Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Knock Nine Years Off Your Mortgage

The following is from the Introduction to the forthcoming second edition of Mortgage Free!: Innovative Strategies for Debt-free Home Ownership by Rob Roy. Maybe you decide that building a house is not for you. Well, here’s a tip, suggested by Bob Duquette of Adirondack Funding Services of Plattsburgh, New York, that can save you nine years of payments (and $41,500 in the example given) on a thirty-year mortgage, or two and one-half years on a fifteen-year loan. It’s something you can do right now, and it is practically painless. At least, you won’t notice the pain. This mathemagical strategy involves making biweekly mortgage payments instead of monthly payments. And the biweekly payments are exactly half of what you would pay by the month. There, isn’t that easy? “But how can that save me time and money?” you ask. The trick is that you are making twenty-six half payments in a year instead of twelve full payments. This is like making an extra full payment a year. As we’ve already seen, prepayment of your mortgage is the best investment you can make. In 1995, the typical conversion cost of refinancing your mortgage along these lines was about $295. In an article by Joe LoTemplio (Plattsburgh Press-Republican, May 21, 1995), Duquette says that about three-quarters of the people who learn about the biweekly payment scheme go for it. He says, “The nice thing about it is that it doesn’t interrupt your cash flow and you don’t have to come up with that large amount once a month.” Original Mortgage: $70,000 at 8.5%, 30 years, monthly payments of $688.24 (payments include $150 per month escrow for property taxes and insurance) Loan Curtailment Strategy: convert to biweekly payments of $344.12 Interest on the original loan: $122,774 Interest if biweekly schedule is used: $81,268 ($41,506 saved!)
Year End Principal, Original Principal, Biweekly
2008 $69,697 $69,353
2009 69,141 68,081
2010 68,536 66,699
2011 67,877 65,195
2012 67,160 63,558
2013 66,380 61,776
2014 65,531 59,837
2015 64,607 57,727
2016 63,601 55,430
2017 62,506 52,586
2018 61,314 49,837
2019 60,018 46,843
2020 58,606 43,584
2021 57,070 40,037
2022 55,398 36,176
2023 53,578 31,974
2024 51,597 27,401
2025 49,441 22,423
2026 47,095 17,006
2027 44,541 11,109
2028 41,761 4,692
2029 38,736 DEBT FREE!
2030 35,443
2031 31,860
2032 27,959
2033 23,714
2034 19,093
2035 14,065
2036 8,591
2037 2,634
In a slight departure from this strategy, a correspondent reported that after eighteen months of regular mortgage payments, he switched to bi-weekly payments and added an extra $50 towards the principal with each payment. He said, “It was very simple, effective and automatic, as the payments were pre-authorized.” He lopped a full thirteen years off his mortgage. For more strategies to be mortgage-free, see Mortgage Free!: Innovative Strategies for Debt-free Home Ownership by Rob Roy.

A Dictionary to Survive the Future

When British economist David Fleming died unexpectedly in 2010, he left behind his great unpublished work, a masterpiece more than thirty years in the making—an intellectually evocative and inspiring dictionary, Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It. In it, Fleming examined the consequences of an economy that destroys the very foundations—ecological, […] Read More

Overshoot, Collapse, and Creating a Better Future

In 2016, Earth Overshoot Day happened on August 8—the day when we’ve exhausted the planet’s resources for the year, and are essentially borrowing from future years to maintain our existence today.Perhaps you celebrated this day with a counter-solution: a vegetarian meal, telecommuted, or turned off the air conditioning. There’s a lot more you could be […] Read More

The Future Is Hopeless, So Give it Your All

The never-ending national election in the United States, the “surprise” pro-Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, climate change … the list goes on and on about how easy it can be to lose hope in the future.Like many of life’s frustrations, or overwhelmingly large topics, most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the […] Read More

Climate Change & the End of Stationarity

Just as predicting the rise of Donald Trump as a leading presidential candidate stumped even the best of political analysts (looking at you Nate “FiveThirtyEight” Silver), the advent of the Sixth Great Extinction due to climate change and an increasingly potent mix of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has completely upended how we predict the […] Read More

Use Simple Games to Better Understand Climate Change

How is it that emissions keep growing despite rising concern about the climate change they cause? It is possible to identify several reasons for the paradox, most of which lie outside the scope of The Climate Change Playbook. But one important reason is relevant here: people do not understand the behaviors of the climate system.And […] Read More
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