How I Improved My Family’s Quality of Life

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smartest financial decisionThe smartest decision that my wife and I ever made was when we paid off our mortgage.  It greatly improved our quality of life and granted my wife the ability to stay at home.  

 

A One-Track Mind

When I bought my house back in 2004, I was not thinking about marriage.  Fresh out of college, I had a decent job and a laser focus on making and saving money.  I had many roommates throughout the years, and my house morphed into the ultimate bachelor pad.  It wasn’t until my roommates started moving out and getting married that I started to really think about marriage.  

 

Laying the Groundwork

smartest financial decisionWhen I met my wife in 2009, I knew that she was the one instantly.  We had a bit of a whirlwind courtship, as it began January 2012 and ended in marriage in September 2012.  However, many years prior to marriage, I had laid down the groundwork that enabled us to pay off our mortgage with greater ease.  Whenever possible, I paid extra into my monthly mortgage payments.  With the stock market tanking, I gratefully received a guaranteed return on my money from the mortgage versus the free-falling market.

 

A Team Effort

The mortgage balance, which once seemed insurmountable, became smaller and smaller.  Once we were married, we could see the end in sight together.  Paying off our mortgage became our obsession.  We focused on this goal everyday, looking for any way to squeeze our pennies even further.

 

smartest financial decisionSo while many of our friends were using their monetary wedding gifts on fun things, my wife and I utilized all our wedding cash and any other excess money to pour into our outstanding mortgage balance.  To us, this was the greatest gift we could give ourselves because we knew financial freedom would change everything.

 

Family Responsibilities

smartest financial decisionFinally at the end of 2012, my wife and I made the final mortgage payment.  It’s a good thing that we did because less than a year prior, tragedy struck when her mother passed away from cancer.  At that point, it became evident that my wife would need to take on many of roles that were once her mother’s.  While she tried to continue working outside of the home, my wife soon realized that she was unable to meet her autistic sister’s needs while juggling work and other responsibilities.

 

Many people urged my wife to hire someone to do it.  But she couldn’t find anyone good enough to care for her sister.  She interviewed many people, but ultimately, she felt a peace about becoming her full-time caregiver.  Realistically though, I don’t know how we would have managed if we had still had our mortgage.  Without the roommate income that I had been receiving, we would have needed a regular monetary contribution from my wife to continue to stay on top of the mortgage.

 

Adding Another Person to the Mix

smartest financial decision year in reviewAnother positive was that once we had our first child, the transition was fairly seamless.  My wife already had the flexibility to be at home with her sister.  We also didn’t experience a disruption at all in regards to our wallet.  She wasn’t dependent on maternity leave compensation or benefits.  There wasn’t pressure on her to leave our son and go back into the workforce.  Additionally, we didn’t have to take on the financial strain of daycare costs.

 

So hands down, my smartest financial decision was paying off my mortgage.  Doing so has afforded our family opportunities that we wouldn’t have been able to imagine with a mortgage.  The wise decisions and persistence to crush that mortgage have allowed us to live our current lifestyle, which isn’t too shabby.

 

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Mustard Seed Money

Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.



63 Comments

    • Thanks for sharing Lily!!! I didn’t intend to set up making a family decision since I was single at the time but in hindsight I am super pumped with the decision we made 🙂

  1. This is something Mr. Adventure Rich and I always “struggle” with. We have a high investment rate in my 401K and our HSA, with a little extra going to our mortgage… but we could ramp up our mortgage payoff if we invested a bit less in retirement accounts. This is a really interesting perspective on the freedom afforded to you through the mortgage payoff!

    • Thanks for stopping by!!! I definitely agree that it’s definitely a tradeoff between retirement and your mortgage. For us it made sense but I can definitely see why others would want to invest in the market 🙂

  2. Mustard: Nice work on paying off the mortgage! I am splitting the difference on that one, and paying extra on the mortgage, while also investing. I can see the merits of both sides, so I am riding the fence!
    The Tepid Tamale recently posted…Maybe all is not lost!My Profile

  3. Rob, thanks for going into depth with your mortgage payoff story. Truly inspiring and what great foresight on your part!

