Clear and Free

Clear and Free

America’s Independence Day holds varied meanings. For those who work full time, the day brings a brief respite from their air conditioned, plugged-in existence. For me, a couple days away from the meat cooler that is my office means the opportunity to enjoy two things that mark my annual July 4th celebration: (1) an outsized chicken gyro sandwich (hey, it’s America, anything goes) that I’ll eat the night before lacing up my running shoes for (2) Wilmette’s annual 4-mile Fourth of July “fun” run. The quotes are mine…it seems a bit of a paradox to describe running hard in extreme heat as “fun.” Regardless of my fitness on July 4, this race always quickly brings me to my melting point.

My tradition begins with me picking a fast group of high school runners to trail from the gun, getting about a half-mile into the madness, and then realizing the recidivist error of my ways. The next miles are spent recovering, looking frantically for water, and then having an internal debate in which the sides are neatly divided into “this race is meaningless” and “pick it up, you loser.” The results over the years demonstrate that each side of this debate has enjoyed its share of victories.

When it’s over, I look at my time, think about my effort, and use the result to refocus my marathon training. No matter how “fun” this run, the marathon gun looms three short months away.

That’s the intro…before we talk about mortgages, I want to list some words and images that come to mind (in no particular order) when I ponder the Fourth of July:
• Fireworks

• BBQ

• Swimming in lake and/or pool

• Ice cream

• Corn

• Parade

• Flag

• Country

• Freedom
Ignoring media and political definitions, what does “freedom” mean to you? If the spirit (of ’76, perhaps) moves you, hit REPLY and send me a note about how you view freedom. It’s not a contest, but I would love to hear from you and I may share the best ones next newsletter.

For some, freedom means a lower payment that frees up cash for other expenses (and today’s historic low rates can help you do that). For others, it’s a loan term that matches the time period they expect to occupy the property (think ARM). And then, there are those who want to have no mortgage at all. That sounds more like a dream than freedom to most people, but just as running a marathon doesn’t require you to run 26.2 miles all at once, owning your house outright can be accomplished over a period of time. If you want to accelerate that journey, a 15-year or 10-year fixed-rate mortgage may be right for you, and could put you on the road to financial independence. If one of these choices sounds like you, give me a call.

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