So over the last week or so I've gotten really excited about a new strategy that I can use to reach my ultimate financial goal: to payoff the mortgage. When I first got my mortgage I thought I would pre-pay in order to shave years and interest off the mortgage. So I set up auto pre-pay of $500 a month, which essentially doubles my principal payment to about $1,000 a month. However, I also thought I would pre-pay a big lump sum each January post-bonus/end of year. The more I read and talked to my Learnvest adviser, the more I realized that pre-paying the mortgage is not actually the best strategy. Instead, I should invest the money. I like this idea because it gives me liquidity in case of an emergency. That said, I hadn't found a way to track how much I would need to save over how long a time period to reach this goal. Then this week on Mint.com I was like "wow, what if I just create a mortgage-payoff goal" which I did. I input my mortgage balance as the amount of $ I want to save for the goal and then I linked all of my non-retirement savings accounts to the goal. I have a balance of about $200K in those accounts. I've got about $329K to payoff on the mortgage. Hence I need to save about $129 to pay this off.
Then today I started thinking about the power of compounding, because this money is invested. Some in CDs, but some in my brokerage account. Sooooo this Mint goal isn't taking into account investment gains/interest. So with my planned monthly contributions and any investment gains/interest, I should be able to reach my goal a lot more quickly. I have a goal of 10 years right now, but when I play with savings calculators, I can possibly reach this goal in 5 years if I earn returns of 5%. Which is a little aggressive because some of this money is in CDs paying 2%.
Anyway, I just feel much more energized about my savings outside of retirement now, because I am saving for a purpose and each month I'll be able to see, thanks to Mint.com, exactly how much closer I am to reaching my goal.