Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Contrarian on Interest Only ARMs

So let's assume you've got full use of your cognitive facilities, and actually get the best loan for which you qualify. But should it be a conventional, ARM, or what? Obviously not an interest-only ARM... as we've already assumed you're not stupid.

But wait... here's a contrarian view. Everyday Finance rightly points out that you don't pay down much principle in the first several years of a loan. And if you're not planning on living in your home more than the time period of the interest-only rate, then you haven't lost much. At 6% interest, in the first 10 years of a 30 year loan, you'd pay down less than 17% of your principle, or about $49,000 on $300,000. So from a risk perspective, it's not as bad as people make it out to be. And if you don't blow that extra money on hookers and coke, you can actually get better returns.

If you've got a low low interest rate (assuming taking interest only doesn't increase your rate), you're probably better off investing your extra cash elsewhere like, say, the stock market. Then instead of $49,000 in equity you could have $55,000 in stock. Hell, I do this with my 1.9% APR car loan right now. Lexus Financial Services is investing in Powershares Water Resources (PHO) on my behalf, and I'd never pay off that loan if I didn't have to.

Don't quite agree with everything in Everyday Finance's analysis (for example, paying down principle is not the same as giving the bank free money) but the key point remains - don't be a sheeple and blindly accept advice from Money Magazine without thinking it through on your own.

1 Comment:

MEG said...

I agree! There's generally an appropriate time/place for even the most "dangerous" financial instruments. And if you're thinking for yourself you'll be better protected than you would be with any "expert's" advice.

PS-Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm glad to have discovered yours. BTW I responded to your comment on my post about looks on the job.

Keep up the good work! I'll be subscribing to your blog as soon as I finish this comment. :-)