has only had a 30 year fixed, except for maybe the cousins that nobody talks with, it would almost be sacrilegious to take another type of loan.
    C.Finally, I am going to let the cat out of the bag. A large majority of borrowers for any type of loan only consider the monthly payment, not the financial outcome of their decision.  If they did
the 30 year loan would most likely be extinct. Hopefully the 10 reasons will start a movement
toward the extinction of this loan.

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