I was reading an article the other day about why you should choose the 15-year mortgage over the 30-year mortgage, so I’m going to skip ahead a couple steps in the financial advice process and give you my thoughts.
If you read through other financial independence/early retirement/financial planning websites, you will see most of them advocate for the 30-year mortgage. Mathematically speaking, the 30-year mortgage has historically been the better choice. With the common advice that “past performance is no guarantee of future returns,” I’m willing to bet the future of stocks will closely mirror the past. This means, that the return you could get by investing your money in the stock market would exceed the interest you would pay on the longer term loan. So in the current low-interest environment, you should always choose the 30-year loan.
That being said, I think there are other factors at play. First of all, most people are not going to be disciplined enough to invest the difference each and every month for 360 straight months. They are going to spend the extra on house decorations, new furniture and newer car – anything except investing it.
For me personally, I do not like the idea of having to write a check to the bank representing my largest monthly expenditure for 30 years. Psychologically, I feel much better not carrying that kind of a debt load. That’s why I will be opting for less house than I can afford, and taking the 15-year mortgage. Mathematically I may come out behind, but the reduction in stress knowing that I’m paying the principal down faster, and not having to write that check after 180 checks, is well worth it to me.
Everyone needs to be honest with themselves and assess which strategy is best for them.