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Creating Freedom Through Financial Independence


Pay Off Your Mortgage or Invest in Shares?

April 18, 2020

Updated: Original post: April 2020.

One of the biggest debates in all of finance is whether you should pay off your mortgage or invest in shares!

Both options have their pros and cons.

With record low interest rates, the numbers and trade-offs are a bit different than before.  But it’s not all about number crunching, there are other aspects to consider too..

On top of the mortgage vs investing debate, we’ll consider renting vs owning, and 6 mortgage strategies for optimising your cashflow.

Lots to cover, so let’s get started!


The current low interest rate environment.

Because of the economic fallout from the coronavirus, the Reserve Bank (RBA) cut interest rates effectively to zero.  Given the sluggish economy, rates were almost at zero anyway.

But this has effectively resulted in Aussie lenders coming out with unbelievably cheap mortgage rates at 2% or even less.  Often these loans are fixed rates, but there are plenty of variable rate loans which are priced around 2% as well!

Some banks are only offering the best rates to new customers, while others are for both new and existing customers.

The point is, however you slice it, interest rates are incredibly low!


Buying vs renting.

How does this change my thoughts on home ownership?

Well, with mortgage rates of 2%, buying a house looks much better than before!

Even adding 1% to 1.5% per year ownership costs (council, water rates, insurance, maintenance), plus allowing for buying/selling every 10 years, this brings the annual cost towards 4%, roughly in line with rental yields in most cities.

So for those who have the desire, and are in the position to, buying a home at current rates seems like a great deal.

The outcome is you’ll have a similar level of monthly cashflow as if you were renting, yet you have the security/stability of ownership.

That doesn’t mean everyone should buy.  It’s still a matter of preference and everyone’s situation is different.

But depending on your location, renting may no longer allow a higher savings rate compared to owning.


Paying off the mortgage vs investing when interest rates are low.

Because of the change in mortgage rates, this equation has also changed.

Just as before, any chunk of money used to pay down debt has a return equal to the interest rate.  It saves you from paying interest on that chunk of debt.

At the moment, that return might be in the region of 2-3%.  Whereas, investing in shares could give us a long term return of around 7%.

That’s a pretty decent margin – larger than before when mortgage rates were 4%.  The upside of paying off debt is, the return is tax-free.  Not only that, but it’s guaranteed.

On the other hand, the upside of investing is, a potentially much stronger long-term return.

Remember, only a small portion of the shares return is taxable.  The gains aren’t taxable until sale, and only a modest amount of tax on dividends is payable, thanks to franking credits on Aussie shares and lower dividends on global shares.

Some say that ultra-low mortgage rates mean you should take advantage by paying off your house and getting rid of your debt.

Others see it as the best time to NOT pay off your house, and instead, invest elsewhere for higher returns.

But whatever you felt when rates were 4% is probably still how you feel about the trade-off now.  Or maybe not… maybe your view has changed?


The importance of a great mortgage rate in this equation.

One of the best things any of us can do is nail down the best possible rate on any debt we have.

Even if you have zero borrowing power and no ability to switch lenders (that’s us), your bank doesn’t know that!  So get on the phone, tell them what rates are on offer elsewhere and kindly ask them what they can do for you.

We’ve done this recently and have managed to get some great discounts despite being in no position to refinance to another lender.

On one loan, we simply took a few minutes to ask for a better rate, and 0.10% was shaved off our rate with no changes required.

I know, that doesn’t sound like much.  But on $450k of debt, that’s $450 per year for 10 minutes work! 

Even if your variable rate is 2.7% and your loan is $400k.  Getting one of these fixed rates at 2% will still save you a massive $2,800 interest per year.

So make this your one and only job for the next week.  Chances are, you’ll be well compensated for your time!

If you really can’t be bothered, get a mortgage broker to do it for you!  What matters is that you do it 🙂


Personal considerations when deciding whether to pay off your mortgage or invest

As you’ll see below, there is no shortage of options.  So it’s really about choosing which one suits you best.

Higher income earners might opt to pay off their house sooner.  Mortgage interest savings are tax-free, yet their investments are likely to be taxed at a high rate.

Lower income earners may lean more towards investing, as the higher potential returns may be more valuable to them and investments won’t be taxed much (they may even receive tax refunds due to franking credits).

