Is it Better to Pay off the Mortgage or Save for Retirement?

I was listening to a financial radio show where listeners call in their questions.  A man called in with a frequently asked question; “my wife and I have a 30 year mortgage at 3.5%, we have a little bit of extra money now and were wondering if we should pay down the mortgage faster or put the money into our retirement accounts?”  The financial expert gave the standard advice and said “fund the retirement accounts.”  He then gave a detailed explanation why funding a retirement account was much better.  Unlike most callers this one had some guts and told the expert he was not convinced and then hung up.  The caller’s negative reaction got me thinking; is the standard advice wrong?

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