    Best financial decision was moving from the expensive house in the expensive area. Hands down. It allowed my wife to stay at home with our son 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing Dave!!! My wife and I are looking at doing the same down the road. I’d love to get out of this high cost living area and somewhere with a bigger bang for our buck 🙂

  4. For me, it was investing in real estate, and in an area where it is very affordable. So, now I have 4 properties owned free and clear, including the one I live in and the rental income covers all my basic living expenses including housing costs, health insurance and some extra spending for food. My second best decision was to get rid of my car…. financially, physically and mentally. 🙂
    Primal Prosperity recently posted…How to become a ‘Muon Hunter’, ‘Carbon Detective’ or a ‘Gravity Spy’ (no experience necessary)My Profile

    • Daycare costs in this area is crazy. I’m actually surprised that there aren’t more with how much they make. It seems like a cash cow business 🙂

  5. Sounds like 2012 was one hell of a year for you and your wife!
    Right now, my smartest financial decision was to take my business freelance and start travelling in a way that’s sustainable. No big job-quit, no crazy 6 months of travel before going back to the grind – just a careful, planned out strategy that’s made the lifestyle I want possible. We’ll see if that changes as I get more responsibilities though! 🙂
    Yaz | The Wallet Moth recently posted…5 Things Climbing Can Teach You About Yourself, Money, & LifeMy Profile

  6. Buying a new house was the most recent financial mistake I have made. It is eating up between 40 – 60% of our paycheck every month (depending on maintenance issues that have popped up). For now though we are enjoying the view and the space. In 5 years we may decide to change our tune and sell the place for a smaller home.
    Dads Dollars Debts recently posted…Hump Day June 14, 2017My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing!!! My wife and I have been looking at moving in the future. I definitely don’t want to be in a position where so much money is going out the door each month. Hopefully we can find the right house in the future 🙂

  7. Mr. Moneyseed, when you payoff your mortgage do you suggest solely focusing on that payment or invest and pay down your mortgage simultaneously? I am 29 and I don’t know if it is beneficial to begin investing for compound interest or payoff mortgage (4%interest rate) so that when I am about 40 I will be debt free and then can use that money to heavily invest? Thank you!

    • Thanks for stopping by Ms. Wright!!! Most experts will tell you that it makes sense to invest since on average the stock market has returned more than the 4% interest rate that you have. I paid down my mortgage like it was a bond in order to diversify from the stock market. It worked out well for me but who knows what the future holds.

  8. Paying off the mortgage must be an amazing feeling. For most people, their mortgage/rent is their biggest expense, without that payment you can certainly build wealth quickly and have flexibility in your choices. Having a plan for our money has been our best plan so far.

    • Having a plan is definitely the first and best step to smart money decisions 🙂 I definitely had a loose plan that should have been a lot tighter. I got lucky 🙂

  9. Thanks for the advice! My wife and I are currently saving up for a downpayment, and sometimes it’s hard to decide how much money to put towards a house or towards our other investments. It really seems like a weight is lifted off your shoulders once you have a house paid off though! I’m curious, how long would you have to plan on living somewhere in order to buy? For example, if I planned on living somewhere for 3 years, would it be more worth it to you to buy or rent?
    Matt Kuhn recently posted…5 Reasons Why Frugality May Be Holding You BackMy Profile

    • I use 5 years but that’s mainly because of how the real estate fees involved. But if you live in a crazy high rental market compared to buying it may make sense to lower it.

  10. The team effort part is key. It is a huge endeavor and good to know that your wife is on the same page. Is she in the finance/accounting field? And it’ amazing how life’s phases fall into play once the mortgage was paid off, adding comfort that you made the right decision.
    SMM recently posted…How Do I Protect My Investments?My Profile

    • My wife was a psychology major and was planning to go to law school when we met. Things obviously changed when she started to become her sister’s full time care taker.

