We paid off the house last October and we are certain that it was the right thing to do. For years we did all the second guessing and wondering about "gee, it is only 3.5%, we can make more in the market" but at some point along the line it became the obvious choice. We are in the final stages of the FIRE journey and could actually go right now except for the pure fear of being so weird and not really having the nerve to jump. We are still building a bigger cash 'stache to bridge to our over-funded 401(K)s. I want a really big cash pile and I am sure that it will probably be over-funded as well knowing our conservative styles. We know we had to get out from under any debt to be totally ready.
Wouldn't you know it, my company had massive lay offs in November and hubby's firm went through the same thing just after that. Even though both of us are among the survivors and still have jobs there was such profound relief in knowing that we are untouchable now. Go ahead, fire us, we know we can be FIRE at any minute. To face that situation with a big pile of FU money and zero debt was really peaceful. Peers were sick with fear and I felt terrible for them, but I don't think my proselytizing early retirement is welcome.
Therefore, to the financial calculators out there please don't bother to say how we made a mistake because of some theory about making more in the market. We considered everything and lived on both sides of the equation. This side is more peaceful. My house is paid off forever and that return is guaranteed, guaranteed, guaranteed. Plus, the NW chart now has this crazy hockey stick look to it--golly, it it sure getting steep to the right without that mortgage drag, even with a flat market!
I am rooting for all of you mortgage burners! GO FOR IT!