Of course, it’s also nice that mortgage savings are guaranteed.  During the pandemic, it became abundantly clear to many new investors that market gains are far from certain!

What the market giveth, the market can taketh away lol.


Mortgage vs investing – all or nothing?

Both are good options, so there is a natural urge to do a bit of each.  But I’m not really a fan of that approach.

As mentioned in my last article, paying off half your house and investing half as much can work against you when it comes to retiring early.

You have extra equity in your house, yes.  But in most cases, your mortgage payments are still just as much as before.

So I think to enter retirement with an optimised level of cashflow, an all-or-nothing approach makes sense.

In simple terms, this means maximising investments or eliminating the mortgage.  Both are possible though, as you’ll see below.  Anyway, here are 6 approaches that I can think of for achieving this.


6 mortgage strategies for optimising cashflow.

Option 1.  Pay off your mortgage ASAP.  Focus every dollar towards your mortgage, then start building your investments.  As an example, maybe you spend 5-7 years smashing the mortgage, then 5-7 years building your share portfolio.

Option 2.  Pay off your mortgage a bit quicker than normal, but invest regularly too.  Earlier, I said I don’t like this half-half approach.  BUT, if you time it so your mortgage is gone when you’re ready to retire, then that’s a big thumbs up.  Use an extra repayments calculator to work this out with your own timeframe.

Option 3.  Pay the bare minimum on your mortgage and direct every spare dollar towards investing.  Retire early with a mortgage which will continue to be paid off slowly over 30 years.

Option 4.  Same as above – bare minimum repayments, invest as much as possible.  Then, as you leave work, sell some investments to pay off the mortgage.

This way you benefit from your money working harder during your FI journey and then move into retirement debt-free.

Option 5.  Pay interest-only on your mortgage, and put savings into a linked offset account, while also investing.

This means less cash invested than the above options, but putting savings into the offset account will reduce future repayments, thereby improving your cashflow.  This option means you’ll need to refinance every 5 years to a new interest-only term.

After leaving work, this probably won’t be feasible, at which point you’ll need to start paying principal & interest, or pay the loan off completely with your offset account/investments.  (Thanks to reader ‘Hugo’ for reminding me of this strategy!)

Now it’s time for the sixth option, which almost feels like a magic trick!


Option 6 – The magic mortgage solution for maximum cashflow

The idea here is, you make bare minimum repayments – whether interest-only or P&I, plus you refinance to a longer loan term every couple of years to minimise repayments and maximise cashflow.

Then, do this one final time just before leaving work.  Here’s why…

Take a 30 year loan of $400,000 at 3% interest rate.  Your repayments are $1,686 per month, or $20,232 per year.  (By the way, for this example I’m using this loan calculator).

Say you’ve been making regular repayments while building your investments.  Now, after 10 years of hardcore saving, you’re ready to leave work.  Your loan balance is now around $300,000.

Your repayments are still $1,686 per month assuming the same interest rate, and your loan will have 20 years to go.  But let’s say you refinance to a fresh 30 year loan.

Now, your repayments on the remaining $300,000 loan will be $1,265 per month, or $15,180 per year.

You just lowered your housing costs by a whopping $5,000 per year! 

Your house is still being paid off over time, but now your cashflow is much improved as you move into early retirement. 

To be clear, this is the same as having an extra $125,000 of investments paying you 4% per year.

You haven’t bought anything, sold anything, nor is there any tax to pay or anything complex to manage.  All you’ve done is stretched out your loan.

Not only do the above strategies maximise your cashflow, but it also gives you more flexibility.  Just because you set up your loan to have the smallest repayment possible, doesn’t mean you can’t decide to pay extra or pay it off much sooner than planned.


My personal take

Just as before, I lean towards investing rather than paying down debt.  I’d also refinance to a super-low rate and a longer loan term if possible.

If I was just starting out, I’d probably buy a place at current ultra-low interest rates.  But only if it was clear we’d like to stay there for ten years.  The costs of buying and selling are just too high otherwise.

Considering the above options, the goal would be to minimise repayments to create more available cash for investing, while retaining the benefits of home ownership.  We’d also consider debt recycling, of course.


Final verdict: Pay off the mortgage or invest?

It doesn’t matter how you choose to approach the whole mortgage vs investing trade-off.

