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Should I pay off my mortgage early or invest?

By Pete Mugleston

Published: 16th May 2019 Last updated: 16th May 2019
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If you find yourself in the fortunate position in which you are able to pay off your mortgage early, you may be wondering whether this is the most sensible use of your money. Perhaps it could be put to better use elsewhere?

After all, investing can be a tempting prospect - think about those who took a gamble on Google, Facebook or Apple back in the day. Or perhaps you know someone who’s reaped a hefty return on a SIPP

With every investment comes an element of risk, and repaying a mortgage early doesn’t come without its downsides. But before you make a decision, ask yourself a few questions:

Am I paying into a pension scheme?

If you don’t already have a pension (or if you do have one but are only making minimum contributions), if you have money to spare it could be better off in a pension scheme rather than paying off your mortgage early.

Pensions are a tax-efficient way to save money because the government tops up your contributions with tax relief. If you’re part of a company pension, your employer will also be contributing to your pot.

Do you have any other more expensive debts outstanding?

If you have other, more expensive debts, it’s usually a wise choice to pay these off before you start thinking about paying off your mortgage early.

Credit cards, store cards, car loans and other types of unsecured borrowing often charge interest rates which are significantly higher than that of your mortgage, meaning it could work in your favour to pay these off first if you have the cash.

Can you get a savings rate higher than your mortgage interest?

It may be possible to find a savings account which pays a higher rates of interest than what you’re being charged on your mortgage - meaning you could potentially make more money than you’d save by overpaying.

Look into the options available to you, and calculate what the rate totals after paying tax on your funds.

Will you be charged for repaying your mortgage early?

If you repay your mortgage early or make an overpayment that's more than your agreed monthly limit, an Early Repayment Charge (ERC) may apply.

An ERC is most likely to be included as a term of mortgage contracts where the customer has selected a product that includes a fixed, capped or discounted interest rate.

Although many lenders allow you to overpay up to 10% a year without penalties, ERCs can potentially add up to thousands of pounds, depending on how much you overpay. Consider how much it’s going to cost you before proceeding.

In addition to an ERC, your mortgage terms may stipulate that you pay an early exit fee, so as to compensate for the lender’s loss of interest.

What are the advantages of repaying my mortgage early?

  • Overpaying each month means lower payments in the future OR
  • Overpaying each month means a reduced mortgage term.
  • Security and peace of mind.
  • Potential to release equity if required.
  • Paying off in full means it frees up your cash flow each month.

What are the disadvantages of repaying my mortgage early?

  • Funds could be used to repay more expensive debts.
  • Using savings or cash reserves to overpay can be risky if emergency funds are needed.
  • Early repayment charges may apply.
  • Funds could reap a higher return elsewhere.

What are the advantages of investing?

  • Long-term growth potential.
  • The ability to earn returns according to your level of investment risk.
  • The stock market historically outperforms cash and inflation in the long term.
  • A new business venture/hobby to explore.

What are the disadvantages of investing?

  • There are no guarantees.
  • Potentially very risky for inexperienced investors.
  • It’s a long game - not suitable if you’re after a quick return.
  • Lack of security and peace of mind.

What’s the right option for me?

So, what’s best for you: early mortgage repayment or investment? Ultimately, it comes down to your individual situation, the level of risk you are willing to take, and how much you value your security.

If you’re undecided, you may be able to reap the benefits of both. If you have enough disposable income, you could explore the possibility of putting half towards mortgage overpayments, and the rest into the stock market.

If you need further advice on what the best decision for your circumstances is, make an enquiry or give us a call on 0808 189 2301.

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