Why Is This Woman Smiling

Possibly because she’s holding the last mortgage check she’ll ever write.

And no, I’m not taking over the mortgage-check-writing responsibilities. It’s the last mortgage check. Wheee!

When people ask me what inspires me to write, I frequently say “my mortgage.” I’ll have to think of some new smart-ass response.

In any event, if you’ve ever bought one of my books, you are in an infinitesimally small way to thank for getting us to this point. So: Thank you. I promise to keep writing more books, even without a mortgage dangling over my head. After all, I still have Athena’s college to pay for.

76 Comments on “Why Is This Woman Smiling”

  1. Congrats Krissy and Scalzi. Paying off loans is always a great feeling. So, any of that wood out front going to be used for the “burning of the mortgage” ceremony?

  2. Congratulations! And based on what we’ve seen of Athena here in Whatever, she’ll probably get a scholarship to the college of her choice and eliminate that worry as well.

  3. @Beej Nope! Our bank still sent paper ones, even though there’s a handful of ways to pay electronically.

  4. Re: your daughter’s college. You can do what my parents did: pay for the first term of college and then leave the rest up to her. She won’t resent it. (☜not true; she will!)

  5. That’s worth delurking from to say congratulations.

    Almost as good as the feeling I got when I got my $97 check in profit from selling my condo…

    Ok, no, this is much better.

  6. Congratulations…and you’re welcome.

    My own last mortgage check is just a couple of years away.

  7. Congratulations!

    (Only 27 more years until I get to do the same!)

    Unless she gets a merit scholarship (which she could, being smart and all), Athena’s education is likely going to cost more than your house. It’s frightening how the cost has escalated in the last 20 years.

  8. Congrats! It’s a great feeling to pay off the mortgage.

    It’s still surprising what a paid-for house still costs each year though. :) While Texas has no income tax, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance is sky-high.

  9. It’s a great feeling which I am enticingly close to.

    But from the outside, it’s also a staggering example of how the present is unevenly distributed, never mind the future. I’ve had a mortgage for over twenty years, and never once made a check payment, and that wasn’t leading edge banking even at the outset.

    I do have checks, and write maybe one or two a year. The last time I paid a check into my account seems to have been in 2012. My wife has a business with clients in a dozen or more countries: the only check payments are from the US.

    So the US seems an odd anomaly in the modern world. What’s holding you guys back?

  10. What Nathaniel Givens said. I’ve had a mortgage on-and-off since 1988, and I have never once written a cheque for a monthly payment. Welcome to the 19th century, I guess.

  11. We write checks because Krissy generally prefers to do it that way, and since she’s the one who actually pays the bills, she gets to do it the way she prefers. We certainly have the option of paying online.

  12. Funny, I thought you’d’ve passed this benchmark a while ago. I would have made it my first priority, but … y’all certainly know what you’re doing and why, so I’ll shut up now. Except to say


  13. Congratulations! It’s a great feeling, isn’t it? Of course, we just moved to get a better school district and are hence paying a mortgage again, but that’s the way we chose. (Sobs.)

  14. What great news! I’m very happy for you guys (and glad a few of my nickles or however much you got out of my buying all the “Old Man’s War” series got you).

  15. Congratulations! That is an amazing feeling, isn’t it? Kudos to you and Krissy for being prudent and smart with your finances!

  16. A person of my acquaintance burned part of their paid-off mortgage by using it as rolling papers. It made really awful rolling paper, but it was amusing.

  17. What a wonderful feeling that must have been, to have such a burden float away. Y’all worked hard and made it happen; good on you.

  18. I just realized I did not have a party when I paid off mine. I guess I can do it any time I like!

  19. Congrats. One year until tuition. Now if only insurance and taxes and utilities and food and… didn’t cost so much you’d have nothing to answer with. Luckily for you there are so many things to choose from. Did I mention congratulations! WTG.

  20. Congratulations! I’m happy to continue my occasional, infinitesimal contributions to Athena’s education now… :-)

  21. I’ve got a mortgage you can have – I’ll unselfishly let you pay it just to have a snark handy.


    Well, it was worth a try.

