Dear Harry: I am considering making about 10 additional principal payments a year on my mortgage. I hope that will put me in a better position to sell my house in the next five or six years and move back to Philly. I am stuck here in Georgia until then as a result of a contractual obligation. My hope is that these additional principal payments and a housing-market recovery will get the mortgage and market values roughly equal and make it easier to sell the house. That will still mean a sale at a loss, but so be it. I have stable employment, an emergency fund and regular retirement savings, but I still have a modest credit-card debt that I'm working on. My employer can make an easy transfer to an office in the Philly suburbs. Is this a plan that you would approve for me? I know that mortgage debt is less expensive than credit-card debt but I am very anxious to return home.
What Harry says: Let's consider another way. If your present plan will get your credit cards paid off before you plan to move, consider making the extra payments to get them cleared up first. Then you can apply the credit-card payments and the extra payments to whittling down the mortgage. This will save you interest and get more of the mortgage paid off in the same time frame. I'm very happy that you came to realize that Philly is the best place to live.
Write Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, 400 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19130. Harry urges all his readers to give blood - contact the American Red Cross at 800-GIVE LIFE.