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What's Behind the Mortgage Acceleration Phenomenon, Math, Science, or Science Fiction?

What's behind the controversial use of mortgage acceleration software to facilitate an early mortgage payoff? How do equity accelerator programs work? Is it math, behavioral science, or science fiction?

One of the most controversial subjects to hit the information highway in the last few years is the development of equity accelerator programs or the use of software to facilitate an early mortgage payoff. It seems that everyone has an opinion about these new mortgage principal reduction programs as to whether they are a mathematically legitimate and viable method of accelerating the payoff of mortgage and other debt.

The proponents of the mortgage accelerator programs claim that they will enable homeowners to pay off their existing mortgage in a fraction of the normal time by utilizing mathematical formulas or algorithms which direct cash flow and discretionary income to offset the principle and interest associated with conventional mortgage amortization.

Yet the math they are able to demonstrate can be found in a common mortgage amortization calculator.

The opponents contend these programs do nothing that one can't accomplish on their own and that the cost is, therefore, unjustified.

The most critical commentary seems to come from individuals in the mortgage industry. Are they speaking from a sense of altruism or is their vehemently negative position an inadvertent testament to the effectiveness of mortgage acceleration analysis software?

Still more albeit less aggressive criticism comes from the professional ranks of financial advisors. It is more of a conceptual argument that one should direct their financial resources into investment strategies rather than toward mortgage reduction strategies.

If you are able to earn an 8% return, it would make mathematical sense to grow that account rather than pay off debt at 6%, but does the arbitrage argument assume a higher rate of return on the investment than were likely to see these days? Also, is arbitrage, the process of investing borrowed money, something that the average American family should feel comfortable in doing in a volatile market?

So, all that one may need in the way of validation that these mortgage acceleration software programs work is the volume of protests from those who work on the other side of the balance sheet.

If you look at how these programs work, it becomes clear that it's not voodoo, magic, or part of the financial bail out plan. It's just our money paying off our debt. Could we accomplish the same thing ourselves? Possibly so, however, most of us don't.

The concept of mortgage acceleration is only part mathematical. The balance of the concept is more behavioral in nature.

We all know that, in order to lose weight, we need to stop eating so much and exercise more. Yet there is a billion dollar weight loss industry that is thriving despite this physiological fact.

Perhaps the key to mortgage acceleration software programs is that they show us how to make better financial decisions. Take the concept of virtual interest, for example. If we have a mortgage, we pay virtual interest on everything that we buy. The $5 we spent at Starbucks this morning could have been sent to pay down the principle on our mortgage. Rather, we chose not to do that and so will pay virtual interest on that $5 for the next 20 or 30 years. To our balance sheet, there is no difference between virtual and actual interest.

Had we known that the true cost of that cup of coffee was $30; would we still have bought it? These programs put our normal cash flow into a format that demonstrates the effect of our discretionary spending and forces us to make better buying decisions. They reinforce the good decisions by giving us positive, goal oriented feedback. They negatively reinforce the bad decisions by visibly adding time to our sentence of debt.

Had we all been given a proper financial education, then we wouldn't need mortgage reduction programs and the points made on either side of the issue would be moot. Instead, we were taught chemistry and algebra and so, the controversy will continue.

Article Tags: Mortgage Acceleration, These Programs, Virtual Interest

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David Haslett is a Senior Financial Advisor and National Director of Freedom Equity Group. For a comprehensive review and comparison of mortgage acceleration programs go to:

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