Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
NextMil
Posts: 540
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:33 pm

Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by NextMil » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:33 am

I am struggling with some realities regarding home ownership and kids/family. When you are younger and need the space for a family you are more focused on building financial security, when you are older you have all the money in the world, but do not necessarily need the space. I am struggling with whether or not to do some basic renovations that are not frivolous, but they are a want not a need. I would provide more details, but I don't want to color the responses one way or another so I am deliberately being vague.

Anyone regret doing renovations to make your family more comfortable at the expense of investing more/paying down your house and why?

Anyone regret not doing renovations to pay down your home faster and have more invested and why?

Thanks for any advice and counsel, and specific stories are welcome.

ETA: Both of the above questions can be inversely answered as well, as in are you thrilled that you did renovations or thrilled you waited to do renovations until House was paid off, more was in taxable, X, Y, Z.

DorothyB
Posts: 99
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:17 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by DorothyB » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:40 am

I delayed remodeling my kitchen until after my house was paid off and I was maxing out my retirement savings. I don't regret that.

However, a lot will depend on age, cost of renovations, how much they will change your life, where you are w/ retirement savings, etc.

NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 2500
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:01 am

We sold a house when the kids were 4 and 7. We had done very little to it, and had to fix it up quite a bit to sell. I said never again, we're going to keep the next house up as a place we're happy to live in or could put on the market tomorrow. No regrets. That includes taking out a home equity loan to do a major kitchen renovation, which still makes me happy 10 years later.

It worked for us because our careers worked for us - our income did not increase just with inflation, we got promotions and bonuses and generally had more in earnings than we expected when we first had kids. So we could have upgraded to a better home, but have decided to stay where we are and keep working down the list of things to improve in this house. A couple of times it looked like we might have to relocate, and at those times I was happy to have a house that was in good condition if we had needed to sell. But since we stayed, we've been continuously working a list of updates. On a 50 year old house, there is always something.

User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 6810
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳 Retired.

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:04 am

1. No regrets.
2. No regrets.
Concurrently do both. Funds toward home improvement, lifestyle improvement, and saving/investing.

squirm
Posts: 1697
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:53 am

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by squirm » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:36 am

You want to enjoy your life and family too. Don't be one of those guys that saves every penny but dies with millions. Who cares, you can't take it with you. Enjoy your family, just be responsible with the money.

Bacchus01
Posts: 2757
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by Bacchus01 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:38 am

I regrets

Live happy

Ever considering just moving? When we retire we will absolutely sell our current home and move into a smaller yet brand new house.

KlangFool
Posts: 12738
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by KlangFool » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:52 am

OP,

1) I save 1 year of expense every year. Then, I can choose to spend the rest every year. So, if and when I want to renovate, it comes out of my annual expense. The money is never big enough to be a big deal.

2) I had an old house long ago and I renovated extensively. I have a new house now and I did some minor upgrade. In both cases, the renovation money comes out of my annual expense.

KlangFool

OnTrack2020
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:24 am

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by OnTrack2020 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:25 am

NextMil wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:33 am
I am struggling with some realities regarding home ownership and kids/family. When you are younger and need the space for a family you are more focused on building financial security, when you are older you have all the money in the world, but do not necessarily need the space. I am struggling with whether or not to do some basic renovations that are not frivolous, but they are a want not a need. I would provide more details, but I don't want to color the responses one way or another so I am deliberately being vague.

Anyone regret doing renovations to make your family more comfortable at the expense of investing more/paying down your house and why?

Anyone regret not doing renovations to pay down your home faster and have more invested and why?

Thanks for any advice and counsel, and specific stories are welcome.

ETA: Both of the above questions can be inversely answered as well, as in are you thrilled that you did renovations or thrilled you waited to do renovations until House was paid off, more was in taxable, X, Y, Z.
This is kind of a sore subject for me. My father was extremely frugal, so frugal that when my mother wanted to spend around $2,000 on doing some updating in their small home, he didn't like it, even though they had the money to spend and plenty saved for retirement, paid off home, etc. It wasn't major work, just some reupholstering and new drapes, maybe event some carpeting and other small items, but it made such a difference and my mom was so happy! They would have been in their 50s at the time.

