Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images

3 of 4
Rule #3: Pay in full.

If you are at least 45 and have no desire to ever move, start paying off your mortgage. The best security move is to get your mortgage paid off before you retire. Just tune out the people who say it doesn't make sense to give up the valuable tax break that comes with a mortgage-interest deduction.

Most of the interest deductions happen in the early years anyway. Let's say you have a $200,000, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 6 percent. Your monthly payment will be $1,199 a month—or about $14,400 a year—for 30 years. In the early years of the mortgage, you'll pay mostly interest—at least $11,000 a year—so $11,000 of your $14,400 mortgage payment will be tax deductible. Now let's jump forward 20 years: Your yearly mortgage payment is still $14,400, but your interest payment will not account for more than about $6,000. The bottom line is that your interest tax deductions decline the longer you pay your mortgage. But we're not talking just about a tax write-off here: Nothing feels better than owning your home outright.

Besides, your mortgage is probably your largest monthly expense—so, if you get it paid off before you retire, you will have reduced the amount of money on which you'll need to live during retirement.