Etiquette

NWR: Mortgage Burning Party?

@LadyCatherineDB's housewarming party question got me thinking about the other end of buying a house...a "mortgage burning" party, ie after the house has been paid off.  As an aside, never literally burn an important document like a mortgage, even if it has been paid off, lol.

Just a curiosity question, nothing going on IRL, but I've heard of people throwing a party when they've paid their home off.  I had a coworker friend thinking about it, but never did.  What do you all think?

Too AWish and gauche?  Depends on the circumstances?  Celebration of a major milestone and nothing wrong with it?

For me, I think it depends on the circumstances with more of a lean toward celebration/nothing wrong.  I don't think there is anything wrong etiquette-wise, a party is a party!  But, if people are in friend groups where most others are struggling financially, I could see where it might be a poor idea.

The friend who was thinking about it had worked hard and sacrificed to pay extra toward the principal.  I was excited for him when he hit that milestone and would have gone to a party he'd thrown, even though I was nowhere close to paying off a home myself, lol.     

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Re: NWR: Mortgage Burning Party?

  • I think it's one of those things where you know your crowd, and if the hosts are already the "any excuse to party" types. I've also seen "paid off my student loans" parties. 

    It's weird how we normally celebrate some things and others, not so much. Like people don't celebrate promotions outside of work. Why not? It's a huge accomplishment. Weddings get several parties. 

    Oooohhh, that is another good reason for a party!

    So true!  The day I married my H was one of my happiest.  But so was the day I bought my first home ;).  And I strongly suspect the day I own my home free and clear will be another monumentous, red letter day in my life.

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  • My parents hosted a small party when they paid off their mortgage. For them, I think it was appropriate. H and I have paid off our mortgage but I think for us, it would look AWish. 
  • WinstonsGirlWinstonsGirl The Cold North
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    We're mortgage free too, but I wouldn't dream of doing this when we paid ours off.  We were able to pay ours down fast, partially due to no student loans, no kids and well paying jobs. A lot of our friends graduated with student debt, got married younger, had kids and just weren't in a position to make the extra payments.  Based on my friend group, it'd feel AW-ish cos we've been pretty lucky in our choices and are on a different path.  I wouldn't want our fiends to feel weird about stuff like that.  I do agree that it's a know your crowd thing.  If we were older and had more friends in similar financial situations, we might have considered it
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  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    Just throw a party without bragging about your financial success. 
    Agreed.  It may not be meant to come across as bragging, but it's all in the POV. 

    I think it definitely depends on not only your crowd, but circumstances and personal situation.  I would have never dreamed of doing something like that for something I consider private. 

    My husband and I are at an age where it is probably typical to no longer have a mortgage, but it is something I would never assume.  I have always found it gauche to talk about money, even with family. 
    SoonToBeSmith0512
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    I agree that it's a "know your crowd" thing. If there are those among your crowd who would see a party to celebrate paying off a mortgage as bragging about your financial success, then don't invite them.

    My parents paid off their mortgage without throwing a party, or if they did throw a party to celebrate it, I wasn't there. I think I didn't live locally at the time, so I wouldn't have been able to attend anyway.
  • Jen4948 said:
    I agree that it's a "know your crowd" thing. If there are those among your crowd who would see a party to celebrate paying off a mortgage as bragging about your financial success, then don't invite them.

    My parents paid off their mortgage without throwing a party, or if they did throw a party to celebrate it, I wasn't there. I think I didn't live locally at the time, so I wouldn't have been able to attend anyway.
    How would you know this in advance though? And how is it not bragging about financial success?
    MobKazInLoveInQueens
  • Definitely agree that this is a “know your crowd” kinda thing. But I’d take it a step further and say that even if your social circle likes to party for party’s sake, maybe still just keep it to immediate family and lifetime friends (that are essentially family). It feels a little off-putting to throw a large party centered around something as intimate as your personal finances. Having parents/siblings/etc. over for dinner and drinks to celebrate a notable milestone, great! Inviting your coworkers and running club members and neighbors too, not so much. 

    I guess the the way I see it is this: invite only those you’d actually feel comfortable talking about finances with in the first place. Because that’s essentially the theme of the party. If you’re not close enough with someone that you could confide in them if you had financial hardship, you probably think twice about celebrating with them when you achieve a financial goal. 
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  • I think it depends on the person hosting and who you invite.

    Idk if we'd ever do it {I'd love to do a student loans one lmao!} I think we'd just invite immediate family so no one thinks it's AW-ish. Plus we'd probably do it as a joke-style party, or try to include it with something we're already celebrating {not like a bday - maybe a silly holiday}
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  • Definitely agree that this is a “know your crowd” kinda thing. But I’d take it a step further and say that even if your social circle likes to party for party’s sake, maybe still just keep it to immediate family and lifetime friends (that are essentially family). It feels a little off-putting to throw a large party centered around something as intimate as your personal finances. Having parents/siblings/etc. over for dinner and drinks to celebrate a notable milestone, great! Inviting your coworkers and running club members and neighbors too, not so much. 