Fast forward, we are now in our 50s with a couple kids in college and two in high school. We live in a house that needs some work done and has been paid off for 10 years. The updates we need involve the bathrooms (2) and the kitchen and siding. When my parents home was sold when they passed away, the money we made I had planned to update our kitchen. Needless to say, that didn't happen. We did one bathroom earlier this year. It was so bad from just normal years of use (fiberglass shower and hard water stains are very hard to get rid of), that every time I walked into I wanted to take a hammer to it. It didn't cost a huge amount; around $5k and I had budgeted for it, spent a little more than originally planned, but absolutely love it. We didn't stop 401k contributions while we were doing it, but we did take some of the profits since the market was doing well. We are going to start on another bathroom next month. Again, nothing major, just some new tile, toilet, trying to place a new shower head because that bathroom only has a tub.

My biggest regret for us (and to some extent thinking about my parents) is that we previously have done updates/upgrades prior to selling a property, so someone else had the enjoyment of living in an updated home---no more!!

We don't need all the space we have either, but we don't need ugly space. :happy When you get to be in your 50s and 60s, it's time to start enjoying some things. I really get tired of saying, "Gee, I wish we had done this years ago."

Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 20603
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:57 am

If you have the means to pay your expenses including that of a potential renovation, then do it. If you can’t be comfortable in your own house what is the sense of living there? I have no regrets in fixing the house, I added a bathroom to our ground floor where none had existed before (along with some other changes) - quality of life has gone way up. Unfortunately, so have my property taxes.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 16127
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by Watty » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:01 am

I bought a house that still had a 30+ year old kitchen that had a poor layout. That was OK since it was priced into the house and I had the budget to do the needed remodeling. We did not get around to actually doing the remodeling for five years. Once it was done we were kicking ourselves for not having done it sooner.

The house is a pretty midrange house so we did not go overboard on the kitchen. Granite countertops would have been a lot more expensive so we used Corian instead which was Ok for a house in our price range. No regrets there since we saved at least enough to pay for a trip to Europe by not putting in granite.

I replace things like HVAC systems before they fail since I can take the time to get several bids and get a good price. I think I save enough by getting a good price that it is worth more than getting a few more years of service out of an old appliance. I replaced both my furnace and AC when they were about 20 year old and started needing minor repairs. I replace my water heater this year just because it was 13 years old.

One thing to keep in mind is that if your kids will leave for college in five years and you spend the next year doing a big remodel then they will not be around very long to enjoy it. From their perspective having a years disruption in their life may not be worth it.

Also consider how long it will be until your youngest kid is off to college. If you remodel the house into a big family home that might not work well if you will be empty nesters in 8 years. We did a corporate relocation when my son was in middle school so we bought a house knowing that we would be empty nesters in about five years.

helloeveryone
Posts: 302
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:16 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by helloeveryone » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:12 am

Kitchen renovation - no regrets. We love it. We did it 8 years into ownership of the home because that’s when it was financially the right time to do it.
Master bathroom renovation - my wife loves it. I’m neutral. Don’t regret it though because it makes my wife happy. That was this year as well after it was the right time to do it money wise.

Sure the $ could have gone towards paying home faster but we are on a 15 year mortgage and make 1-2 extra payments per year. I think first you have to have the funds to do it without a signifcant negative impact on your budget. THen when you have the funds balancing being happy versus wishing your house was more updated but it being paid off.

Regrets - we would love to landscape the backyard but that $ probably would not be as high yield as the kitchen/bathroom because we don’t spend much time in back yard. But maybe we would if we redid the landscape? Who knows. That might be a regret in the future.

forgeblast
Posts: 258
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:45 am
Location: PA
Contact:

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by forgeblast » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:26 am

We just did a major renovation. We moved our kitchen to our mudroom and our mudroom to our galley kitchen. It has been a life changer.
SO glad we did it. This was the one thing that we could do to really increase the value of our home.
It made the kitchen a new hub there is no wasted space and we put in better doors and widows too.
Our home will be paid off in 6 years and then it will take 2 more to take our the heloc.
We found issues when we opened up the walls and were able to fix them before they became a problem.
We are on a 15 year mortgage and pay off an extra month every year.
Regrets, that we had to replace doors and windows and could not redo the deck, but the doors and windows needed replacing.

kayakprof
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:46 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by kayakprof » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:59 am

A couple years ago we bought a very beat-up rancher built in early 1950s. I said "no" as soon as we walked in for our first viewing, and at the same moment my DW said "this is the house for us." I was floored - the house was terrible (with 50 year old green shag carpet and every room closed off). The original 1950s galley kitchen (complete with gas oven with no door) was closed off from the rest of the house. The stairs to the basement were in-between the kitchen and living room.

