Why you shouldn’t keep a mortgage just for the tax deduction

This is a guest post from CJ at WiseMoneyMatters.com. This post represents CJ's viewpoints, which are not necessarily my viewpoints. (Although I, too, hope to pay off my mortgage early.)

Note: This is embarrassing. I don't think I've ever had a post with an error like this slip by me before. I apologize. I've removed the offending section, not out of any attempt at revisionism, but out of interest in accuracy. Please let me know if the piece is still mathematically unsound. (And a sincere “thank you” to those who caught the error!)

The other day, I was telling my wife's grandmother that we had sold our house. We are downsizing in order to eliminate our mortgage more quickly. It looks like we will have our mortgage completely paid off in three to five years, depending on when kids enter the scene. She gave me a speech about how our house is one of the only tax deductions we have, and how most accountants recommend you keep a mortgage payment for that reason.

I think this logic is misguided. Let me show you why.

The Standard Deduction

The 2009 standard deduction for married couples will be $11,400. That means in order to gain any benefit from tax deductions, your interest paid must exceed this number. In other words, you would have to pay $950 per month in mortgage interest (not principal) in order to see any tax benefit from your mortgage payment.

If you had a mortgage on a $200,000 house at 6.25%, you would be barely exceeding the standard deduction for the first few years, assuming the deduction never increases (which it usually does). After that, you would be better off taking the standard deduction assuming you receive no other deductions.

So, in reality, such a tax deduction would only be helpful in house purchases in which your mortgage is $200,000 or more. Anything else and it's almost pointless.

J.D.'s note: As I usually do with articles like this, I asked my accountant for feedback. His response was: “This article seems accurate, but the author makes the assumption that an individual will only have mortgage interest to deduct when comparing to the standard deduction. Other items that are deductible include state income taxes, property taxes, and charitable donations.”

He also added: “You should not look at the tax savings as the reason to purchase a home. It is only one component, and a minor one at that.” Basically, he agrees with CJ.

A Poor Trade

If you do itemize deductions, you're still paying more in interest than you'll save on taxes. This is the second thing that people overlook.

If you are paying over $11,400 in interest, that does not mean that you are paying $11,400 less in taxes. It means that $11,400 of your income is not counted as taxable income.

Let's say you're in the 25% tax bracket. If you pay $20,000 in mortgage interest, it will save you $5,000 in taxes. $20,000 of your income does not count towards taxes. Effectively, you are paying $15,000 to get your tax deduction. This is not the most financially sound advice I've ever heard. If you take such advice, I've got a really good deal. I will pay you $33 in exchange for $100. That's the same type of financial advice as someone telling you that keeping a mortgage is a good thing for tax reasons.

The Risk Factor

The final benefit to paying off your mortgage is that it reduces financial risk to yourself.

Keeping a mortgage payment (and especially a high mortgage payment) is risky. In the unfortunate circumstance that you lose your primary source of income, your largest “asset” can quickly turn into your largest liability. This is a big reason why so many people are facing foreclosure these days. They got into a mortgage payment they couldn't afford (or could barely afford) and all of a sudden when a small hiccup comes up in life, they are living on the street. Emergency funds are important to help offset these risks, but to truly eliminate the risk, you should pay off your mortgage.

I've heard of people who took out mortgages on their homes during the housing bubble so that they could invest the money in stocks. They argued that you get the tax benefit and stocks appreciate quicker than a house. As we can see now, this is an unwise financial decision. Sure, you could make lots of money. You could also make lots of money by winning the lottery, but that doesn't make it a wise retirement plan.

When it comes down to it, I would rather have the safety of knowing that if the economy crashed and I had to work at McDonald's for the rest of my life, I could still survive just fine with my current lifestyle.

Final Thoughts

While I know there are a lot of variables and other tax deductions I didn't cover here, I think it's safe to say that the old notion that keeping a mortgage simply for its tax benefits is not the best advice you can get. When it comes down to it, get the financial advice of a professional regarding your individual situation but don't simply take their word for it. Have them show you the numbers before you start throwing your money away. I'd argue that even if the numbers are close, the risk factor puts paying off the mortgage in a slightly better position than not.

I'd love to hear some comments or scenarios where keeping a mortgage is better than taking the standard deduction.

