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February 22, 2008


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I've never heard the impact of home equity as it relates to financial aid. I guess my kids are only 6 years old so I haven't done any aid based calcuations yet, but I probably should consider it since decisions today will impact us 12 years from now.

For the most part, I only recommend paying down your mortgage if you already have other signifant retirement assets. You don't want all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. If you home equity is a nice proportion of you overall net worth and not overly weight, go for it and pay that mortgage down.


Where we're seeing this potentially come into play is where you have relatively low income but decent assets. In our case, we're currently serving in nonprofit work with a fairly low income but have comparatively large assets from a previous career. We're not yet into the FAFSA thing with a child who is just a junior this year, but are on the edge trying to decide how to best manage this last year before we do file FAFSA. Move some cash out of the money market fund, sure. But do we put it into our house or into IRAs? We'll likley need some of that money to pay for college, but would like to have it not count too much against us as assets.

I have written many times that paying off one's mortgage can actually cost them more in the long run. As for the argument here that the mortgage prohibits financial aid, my point would be that you wouldn't need financial aid if you planned accordingly, got home you could "afford", and invested properly. Your last statement is right on target as well.

Sorry, I meant home eqiuty instead of mortgage in relation to qualifying for financial aid. My typing doesn't run as fast as my mind sometimes.

Just curious, how do you feel about an article written by Scott Burns about the benefits of paying off your mortgage?

There's nothing at that link but an error.

I believe there is a point where you would still be eligible for some need-based financial aid where you could still have enough money to sock into investments. I am not exactly certain how large of an income range that is though. It is something to think about though I believe nonetheless.

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