  11. Wow I love how paying off the mortgage early has benefited you and your family in so many ways. I love reading about it since Mr. FAF and I are trying to do the exact same thing. I try not to think about it, but the mortgage seems to hang over our heads as a big debt. I can’t wait until that humongous mortgage is paid off! =)
    Ms. Frugal Asian Finance recently posted…The Pros & Cons of Our Long-distance MarriageMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Mrs. FAF!!! Paying off our mortgage was by far the best decision that we ever made. I definitely don’t want to go back in debt if I don’t have to 🙂

  12. Thanks for sharing. I think in your situation, paying off the mortgage wasn’t just financially a good decision, but both emotionally and mentally. I think the last two might be more important than the monetary. Since money you can always make. Peace and a sense of stability, on the other hand, are pretty vital to just living, period.

    • I definitely agree Tim that the emotional decision by far outweighed the financial decision. Not having that anchor weigh us down was a great feeling.

  13. Nicely done. Paying off a mortgage may have an opportunity cost, but it also de-risks your entire financial scene and opens the door to the flexibility and options you described. Congratulations!
    Paul recently posted…The Key to Achieving GoalsMy Profile

  14. My best financial decision was buying our house during the downturn. Since then, home values have continued to climb in our area. We’re paying it down too. Only three years to go! I can’t wait.

  15. Well done Mustard Seed Money. It’s good to hear that it’s worked out for you and your wife so well. I’ve recently been wondering about the opportunity cost of having paid off the mortgage and I have to admit I like the security of not having that debt even if financially we could have done better.

    I think my best financial decision was escaping the typical financial path of debt and lifestyle creep. Reflecting on the last 10 years, I think it’s brought my husband and I more richness than I could have imagined.
    Eliza recently posted…In a rut: Help for when you’re stuckMy Profile

  16. Very encouraging, sir! We don’t yet have a mortgage, but you’ve encouraged to avoid a large one. So true how good financial choices reap rewards later on as circumstances change, and kudos to you and your wife for lovingly taking on important responsibilities. Love reading your posts – it’s inspiring how you always have something good to post! Keep it up!
    Finances with Purpose recently posted…Financial Update (June 2017): Inching Towards Success…My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Mr. Definied Sight!!! That’s awesome to hear that you’ve paid down all non-mortgage debt. That’s quite the accomplishment!!! Keep it up!!!

    • Thanks for sharing Leo!!! Financial literacy is so important and something that is such an underrated skill set to have in life. Sounds like you are well on your way!!!

  17. This is awesome! Paying off our mortgage is a long term goal for us and this post is extra motivation. We just paid off our car and another small loan we had so now the focus is fully on the mortgage. Not sure we can do it as fast as you though! Are you planning on staying in your current home for a while? One of things my husband and I discuss is the possibility of moving down the road and the cost / benefit of paying of the mortgage if we are going to move and have to possibly take out another one.
    Courtney @ Your Average Dough recently posted…How Do You Differentiate Yourself?My Profile

    • My wife and I are potentially looking to move as we expand our family. We’re trying to figure out the right balance between space and cost of the new home. It makes it that much easier for us knowing that we don’t have a mortgage to take our time 🙂

  18. Thanks for sharing MSM. I would have say the biggest financial decision we have made was to focus on paying down debt. We got to the point of only having a mortgage and paying an extra $1K a month on it, trying to pay it off as soon as possible.
    FIbythecommonguy recently posted…A move is comingMy Profile

  19. Paying off your mortgage definitely was a great thing to do. It gave you and your family options. We never know what is around the corner for us and our loved ones.

    Have a happy Father’s Day!

    • Happy Father’s Day to you as well. Paying off the mortgage definitely opened up a ton of options that we never imagined. Definitely a huge blessing.

  20. I do think that reducing and refinancing our mortgage to the current level was a good idea. Not from a pure return calculation. Would we have invested the money in the stock market, returns would have been higher.
    It seems that the whole mortgage things ways heavy on us, so reducing it feels good. We are now at the point that we could pay it off if we wanted. We for now intentionally decide not to pay it off.
    Amber tree recently posted…Trade inspirationMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Amber tree. Sounds like you made a great decision for your family. It’s amazing how refinancing a home can make a huge difference. Sounds like you are really reaping the benefits.

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