AS PART OF OUR retirement strategy, my husband and I plan on using the money we make from the sale of our home in Oregon to help cover part of our retirement expenses. We already own a second home in Arizona, which we’ll move into once I leave my job. We’ve played around with different ideas for how best to use the money, including making a large, onetime payment against our Arizona home’s mortgage.
More likely, however, we’ll use the cash to help cover our living expenses until I’m eligible to receive Social Security. Even though I can access most of my retirement account money when I turn age 55, I’m hoping to hold off tapping my nest egg until I’m at least 65. Once I leave my job, we’ll still be eligible to receive health-care coverage through my employer. We will, however, have to pay premiums of about $7,000 a year for the two of us. The money from our Portland home would help cover that expense.
When we started making our plans, we assumed we’d get back little more than our down payment—$80,000—when we sold our Oregon house. But over the past year, the equity in our modest home has increased sharply. Our ideas for how best to use the money have also grown by leaps and bounds.
I started making a list of items we might want for our Arizona house, including new kitchen appliances and new flooring. A few new electronic gadgets also made the cut. Every day, as I checked the latest estimate for the value of our home on Zillow, the list grew longer and more diverse. Our latest idea: Using some of the money to start a small business—which might eventually create a stream of income for us during our retirement years.