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Also, if you have an emergency and need money quickly, it is easier to get money out of your retirement savings than out of where you live.
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Most home improvement projects (other than cosmetic "staging" at the time of sale) lack any measurable payback.

I'd opt for a cheap seal coat on the driveway and put the other $9,700 in your retirement fund.

intercst
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I would suggest doing structural repairs first on the home, that will increase the value of the house. The driveway can wait and there are cheaper ways to do the driveway when the time comes.

One way to think about it is that people live inside the home and would appreciate that more.

Put some money into fixing up the house and some money into your savings/investment account.

Lucky Dog
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Unless you have a major sinkhole in your driveway, there really may not
be a great return by renewing the thing.
Gravel driveways work fine and only need replacement gravel every few years.

Home improvements can be delayed - but if they help you or the family to
enjoy the place - such that you stay in the house longer - and avoid relocation
costs longer - and allow your investments to grow undisturbed longer - well
then you have some justification to spend the money.

Howie52
having firm quotes for improvements will help you figure what you should do.
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There's always something that gets in the way of saving and investing, or at least there's always something that could get in the way.

You say you want to retire in a few years and that you are significantly behind. Seems like the time for saving to take priority over any other expense is now.

I have found after many years that my thinking is biased towards saving/investing over any other expense type. I'd rather invest more than spend on almost anything else, or at least other spending has a pretty high threshold to be worth it.

As a consequence I've built up enough wealth that I can pretty much buy whatever I want whenever I want it. Interestingly that "stuff" matters way less to me than freedom does, so I choose to use my money to buy that.
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I think a cosmetic remodeling of kitchen and bathrooms may pay off.
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I think a cosmetic remodeling of kitchen and bathrooms may pay off.

Depending on how out-of-date things are you might have an easier time selling than otherwise. It's not generally the case that you get out more than you put in.

Investing the money in appreciating assets, like stocks is likely to return more than you invest.
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I think a cosmetic remodeling of kitchen and bathrooms may pay off.

Depends when and to whom. Paying off when you're dead and your heirs sell the place, may not be as valuable as increasing retirement income.

Also depends how long you're planning to stay. We've been in our home for 20 years and just completed the 2nd kitchen & bathroom remodel. From an investment viewpoint the first remodel was wasted money. From a happy wife/ happy life, viewpoint money well spent. YMMV
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Also depends how long you're planning to stay. We've been in our home for 20 years and just completed the 2nd kitchen & bathroom remodel. From an investment viewpoint the first remodel was wasted money. From a happy wife/ happy life, viewpoint money well spent. YMMV

This for sure.

If you want to fix up your kitchen go for it. Just don't tell yourself that you are making money doing it. It's an expense, pure and simple.

If you are fixing up to sell, do the minimum to bring things up to date. Odds are the new buyers will have their own ideas about what they want and they will just redo it anyway.
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Like many others I am substantially behind on my retirement goals, and am aiming to retire by 2023

Save the money now.
Put in the driveway fix just before you sell, unless it is so bad now that it is a problem.

Mike
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Interestingly that "stuff" matters way less to me than freedom does, so I choose to use my money to buy that.

I've said that to people for a while now. Money either buys you freedom or items, I like my freedom. I can do without the $50K+ cars. I do like nice vacations so saving $25K+ on a car will buy me several nice vacations.

Rich
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Careful. Costa Rica has gotten really expensive. And if you are not happy here and now, you will not be happy there.
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Also, if you have an emergency and need money quickly, it is easier to get money out of your retirement savings than out of where you live.
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Most home improvement projects (other than cosmetic "staging" at the time of sale) lack any measurable payback.

There are a few home improvements that have a >100% payoff of the expense:
-Your kitchen is from the era of disco and stagflation, and you update it
-All the homes in your area have two bathrooms and you have one, so you add a bathroom
-*Maybe* adding a deck, if you do the right kind for your house and neighborhood
-Correcting something that's the single thing that's seriously wrong with your house

Everything else is a money sink, so you'd better be getting some enjoyment out of it because you're not getting all your money back.
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Any home related upgrade expense is only a financially sound undertaking, compared to other retirement preparation, if it increases value that you realize because you sell. Otherwise, it is a housing expense, and likely an unnecessary one.

