Q: I owe about $29,000 on my home mortgage. It is a 15-year at 6-7/8 percent, with a monthly payment of about $1,000. I have about 7 years left on the loan.

Should I pay off the mortgage with my home equity line of credit? My bank is quoting 5 percent.

A: I think you have a unique opportunity to pay off this loan by the end of 2006, that’s 2 years instead of 7 years. Let’s look at the numbers.

If you use your home equity line of credit and structure the repayment period for 7 years, your payment falls from $1,000 to $409 per month. If you use your savings of about $600 per month to prepay this loan, you’ll have paid off the $29,000 before the end of 2006, or almost 5 years sooner than if you keep the loan you currently have.

There is a small amount of risk. The risk is that the interest rate will go up and you’ll pay a little more. But since you’re going to pay off this debt in two years, it’s a very small risk to take for a huge upside.

I’d take your bank up on their offer. Ask for a home equity line of credit that can be opened without any fees and start paying off this debt.