But right now is an incredible time to re-examine your housing costs, nail down a crazy cheap interest rate, and maximise your cashflow.

And if you’re heading towards the end of your FI journey, make sure you don’t get stuck in no-man’s-land with a half-paid off house.

Either pay it off by the time you retire, or refinance and make those repayments as low as possible.  Both methods go a long way to optimising your cashflow and flexibility for early retirement.

What do you think about this topic?  Share your thoughts in the comments below…

Recommendation:  If you want help getting a better mortgage rate or finding a good lender for your situation, check out my personal mortgage broker More Than Mortgages.  I’ve worked with Deanna and her team for years and they’ve been fantastic.

Note: this blog may receive a small referral fee if you use MTM.  I only ever recommend things I use myself and genuinely believe in.


50 Replies to “Pay Off Your Mortgage or Invest in Shares?”

  1. Hi Dave

    Thank you for your thoughts on this old topic in this new environment. Agree that there are many options.

    I want to ask you about the feasiblity of option 6 -refinancing to longer term loan on retirement. I would have thought that the banks would refuse to refinance to a new 30 year loan if the person is leaving work at age 50. The stricter lending criteria would lead them to question how the 50 year old could possibly deal with a 30 year loan?

    The other question I have is that on the corollary if one owns the house outright – given the low interest rates – would you recommend taking out a mortgage on the house at 2.5% fixed for three years and chuck the whole lot immediately into a mixture of AFI/BKI/MLT and received a dividend yield of 4.2%, hopefully sustained.

    Would appreciate your thoughts on both of the above

    1. Yes it definitely depends on age Ken. If aged in mid 40s or later it would obviously be a bit harder than if younger. But if you can show/explain to the banks what your plan is for paying it off over that time, it shouldn’t be a problem. You could point to being able to pay it off comfortably with an investment portfolio or super over the timeframe.

      Second question is very personal. For many people, no that won’t be the right idea because it will stress them out, they’ll worry about cashflow/dividend cuts/rate increases/volatility/having debt on their house again. But for someone who can comfortably afford to do that and has the mentality and stomach to stick with it when things don’t seem to be going well, then it can definitely work well if the debt is kept modest. But it’s not a license to print money as some assume – very dependant on the individual.

    2. Great question Ken! We are currently asking the same thing. We haven’t technically paid off our house, but we have enough in the offset account to pay it off. We’re looking at restructuring our loan to retain a smallish portion with an offset account as back up emergency funds (at a low interest rate should we ever need to buy a car or something – we’ll probably never need it but it’s for my peace of mind) and convert the rest to a line of credit which can can draw down on to purchase some shares as the interest would then be tax deductible.
      We’re a bit concerned that the returns might not be worth the risk, but overall we think it’s a reasonable strategy to get more $$$ into the share market sooner. Time in the market and all that. We wouldn’t draw down more than we’re comfortable repaying. Any thoughts/concerns with our strategy?

    3. If you fill a bath up without the plug in, you will waste more water and it will probably take longer than if it were plugged first – which is why I am all for option 1, so simple, once you have plugged your homeloan, you will have all that extra cash to catch up on your investing. But as you said, no order is wrong.

  2. Thanks for another great article Dave.

    I think the power of compound interest (of the sharemarket) beats out to smashing out the mortgage and trying to catch up on ‘lost’ investment time. Thats for my situation anyway, as you state everyone circumstances are different.

    I use the money smart compound interest calculator ( which has a handy ‘Alternative Strategy’ to see how much growth you may be missing out on if you delay your start a few years.

  3. Like everyone, I get a real thrill seeing my mortgage balance and interest paid shrink each month. I also like the inverse effect of buying dividend stocks and seeing the snowball grow.

    Any time I get a dividend now, I use it as an extra repayment on the mortgage which doubles as the emergency fund.

    Now I get two warm fuzzies when I update my spreadsheets each month.

  4. Thanks for another great article and for the shout out Dave.

    As you mentioned we’re doing option 5, but with debt recycling. I.e Paying absolute minimum in principal repayments on all our loans (3/4 are IO). I don’t see the point in letting the bank have control of our money any sooner than absolutely necessary (keeping in mind rate penalties for going IO, and fees with offsets).

