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Mortgage-interest tax break lacking in benefits

Part 1 of 2: Should I pay off my mortgage early?

(This is Part 1 of a two-part series. Read Part 2, "Paying home loan biweekly can save thousands.") The roller-coaster ride provided by the subprime fallout has brought the "pay-it-off sooner" idea back to the front burner for many homeowners. Baby boomers and older Gen-Xers, who took out home equity loans to help finance toys and trinkets ranging from second homes to supposedly high-flying stocks, have begun to understand that there is little extra cash in which to pad the nest egg when they are still making huge mortgage payments. Yet other home buyers continue to pay their original monthly mortgage payment because they are lulled into the assumption that they are receiving a fat tax deduction from Uncle Sam. They think the situation is tenable because the annual Internal Revenue Service 1098 form that arrives from the lender shows big-time interest payments that make fat mortgage payments worthwhile. Remember that home-loan interest deductions simply reduce your taxable income. Th...

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