For about 60K (paid for in cash) my wife had the kitchen wall taken down and the stairs to the basement moved to a new location, and found space for a washer/dryer. The entire house is completely open now, with a new granite island with stools in the kitchen and new cabinets. The kitchen, dining, living room space feel huge even though they aren't. It truly transformed the house. We love it, every guest that visits love it, even the maintenance personnel who serviced the HVAC for the last owners (and who we kept on to continue servicing the HVAC) mention the transformation. I have told my wife at least 1000 times she was right about the house, and I was wrong. No regrets!

Currently mid-forties. Kids are eight and under. We have 1 less bedroom than is ideal. DW's new plan is to add one more bedroom. We have saved enough in two years to cover 85% of the cost. It took 9 months to get the permit due to zoning restrictions. We just hired a draftsman. I anticipate no regrets about the addition (aside from increasing property taxes and energy costs). Still saving at the same rate for retirement, though I do plan to increase that once this addition is complete.

snowox
Posts: 273
Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:17 am

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by snowox » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:11 pm

In mid 50's and retired. 2 in college and 2 still home so we downsized to a house thats still not small but is a 71 raised ranch. We have been here 4 years and we did not buy it at some special deal or with the intent to flip it as it was in good shape and could easily live in it the way it was. I am just mentioning this to you because the things we are doing are wants as well, not needs. Moving in I did want to address somethings right away more as cleanup items like fresh paint, replace some carpet and so on. What I do and have done in years past is budget every year to do a project. So since I have been here the first year I re-did the den by replacing and installing a new fireplace, added some ceiling beams, new carpet and replaced the windows and door to the outside. The next year I gutted completely and re-did the main bath. This year I just finished having the kitchen cabinets re-faced and put in new hardwood floors and have a couple minor things to do yet. Next year I am going to work on addressing things to the outside. Our house is paid for and I feel were a bit over what we'd get back and for sure anymore we put into it we wont BUT we are planning on staying here at least till the other two are out so another 6 years and want to enjoy it and be comfortable. We dont go over the top but do nice things that are not to trendy either. By doing one room or project at a time it keeps the house always updated as well.

dak
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:31 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by dak » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:12 pm

I am in my early 60s with our last child heading out to college next year. We did a kitchen renovation 3 years ago and it was a wonderful transformation for the house. In my mind, if you are meeting your savings goals, the balance of your funds are for living. You likely spend quite a bit of time at home, so you might as well have a pleasant environment for you and your family. I too have seen people do major renovations immediately prior to moving and that makes little sense to me - you have to live through the disruptions and then don't get to enjoy the results?

JBTX
Posts: 5087
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:46 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by JBTX » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:19 pm

NextMil wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:33 am
I am struggling with some realities regarding home ownership and kids/family. When you are younger and need the space for a family you are more focused on building financial security, when you are older you have all the money in the world, but do not necessarily need the space. I am struggling with whether or not to do some basic renovations that are not frivolous, but they are a want not a need. I would provide more details, but I don't want to color the responses one way or another so I am deliberately being vague.

Anyone regret doing renovations to make your family more comfortable at the expense of investing more/paying down your house and why?

Anyone regret not doing renovations to pay down your home faster and have more invested and why?

Thanks for any advice and counsel, and specific stories are welcome.

ETA: Both of the above questions can be inversely answered as well, as in are you thrilled that you did renovations or thrilled you waited to do renovations until House was paid off, more was in taxable, X, Y, Z.
We have been in our current house 20 years. Have two teenagers. We had really done very little with the house during those 20 years so it was getting pretty beat up inside. Laminate floors warping and showing wear. Some of color schemes didn't match well. Several of the appliances were on last leg. Furniture was low end, old and beat up. It was almost embarrassing to have people in sometimes - while it really wasn't THAT bad, most of our friends now have much bigger, newer and nicer homes, so it would make us uncomfortable, especially my wife. She hated it.

