Welcome, congrats on jumping in and seeking answers.

Hey, thanks! Lots of valuable stuff here -- and a great community, too. Fun to be a part of. :)

1. I can't really see how it makes sense for the to shut down the conversion process. It creates an opportunity for people to create a higher tax liability aka more money for the government. They don't really shut down gravy trains, especially when 98% of the population don't know about or are effected by it.

How does it create an opportunity for a

*higher* tax liability? The whole point of the conversion process is to keep your tax brackets low (avoiding capital gains taxes, etc.), and basically avoiding income tax by withdrawing/converting less than your standard deduction each year. So for us (married filing jointly), when FIRE-time is getting close, the strategy would be to start converting something like ~12k/year (whatever's less than the standard deduction), and then have enough income from long-term capital gains/dividends to cover the rest of our annual living expenses (let's say an additional $33k, or something). Because our 'income' is only ~$12k, that $33k is not taxed -- and we pay no annual taxes, even though we have $45k of effective income.

2. Personally, I would pay down until you can get PMI removed, then do the min through the remaining life of the loan. I have a 30 yr Fixed @ 3.75% and haven't (and don't plan to) pay any extra towards it ever.

Yeah, I have thought about that as well -- psychologically, it would feel good to not have PMI (just like not having a mortgage/rent payment would feel good), but similar to the "don't pay down your mortgage if you have a low interest rate" strategy, I wasn't sure if it made sense to pay down quickly to avoid PMI... so I did some math (see below), and I

*think* I confirmed that it doesn't quite make sense.

Scenario 1:

If we save that $250/mo as cash in our checking account, we'll pay $20,240 in PMI, but will have $27.5k in cash (takes 110 months until we hit 20% equity, and stop paying PMI). If we invest that $250/mo and get 5% returns annually, that $27.5k would actually be $34,940.84 after 110 months.

Scenario 2:

If instead of saving that $250/mo, we put it towards our mortgage, so we'll pay $14,536 in PMI, and will have put $19750 towards our mortgage principal in the 79 months it will take for us to hit 20% equity of the loan amount. Ok, so we're done with PMI at month 79 -- let's quit paying extra on our mortgage, and invest that $184/mo PMI + $250 extra principal (total: $434/mo) at 5% for 31 months until month 110 (from our previous example). We'd have $14,389.46 at month 110. Yikes! That's a lot less...

Let's play this out to 30 years from now, though, just to see what happens.

Scenario 1:

$34,940.85 + $250/mo + 184/mo (what we were paying for PMI) compounded at 5% for 250 more months =

**$289,981.63** in the bank, and a paid-off house.

Scenario 2:

$14,389.46 + $434/mo compounds at 5% for another 220 months, until the loan is paid off (110 + 220 = 330, or 30 months early, thanks to the $19570 in extra principal we put down) = $192,410.33, and a paid-off house.

Mortgage is paid off, so $192,410.33 + $1649.41/mo (monthly principal + interest payment) + $434/mo compounds at 5% for another 30 months (up until year 30) =

**$284,675.80** in the bank, and a paid-off house.

So if I did all my math correctly (I'm not a mathematician...), it looks like Scenario 2 does catch up a bit by year 30 -- but it's still a few thousand dollars behind, and will therefore never totally catch up to Scenario 1, much less surpass it. Adding more than $250/mo (e.g. $500/mo) to the Scenario 2 principal and the Scenario 1 savings only exacerbates the difference, as does a better interest rate on investments (e.g. 6%).