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If you refinance your mortgage, you may have the option to extend the period of time that you will have to repay the loan. Doing so will cause you to pay off the mortgage later and pay more in interest, but it may be a wise financial move under some circumstances.

How Can Choosing a Longer Term Affect Your Finances?
If you decide to refinance and extend your mortgage term, the amount of principal you have left will get spread out over a longer period of time. For example, if you initially took out a 15-year mortgage and you have been making payments for 10 years, the total amount that you would have paid over the last five years will get spread over the term of a new mortgage. 

That may result in significantly lower monthly payments, but you will also have to pay more in interest. The exact change in your payment amount and total interest charges will depend on your interest rates before and after you refinance. 

The amount of outstanding principal is also important. At the beginning of a loan repayment period, most of each payment goes toward interest and only a small amount is credited toward principal. As the years go by, more and more of each payment is applied to principal, which means you chip away at your debt faster. 

If you have been making payments for several years, you may have a relatively small amount of principal remaining. If you extend the loan term, the amount of interest you will pay on that balance will be fairly low.

When Should You Consider Extending Your Loan Term?
If you’re struggling financially because of a job loss, pay cut, medical bills, high-interest credit card debt,or another reason, refinancing and spreading out the remainder of your mortgage payments can help you get back on track. Even if you will have to pay more in interest in the long run, the short-term financial stability may be worth it. If your new mortgage doesn’t have a prepayment penalty, you may be able to make larger payments in the future and pay off the loan ahead of the new schedule.

If you haven’t invested as much as you would like for retirement and you’re concerned about your future financial security, extending your mortgage term may make sense. Before you choose that option, consider your loan balance, how much you have saved for retirement, when you plan to retire and alternatives to lengthening the mortgage repayment period.

When Should You Stick With Your Current Loan Term?
If you can cover your current mortgage payments, you may be better off keeping the same term after you refinance. That can help you avoid paying extra for interest and pay off your home loan on schedule. That’s particularly important if you want to own your home free and clear when you retire. Lengthening the loan term could force you to delay retirement or work part-time to make ends meet.

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