In theory it would have been nice to have more space.

We decided we either needed to move, or remodel/renovate. Decided to do remodel (little more than year ago). We ended up spending about $70k on remodel, and another $30k or so on furniture. This on a house that is probably only $320K market value give or take.

The remodel was a PITA over a couple of months, and we actually moved out during certain aspects of painting, kitchen remodel and floor replacement - lived in hotel for two separate one week periods.

My wife is happy with it. I'm generally happy with it. Limping along with what we had wasn't realistically feasible. I'm sure the remodel has increased the market value considerably, probably at least half of the $70k. It was still probably cheaper than moving. Now we should be there a while longer unless something unexpected comes up.

It would be nice to have some more space, but in a couple of years if my daughter is out of the house things will get more manageable.

So overall, no, don't regret it. We refinanced $70K and a pretty good rate, I'm glad we did that. Actually, I wish we had done more now that rates have gone up. I will say it has put a little more pressure on me to work since it did decrease our liquidity a bit.

Topic Author
NextMil
Posts: 540
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:33 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by NextMil » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:39 pm

kayakprof wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:59 am
A couple years ago we bought a very beat-up rancher built in early 1950s. I said "no" as soon as we walked in for our first viewing, and at the same moment my DW said "this is the house for us." I was floored - the house was terrible (with 50 year old green shag carpet and every room closed off). The original 1950s galley kitchen (complete with gas oven with no door) was closed off from the rest of the house. The stairs to the basement were in-between the kitchen and living room.

For about 60K (paid for in cash) my wife had the kitchen wall taken down and the stairs to the basement moved to a new location, and found space for a washer/dryer. The entire house is completely open now, with a new granite island with stools in the kitchen and new cabinets. The kitchen, dining, living room space feel huge even though they aren't. It truly transformed the house. We love it, every guest that visits love it, even the maintenance personnel who serviced the HVAC for the last owners (and who we kept on to continue servicing the HVAC) mention the transformation. I have told my wife at least 1000 times she was right about the house, and I was wrong. No regrets!

Currently mid-forties. Kids are eight and under. We have 1 less bedroom than is ideal. DW's new plan is to add one more bedroom. We have saved enough in two years to cover 85% of the cost. It took 9 months to get the permit due to zoning restrictions. We just hired a draftsman. I anticipate no regrets about the addition (aside from increasing property taxes and energy costs). Still saving at the same rate for retirement, though I do plan to increase that once this addition is complete.
So in retrospect, I think I may have not written my question as clearly as I should have. While all the responses have been super helpful, yours might have been the closest in terms of what I am trying to drive toward an answer.

Our kids are super young, and we have an unfinished basement that might take $20-30k to turn into a bunch more livable space/play areas/bedroom/nice laundry room that my wife wants etc. Again, all wants, not needs.

I am trying to figure out, if I should just bite the bullet early on, and pull back on mortgage acceleration/taxable investing to get it done, or keep plowing ahead and then maybe in the 4-5 years do it.

I guess the real question (for everyone that is) is that if you did renovations (and some already answered this), with young children, is it better to do it on the early side to enjoy it for the long haul, or wait? In either scenario, I would pay cash, but doing it on the early side will require me to pull back on mortgage acceleration (15 year, currently paying like its a 12 with under 9 years to go at current trajectory), and taxable investing.

KlangFool
Posts: 12738
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by KlangFool » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:45 pm

NextMil wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:39 pm

Our kids are super young, and we have an unfinished basement that might take $20-30k to turn into a bunch more livable space/play areas/bedroom/nice laundry room that my wife wants etc. Again, all wants, not needs.

I am trying to figure out, if I should just bite the bullet early on, and pull back on mortgage acceleration/taxable investing to get it done, or keep plowing ahead and then maybe in the 4-5 years do it.

I guess the real question (for everyone that is) is that if you did renovations (and some already answered this), with young children, is it better to do it on the early side to enjoy it for the long haul, or wait? In either scenario, I would pay cash, but doing it on the early side will require me to pull back on mortgage acceleration (15 year, currently paying like its a 12 with under 9 years to go at current trajectory), and taxable investing.
NextMil,

<<Our kids are super young, >>
<<mortgage acceleration (15 year,>>

Do you plan to pay for your kid's college education? If yes, how does this makes any sense? You are paying off a low-interest mortgage. Then, you can take a higher interest rate student loans for your kids.