    We build the offset with all incoming cash (dividends, rent and wages), and then invest at a 30:70 offset cash:shares ratio (this is an idea I got from Pete Wargent – thanks for getting me onto his great blog). Doing this happened to work very well this year as we were forced to rebalance part of our portfolio out of VGS at the market peak, and back in near what has so far been the bottom. Forced sell high, buy low but without emotion.

    1. No worries Hugo, it’s great to have switched on readers like yourself to bring up points that I miss!

      Yeah I’m with you on having control over as many accessible dollars as possible, rather than having it effectively shut off via principal repayments. I think people mellow on this approach as wealth grows – having $500k tied up unproductively in a paid off house if total net worth is $3m+ will probably fall into the ‘who cares’ bucket for most haha.

      Interesting approach – rebalancing definitely worked wonders there!

  5. Great article Dave.

    I like option 6. A good strategy to reduce expenses right before retirement if needed.

    I was wondering what you would recommend for someone who has there emergency fund in an offset account on their PPOR. I am considering locking in one of those rates above at 2.29% however I would no longer have my emergency fund earning a tax free 2.8% (my current home loan rate)

    Current online savers are sitting around 1.7% and my tax rate is 37%. (hence effective rate about 1.1%)

    Do you know of any resources that may help me figure this out?


    1. Cheers Phil. This is an interesting question.

      I think it depends how much the loan balance is vs the offset. I don’t have any resources/fancy calculators, just some simple maths will do the job…

      If there’s $50k in the offset and you switch to the lower rate loan, you’ll then only earn 1.1% instead of 2.8%, missing out on $850 per year ($50k x difference in rate of 1.7%). And if your loan is $300k and your rate drops from 2.8% to 2.3%, you’ll save $1500 per year ($300k x difference in rate of 0.5%). Therefore in this case you’d still be better off by $650 per year overall for switching.

      Hope this makes sense. Let me know if you need a hand calculating it.

      Keep in mind, some banks still allow partial offset even with a fixed rate loan. I currently have a fixed rate loan with Bankwest which allows 40% offset.

      1. Thanks very much for the detailed reply Dave.

        I am going to look into see if they can just fix a portion of the loan next week.

        With your calculations. I was having a look at the money smart home loan calculator with your above example.
        $300k @ 2.8% = $1233p/m = $14,796p/y
        $300k @ 2.3% = $1154p/m = $13,848p/y
        Difference = $948 p/y

        I get what you are saying with regards to the 0.5% saving equates to $1500 with respect to $300k however the figures done match up with the home loan calculators.

        Am I missing something?

        Thanks, Phil

        1. The reason the figures don’t line up is the loan repayments include Principal payments as well over a long timeframe. But in this case, you simply want to know how much interest you’ll be saving and the tradeoff between your offset and getting a lower rate. That’s why strictly looking at the pure interest savings is the most helpful way to calculate it vs repayments 🙂

          1. Interesting.. I am learning alot about how home loans work.. Thank you very much for your help. I still need to do some research to understand it entirely however I trust what you are saying. Keep up the good work 🙂

        2. I’ve recently fixed a few of my loans in the low 2s, but I had one loan split and kept $100k variable. This split has a higher rate but I kept my full offset which cancels out almost all interest on it.

          The best of worlds.

      2. Hi Dave, with this calc of my effective rate of money earnt in my offset account.
        Would I need to include my effective tax rate?
        I.e. difference in rate plus 38%?
        Hence really I am missing out on 1.7% x 1.38 = 2.46%
        2.46% x 50k = $1230
        Hence saving is only $270 per year.

        1. Depends how you want to calculate it, but basically yeah it’s not a huge saving. I don’t add the tax rate on top to ‘gross up’ the numbers, instead I look at ‘after tax’ numbers as it’s more in line with your actual cash return. So paying down your mortgage, your after-tax total return is equal to the mortgage rate = 1.7% in this case it sounds like. If you can invest and achieve a higher after-tax total return than this, then it’s probably worth considering. Depends on other factors tho as discussed in the article.

  6. 3 years 8 months until DEBT FREEE!! Then looking forward to pushing all the loan and extra repayments into investing while also being less stressed knowing that our family could easily live off 50% of my wage. I will be 34 by then

    1. Haha that’s awesome!! How many 34 year olds have just saddled themselves with a whopping mortgage and will spend the next 30 years paying it off?!

