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Investing Specialists

Pay Down the Mortgage or Invest? Readers Weigh In

Balancing return expectations with peace-of-mind considerations.

Morningstar.com helps you decide how to deploy your investment capital. But some of the most important decisions you'll make about your money precede the decision to invest in stocks or bonds. Are you better off investing for the kids' college or your own retirement? If you have extra cash on hand, is paying down your mortgage or investing in the market a better use of your funds?

To help sample reader opinions on this last question, I made the following post in the Personal Finance forum of Morningstar.com's Discuss boards earlier this week:

"For investors frustrated with low CD and money market yields, I've argued that mortgage paydown can often offer the best safe return on your money. Few cashlike vehicles are offering returns of 4% or 5% right now, but that's effectively what you get by prepaying your mortgage.