KlangFool

Topic Author
NextMil
Posts: 540
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:33 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by NextMil » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:48 pm

Thanks, Klang, but I don't want to rehash the invest vs. mortgage paydown debate here, but just to clear it up, we are dumping cash into 529s and we will absolutely pay cash for college/graduate programs.

User avatar
tyrion
Posts: 1198
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:33 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by tyrion » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:53 pm

I'm the kid in this example, not the parent...


My step dad ALWAYS tells me that he regrets not doing the downstairs windows when we kids were in the house. They certainly had the money at the time, and did a few other upgrades over a period of a few years (deck, opened up a wall, put in a garage instead of a carport, new windows on the main floor), but the one they regret not doing is upgrading the downstairs single pane aluminum windows. Wow, it got damp and cold down there during the Pacific Northwest winters.

To a lesser extent, re-plumbing the water lines also greatly improved things.

NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 2500
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:06 pm

Here is a very specific example. When we re-did the kitchen, we built an island with a counter that could fit a couple of bar chairs. As soon as the work was done, my kids started pulling up the chairs any time I cooked so they could talk while I worked, or sometimes help with prep work. They are grown and out of the house now, but they still use those chairs to visit with me when they come home, as they did last week. Regrets about spending money on the house while they were in school and the mortgage wasn't paid off? Not one bit.

There were a few other changes we did that made the house and patio more livable and conducive to family enjoyment. All completely worth it to do at the time. The house would have been paid off sooner if the upgrades had waited, but the improvements to family life wouldn't have happened.

So of course we could have managed with the old kitchen and old family room and old patio, and still raised 2 good kids. It wasn't strictly necessary. But it didn't break us, and the changes were a net positive.

indexonlyplease
Posts: 1571
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:30 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by indexonlyplease » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:28 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:52 am
OP,

1) I save 1 year of expense every year. Then, I can choose to spend the rest every year. So, if and when I want to renovate, it comes out of my annual expense. The money is never big enough to be a big deal.

2) I had an old house long ago and I renovated extensively. I have a new house now and I did some minor upgrade. In both cases, the renovation money comes out of my annual expense.

KlangFool
How do you save one year of expenses. Have you already decided how much you will need to live on? Are you stating that you are willing to live on way less money now and in retirement? Meaning someone makes 100k a year. Do they live on 50k save 50k for retirement.

Just curious. I retired and live on the same amount of money as when I worked but never could save that kind of money.

User avatar
BarbaricYawp
Posts: 132
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:29 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by BarbaricYawp » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:44 pm

Been in the same house for 22 years. Our basement was completely unfinished and open plan. While dry, it was chilly (below ground, no insulation) and tended to accumulate misc items in random piles because we didn't have a way to store sports equipment, holiday items etc. We bartered for some of the work, did some of the work ourselves, hired out things that needed specialty skills (electric). The end result was a very, very usable space that had subdivisions for my husbands workroom (hides the messy projects and tools - yay!), the furnace room/equipment storage and a couple of useful nooks in addition to the main 'rumpus room' area where we could keep all the oversized toys and active toys that we didn't want knocking around the upstairs of the house (think kid-sized dollhouses, elaborate Hot Wheels set ups etc). That area has transitioned gracefully from being the kids play space to their sleepover space to our workout and hobby space as they started leaving the house. Your kids may be too young now to have sleepovers etc., but it is awfully nice to be able to confine the chaos and still be able to keep an eye/ear on them. And to be able to get them ready for school without having to wade through a Lincoln Log fortress that they will melt down over if it is put away. Once the infrastructure is in place it is super-simple to make 'adult' changes like gym flooring or wine racks and you still have gotten the use out of the additional square footage when you needed it for the kiddos as well.
"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." --Dorothy Parker

KlangFool
Posts: 12738
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by KlangFool » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:02 pm

indexonlyplease wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:28 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:52 am
OP,

1) I save 1 year of expense every year. Then, I can choose to spend the rest every year. So, if and when I want to renovate, it comes out of my annual expense. The money is never big enough to be a big deal.

2) I had an old house long ago and I renovated extensively. I have a new house now and I did some minor upgrade. In both cases, the renovation money comes out of my annual expense.