    I guess the the way I see it is this: invite only those you’d actually feel comfortable talking about finances with in the first place. Because that’s essentially the theme of the party. If you’re not close enough with someone that you could confide in them if you had financial hardship, you probably think twice about celebrating with them when you achieve a financial goal. 


    That's a good point!  I didn't think to mention that above, but I see a party like this being a small, more intimate deal.  I'd probably have a little bit wider parameters than this, but wouldn't picture anything larger than 20-30 people (if that).  I also agree that a large blow-out would probably not be appropriate for an event like this.

    In the coworker example I gave, this was a person I saw socially outside of work.  We also discussed our general financial plans with each other...though not always specific dollar amounts...to bounce our ideas off, get advice (on both sides), etc.

    As other PPs have mentioned, it does make perfect sense that a lot of people don't throw these kind of parties because they are private about their finances.  Nothing wrong with that either.

    For me personally, I'd think my H and I would opt for a fancy dinner with champagne.  Maybe a celebration trip.  But I'm not much of a party-thrower anyway.

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  • Just throw a party without bragging about your financial success. 
    Although I don't feel super strongly about it, this is where I am. 

    What if someone pays cash for a house? Is it also cool if they throw a "Never Needed a Mortgage" party? I mean I get feeling accomplished, but do you need to advertise i.. it just strikes me as a little AWish. Just throw a BBQ or some other neutral party where you aren't advertising your status or asking for people to be like "wowwww! Your house is paid off! So cool..."
    Yeah, I'm with this ^^^. 

    I know a couple of friends of mine who have fully paid houses due to circumstances. They don't brag (I work in accounting, they asked me questions pertaining to taxes which is how I found out), they also didn't have student loans. I couldn't see them throwing a party like this. 

    I felt bad when my student loans were paid off fully knowing how many of my friends still are paying and struggling to pay. 
    MobKaz
  • A lot of people make more investing than their ~3% interest rate, so paying off a mortgage isn't a huge priority for some folks (I am in this bucket, the mortage will get paid in 30 years, I'm not accelerating payments on a 3% interest rate when I can easily make 7-10% in the market). I could see a celebration dinner with your spouse but anything else is kind of strange to me. 

    When I paid off my student loans I bought myself an expensive gift and called it a day.
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  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
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    Reading everyone's responses, I'm thinking more that this a know your crowd kind of thing.

    In my circle, we're all at about the same place in life, give or take. Some of us have student loans, some of us have mortgages, but no one is rich and no one is super broke.

    I think we'd all see paying off a house as a big, congratulatory achievement because we'd all be doing it in a "normal" timeframe (as-in 20-30 years). No one I know is there yet and when we are, I think a lot of us will be.

    I guess we might be weird too because I didn't really think of a conversation regarding the existence or not of a loan to be "discussing finances". If I'm ever in the position to have a mortgage burn party, I wouldn't be telling everyone the purchase price of my home or what I paid to pay it off. Like, I've told friends that we're trying to have H's truck paid off in half the time. Not that we're paying $X or that we have $Y remaining balance.

    I wouldn't see it as any more AW-ey than a college graduation party, for my circle. But yeah, if I suddenly win the lottery or discover that I have a rich long lost uncle who put me in his will, then I wouldn't have this party because it would be so far ahead of my friends.

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  • A lot of people make more investing than their ~3% interest rate, so paying off a mortgage isn't a huge priority for some folks (I am in this bucket, the mortage will get paid in 30 years, I'm not accelerating payments on a 3% interest rate when I can easily make 7-10% in the market). I could see a celebration dinner with your spouse but anything else is kind of strange to me. 

    When I paid off my student loans I bought myself an expensive gift and called it a day.


    I used to belong to a Money forum on The Nest.  We occasionally had friendly debates about that.

    There were a couple posters who had achieved this and they talked about the positive emotional aspect.  There is certainly something to be said for that.

    But, tbh, a mortgage on an owner-occupied home is the cheapest money you can find.  Even very conservative investments will usually beat out a home loan interest rate.  Most people on that forum also choose investing/retirement funds over paying their school loans down faster for similar reasons. 

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  • A lot of people make more investing than their ~3% interest rate, so paying off a mortgage isn't a huge priority for some folks (I am in this bucket, the mortage will get paid in 30 years, I'm not accelerating payments on a 3% interest rate when I can easily make 7-10% in the market). I could see a celebration dinner with your spouse but anything else is kind of strange to me. 

    When I paid off my student loans I bought myself an expensive gift and called it a day.


    I used to belong to a Money forum on The Nest.  We occasionally had friendly debates about that.

    There were a couple posters who had achieved this and they talked about the positive emotional aspect.  There is certainly something to be said for that.

    But, tbh, a mortgage on an owner-occupied home is the cheapest money you can find.  Even very conservative investments will usually beat out a home loan interest rate.  Most people on that forum also choose investing/retirement funds over paying their school loans down faster for similar reasons. 