More about...Taxes, Home & Garden

Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others

Subscribe to the GRS Insider (FREE) and we’ll give you a copy of the Money Boss Manifesto (also FREE)

Yes! Sign up and get your free gift
Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others
guest
108 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Eric
Eric
11 years ago

I’m pretty sure those tax bracket calculations are completely wrong. $2 of income in a higher tax bracket does not equal >$7k in additional taxes unless that higher tax bracket is at 350000%. You don’t pay your marginal tax rate on all of your income, do you? What am I missing? I do agree with the main point in the article, paying a ton of interest just to save a little bit of tax is incredibly short-sighted and makes no financial sense. In any case, a mortgage should be evaluated on a big-picture basis, consider what else you could be… Read more »

Michele
Michele
11 years ago

I can think of a few reasons why having a mortgage is better. First, I think the interest deduction was created to increase home ownership. Therefore, when comparing rent to buying, $1400 in monthly rent is not as good at $1400 in a mortgage payment because of the interst deduction. Secondly, right now interest rates are very low. If you have extra money, you can pay off your low-rate mortgage, say 10 years early or you can invest it for 10 years. Well, over 10 years’ time you should be able to beat your low-interst, tax deductible mortgage rate. Third,… Read more »

Josh
Josh
11 years ago

As JD’s note’s from his accountant pointed out, this article ignores the fact that there are other itemized deductions that would be added with the mortgage interest. If you have $8,000 in itemized deductions before your mortgage interest, and then $11,000 in interest to add to it, all of a sudden you have almost $8,000 more than the standard deduction, which significantly alters the numbers you gave. While I agree with some of your points, I think some key aspects are left out of the equation. I don’t think it’s as simple as “you should always pay off your mortgage… Read more »

Brandon
Brandon
11 years ago

Like Eric said, the math is completely messed up in this post. The author assumes that you pay your highest tax bracket on 100% of your income, but that is not the case at all. Therefore, the cost of having a mortgage would be a lot more than he shows since the taxes without the mortgage would be lower. I agree with the thesis of the article “do not keep your mortgage only for tax benefits”, but that being said, Michele makes a ton of great points about the downsides of tying up money in your house. The one thing… Read more »

Four Pillars
Four Pillars
11 years ago

It appears to be an “American thing” to not want to pay down the mortgage asap. Admittedly most Canadian are just as bad as Americans about their finances in general but I’ve never heard of any kind of “I don’t want to pay down the mortgage” attitude here. This was quite interesting – the risk analysis was excellent. Unfortunately as Eric points out the math is wrong in the “tax bracket” section – the author has assumed the entire taxable income is taxable at the marginal rate. Michele – the author isn’t saying that paying off the mortgage will be… Read more »

Julie
Julie
11 years ago

This is one of the reasons I’m grateful to be living in Canada. Whenever I talk to people of my parent’s generation about the sub-prime crisis in the States, the first response is usually, “That won’t happen to us here because our mortgages aren’t tax-deductible.”

Whether it’s true that the crisis will pass us by or not, it does remove one level of complexity from our system. It also avoids the syndrome of “buy the biggest house you can afford” that seems to be all the rage in the States (or was, until the crisis hit).

Alison
Alison
11 years ago

We paid off our house 2 years ago (I had just turned 40, so we were relatively young when we achieved this). That was the last of our debt. I cannot express how nice it is not to have a mortgage payment, car payment, any kind of payment. The freedom!!! The lack of worry!!! Because of this financial freedom, we are one of the few not bothered or really affected by the economic downturn.

Adam @ Checkbook Diaries
Adam @ Checkbook Diaries
11 years ago

I also plan to pay my mortgage off as early as possible and completely agree that the tax deduction of the interest paid is a week reason to keep a mortgage payment. In order to accelerate the payment of the balance, I plan to lump my mortgage into the debt snowball method ,after fully funding an emergency account and maxing out annual contributions to my retirement accounts. I also plan to use any windfalls to prepay the mortgage. After some calculations, I figured that I could probably pay it off in 15 years by ONLY using estimated tax returns and… Read more »

Jim
Jim
11 years ago

You should fire your accountant if he thinks those calculations are sound. That is not how marginal tax rates work.

I do agree with the premise of your post.

Josh
Josh
11 years ago

@ Julie,

Canadians think tax deductible mortgage interest is the reason for the sub-prime crises??