KlangFool
How do you save one year of expenses. Have you already decided how much you will need to live on? Are you stating that you are willing to live on way less money now and in retirement? Meaning someone makes 100k a year. Do they live on 50k save 50k for retirement.

Just curious. I retired and live on the same amount of money as when I worked but never could save that kind of money.
indexonlyplease,

<<Meaning someone makes 100k a year. Do they live on 50k save 50k for retirement. >>

They live on 1/3 of that aka 33K. They need to pay taxes about 33K.

<<Have you already decided how much you will need to live on? >>

1/3 of my gross income.

<<Are you stating that you are willing to live on way less money now and in retirement? >>

I am living the same amount all the time.

<< I retired and live on the same amount of money as when I worked>>
No idea. My annual expense is 50K to 60K. The median US household income is about 50K to 60K. So, I save a lot of money but I am not frugal.

<< but never could save that kind of money.>>

You could if you come from a country/culture/community where the average gross saving rate is 30+%. Then, it is a normal thing to do.

KlangFool

lostinjersey
Posts: 210
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:29 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by lostinjersey » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:24 pm

I would absolutely spend money today to make my home more livable, if I was already paying ahead on the mortgage AND saving in taxable.

Actually, I would stop doing both those things to renovate my home. Especially if I had young kids and no plans to move. Money is for making like more enjoyable, not just stockpiling.

Trism
Posts: 572
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:34 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by Trism » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:36 pm

We've done moderate bathroom upgrades in a house that we know isn't our forever home.

We did this for our own personal enjoyment, and because it's gross to have carpet in a bathroom.

Also, PINK toilets. :shock:

The decision was treated like any other potential use of discretionary funds, and we have no regrets.

User avatar
Sasquatch
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:44 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by Sasquatch » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:30 pm

Early 50s here.We downsized into a 1979 basic ranch when our kids were out on there own. The whole house was still vintage 79 as most fixtures were original. We stayed in the house as is for 7 years to make sure we liked the area, neighbors, etc and found we loved the setup. We gutted the home with only the drywall remaining and redid it. I am happy I did. The home is paid off and I paid cash for the remodel project. We’re in contract on selling our last rental house. We will be paying off the last little bits of debt from the proceeds to be 100% debt free. I have been saving for over 30 years so I have enough saved up to run about a 2.75% WR in retirement.

shorty313
Posts: 89
Joined: Mon May 16, 2016 8:43 am

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by shorty313 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:43 pm

BarbaricYawp wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:44 pm
Been in the same house for 22 years. Our basement was completely unfinished and open plan. While dry, it was chilly (below ground, no insulation) and tended to accumulate misc items in random piles because we didn't have a way to store sports equipment, holiday items etc. We bartered for some of the work, did some of the work ourselves, hired out things that needed specialty skills (electric). The end result was a very, very usable space that had subdivisions for my husbands workroom (hides the messy projects and tools - yay!), the furnace room/equipment storage and a couple of useful nooks in addition to the main 'rumpus room' area where we could keep all the oversized toys and active toys that we didn't want knocking around the upstairs of the house (think kid-sized dollhouses, elaborate Hot Wheels set ups etc). That area has transitioned gracefully from being the kids play space to their sleepover space to our workout and hobby space as they started leaving the house. Your kids may be too young now to have sleepovers etc., but it is awfully nice to be able to confine the chaos and still be able to keep an eye/ear on them. And to be able to get them ready for school without having to wade through a Lincoln Log fortress that they will melt down over if it is put away. Once the infrastructure is in place it is super-simple to make 'adult' changes like gym flooring or wine racks and you still have gotten the use out of the additional square footage when you needed it for the kiddos as well.
All of this. We’ve been in our house 15 years (we are mid forties, kids are middle/elementary). Hubby did all the work himself so it was cheap (but SLOW) but it’s priceless not to have to look at kid mess. Ours is divided loosely into play area, tv area, laundry/utilities, and exercise/storage.

Last year we gutted our master bath....it was the only thing the previous owners had updated so it was only 20 years old and working, but I am SO much happier with an updated space. It was out last major renovation. All our other renovations were more a need than this one (40 year old kitchen and baths).

