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Pay off your house before throwing money away in a 401(k)

Wall Street loves to push 401(k) accounts. While most Americans slave away for 10, 20, and up to 40 years in some cases paying off their monthly mortgage obligations, Wall Street collects trillions of dollars in 401(k) deposits.

Take a moment to go to a website like Run the amortization calculator and plug in the current balance of your mortgage loan, the interest rate, and the number of years remaining on the term of the loan. You will be shocked at the amount of interest you will pay out over the entire term of the loan. Consider this… simply applying the funds you are dumping mindlessly into your 401(k) to your mortgage loan balance as an extra monthly payment to principal, you will save tens of thousands of dollars, and possible more than 100,000 off the total cost of that mortgage just by accelerating it. When you reach retirement age, your home will be long paid off under this approach, assuming you do this in your 30s or early 40s. A 401(k) can be wiped out overnite. A home, or a roof over your head, cannot (as long as you pay those homeowners insurance premiums). I would rather have a paid off home and a secure roof over my family before dumping precious dollars into a 401(k) account, even if the employer would match the contribution up to a small percentage.