      Having permanently lower expenses is about the most exciting thing about paying off the mortgage in my mind – love the thought of that. But then, maybe I’m irrationally attracted to lower expenses, like it’s a game lol.

  7. Even if Lics such as Milton cut its dividend by 20% and assume no dividend growth and no capital growth for the next decade… the strategy of using leverage at 3% to invest in shares still makes a lot of sense.

  8. Hi Dave,
    I have a variable home loan (2.59%) with U bank. My current loan amount is 376k which I can pay off within 5 years (with extra payments) and hold off investing until then. I will be 39 years by then. I started investing in Jan 2018 and reached about 50k in investments (paid more into mortgage in between to bring it down to 80%lvr to change banks). I was debating in my mind whether i should pay my mortgage off or invest with the lower interest rates now. Thank you for doing this article as it has given me more options to think now. And I am also thinking of det recycling too. Sorry I am a bit all over the place as I am quite naive about all this. But I love to read your articles as your way of writing makes it quite simple to understand.

    1. Hey Minu 🙂

      Great to hear this article (and others) has been helpful for you. Keep reading and you’ll eventually decide on an option that feels right for you. Nice work on lowering your LVR to switch banks and nail down a fantastic rate, very savvy!

  9. Hi Dave,

    Awesome post. Struggling with some basic maths here! Trying to workout if breaking my current fixed is worth it…

    Bankwest break fee is approx $3000 (when I enquired). Moving a balance of $294,000 to 2.9% variable. Trying to work out if over the next year (how long fixed we have left) if it’s worth it….or stay fixed contributing $10,000 additional this year (allowed with bankwest)


    1. Thanks Mark!

      It all depends on what your current rate is? If the current rate is higher than 3.9% you’ll be better off ($300k x 1% rate difference = $3k interest in one year). Hope that helps.

      Curious, why are you switching to variable? Couldn’t you also switch to a lower fixed rate as mentioned in the post?

  10. Is there any way of saying to a bank: “I’m thinking of moving my home loan to be with you guys, but am baulking due to the costs of breaking at the other bank… any chance you could cover this for me?”. I’d be trying that all over town at the moment.

    My house is paid off, with $400k or so sitting in offset getting slowly depleted every fortnight for payments. The way things are now, I’m happy to have this cash buffer working for me but ready to use for whatever’s needed. In absolutely no rush to lose control over that by putting it in shares or anything else in case shit goes even further south virus-wise.

    1. Fair enough Chris. I don’t think you’ll be running out of cash anytime soon 😉

      On your question… maybe. A number of banks are offering a switching bonus of a few grand if you refinance to them, so that’s a similar thing I suppose?

  11. Kills me seeing these low interest rates for the past 12 months. I rang the bank months ago asking them what the options were to break the 5 year fixed term I had with them (80% fixed at 3.99%). I bought with a deposit just over 10% over 2 years ago so don’t really feel like I have much power to negotiate. They told me something close to $20,000 to end it I think and I just thought no way. I assumed that was something I would have to pay straight away and then after that I’d have the new rate, do I have it wrong?

    1. Yeah the banks typically require the break fees to be paid in cash straight away, that’s been my experience anyway. It’s really incredible to see how low rates are now. Even though it’s painful, at least you’ve got some certainty over cashflow which was probably one of the appealing features when you were fixing, and it’s not forever…

  12. Hello Dave, you have raised some worthwhile info. However, whilst fixed interest rates are now low eg in the ‘2s’ – these rates from many of the banks you quoted are not the comparison rate… the comparison rate actually jumps up into the ‘4s’ (once fees are applied). I know this because last Friday I did some ringing around banks to find a cheaper interest rate mortgage. The variable rate of some banks actually worked out cheaper than the fixed-interest-comparison-rate mortgage plans. But overall, I agree with your philosophy of paying off a mortgage asap.

    1. Fair point KL. I did note in the article that many come with fees attached, which is where the comparison rate comes from. Also, the comparison rate isn’t all that useful either in many cases – it’s typically based on an arbitrary number like $100k and over 25 years or something. Most people have much larger loans so the actual rate is much lower than the comparison rate they’d be looking at. But yes, important to check fees!