The likely course of interest rates is higher for a time, REITs are already discounted in various sectors, energy returns are currently strong. Investing in earning assets with while compounding the earnings results in more money, which seems like the crying need here.
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Any home related upgrade expense is only a financially sound undertaking, compared to other retirement preparation, if it increases value that you realize because you sell. Otherwise, it is a housing expense, and likely an unnecessary one.

That's very true. The caveat is if you plan to stay in your home for a number of years v sell relatively soon. The satisfaction you gain from improvements while you live there is often beyond cost:)

Pete
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The satisfaction you gain from improvements while you live there is often beyond cost:)


I had a buddy who sold his house to move back to Texas, after 5 years in Connecticut. He told me that they broke the globe in the front hall when they were moving in, and never got around to replacing it.

When they sold, of course they had to replace it before they put it on the market. He said that the thing that really irked him was that they had to buy a new globe anyway---but this way they lived with a broken globe the entire time they were in the house. If they had just replaced it immediately, same outlay but they'd have enjoyed it.
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mainelefty: "Any home related upgrade expense is only a financially sound undertaking, compared to other retirement preparation, if it increases value that you realize because you sell."

Many home upgrades do not increase the value realized on sale by more than the cost of the upgrade.

Typically they return cents on the dollar, though the percentage varies widely.

https://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/clean-and-organize/wh...

"According to Remodeling Magazine (http://www.remodeling.hw.net/) you're less likely to recoup your investment in a major kitchen or bathroom remodel than you are to get back what you spend on basic home maintenance such as new siding. Siding replacement recouped 92.8 percent of its cost, according to the study. The only home improvement likely to return more at resale was a minor (roughly $15,000) kitchen remodel, which returned 92.9 percent. Replacing roofs and windows were also high on the list, returning 80 percent or more at resale."

"In the hottest housing markets, springing for a kitchen or bath remodel is a sure-fire investment, often [but not always] returning more than 100 percent of the cost." [emphasis added]

See also: http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2018/ On average, no improvement returned 100 cents on the dollar, but a few came close in upper 90+% category, but many only returned 50-75% of the cost.

Regards, JAFO
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Yes, that's actually what I meant - almost no improvements will actually create new value beyond cost.

Housing is an expense. Period.

Money spent on housing is not money related to retirement, other than it is cash (or worse, debt incurred) that has been spent and is not available for retirement.

The MF mottos I always think about related to these issues - get rich slowly. Live below your means. Like what you have.

Up here in the Arctic Circle, where OPEC has been a looming threat every winter since I was a teenager, there is nothing more personally satisfying than cutting your own wood and feeding it later into a wood stove. Except maybe the taste of a few fresh vegetables from a small garden on the yard. Each being home improvements of which I thoroughly approve.
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I learned this lesson back in 1992. A friend of mine lived in this HUD home for several years and never did anything to it. He got a job transfer and his Dad and him did all the repairs and painting that had needed to be done. On the night before he left, he looked around and said,"I wished I had done all this before, it looks really nice".

So, over the years I put in money to update the house with the thinking that I can enjoy it now and when I get ready to sell, not much has to be done with it other than fresh paint....oh and getting rid of crap.

I spread it out over a number of years to give me a break from workers being around and to build up my resources. Dealing with contractors is a pain in the neck but that's another story.

Lucky Dog
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LuckyDog2002 analyzes,

So, over the years I put in money to update the house with the thinking that I can enjoy it now and when I get ready to sell, not much has to be done with it other than fresh paint....oh and getting rid of crap.

</snip>


There's a time value to money. The money I haven't put into my home over the last 8 to 9 years has tripled in the stock market. I'm now shopping for an airplane.

You know what they say in da hood. You can sleep in your car, but you can't drive your house.

intercst
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