Yeah, I want the peace of mind that comes from having shit loads of money in investments. Paying off the mortgage before investing comes at a steep cost, long term. Sad that too few take the time to learn and understand the math.
Is there any advantage to paying the lender directly vs saving the money and paying it down in one lump sum?
All depends on your mortgage rate and balance, and what kind of return you think you can get investing to build your funds. I plan on paying extra on my mortgage until it's at about 50K and then paying it off with some money/investments. Although, if at that point, I feel the market is hot I'd keep the money in investments.
Some posters on this forum think it's a bad idea to pay down your mortgage because the rate is typically low. I see that math, but I also want the peace of mind of true home ownership.
BTW - There is no such thing as "true home ownership". There will always be taxes, utilities and maintenance. All three have a propensity to increase over time. Worrying about paying those in my old age because I didn't amass enough in my working years is a place I am unwilling to go.
ETA: This advice is not directed to anyone in the great, frozen North. I have little understanding of how things work in Canada. Could be completely different there ;-). I freely admit I know nothing significant about curling, either.
I also have a "shit load" of money in investments. My wife and I rack up $4,200 in 403b contributions every month alone. And we aggressively invest other dollars. There's an argument to be made that paying off your mortgage can serve as the "bond" portion of your portfolio. Especially for people on this thread who generally have lower priced homes. No one here is saying people shouldn't first max out tax advantaged accounts and have a strong portfolio before paying off a house.
Yay for you for personally understanding where the horse goes. As to the bolded part, no, no, no! Far too few people understand this, because it simply isn't taught enough. It's also far more complex than "Kill all the debt", which is too simplistic. For some it also feels better faster because it takes a long time to realize the loss of compound interest gains. Many will never understand. They'll just feel the pinch of less money in retirement or more working years, or both.
I am not saying it is "wrong". I just want people to understand that there are more effective ways to deploy their soldiers. Isn't that what we all aspire to do here?
NOTE - Very impressive savings dollars, CS! Pre-FIRE, I never achieved anywhere near that much on a steady basis. I was straight commission a lot of my career, therefore my deposits were, um, chunkier. If you're not CS (or FI), reading this and despairing, don't be discouraged. I only managed to squeak over 100k once in my whole career. I was self-employed at the time, so the six-figure gross came with significantly higher SS taxes and operating costs, including self-paid healthcare. Ouch.
Achieving FIRE can be done on a lot less. Especially if you start saving and investing EARLY! Pay off the mortgage last and your future self will be amazed at your brilliance. Or not, it's up to you.
Finally, I step on this soap box repeatedly because I wish someone had sat my twenty-year-old
ass down and walked me through it using small enough words until I thoroughly understood. I could have hit FIRE at least a decade earlier, possibly more, as others have demonstrated.