Jon
Jon
11 years ago

“Effectively, you are paying $15,000 to get your tax deduction. This is not the most financially sound advice I’ve ever heard. If you take such advice, I’ve got a really good deal. I will pay you $33 in exchange for $100.” Why do people always trot this out? It’s so wrong. You’re paying $15000 to live in a house. The cost of the house is reduced by the tax deduction. It’s really simple! There’s no smoke and mirrors going on here. Also, most people can figure out how to deduct at least half of the standard deduction through itemization. The… Read more »

Rachel
Rachel
11 years ago

Great article. The statement of ‘keep your mortgage for the tax benefits’ irks me to no end. It’s almost as bad as all the financial gurus out there touting the Roth as the end all to be all of retirement investing, when in fact it’s only good if you are planning on being in a higher tax bracket when you retire or if you are able to contribute the max each year, when really most people won’t be doing either.

Thanks for all the great info!!
Rachel

jdmitch
jdmitch
11 years ago

Holy Crap!!!! It’s about time someone put to paper what I’ve tried to say and just was never any good at it… Mortgage Interest is a NON VALUE ADDED expense, in-and-of itself. Period. There is no inherent benefit to homeowners in having to pay mortgage interest. Period. The tax deduction in no way makes up for the cost of paying it. Period. Yes, there are some slight mistakes in the math. However, they only serve to highlight the real issue. JD’s accountant is spot on: “You should not look at the tax savings as the reason to purchase a home.… Read more »

rcampnc
rcampnc
11 years ago

I generally agree with the article. The tax savings can be an incentive for some .. but it’s only an incentive. During the last 3-4 years – peak bubble – I was of the few in my peers who insisted on no mortgage. Those who argued against me whipped out the tired argument of ROI of cash in hand vs cash in the house. This was true, many years ago, but not during the bubble, nor the tech bubble – and they were ignoring the now : getting a 4-5% return “right now” is difficult. After having been through two… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
11 years ago

I didn’t do the match to see how accurate it was because frankly, I suck at math. But the post does hit on a very important point regardless. For most lower and even moderate income families with a small mortgage, the tax break is really insignificant if you don’t have many other deductions. Most of these families aren’t going to be itemizing deductions anyway, so if their mortgage interest and property taxes aren’t going to put them over the standard deduction limit, the tax benefits of a mortgage are moot. When we first bought our house I know that was… Read more »

Wise Money Matters
Wise Money Matters
11 years ago

As a few people have pointed out, there is a mistake with the marginal tax rate. I’m not an accountant so this post (as with every post I put on my site) is simply me learning personal finance and putting it on paper. I actually only learned about how the marginal tax brackets work a few days ago while listening to Dave Ramsey. Well after I had submitted the article. Regardless of that, the concept is sound as J.D.’s accountant has confirmed. If you really want the extra tax deduction, I’d suggest donating the money to charity rather than to… Read more »

Eric
Eric
11 years ago

This math seems completely wrong to me too. Page 80 of the 1040 instructions shows that the border between 33% and 35% taxes is at $357,700, not where there article states. The IRS instructions on page 80 show that you multiply by your tax rate but then subtract off an amount based on your filing status. For married / joint, plugging in the $357,701 into the IRS’ formula for computing tax yields: ($357,701 * .35) – $28,425 = $96,770. Doing the same with $357,699 yields: ($357,699 * .33) – $21,271 = $96,769. So falling into the higher tax bracket only… Read more »

Tina
Tina
11 years ago

How did your accountant not notice the obvious math error with the marginal tax rate and say the article “seems accurate”? If you really did show him the entire article and that was his reply, I would be shopping around for a new accountant!

Otherwise, I do completely agree that paying mortgage to save on your taxes is a net loss.

HollyP
HollyP
11 years ago

After seeing how my 403B and IRAs have performed over the last 20 years, I no longer buy the “better to invest” theory. If I must eat cat food in my retirement, I’d like it to be in my own home and not a cardboard box on the streetcorner.