  22. She wrote the last mortgage check several years ago.
    THAT check is the last payment into the Scalzi Women’s World Domination Fund. Which explains the smile…..

  23. I try not to feel envious or jealous of your success… but, damn, this is a tough one. (Congratulations!)

  24. @John: I think Marek is marveling at the fact that your lender still accepts cheques; lenders in most other countries accept them only begrudgingly, if at all, and most people have been pushed off cheques by their bank. Business customers still get issued cheque books, because large, ad-hoc payments aren’t really a good fit for electronic transactions, but that’s about it.

    Then again, I also marvelled at how the US still required a swipe and signature for credit card transactions five years ago. That might have changed.

  25. Merus: Then again, I also marvelled at how the US still required a swipe and signature for credit card transactions five years ago. That might have changed.

    Nope. At least, not where I live. Only difference now is that the swipe is usually with the card in the customer’s hand, and the signiture is on a screen, not a piece of paper. And I still write checks for–well, almost everything. My bank stopped mailing printed statements for free a while ago, but that’s as electronic as they have gotten so far.

  26. Congratulations on paying off the cursed mortgage! We still have 16 years to go, unless something unusual happens; I am slightly jealous.

  27. Congratulations, guys! I remember when my parents achieved mortgage paid off-ness and how happy they were. Mum wanted to get the deeds framed because they’d spent so many years waiting to hold them as “theirs” and not a bank’s.

  28. Congratulations!
    The secret of a comfortable retirement (for those of us who enjoy not working) is a paid off mortgage.

  29. Wait, first of all you actually use real checks to pay your mortgage? Is your bank run by George Bailey?

    Second this can only mean you need a bigger house on a better piece of land. Gotta keep those mortgage checks coming (though pay digitally)!

  30. Congratulations.

    I, for one, would rather read books (and eat food, receive health-care, u.s.w.) that were not extorted from us by Want…but there both are real technical problems before that could be the general case, and Want has so many friends it has made powerful….

    As s.f. writers have got good at noticing, there would still be plenty of problems—e.g. the late Mr Banks’ work—but it would still be better.

  31. Congratulations. And you’re welcome, I’m glad to have to done my tiny bit to contribute (and besides I enjoy the books). Just out of curiosity, was this a 15 year mortgage? I’m guessing that from what you have told us about your financial manager it was probably fixed rate. (If this is being too nosy I apologize.)

  32. Now would you please add some wind and solar to your home and buy a Tesla or something, for crisesakes …

  33. Congrats! That’s a great feeling. I assume it would be a great feeling anyway. I live in Vancouver, so I’ll still be paying my mortgage in the afterlife….

  34. First off, congratulations on paying off the mortgage. I know that has got to feel good. Second, a suggestion for your new ‘smart-ass’ comment for people who ask why you write… “Because Harvard tuition is not cheap!” If that doesn’t get them to shush, then nothing will.

  35. Congrats! And deep envy; we still have 20 years to go.

    We pay our mortgage and all bills online, but the property tax still needs a written check unless we want to cough up an extra fee. Even with the price of stamps going up, it’s worth writing a check and mailing it.

  36. And now, I must quote my mother:


    …yeah. I know. Mom wasn’t a financial wizard by any stretch of the imagination.

  37. Yay! Congratulations! Paying off the mortgage is always grand.
    I remember when I was a teen and I got to field some of the many calls from banks who wanted to refinance dad’s home loan. I got to tell them the interest rate of the thirty year fixed loan dad had and then listen to them cry.
    Then when he paid it off, I got to be the one to tell them that there was no loan to refinance. Those were the only sales calls I looked forward to.

  38. I’ll have to agree with the people saying “Check? Check? Wait – can you eat that?”

    The last time I wrote a check must’ve been something like a quarter century ago. I recently got to cache two – I don’t remember what the second was for, but the first was for the rest of my fictionwise account. Yup, international check. Caused quite some consternation in my bank, figuring out how to handle such an animal.

    Everything else is electronically in some way, shape or form.

  39. We’ve had direct debit in the UK for years – it long pre-dates the internet. And standing orders are even older.

    My mortgage is by direct debit, and always has been – my mortgagor just dips into my bank account once a month, and they adjust the size of the payment when they need to.

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