January 27, 2007 at 2:39 AM #8281Here for the rideParticipant
I, like most of us on the board think housing will fall 30-50% after the show is all said and done. I’d be looking at a home in the $300k range, making it possible for this 29 yr old working class stiff to pay cash in 2-3 yrs.
The satisfaction of not having a mortgage would more than make up for the time me and the wife have been sitting patiently on the side lines.
Here’s the skinny. $100k sitting liquid in a FDIC insured saving account making 5.05%. Another $130K total sitting in multiple IRA’s and 401k’s that I’m seriously considering pulling out and using towards our first home. I’ve come up with a couple of advantages and disadvantages for paying cash. I’m looking for other opinions, insights, and things I haven’t considered from the piggington folks…January 27, 2007 at 3:16 AM #44274Here for the rideParticipant
There is a first time home buyer exclusion that would spare us from the 10% penalty of yanking the retirement funds, but I’d still be paying 30%+ in income tax that year. (I actually ran some #’s the last couple of yrs and decided it was best to have the wife stay at home and help full time with our start up. Her whole income was going towards paying our income tax for the year by working outside the home. She wasn’t to upset about the dilemma… Basically 30% isn’t anything new, but we could avoid it if we’re in a lower income tax bracket when we’re 60 and pull the 401k then.)
Return on Investments in the market may be bleak:
I feel the stock market is ready for a down turn. Along with high p/e ratio over all, I feel the market has another debt to pay. Boomers are soon to be retiring in a big wave 3-10 yrs out, and their going to be pulling their retirement funds to live on. This is going to be a huge tax on the market when you guys begin to collect on your earnings. I’m hard pressed to find a safe haven for my $. This pushes me to invest in a safe bet like paying off the mortgage and saving 5-7% in interest guaranteed. Essentially a 5-7% risk free return.
Loss of potential gain if the market changes:
If I have the $ wrapped up in the house, it would be very ill liquid if I the stock market took a big upswing. But, now that I wrote that, I realize I’m a 1st mortgage/Refi away from liquidity. Boy that sounds stupid. Take $ out of my home to play the market?
Our first House warming party AND mortgage burning party on the same day. OOH the dream. I could consider doing something else with life at 33. No more employment with the main goal of maximizing income.
Employment free of worry with the possibility of a better quality of life:
I honestly feel I may be able to make more doing something else but I don’t want to risk my income to find out. I think I could do it in a field that I have a passion for. W/O a debt load I could have the luxury of a long leave of absence in the hopes of coming up with “something better.” It sound a bit “dreamy” but I think I could find a way to “work smarter not harder” if I had the time to play with a couple of ideas. If nothing stuck in a year I wouldn’t have to worry about a year of lost earnings.
Give me some other insights, or tell me to quit bragging and go away…January 27, 2007 at 5:10 AM #44275BubblesitterParticipant
Raiding the 401K is generally not a good idea. With taxes and early withdraw penalty you wouldn’t even clear you 100k out of 130K. 401K loans are also generally a bad idea, with compounding effects you stand to lose out years down the road. Are you counting on a company pension, social security to keep you solvent in your golden years? I personally don’t want to be eating cat food in a run down 1 BR apt with loud neighbors upstairs keeping me up at night. At 29, you have done a great job at retirement savings. I don’t know too many 29yr olds who have a decent retirement fund started.
Paying all cash (or very large down payment) will have its benefits 2-3 years down the road. Who knows where interest rates will be. We are still near historic lows. As the cost of borrowing (interest rates) go up and credit standards tighten, housing pricing will likely take a further hit.
There is nothing wrong with having a mortgage. There are good mortgages and bad. Just get one that is affordable and un-creative. Personally I don’t like interest rate risk on mortgages so I prefer a 30 year fixed. Last house I had was 30 year fixed, but I only kept it for 6 years. In hindsight, a 7 year ARM may have been better idea, but again I don’t like interest rate risk. We may be seeing large rate increases and bouts of severe inflation in coming years. Those who locked in low rates with 30 year fixed will be happy they did. Those with ARMS will be waiting with dread for their resets, unable to refinance into 30 yr fixed due to drops in their house value.January 27, 2007 at 8:00 AM #44277blahblahblahParticipant
Tried turning off the bold but no dice. I guess this will just have to be a “shouting” thread…January 27, 2007 at 9:13 AM #44280BugsParticipant
The financial guys would probably tell you that parking all that cash in a house does away with your leverage of it. However, at 29 you’ll have plenty of opportunity to make more money for investment purposes.