Chris
Chris
11 years ago

#8) <1% fixed? I’ll believe it when I see it JD.. Good article. I’ve heard that nonsense spouted over and over. Spending a buck to save 25 cents is NOT a good financial plan. You can also increase the cost-basis on stocks by the amount paid in commission, right? You don’t see people running around saying you should pay as much in commissions as you can for the tax benefit when you sell!! Just doesn’t make sense. You can also deduct expenses for professional services, like your accountant fees. I’m sure they’d LOVE for you to pay them as much… Read more »

The Personal Finance Playbook
The Personal Finance Playbook
11 years ago

Those tax assumptions are wrong. I’d have to look it up in the Code for the exact numbers, but it isn’t 28% or 33% of your entire salary – you get taxed a fixed amount of money then a percentage of any amount over a certain amount of earnings.

icup
icup
11 years ago

I would say it also depends on your interest rate. Current market conditions notwithstanding, if your rate is 10%, you’re not likely to do better in the market, and your money paid in to your mortgage will theoretically increase at 10% plus whatever your house value appreciates. Just like credit cards, at higher rates you get an automatic great return when you pay them off. If however you purchased your house recently, your rate is more likely around 6% or even less. Your deduction probably makes it effectively more like 4 or 5%. That is cheap money, and you could… Read more »

Paul
Paul
11 years ago

“I’d love to hear some comments or scenarios where keeping a mortgage is better than taking the standard deduction.” Because, paying off your mortgage with today’s dollars is more expensive than paying it off with tomorrow’s dollars. In the U.S. a “typical” 30 year mortgage gives you the benefit of keeping a static mortgage payment for a significantly long period of time. With proper planning, and not buying into all the shenanigans which led to this sub-prime crisis, it is, in the long run, better to pay for something tomorrow with devalued money than it is to pay for it… Read more »

Megan
Megan
11 years ago

I always love reading the heated debates that take place in the comments when these types of articles are posted. To me, the essence of this article and the comments can be distilled into what JD called the tagline for his blog “Do what works for you.” I was able to deduct my mortgage interest this year, and it was nice to do so. However, if I wanted to pay off my mortgage in the next 10 years or so, a mortgage deduction wouldn’t keep me from it. Let’s all do what makes us happy and works of us. The… Read more »

Ari Lestariono
Ari Lestariono
11 years ago

Those tax if you don’t calculate , you’ll end up in negative cashflow

Courtney
Courtney
11 years ago

Reducing liquidity was mentioned, but I think the key point in that is that paying down your mortgage early doesn’t do anything to help your cash flow for a length of time. If I make a couple extra payments on a credit card or a student loan, my next monthly payment is reduced. This is good for my monthly cash flow (or for my overall debt repayment because more of my monthly payment goes to principle if I keep paying the increased amount). If I make a couple extra payments on my mortgage, I still owe the regular payment amount… Read more »

d^2
d^2
11 years ago

another thing to think about: if you tie up a lot of money in your house by trying to pay the mortgage early, you have reduced your liquidity (as someone above pointed out). so what happens if your house burns down? if you tied up a bunch of money in the house by paying the mortgage, you are stuck waiting for the insurance company to figure out how much they will pay you for the house, which could take some time. if you put your emergency fund into your mortgage payments, you are in trouble. if you built up a… Read more »

Dave
Dave
11 years ago

Ok, so I was also going to point out the flaws in the math – not taking into account the way our graduated tax-bracket system works – but I see that several commenters already took care of that. If an accountant think that these numbers “seem accurate”… I would not want him doing my taxes! As for the actual topic of the article, I agree that tax benefits should not be the ONLY reason to purchase a home and take on mortgage debt; however, if all other aspects of the decision suggest home ownership is right for you, then it’s… Read more »

J.D.
J.D.
11 years ago

I apologize for the error, folks. I’ve excised the offending section in the interest of accuracy. While it’s true that my accountant should have caught this, I should have caught it too. Something was bugging me about the numbers in the post, which is why I passed it along to him to review. I’m not going to fire my accountant over this (not a chance!), but you’d better believe I’ll have something to razz him about for years to come. 🙂 Also, although this error gives me a twisted stomach, I’m not going to mope on it. Instead, we’re going… Read more »

Neal Frankle
Neal Frankle
11 years ago

Having a mortgage is both a financial and emotional decision. The financial side is easy – calculate your after-tax cost of having the mortgage and compare it to the investment alternatives. ie If it costs you 4% after tax to have a mortgage and you can not earn 4% (in the long-run) you should pay off the debt.

