Should I pay off my mortgage before retiring? This is a common question for folks planning to retire, and for others who would prefer to not have any debt. While I've written about this previously, the recent tax law created some new wrinkles to consider.
I'm a firm believer that there's no one right answer to questions like this. What's right should always be based on one's own situation. But the new higher standard deduction will crowd out the ability for many to see their mortgage as a tool to save on taxes. For these folks, starting this year, owing money on their house could seem to have no benefit.
Thanks to the wonder of the internet, I recently learned the meaning of the "third rail of politics" metaphor so often used to describe verboten government programs like Social Security.
According to Wikipedia, the third rail is a high-voltage rail used to power trains in some electric railway systems and, being electrified, would likely kill anyone who touched it. This seems an appropriate metaphor since no major politician wants to tackle the funding problems associated with Social Security, even though there are some relatively simple fixes. Ultimately, the third rail goes untouched for fear of the outcome.
Hitters in baseball love fastballs. Give them a steady diet of fastballs in the strike zone and good hitters are in heaven. But they can get into a rhythm and start looking for the next fastball. A common trick for crafty pitchers is to make hitters "think fastball" and then freeze the hitter with a nasty curveball that dives past, leaving them feeling surprised by the change of pace.