We have also updated some furnishings in the last year, we have been here 15 years and needed an update. We still save, of course less than if we hadn’t done the updates, but we couldn’t be happier. I smile in our space now.

User avatar
unclescrooge
Posts: 3361
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by unclescrooge » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:50 pm

NextMil wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:39 pm
kayakprof wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:59 am
A couple years ago we bought a very beat-up rancher built in early 1950s. I said "no" as soon as we walked in for our first viewing, and at the same moment my DW said "this is the house for us." I was floored - the house was terrible (with 50 year old green shag carpet and every room closed off). The original 1950s galley kitchen (complete with gas oven with no door) was closed off from the rest of the house. The stairs to the basement were in-between the kitchen and living room.

For about 60K (paid for in cash) my wife had the kitchen wall taken down and the stairs to the basement moved to a new location, and found space for a washer/dryer. The entire house is completely open now, with a new granite island with stools in the kitchen and new cabinets. The kitchen, dining, living room space feel huge even though they aren't. It truly transformed the house. We love it, every guest that visits love it, even the maintenance personnel who serviced the HVAC for the last owners (and who we kept on to continue servicing the HVAC) mention the transformation. I have told my wife at least 1000 times she was right about the house, and I was wrong. No regrets!

Currently mid-forties. Kids are eight and under. We have 1 less bedroom than is ideal. DW's new plan is to add one more bedroom. We have saved enough in two years to cover 85% of the cost. It took 9 months to get the permit due to zoning restrictions. We just hired a draftsman. I anticipate no regrets about the addition (aside from increasing property taxes and energy costs). Still saving at the same rate for retirement, though I do plan to increase that once this addition is complete.
So in retrospect, I think I may have not written my question as clearly as I should have. While all the responses have been super helpful, yours might have been the closest in terms of what I am trying to drive toward an answer.

Our kids are super young, and we have an unfinished basement that might take $20-30k to turn into a bunch more livable space/play areas/bedroom/nice laundry room that my wife wants etc. Again, all wants, not needs.

I am trying to figure out, if I should just bite the bullet early on, and pull back on mortgage acceleration/taxable investing to get it done, or keep plowing ahead and then maybe in the 4-5 years do it.

I guess the real question (for everyone that is) is that if you did renovations (and some already answered this), with young children, is it better to do it on the early side to enjoy it for the long haul, or wait? In either scenario, I would pay cash, but doing it on the early side will require me to pull back on mortgage acceleration (15 year, currently paying like its a 12 with under 9 years to go at current trajectory), and taxable investing.
If you are absolutely going to do it in 5 years, do it today.

kayakprof
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:46 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by kayakprof » Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:59 pm

I agree with unclescrooge. If you know you are going to stay in the house, and you really plan to do the renovation in the next five years, do it today so that your entire family can benefit and enjoy the renovation. It sounds like all your other finances are in order.

JackoC
Posts: 720
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:14 am

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by JackoC » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:20 pm

We were forced to do a lot of renovation from fire/water damage from a fire ~25 yrs ago, when the kids were young. We stayed in the house during it. It had to be done and right then but if doing over might just spring for a few months rental, even if it came wholly out of pocket.

After that we did nothing major on the house until the last few years, just DIY face lifts on most rooms (wall and trim repair and repaint) in slow sequence over the years. Then, with nest empty we did complete (gut) kitchen remodel, ~$58k including appliances and furniture (a quite expensive, to me, kitchen table/chair set my wife wanted). Ours is a 117 yr old house in an area where doing work (along with everything else) is expensive. But the parts of the kitchen we replaced were cheesy maybe 1970's vintage. Along one wall it's probably 1901 closets and cabinets and those stayed, just repaired and refinished. Financially we could have done it long before. The major issue was the disruption of not having a kitchen for a few months. That would have been worse with the kids still around. Major home improvements are notorious for not raising a home's sale value commensurate with the expense, but I guess it's common for homeowners to feel they got good value for their money in the increased enjoyment of the house if they stay. We feel that way about the kitchen. Same with installing quasi-central AC ('mini split' system) for around $22k a year later, money well spent IMO and I'm fairly cheap by average standards, though not compared to some people on this forum.

