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We provide a comprehensive view of your financial life and all the factors that go into life planning. What this means to you is help with personal decision making and putting a date on things. We help you manage your finances and investments, while taking into consideration tax planning, professional moves, children, retirement, healthcare and other important priorities. It’s about life planning and gaining more comfort with your long-term financial security.

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Paying off debt... right emotionally, wrong financially?
Posted By:  Rob Lemmons CFP®, CPA, AIF®, CEPA
Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Good Debt

Having a mortgage can be a huge burden, and paying it off may be the first item on your financial to-do list. For those approaching retirement, the number one question I hear is... should I pay off my mortgage? But competing with the desire to own your home free and clear is your need to invest for retirement, your child's college education, or some other goal. So how do you choose?

Evaluating the opportunity cost

Let's assume that you have a $300,000 30-year mortgage at 4%. Over the life of the loan, you would pay $216,609 in interest charges. For simplicity, lets also assume you do not itemize and take the standard deduction on your tax return. With the recent 2018 tax law changes, many taxpayers are finding themselves no longer itemizing.

Question: Should you pay off the mortgage or invest the money?
Total Wealth Planning Tip: Don't always follow your emotions.

To determine if you would come out ahead if you invested your $300,000 instead, start by looking at the after-tax rate of return. Let's assume your after-tax rate of return is 6%, conservatively. After 30 years, $300,000 at 6% grows to $1,723,047. Clearly, a substantial difference between the potential earnings and the cost of borrowing.

Keep in mind that the rate of return you'll receive is directly related to the investments you choose. All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal, and there can be no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful. Investments with the potential for higher returns may expose you to more risk, so take this into account when making your decision.

Other points to consider

While evaluating the opportunity cost is important, you'll also need to weigh many other factors. The following list of questions may help you decide which option is best for you.

  • What's your mortgage interest rate? The lower the rate on your mortgage, the greater the potential to receive a better return through investing.
  • Do you work with an advisor? What is the cost of investing? Could there be a potential conflict of interest if you are advised against paying off your mortgage?
  • How long do you plan to stay in your home? The main benefit of prepaying your mortgage is the amount of interest you save over the long term; if you plan to move soon, there's less value in putting more money toward your mortgage.
  • Do you have an emergency account to cover unexpected expenses? And keep in mind that if your financial circumstances change - if you lose your job or suffer a disability, you may have more trouble borrowing against your home equity.
  • How comfortable are you with debt? If you worry endlessly about it, give the emotional benefits of paying off your mortgage extra consideration.
At Total Wealth Planning we help our clients every day answer these important and at times stressful questions. Who's helping you?

Financial planning is complex and requires the guidance of a trusted and experienced advisor, such as a fee-only Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), who plans comprehensively, and with a complete understanding of your particular concerns and goals in life.  For more information about the financial planning strategies we utilize, please visit us at or contact directly Rob Lemmons, CPA, CFP® at 513-984-6696.

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Our investment management process is focused on helping you maintain financial stability, preventing mistakes and accomplishing your investment objectives. We don’t just focus on market performance or predictions. We focus on what performance means and how it impacts your long-term goals. It starts with returns, but it is about making life decisions. Working together, you gain a degree of confidence when uncertain times come.

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We help you determine how long to work and when to retire to continue your lifestyle. We analyze when and how to take money from your portfolio to replace your paycheck, with an eye on tax efficiency, spending, healthcare and social security maximization. We address the primary concern of having your money last for the rest of your life.

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Our comprehensive planning focuses on real life. It’s putting a date to your goals and steering your life based on analysis, giving you choices and alternatives. You gain the ability to see how reachable your goals are. It starts with getting to know you and the way you want things done to fulfill your needs. We take into consideration your family and all the secondary factors that go into a comprehensive financial plan.

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Total Wealth Planning’s team of Certified Financial Planners® are here to listen to you and your questions. We never want you to feel rushed. The real benefit is having a road map to help ensure the key elements of your financial life are in order.

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4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 160, Cincinnati, OH 45241 4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 160, Cincinnati, OH 45241
513-984-6696 513-984-6696
Don't let your small business distract you from your own finances
Tuesday, February 16, 2021


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