    I can definitely see the emotional aspect of it! That's how I felt about my student loans. Our mortgage though doesn't give me that same sense of burden. I'm not saying paying off a mortgage isn't a big deal, but it's not a universal milestone like graduating college or getting married - for some people it's a deliberate financial decision to delay it and invest elsewhere. It just seems like kind of a weird reason to have a party - I'd much rather attend a housewarming
  • A lot of people make more investing than their ~3% interest rate, so paying off a mortgage isn't a huge priority for some folks (I am in this bucket, the mortage will get paid in 30 years, I'm not accelerating payments on a 3% interest rate when I can easily make 7-10% in the market). I could see a celebration dinner with your spouse but anything else is kind of strange to me. 

    When I paid off my student loans I bought myself an expensive gift and called it a day.


    I used to belong to a Money forum on The Nest.  We occasionally had friendly debates about that.

    There were a couple posters who had achieved this and they talked about the positive emotional aspect.  There is certainly something to be said for that.

    But, tbh, a mortgage on an owner-occupied home is the cheapest money you can find.  Even very conservative investments will usually beat out a home loan interest rate.  Most people on that forum also choose investing/retirement funds over paying their school loans down faster for similar reasons. 


    I can definitely see the emotional aspect of it! That's how I felt about my student loans. Our mortgage though doesn't give me that same sense of burden. I'm not saying paying off a mortgage isn't a big deal, but it's not a universal milestone like graduating college or getting married - for some people it's a deliberate financial decision to delay it and invest elsewhere. It just seems like kind of a weird reason to have a party - I'd much rather attend a housewarming


    I am excited to pay my HELOC off and that is my current major financial goal.  It is actually 3x my mortgage balance because of my real estate investing, lol.  It also has a higher and variable interest rate as opposed to my mortgage, which has a low fixed rate.

    For me, one of the things that gets me less excited at the thought of paying off my mortgage is the actual loan part isn't much because I bought my house cheap (fixer upper) and with a 20% down payment.  Almost half my mortgage payments are the escrows for insurances (so high) and property taxes!  Which I'm stuck with, even on a paid off house.

    But still.  Even though the primary mortgage would be the last thing I ever pay off that, in itself, would be awesome.  Because everything leading up to that point would be done ;).  Someday, someday. 

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  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
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    My husband and I are really private people. We don't discuss our finances with anyone, nor do I know which of my friends have mortgages, loans etc...so I wouldn't throw a party to celebrate any financial milestone. 
                
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    Jen4948 said:
    I agree that it's a "know your crowd" thing. If there are those among your crowd who would see a party to celebrate paying off a mortgage as bragging about your financial success, then don't invite them.

    My parents paid off their mortgage without throwing a party, or if they did throw a party to celebrate it, I wasn't there. I think I didn't live locally at the time, so I wouldn't have been able to attend anyway.
    How would you know this in advance though? And how is it not bragging about financial success?
    Presumably people you would invite to any kind of party are people whose views you are aware of regarding celebrating any kind of success, financial or otherwise, simply because you have spent time with them and heard them voice their opinions.
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
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    edited March 14
    I’m curious now, do people think divorce parties are inappropriate? 

    I guess I just don’t see this 1) as discussing/flaunting your finances (unless you’re talking about how much you paid for the house, how quickly you paid it off or whatever) and 2) why this couldn’t be seen as a big milestone for some people? 
    Divorce parties? If you want to celebrate that the divorce proceedings are finally over with your friends, I don't see why anyone would object. I have a few friends that went through really long, messy, heartbreaking divorces after lengthy marriages. They were too emotionally exhausted to celebrate. I took them out to dinner. I guess it depends on the circumstances.

    1. It's just a personal preference for us. We would celebrate, just the two of us by going on a vacation or buying a luxury item or something like that. We don't even discuss finances with our children or parents.

    2. Paying off the mortgage is a huge milestone. But I just don't feel the need to share the news.  I assume our friends are the same or we about to be invited to a bunch of mortgage burning parties. In that case, we would happily attend the parties. 
                
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  • I’m curious now, do people think divorce parties are inappropriate? 

    I guess I just don’t see this 1) as discussing/flaunting your finances (unless you’re talking about how much you paid for the house, how quickly you paid it off or whatever) and 2) why this couldn’t be seen as a big milestone for some people? 
    Not at all. I think it’s clearly a huge milestone, but there’s no way to announce “Hey I own this whole huge thing all on my own” without flaunting your financial success. 
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    Jen4948 said:
    Jen4948 said:
    I agree that it's a "know your crowd" thing. If there are those among your crowd who would see a party to celebrate paying off a mortgage as bragging about your financial success, then don't invite them.

    My parents paid off their mortgage without throwing a party, or if they did throw a party to celebrate it, I wasn't there. I think I didn't live locally at the time, so I wouldn't have been able to attend anyway.
    How would you know this in advance though? And how is it not bragging about financial success?
    Presumably people you would invite to any kind of party are people whose views you are aware of regarding celebrating any kind of success, financial or otherwise, simply because you have spent time with them and heard them voice their opinions.
    Eh I think we just disagree on this. It’s an uncommon party to throw, and you’ll never know who thinks you’re bragging really. 
    People throw parties to celebrate all kinds of personal achievements, including living one more year, having a baby, getting engaged, getting married, moving into new homes and retiring, but none of those are "bragging"?

    By your standards, any party to celebrate anything constitutes "bragging."

    You're right that we disagree about that.
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