MathWizard
Posts: 3389
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by MathWizard » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:31 pm

We bought a fixer upper at age 41 because I was handy, and I could put down 20%
with about $25K for improvements that were needed right away (furnace and air
conditioner and some safety items.) Over the next 18 years, one project to 2 projects
per summer later, we are down to the last two items. Typical savings on projects was
about 40-50% of what a professional would charge, but we took 2-3 times as long, and
made do with lesser tools.

The house had been paid off, the kids were out of college, and I was maxing all tax advantaged retirement
savings and a flex-2.

I decided to let professionals do the last 2 major items because my wife and I were tired of remodelling,
we had the money, and my wife is very particular about finish work.

I'll be Financially Independent in 30 months at age 63, and will retire sometime between then and 66.

JimMolony
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:45 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by JimMolony » Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:10 pm

Us: Early 50's, 1 out of college and 1 still in.

Did kitchen/open great room 2 years ago and did guest bath a few months ago. I did them myself (occasional kid's help) at 1/2 half the cost - I realize not everyone can do this but it brought my cost way down. Love both. Now my wife would like me to do a major master bathroom reno that involves taking my 4 bedroom home into a 3 bedroom. I'll probably delay that another 8 months to take a bit of a break since we both also work full time.

My 2 cents for you:
If I were you, I'd decide based on how long you believe you will live there. If less than 5 years, I wouldn't do it. If more than 5 years or if you think this is your lasts house then for sure do it.

Another consideration is if you bought at the peak of pricing and you are upside down for some reason. Throwing more money at a house worth less than you paid is never a good idea.

Topic Author
NextMil
Posts: 540
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:33 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by NextMil » Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:35 pm

Thanks. I appreciate you guys helping me think through this. A lot of great wisdom in these posts.

HereToLearn
Posts: 411
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:53 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by HereToLearn » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:29 pm

I had 800 sq feet of our basement refinished when my second child was born. Best money ever spent. Had a full bathroom, a TV cabinet/bookshelf wall unit built in, closets with lots of shelves for toy storage, and clothing closets for off-season storage since the bedroom closets are not spacious.

The uses of that space have changed as the children aged. Plastic slide & Little Tykes garden replaced by train table replaced by air hockey...then gaming consoles (still in use)....now poker nights for the college son and a place for the recent college grad to drink beers and play games with his friends.

The floor used to be littered with Lego bricks and now there are free weights and a 3-D printer. A sleep sofa provides extra space if friends or family stay over, and was fun for sleepovers when the children were young. The bathroom was awesome during the potty training days and is useful again for the college & post-college gatherings. There is more furniture down there now than there was during the Lego/K'nex/train track days.

Laundry, HVAC and open shelf storage are in the unfinished section along with the requisite basement fridge.

I hope you enjoy your new space as much as we have.

MarkerFM
Posts: 93
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:18 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by MarkerFM » Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:56 am

When we were in our 40s, two children in middle school, we moved to a house in a different town in our area. It was ugly outside and except for kitchens and baths and other upgrades done by the previous owner, needed a usable family room and lots of cosmetic help inside and out. We did a major renovation, refacing the outside, adding porches, windows, etc. Also added a nice family room and changed all the millwork and doors in the house except for the already finished basement. Repainted the entire house. When we sold that house 12 years later, we didn't recover what we spent, and "lost" hundreds of thousands of $. We don't regret doing the work at all. We loved living there and many a family night was spent in that family room. The fact we lost money was more due to the housing market.

We also had a summer home that we used for almost 20 years until we decided to upgrade to something with more space. It took a long time to sell, and we ended up doing kitchen upgrades and some major redecorating and adding air conditioning. We never spent a night in that house after we did that work, and it finally sold. We very much regret not doing the work years before so we could have enjoyed it ourselves.

Fast forward, kids on their own now and we have decided to continue to make improvements to our places so that we can enjoy them, and the kids also when they visit.

Financially, it hasn't/isn't a burden, and while spending probably kept that money from being invested, we view mortgage debt as a financial tool and don't have a set pro or con view of it.

Bacchus01
Posts: 2757
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Calling all 50-60 year old homeowners with kids/families

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:57 am

We’re not there yet, although wife will be 50 in Jan.

We are about to spend $50K on a master bathroom remodel and probably another $25k+ to freshen up the basement (which is fully remodeled).

I have some anxiety but I know we will love it and get way more use out of the basement than we do today.

Post Reply