As described in the December 2019 article, I worked with Dr. John Abernathy, Accounting Professor at Kennesaw State University to create a tool to calculate how inflation impacts compound interest. It is reasonable that when entertaining financing a property, one looks at interest and how much they might be forced to pay over time. After all, we have been taught how bad “debt” is and how we must get out of it as quickly as possible.

We have already discussed the nullification of the compound interest over time, so now let’s look at how that compares to a shorter term with a visibly lower dollar-for-dollar expense. The argument is the 15-year must be better with interest being charged over a shorter period, fewer dollars being paid out in the form of interest, therefore outperforming the interest period that one is subject to for a longer timeframe. Why would this not be logical and why is there even the slightest argument to the contrary? This would be a very elementary conclusion; however, we must consider our inflationary environment when thinking anything paid over time.

Let’s consider a 15-year fixed rate mortgage using the same principle loan amount in previous examples of $83,960.00. The borrower will be repaying the principal plus $33,529.18 in interest for a total of $117,552.18 in collective payments over 15 years. With the same loan amount for the 30-year, $73,711.04 would be paid in interest on the same principle amount resulting in $157, 671.04 in total Principal and Interest (P&I) repayment. Simple math shows that the borrower will pay significantly less in actual dollars on the shorter-term loan. There is a catch, however. Inflation.

At a five percent inflation rate, we are (with the help of Dr. Abernathy) able to re-calculate the value of every dollar as it leaves our hands to make a P&I payment on each loan as it compares to the value of the dollar the day the loan was closed. The buying power of the dollar declines at a compound rate, so inflation-adjusted dollars compared to the value of the dollar at the time of the loan means the borrower repays $82,583.83 in actual dollar value over 15 years and 81,586.71 over 30 years. How?

With a 15-year loan, Principal and Interest payments are $653.07, while the 30-year is $437.98. That $215.09 increased payment leaving the investor’s hands while the dollar is at a higher value results in higher inflation-adjusted repayment. The lower payment submitted over a longer period allows the borrower to repay with less in actual dollar value because of the increased time inflation has had to erode the money used for repayment. Unsure about the inflation estimate? Look for more explanation in future articles.

DISCLAIMER: SecurityNational Mortgage Company, and its loan officers, unless individually licensed and specifically denoted in their credentials, are not qualified to, and are prohibited from representing themselves as accountants, attorneys, certified financial planners, estate planners, investment specialists or tax experts, and will not advise you in those matters. Always seek the advice of a licensed professional. This article is for informational purposes only, contains the opinion of the author, not necessarily the opinion of SecurityNational Mortgage Company, and should not be construed as lending advice. Loans are subject to borrower qualifications, including income, property evaluation, sufficient equity in the home to meet LTV requirements, and final credit approval. Approvals are subject to underwriting guidelines, interest rates, and program guidelines, and are subject to change without notice based on applicant’s eligibility and market conditions. Refinancing an existing loan may result in total finance charges being higher over life of loan. Reduction in payments may reflect longer loan term. Terms of the loan may be subject to payment of points and fees by the applicant. Equal Housing Lender. SecurityNational Mortgage Company Inc. NMLS# 3116. Any amounts, figures, payments or loan terms stated are based on continually changing markets, rates, loan programs and borrower specific qualifications, and subject to change without notice. See loan officers featured for a personal consultation and accurate pricing.

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  • Aaron Chapman

    Aaron Chapman has been in the finance industry since 1997. His clientele ranges from first-time home buyers to those investing in multiple properties for long-term cashflow. He is presently ranked #14 in an industry of more than 300,000 licensed loan originators.

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