We just paid ours off this week. I wanted the freedom of having no payments and to have 100% of our income available to do what ever we wanted to with it. We were putting plenty away into investments in our company 401k. With a good long bull run in the market, it would have been a good time to put the money in the market instead, but hindsight is what it is.
I do not feel bad at all about paying off the mortgage. It offers stability for my wife and keeps life simple. We will likely look at a second home for vacations and future retirement and may very well get a small mortgage on it but it will be easy to pay off when I am able to access my retirement funds.
All that being said, my goal is not necessarily to retire early, but manage my money well so that we are FI and I can leave an inheritance of some amount to my kids / grandkids. I plan to work at least 12 mores years, until I am 62 and I may work longer. I enjoy my job and I get lazy at home. It may prolong my life to keep working
One thing is for sure, if you do not like living without a mortgage, you can sure get one again. It is pretty much a no risk decision, just a hastle if you decide to change your mind. I personally think that each persons personality is a bigger driver in what makes them financially strong. Many people that would be part of a forum like this would be money nerds and really into the management part of the finances. They would enjoy the challenge. Not everyone is like that though. Others would be best served to pay off the debt, reduce the risk and free up your income to build wealth. Chances are that either way, it wont really matter.