The freedom to pursue your career goals without having to sweat a large housing expense could have a huge payday. If you have the freedom to focus on something you like it’s more likely you’ll excell at it and rise to the top. You can take more risks because they aren’t as risky for you.
Besides, life is about living.January 27, 2007 at 10:02 AM #44283adminKeymaster
Tried turning off the bold but no dice.
I went in and closed the tag on the original post so the boldness is fixed — thanks for trying to help, Concho.January 27, 2007 at 12:24 PM #44286SD RealtorParticipant
Here for the ride it sounds like you have it pretty well thought out. I am not a fan of raiding pretty much the last bastion of tax deferred investment vehicles that the government lets us have (IRA and 401K). So my opinion is that I wouldn’t raid those funds but you have some valid points about not having a mortgage. Just consider that the first time buyer usually does not stay in the same home for more then 6-7 years. So your decision to tie all that money up in your home is something that personally I would not do but that is only me. I guess I am puzzled at why you couldn’t rent (using you non IRA savings) and try the other profession or field that you could make more money in to see how things work out? I know the renting lifestyle blows (being a fellow renter) and my wife is very much fed up with it. The quality of life with homeownership I think is a factor that is overlooked on this board.
You are young and you have alot of things ahead of you so do what suits you best.January 27, 2007 at 11:40 PM #44297cashmanParticipant
At your age, I was facing a similar situation. I had enough saved up from my business to pay cash for a custom home I had built in Diamond Bar. This was in 1988, and it cost me $435K. I was debating whether or not to pay all cash, which was mostly all my savings, or to finance a part of it. I decided to pay all cash, and I never looked back. The feeling of having no house payments at 30 years old was indescribable. I felt free. Really free. Six years later, the average holding period as SD Realtor says, I bought another home, again for cash, this time $1.275M. In late 2005, I sold that house for $2.0M and put the cash in the bank, as fast as I could! I am now renting. Get the point? I believe I was able to do this primarily due to all the interest I saved by not having a mortgage. I believe in cash. In God We Trust, all others should pay CASH!January 28, 2007 at 9:40 AM #44301DCRogersParticipant
The primary concern I would have is that you are taking a collection of diversified assets and betting them all on a single asset class. Whatever the "X" stands for in the sentence: "I'm taking all my cash, IRAs, and 401k accounts and putting it all into X" is a guarantee you're about to embark on the financial version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. The first principle of asset management is avoidance of concentrated risk.
Whether you should liquidate your retirement accounts to avoid a mortgage is a separable issue. Consider this, equivalent, situation: you own a house outright, and have a chance to take a 100K mortgage loan, have to government top it up, gratis, by 28% or so (insert your tax rate here); you can invest it in an account that protects it from all taxes for 30 years. Oh, and the government subsidizes your (30-year fixed!) loan, too, so the effective fixed rate is 4% rather than 6%.
Gotta get me some of that!January 28, 2007 at 9:44 AM #44300greekfireParticipant
We should talk sometime. I started my own small business about 3 years ago and might have some pointers for you. I am no expert in any one facet of finance, taxes, or real estate, but I have picked up some tidbits here and there. One big benefit is to incorporate your business. The tax benefits can be substantial…especially with things like vehicles, mileage, computers, etc.