  13. Hey Dave,

    Another great post, as usual, good on you mate!

    Me and my wife, both 34, have 120k in shares – 20% intl and 80% aussie (LICs and VAS) – and a long way to go.
    We wonder what are your thoughts, pros and cons, on reaching FIRE without buying a place, perhaps only buying one afterwards or when we are about to retire already?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Thanks Marcus!
      I’m gonna write about this soon, as there’s a lot of points to be made. So, stay tuned! But in general, there’s no requirement to own a house heading into early retirement. There is some positives in doing so, but waiting until the end point or renting is also fine (we’re renting right now and quite enjoying it).

  14. Great post!

    We refixed our loan for three years last June so we called the bank to find out the break costs and they said it will take 5 business days to calculate and then they’ll email me. Sounds like a nice excuse for them to keep getting a higher interest rate for a week. But we should be able to refix quite cheap – my bank (teachers mutual) is currently offering 2.14% fixed for 3 years which is an absolute steal.

    We’re on the buy side of the rent vs buy equation but we live in Sydney so buying is extremely expensive. We currently live a unit about 40 km from the CBD but would like to move into a stand alone home that is closer to family – which looks like we will have to spend $1 million. The plan is to save hard, smash out our current mortgage and then go in with at least a 50% deposit on the next place so that repayments are manageable.

    Of course, now is also an excellent time to continue to DCA into the sharemarket as our economy isn’t going to recover any time soon and shares are on sale. We’ve been doing a lot of calculations to figure out the balance between additional mortgage payments and share purchases but it’s looking like we will do about a 2:1 split (mortgage:shares). That will pay the loan off in the next 4 years.

  15. SMA
    Interest rates for Property Investors are still shite though, especially when you cant change to another bank (i.e. Perth has been smashed) higher rates for being an investor and as qequity takes a hit you can’t refinance
    The rates you posted, I’d take any in a heartbeat..

    AMP – 2.39% fixed for 2 years.
    Bankwest – 2.33% fixed for 3 years.
    Macquarie – 2.39% fixed for 1-3 years.
    ANZ – 2.19% fixed for 2 years.
    Virgin Money – 2.29% fixed for 2 years.
    Commonwealth – 2.29% fixed for 1-3 years.
    Ubank – 2.29% fixed for 3 years.
    HSBC – 2.25% fixed for 1-3 years.

    Have been on the phone, the bank will do 2/5th’s of F All

    1. Hey Baz. Yeah no question, the rates aren’t as good for investors. But I’ve got the following…

      3.14% variable, Macquarie P&I.
      2.79% fixed, AMP P&I.
      (sadly also have 3.54% fixed with Bankwest too).

      At a rough guess, there should be options available at something close to 3% which isn’t too bad. Depends on the bank tho.

  16. Hello Dave, thank you for your post, I just started listening to your podcast yesterday and today i was reading an article on Firstlinks saying that investment return would only be 2% so I wanted to know whether i should payoff my mortgage or investing and i ended up on your blog + realize that you were the podcast man + also noticed you are from Perth too! finally a bit of west coast FI! hehe.

    I was wondering if you could give me your opinion about my situation.

    I have just discovered the FIRE community, my initial thought was to do debt recycling with my current mortgage , and use it to invest in ETF. But after i read that article with expected low investment return, i am wondering i should just pay off my mortgage instead. I have mortgage of $215K at 3.17% with offset of 195K so I only have $20k to go (which i should be able to repay by the end of this year if I don’t invest). it is a 30y loan and I am on my 5th year.

    Do you think I should focus on just repaying the mortgage and not refinance the mortgage because the cost of lower interest rate doesn’t offset the fees for refinancing (i am worried i will miss out on the lower cost of shares because the Aussie market seems to go up & up); or

    Refinance my mortgage at a lower %, repay the minimum each month but invest $3000-$5000 monthly (which mean that my mortgage balance will increase over time as I am using some money in my current offset balance to fund the investment -using debt recycling).

    or perhaps you think i should do something completly different?

    thank you again for your post and hope to hear from you soon.

  17. Hi Dave.
    I just discovered your blog. It’s awesome.

    I just wanted to ask that I’m in my 40s and that my Home is paid off. However I have a Commercial Property that has 380k owing on it with the value of 800k that is currently paying interest only (tenanted). Also there is a bit of savings in the bank.

