mortgage

4 ways to pay off your mortgage earlier

Switch to biweekly payments
Switch to biweekly payments

Biweekly payments take advantage of the fact that there are 52 weeks in the year and 12 months. If you pay half your regular mortgage payment every other week, you'll have made 26 half-payments, or the equivalent of 13 full monthly payments, at year's end.

See how it works with our biweekly mortgage calculator. The extra annual payment can chop about six years off a 30-year mortgage.

You shouldn't have to pay an outside company to set it up for you. "I hate the idea of having to pay a third party for something the consumer(s) can do on their own," says Cathy Pareto, MBA, a Certified Financial Planner in Coral Gables, Fla. "Why pay the extra fees if you can avoid them and still accomplish the same goal?"

Check if your bank will set up a biweekly payment plan. Some banks do it free; others charge. Ask the bank to credit extra payments toward principal so you save more on interest expense. Some banks set aside extra payments until the end of the year.

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