I took more of a do-it-yourself approach to my start-up. I sat down and tried the whole business plan thing, but it just did not work for me. I think the business plans help provide some structure, but are mostly if you are looking to get a bank loan or other capital investment. Work on building your network now. And you might want to consider speaking to financial planning and tax specialists. They keep up with the latest laws and regulations, so you know you are getting current advice and not doing anything wrong. Rich (webmaster) and his associates are a good objective resource. I am sure there are many others out there as well…maybe even on this forum. PS: I am not affiliated with Rich’s company.January 28, 2007 at 2:07 PM #44309Chance the GardenerParticipant
I also have an aversion to debt. I pay cash for cars… and I try to buy ones I can keep for 7 years. I pay off my credit cards every month. And I take the money I save on interest and put it toward retirement. I’m sitting on a healthy bundle of cash, yet when it comes time to buy a place I probably won’t use all of it on the down-payment.
I like the security of having liquid assets. It makes me feel like my wife and I work each day at our own whim. If either of us feels compelled to quit on principle, we’ve got cash to cover us until we find something else. Saving for retirement helps me to remember that I won’t always have to work. There’s a future out there where every day feels like Saturday.
If I could get in the Delorian an go back to 29 y/o, I would have saved more. These are just my ideals. Don’t think of that 130k in retirement savings in today’s terms… think of it in terms of what it will be worth when you are sick of working. Don’t bet that your house will pay for your retirement. It’s hard to spin downsizing as anything but depressing. If you’re worried about a stock market downturn, then put your money where you think the boomers are going. They certainly aren’t going to be buying $300k starter homes.
For what it is worth, here’s my advice. When its the right time to buy, put down as much cash as you have on hand while maintaining a liquid amount to make up for a year’s income. Finance the rest with a fixed 15 year mortgage… you can burn that mortgage on your 45th b-day! Keep contributing as much as you possibly can to your 401k. Live within your means and teach everyone around you how rewarding that can be. You’ll know the the time is right when prices fall and interest is such that you can comfortably make the payment on that mortgage out of 30% of your take home pay. Your take home pay will of course be lessened by your $15k/yr contributions to retirement.
You are way ahead of most people your age by even thinking critically about this stuff. Congratulations.January 28, 2007 at 5:08 PM #44312carlislematthewParticipant
I think some here forget the usefulness of HELOCs. If you pay all cash for your house, but are worred about the lack of liquidity (need my cash, NOW!) then just get a HUGE line of credit on your house. This is your emergency fund. You won’t pay interest because you WILL NOT put a balance on it.
Then, if you ever need the cash or lose a job, then the house equity is there to save you, in cash, today.
Don’t wait until you lose your job before you go for the HELOC – you might not qualify. Oh, and don’t get the HELOC if you’re not certain you’ll leave it alone.January 28, 2007 at 7:25 PM #44315nooneParticipant
There is a first time home buyer exclusion that would spare us from the 10% penalty of yanking the retirement funds
Are you sure about this? I know that Roth IRAs allow you to pull out money for use in purchasing your first home, as long as you’ve had the account for 5 years or more, but I’ve not heard of a similar exclusion for 401k accounts. If you are sure, would you happen to have links to more information about this? Thanks!
P.S. I would say go for it (if you’re sure about no tax penalties) Most people don’t even begin to save for retirement until they are in their 30s anyway. And not having a mortgage payment will allow you to dedicate more of your salary toward retirement.January 28, 2007 at 11:25 PM #44322RaybyrnesParticipant
There is a pretty good article in newsweek that takes an opposing view to many on this trhread. It gives an example of paying cash vs using a loan. Not surprisingly the benefit of having cheap maney and investing the difference comes out far ahead. Additioanlly buy locking in cheap money now you gaurantee your future liquidity. I would hate to see that 7 to 10 years from now something unforseen happens and now you ahve to tap the equity in your hmae and rather and having 6 % money to go to as is the case now you are looking at a 8 10 or who knows what type of interest rate invirenments. I would try and give it a read. Gives you the other side of the coin argument.January 29, 2007 at 12:32 AM #44324AnonymousGuest
Unfortunately not everyone has $435K lying around to pay a home in cash. Having that kind of money makes things alot easier and pretty much assures that most likely whatever you do, the money will make more of it.
Not to mention that after using up all your cash and ONLY 6 years later you can afford a home CASH 3 times as much?
Honestly, I don’t know many people who have the fortune of doing that and being that fortunate that things turned out that way.
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