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our house will be fully paid off in one year (if all keeps going as planned), and that will free-up my Air Force retirement

Good luck with that. I paid off my house after 25 years (or a little less).

But that did not free up anything. With the ever-increasing property taxes, and the ever-increasing cost of maintenance (new roofs, new windows, new heating system, new refrigerators, new stove, new washing machines and dryers), it now costs more per month than it did with the mortgage. I must now pay to get my snow shoveled instead of shoveling it myself (doctors orders). I just rent now from the state instead of from the bank, but the rent goes ever upward.

I did manage to put off taking my social security until I reached full retirement age of 65 years and two months, but I could not put it off any longer because of the increasing property taxes and increasing medical costs.
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