The emotional side is different. My personal income started melting away in October of 2008 as a result I paid off my mortgage completely. It removes so much pressure that I don’t even care about the financial side……the pay off is huge.

Sybbis
Sybbis
11 years ago

I know it’s since been edited, but I think the tax bracket thing deserves an article of its own! I hear this same thing from people all the time, especially with regards to, “Oh, no, I’m right on the borderline, I have to make sure I don’t have any more income or I’ll pay way more in taxes” or, in situations just like this, trying to do silly things to get a tiny amount of extra deductions to come in at a lower bracket, and spending money they don’t need to spend to do it. At this time of year,… Read more »

J.D.
J.D.
11 years ago

Sybbis wrote: I know it’s since been edited, but I think the tax bracket thing deserves an article of its own!

Tune in tomorrow! 🙂

Matthew McClintock
Matthew McClintock
11 years ago

I think it was mentioned some in the comments, but it is worth mentioning that the mortgage interest you talk about helps meet your standard deduction. Now, everything beyond that amount can be itemized (state sales tax, donations, property tax) which in the end saves you more money.

Corinne McKay
Corinne McKay
11 years ago

Thanks for the informative post! I recently approached our accountant with this same question; we are 37 and 43 with one elementary school-aged child and owe about 45K on a home that is worth about 360K. Our accountant, who is on the financially conservative side, agrees with CJ. Our mortgage interest is small enough that we take the standard deduction as it is, and in the current economy we feel that we’re better off paying down the 5.25% mortgage than investing in securities or CDs that are paying much less than 5.25%. In our case, paying off the mortgage will… Read more »

Carrie
Carrie
11 years ago

I have thought for a while that having a bigger house and/or not overpaying your mortgage for mortgage interest tax deduction reasons was a bad idea. I agree that paying 3x the value of the house in interest over the life of the loan is crazy for a savings of 25% of that off in taxes. Yes, you take the tax deductions when they are available but it’s no reason to prolong the payment schedule if you can pay it off early. Most of us make far too little money yearly and in our lifetime to afford to pay for… Read more »

Jamison
Jamison
11 years ago

Good article and timely for us. We will have our house paid off in 2 years. I won’t miss the deduction one bit. We contriubute 7 to 9% to our church each year and we get more deductions from that than the house, especially since our mortgage is under $40,000 now.

Anne
Anne
11 years ago

J.D., here is an amusing (if a little harsh… but it is attacking the national press, who really should know better) blog post about misunderstandings in the press about marginal rates. Your guest blogger is not alone. 🙂 http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2009/03/03/wealthy-idiots-meet-idiot-reporter.aspx Unfortunately this guest post also neglects to acknowledge opportunity costs. Yes, you can put, say, $100,000 towards your mortgage and that will save you, let’s say for round numbers, $5,000/year in interest. But if you don’t do that, you will have $100,000 that you can invest. You have to compare the $5,000/year you would save by paying down the mortgage to… Read more »

Business Woman
Business Woman
11 years ago

@Courtney makes a great point that paying down your mortgage early doesn’t help with cash flow until the mortgage is completely paid off. Your next monthly payment isn’t reduced at all. Hence, I wonder if those fixed rate interest only mortgages are still around. They became very popular during the housing frenzy and were villified as contributing to the current crisis that we are in. However, they make perfect sense for anyone who truly understands them. Not only can you lock in today’s low fixed rates, but you can also increase your cash flow as you pay down the mortgage… Read more »

Dave
Dave
11 years ago

I agree with Sybbis… Way too many of us do not understand the way our progressive tax-bracket system works. I’ve heard people say that their net pay actually went down after getting a raise because it bumped them into a higher tax bracket – which is totally impossible without some other factor(s) at play other than (federal) taxes!

I’m looking forward to the post tomorrow on this topic – even if many of the readers of this blog understand it already. Who knows? Maybe we can all learn something new! Good call, J.D., on admitting to the oversight!