    What do you think would be a wise option:
    – Invest in another property via my self-managed super?
    – Or Start to build my share portfolio?



    1. Hey Sonny, thanks and welcome! It’s totally up to you of course. But for me personally, I wouldn’t add more property to the mix if I already had mostly property already. I would start building up shares to diversify a bit and build a second passive income source.

  18. Just some food for thought. One variable to consider is security of employment. I’m in favour of investing simultaneously whilst paying down a mortgage but only when I can project that my mortgage is under a 10 year time frame to payout with current extra repayments. Establishing a small portfolio of shares initially with the view to top up periodically is a good idea providing there is a higher priority to continue to reduce your mortgage at a decent rate. The closer you get to a payout date the more you can direct money to topping up your established stocks. Something to consider is once you payout a mortgage you relinquish all your available redraw in order to payout the loan so I’d consider using a chunk of the advanced repayments to inject into a portfolio once I get down my final year of paying out the loan then pay down the mortgage balance as quick as you can..

  19. Hi Dave,

    I’m a 38-year-old single woman who is only just learning about FIRE so I’m a bit late to this post. I’m weighing up how to approach my finances going forward. I’ve got a large mortgage on a unit a Melbourne. I’ve looked into selling, renting or downsizing but with low interest rates, I think I’m better off keeping my current residence.

    I’ve refinanced my home loan to a fantastic rate which enables me to pay an extra $1000 a month off the mortgage. Despite this, option 1 will take another 16 years to pay off the loan.
    Am I better to pay off the minimal P&I (and keep a 30 year mortgage) and divert $1000 a month into shares? I have about $60,000 in my offset account so I could put an initial investment of $10,000 into shares but I’d prefer to keep some cash for security.

    I don’t have a timeframe for retirement, just keen to be financially secure for my future.

    1. Hey Ally. First, great job on the mortgage rate and taking charge of your situation – most people never do!

      As for which option is best, it depends which one excited you the most and which one you’re more comfortable with. The chances are you will earn a higher return investing in shares, but if you find being mortgage free extremely motivating, then you’re probably better off focusing all your energy on that. With some effort, I’m sure you could be mortgage free well before age 50.

      The single biggest thing you can do to build a financially secure future is to increase how much you save. This gives you more firepower to reduce debt and build investments. Search around this site for ideas, otherwise this PDF guide I recently made might help –

  20. Hey Dave,
    Enjoying listening to the podcast and reading your articles. Mentally, this is just starting to click for me after listening to various finance gurus talk on the subject, so thank you!

    One question! I’m at least a few years off purchasing a house (I’m already 32, silly me!) but the NAB equity builder team have told me I’m a month away from my number being up on the the waiting list after I applied many months ago:
    Do you think it would be smart to try and get a modest investment loan through Equity Builder (Borrow 10k for VAS/VGS/VEU against the current 10k I already have, so its a low LVR) and increase it as I pay it off etc to kick start investing and then combine that with more shares eventually if I get into a house and can get a loan split/line of credit as you describe, OR:

    Would I be wiser to just throwing all my cash at a deposit so I can get in to a house (to live in, not investment property) and get to the debt recycling part sooner, and without any debt from an existing P&I loan such as Equity Builder?

    Thanks mate!

    1. Cheers Matt, great to hear the content has been helpful!

      I wouldn’t bother with the loan to be honest. The extra gains after interest is not worth the risk of not being able to buy your house when you want to if the sharemarket happens to be down at that time – your time-frame is just too short for it to be worth it. Pile up that cash in a savings account so you can carry out your plans exactly when you want to.

    1. Great question. At this point I think there’s no clear winner going by the numbers, so it’s really just personal preference.

      Would you rather pay off your mortgage sooner or have more investments? That’s about all there is to it. You could also do both via debt recycling, but that adds a bit of complexity.

  21. So interesting to read this now with current mortgage rates – seems crazy to buy a house right now?

    1. Well it depends. Mortgage rates won’t always be this high, yet when they come down prices will likely already be higher. So it’s often a catch 22. I would still buy if I wanted to and could afford it, rather than wait for a specific set of circumstances in the future which may not eventuate. But if one is happy renting, then carry on 🙂

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