Q: My husband is 59 years old and plans to work 6 more years. Our house is valued at $185,000, and we have $100,000 equity. Should we consider purchasing a more expensive house and paying $100,000 down (to keep the payment the same) so that when we retire and sell the house we’ll have more equity? We do not plan to stay in the same area when we retire.

A:I don’t quite follow your logic. If you think a bigger house will appreciate more quickly, than I guess you could do that. But do you need a bigger house? It will cost more to run, more to heat, more to clean, and have larger maintenance costs and real estate property taxes. I think you should aim to prepay your home loan so your home is entirely paid off by the time you retire. Then you can use your equity to purchase the house of your dreams in the area in which you intend to spend your retirement.

Jan. 1, 2004.