Pay off refinanced mortgage or max out Roth TSP?


Q. I’m a 45-year-old reservist who has been recalled to active duty. I’m also an E-6 with more than 18 years of service.

I can afford to invest my entire pay, including incentive pays, and wondered if it would be better to pay off an existing mortgage, approximately $60,000, just refinanced last month at 3.5 percent and a 15-year term? Or would it be better to max out the Roth TSP and set up another deferred account or IRA of some sort?

My wife makes about $55,000 per year.

A. It’s impossible to say what’s best for you without the proper analysis and understanding of your particular goals, resources and constraints. In general, however, I prefer to see you retain the mortgage and invest the money prudently instead of using it to pay off the mortgage.


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Mike Miles is a Certified Financial Planner licensee and principal adviser for Variplan LLC, an independent fiduciary in Vienna, Virginia. Email your financial questions to and view his blog at

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