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How long before retirement did you pay off your house ?

Well, we paid off the house something like 15 years ago, maybe more. That's about the same time we moved into our current home. Mrs. Goofy worked until last year, and I had a 3 year stint of "work" (from home) during this 15 year period, but overall we sold the home in Chicago, bought this house with cash and never looked back.

For many years I was stupid and thought "the mortgage deduction" was a wonderful thing. It was only after finally understanding that we were paying $1.00 (in interest) to save 30¢ (in taxes) did we get smart and pay it off. Not so amazingly, our savings began to accelerate immediately; we were saving an additional $15,000 a year.

I agree with you that most other expenses are only likely to go up, especially considering higher healthcare costs.

Our healthcare costs have mushroomed, and we have a very high deductible policy to try to keep the premiums down. Cest la vie.

If there are no heirs, a reverse mortgage against the house might be considered as a source of income especially after one partner dies and half the social security income disappears.

Good mention. Not always appropriate but good to have as an idea in the mix.
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