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Tips for Reducing Debt and Paying off Your Mortgage Faster

Mortgages can be really stressful if you don’t have a good handle on them. Paying them off as quickly as possible is important in order to have money for other aspects of your life, including building savings for the future. In 2010, a survey by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) said recent homeowners felt like there was a high chance they could pay off their mortgage earlier than their amortization schedule. How would they go about this? Let’s look at some key factors that work.

Bi-weekly payments

Accelerating mortgage payments with a bi-weekly schedule will let you pay off your mortgage in smaller chunks more frequently. Instead of paying your mortgage on a monthly basis (12x a year) bump it up to 26 payments a year by making payments every two weeks. You’d be surprised how much you can pay off with an extra payment per month. Spending for example an extra $60 on payments per month will not only round up your mortgage payments, but it could get you ahead of your schedule by up to 6 years when you consider how the amounts add up. This is much better than making occasional lump sum mortgage payments or increasing regular payment amounts that could hurt your budget. This gives you a clear and focused way to pay off your mortgage in no time!

Put Extra Sources of Money toward Payments

On top of maintaining a good payment frequency, taking extra sources of money you receive such as gifted money, work bonuses and inheritances and putting them toward mortgage payments is a highly effective way of reducing your debt faster. 27% of homeowners make lump sum payments toward their mortgages like this. Even if you don’t have any unexpected income, an annual lump sum payment is a great way to decrease your mortgage amortization.

For example, according to CMHC, a one-time payment of $5000 on a $250 000 mortgage at 3.75% over 30 years will decrease your mortgage amortization by over a year!

Put Tax Refunds toward Payments

Increasing RRSP contributions, claiming medical expenses, transit passes, interest on student loans (if applicable), donation to charities, and deducting expenses if you work from home are all ways you can receive a higher tax return. This money can be taken and allocated to your mortgage payments as well!

Considerations

It’s important to pay off your mortgage in a way that is feasible to you. If you don’t have a retirement fund, you have high credit-card debt, or you simply have too many other outstanding payments, then paying off your mortgage quickly may not be the best option for you. It’s always good to speak to a mortgage expert to determine what’s best for your situation!