Should I pay down my mortgage faster, or invest more aggressively?

I was a renter my entire adult life. Then a year ago I finally decided to upgrade to the two bedroom condo shown in this picture. (It looks like a house, but I share my back wall with two other units, so it’s technically a condo). ‎

I honestly wrestled with the decision about whether or not to take on debt to buy the home. It’s a similar dilemma to a question I get all the time: “Should I pay down my mortgage faster, or invest more aggressively?” I don’t think there’s a wrong answer to that question. Leaving the mortgage around (especially at these low rates) is the more aggressive choice. But having no house payment sooner, is also great! Both good options!‎

But still I wrestled with the choice. I finally decided to go with a 50% down payment 50% mortgage on the $712K purchase price. My theory was that it would help diversify my net worth from having all that money sunk into a single property, and use a little bit of leverage for longer term wealth building.‎

I had a mortgage broker who had been hounding me for the last couple years, always trying to get me into a loan of some sort. I finally emailed him with the good news! “I put down an offer on a property and would like to get a loan please!” He said great, asked for all my paperwork. I sent it all over, including documentation that I had close to $4 million in the bank. My “adjusted gross income” had been over $100K for the last 7 years. I was expecting to be welcomed with open arms by the banks!‎

Well, he eventually wrote back and informed me that I do not qualify for any mortgage due to me not having a job. I still had tons of INCOME (from my investments) but hadn’t actually had a W-2 in a couple years. And apparently banks don’t want to lend money to people who can easily pay it back, they want someone who is gonna stay at their job for 30 years making them rich over time. So I said “fuck it” and wrote a check for the whole house! I didn’t even need a credit score!‎

As always, reminding you to build wealth by following the two PFC rules: 1.) Live below your means and 2.) Invest early and often.‎


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