For Mark Roberts’ Use: Ask ten people about their dreams for retirement, and you’re likely to receive ten different answers. However, one common theme might recur: Most of us would love to have our homes paid off before we retire.

Is that possible? The most common mortgage repayment terms include a 30-year payment plan. We tend to choose that route because it offers the lowest possible monthly payments. But unless you bought your house back in your 20s, and never “traded up”, you might still have payments due when it’s time to retire in your sixties!

You might also know that a 30-year mortgage often results in paying more interest than the original purchase price of the house. That’s not something anyone likes to dwell on, but it doesn’t seem like the greatest idea, does it?

If you’re still paying on a 30-year mortgage, and want to accelerate the rate at which you repay that debt, you might be interested in this simple solution: Switch to a bi-weekly payment schedule, rather than making monthly payments. If your paydays are already bi-weekly, this change will be extra easy for you.

Why does this help? We know that there are twelve months in a year, so you’re currently making twelve payments per year. But with a bi-weekly payment schedule, you would actually be making 26 “half payments”, or thirteen total payments annually. And making one extra payment per year can actually reduce your mortgage repayment term by five years or more! You can also save thousands in interest over the term of the loan.

Once your payments are aligned with your payday schedule, you probably won’t even notice the “extra” payments. You will make small adjustments to your budget otherwise, and you can end up better prepared for retirement without making difficult, sweeping changes.

Since some mortgage companies charge a fee for switching your payment plan, we definitely urge you to investigate those options beforehand. And, if you need to discuss other methods of retirement planning, please do give us a call. We can help you identify creative solutions that help you achieve your retirement goals.