Shara
Shara
11 years ago

I could be wrong since I haven’t been paying taxes that long, but it sounds like the mistaken math may be a product of how tax rates USED to be calculated. I remember stories about my uncle who would watch his overtime very closely at the end of the year because if he crossed a magic threshold he would actually lose money because he would skip into the next tax bracket. As far as the biggest GOOD reason to have a mortgage: *Liquidity (which has been pointed out). Right now I am itching to overpay my mortgage because we have… Read more »

EscapeVelocity
EscapeVelocity
11 years ago

I’ve been paying ahead on my mortgage, and things would have to get pretty bad for me to be upside down, which is a really nice feeling right now. A house isn’t a terribly liquid asset, but a house you owe more on than you can get for it is very illiquid, and Not A Good Thing if you’re in a position where you lose your job and need to move for a new one.

jdmitch
jdmitch
11 years ago

@ Chris / #20: Yeah, I was expecting that reaction. I promise I will share proof after everything closes. To be fair, I was a bit facetious (not about the interest rate but about the total interest I will pay). To make it short: 5% base line interest + no limits to interest rate buy down (1%:0.25%) + no limits to seller contribution to interest rate buy down + a little of my own savings (which actually is the same as me paying a bit of interest) = <1% fixed. BTW – I love the corollary you drew to commissions.… Read more »

Cathy
Cathy
11 years ago

I can’t believe people actually buy into having a mortgage around for the tax deduction. I’ve heard this same thing said about student loans. “I shouldn’t pay off student loans early because I get a tax deduction.” Well the interest you pay is a stupid tax. When you don’t have a mortgage/student loan payment anymore, you get to keep all that money you used to pay in monthly payments, which is a heck of a lot more than the tax deductions!

Mike
Mike
11 years ago

@ Josh, post 10. I’m Canadian, I don’t think it was caused by that. I KNOW it was caused by the Federal Reserve (Central Banks) artificially lowering interest rates and inflating the money supply. Anyways, since we live in Canada our mortgage interest is not tax deductible. Even if it was, it still doesn’t make sense. Like they said in the article, why pay someone $100 to get $33 back? (Or whatever the ratio, as long as you’re paying more to get less back, it doesn’t add up.) I believe it’s been said many times before, but I’ll repeat to… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
11 years ago

At 27, I still don’t own a home. I tend to skim over mortgage information on personal finance sites to get the gist, but don’t focus too much on the details yet because I don’t plan on buying a home until the housing market finishes collapsing in on itself. When the price of homes stabilizes, and then starts to slowly rise again, that’s when I’ll be looking to buy, and hopefully I’ll remember the basics of what I’ve read on sites like this over the last few years. But, for now, I’m not sweating all the details. Actually related to… Read more »

Beth
Beth
11 years ago

@ neal frankie- couldn’t have said it better myself. I hope in 8 yrs to have my mortgage pd off and when I’m 32 with no mortgage, I hope to have a lot of possibilities open to me! Thanks for the inspiration.

Wise Money Matters
Wise Money Matters
11 years ago

I should also note that I have all of my debts paid off except for the house and have $10,000 in my emergency fund. You should never pay down your mortgage INSTEAD of an emergency fund, but if you had the option to pay off your mortgage it reduces your risk much more than even a 6 month emergency fund. Paying down your mortgage also gives you a lot of play if you lose a job and drain your emergency fund as your mortgage will be significantly less than the value of your home. This would let you sell your… Read more »

Scordo.com
Scordo.com
11 years ago

I think one important idea for folks to remember is that a home is NOT an investment. The first thing a home is is a place to sleep, eat, and raise a family (hopefully with some level of comfort).

A home requires lots of upkeep and hard work. Regardless of tax incentives, folks should consider what a home is before getting glossy eyed over tax deductions.

Vince from Scordo.com

Julie
Julie
11 years ago

@Josh — No, we don’t think that the crisis was caused by mortgages being tax-deductible. On the other hand, tax-deductible mortgages cause a certain mentality in America (along with other incentives) that cause people to want to get as big a house as they can afford with as big a mortgage as the banks will give them. Banks started lending more and more money (with extremely low trial interest rates) to people who really couldn’t afford their mortgages after the trial period. (ie: sub-prime mortgages, etc.) And we know what happened from there. In other words: people want as big… Read more »

Sam
Sam
11 years ago

Although we itemize and have a ton of deductions, which is helpful for us when it comes to tax time, I wouldn’t keep a mortgage or use tax preferred money (i.e. a home equity loan to buy another house, buy a car or invest in the stock market) to get the tax benefit.

shares