This history is 20 years in the making. I grew up next to a married couple as neighbors my entire life. They were a constant fixture, and yet I had no idea of the calamity behind the scenes! After their sons moved out, it was just the two of them in the house for the last 20 years. They lived in a 3000sqft, 4bd 2.5 bath home on 2.25 acres, alone, until this month when they finally sold and moved. The wife was a home maker, the husband was well employed.
The house sold for $535k, and it was paid off, and so they downsized. Except, they didn't really. They bought a BRAND NEW 1800sqft , 3bed 2bath single level home on a standard city lot in the next town over, for $440k. They sold their home for $180sqft and paid $245/sqft for their new one. They literally paid top dollar at market height for their new home. His commute got 8 minutes longer, but in comparison, that is pretty negligible.
I asked the wife when I saw her packing up the house in preparation for the move if her husband was ready to retire. She laughed a bit and said, "No, no, he wants to work 5 more years, cause you know it's about the money". He's 67 now, and will be 72 at retirement, hence a larger pension from him employer, and max social security benefits.
In 20 years of living next to them, I've NEVER been in their home. Their children were 10 years older then my siblings and I, and they kept to themselves. The wife was always very friendly, but the husband was not so much. Here comes the mind numbing reality. Their garage was always fully packed with stuff. JUST enough room to pull their cars in, and that's it. Next to their home was a barn that I've NEVER seen inside of. Turns out it was packed full of stuff, a lot of it belonging to their oldest son. Upon their move, the wife noted to my mom that her son had to get a third storage unit to put the stuff in and joked, "We've got enough stuff of our own that we may have to add an addition to our new home! Haha!" (I'm relatively sure she really is joking. But maybe not?)
What is all boils down to is that they could have bought a very nice home in our area for $340k. That would have allowed them to put $200k into a retirement account, netting $8k/year in useable money, and putting them in a position to retire earlier.
It's OMY and TMS syndrome all day long (One more year, Too much shit).