You’ve recently received your Medicare card, you’re signed up for Social Security, and now you’re ready to really “retire.” When you decide what this means to you, you might find that your current house doesn’t fit the plan. You may need a smaller space, especially if you live alone, can’t afford the utilities, or have budding issues with mobility or vision.
The big question now is what to do with your home. Should you keep it to leave as an estate for your family? Is it better to sell it and put the money toward your smaller space? If you don’t need a quick injection of cash, can you rent it out for enough money to cover your new mortgage?
Prepare a Sound Budget
The last thing any retiree wants to do is set themselves up for a precarious financial future. With that in mind, carefully establish a budget for whatever downsizing solutions you’re seriously considering. Weigh in factors like cost of living in your new living situation, what you can earn from your solution, and don’t forget that moving will be one expense you can count on.
Movers are notorious for scamming people, especially seniors. As you tally up costs and to avoid becoming one of their victims, be sure to research reviews from actual customers before you select a moving company. Get quotes from several companies in your area, and make sure you understand in detail what services their quotes cover.
Before you commit to putting your home on the market, you’ll need to figure out what it’s worth and how much you’ll make from the sale. There are many things that go into this, but a good starting point is to determine the average selling price in your area. If you have significant equity, or better yet, if your home is paid off, you might be able to purchase your next home outright, and/or pay off other debts.
Selling is usually a great idea if you have a larger home and enough equity to avoid a mortgage in the future. For example, if you owe $100,000 on a home that you expect to sell for $500,000, you can reasonably anticipate buying a $300,000 condo or cottage and having some money to spare to cover closing costs and any senior-friendly changes you want to make to your new home.
Keep in mind that you will also need to compare your property to similar properties within a few miles of where you’re located. Take into consideration the condition of your home, and then determine if you want to sell as-is or make upgrades that might increase its value.
If you don’t have a ton of equity, it might make better financial sense to turn your house into a rental. This can be especially prudent if you have a low monthly mortgage and your home is in an area with relatively high rental rates. Renting for more than you pay each month, when you factor in insurance and maintenance, ensures your mortgage continues to be paid on time and supplements your Social Security or pension.
If your home is in a tourist-friendly area, it may be prudent to rent it to vacationers. A vacation rental has the potential to bring in significant income if it is in the right location and provides the amenities tourists are looking for. Of course, you’ll need it to stand out in online listings and look beautiful for your guests, so if you choose this route, consider working with an expert designer who can help with every aspect of setting up your spaces to make them irresistible to renters.
Along with an experienced interior designer, many find that hiring a management company is their best option. A property manager can handle many important responsibilities like home cleanings, security, booking and checkout, and local guest support. One concern here is that there are many regulations that govern the process of becoming a landlord. Rentec Direct explains that these fall under the scope of both federal and state laws. You may also have to contend with your homeowner’s association, which might require that the owner or a relative remain on the premises.
Keep it in the Family
When your desire is to pass down the family home, you must realize that this means you may not enjoy a financial gain. RBC Wealth Management asserts you should confirm that your children or grandchildren actually have an interest in the property, first and foremost, since they might have other plans.
Another potential difficulty here is if you have multiple heirs and have not made a will. This can leave your personal desires open to interpretation and can create turmoil in the family if you die intestate. What’s more, there are some complicated legal- and tax-related issues in gifting a large asset like a house, so consider discussing your particulars with an attorney.
Anytime you’re handling a big life decision, it’s best to get some advice from family members and professionals if you are unsure of the best route. Remember, what you do with your home now can affect you in the future. Unless health or finances push you toward one or another, take your time, put yourself first, and don’t rush the process.
Guest Author Hal Salazar Elders Today
Image via Pexels
There are two kinds of pain. Acute pain and Chronic pain. Acute pain begins suddenly, lasts for a short time, and goes away as your body heals. Acute pain can be caused by injury such as a broken bone, or from treatable medical conditions such as a kidney stone.
Pain that lasts for three months or longer is called chronic pain. Chronic pain can be caused by health conditions such as arthritis. It may also follow acute pain from an injury or surgery.
Living with any type of pain can be hard and it may lead to other issues such as:
Many people have a hard time describing pain. Think about these questions when you explain how the pain feels:
Doctors often ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain you can imagine.
Treating, or managing, chronic pain can be accomplished in many different ways. Some treatments may involve medication, and some, including physical therapy may not. Ask your doctor how long it may take before you feel better. You will likely need to stick with the treatment plan as prescribed before you get relief. It's important to stay on a schedule. As your pain improves, you can likely become more active and will see your sleep and mood improve.
Your doctor may prescribe one or more medications to help relieve your pain. Talk to your doctor before starting any medication including over the counter medications.
It's important to take exactly the amount of pain medicine your doctor prescribes. Don't chew or crush your pills if they are supposed to be swallowed whole. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you're having trouble swallowing your pills. Mixing any pain medication with alcohol or other drugs can be dangerous. Make sure your doctor knows all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements.
What Other Treatments Help with Pain?
In addition to drugs, there are a variety of treatments that may provide relief. It may take both medicine and other treatments to feel better. As always be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin any treatment.
There are things you can do yourself that might help you feel better.
Whether you plan to work until age 70 for peak Social Security benefits or you’re hoping to keep busy for the foreseeable future, a retirement job can be an engaging way to pass the time. Lifestage invites you to consider one of these options for re-entering the workforce with zeal.
Start Your Own Business
Perhaps you always dreamed of being your own boss during your working years, but you never had the opportunity to strike out on your own. Why not give entrepreneurship a try in retirement? Many seniors find fulfillment as small business owners.
When you’re setting up your small business, consider registering your company as an LLC for tax breaks and limited liability. Check out the specific regulations for the state where you operate your business. Working with a lawyer during this process can be pricey, so if you don’t want to handle the paperwork on your own, you may want to seek assistance from an online formation service.
If you intend to hire some employees to help you run your business, then you’ll need to learn more about payroll. Defining payroll in layman’s terms, payroll involves the act of paying the people you hire for the work they’re doing. You’ll need to distribute paychecks on a regular basis, tackle the appropriate taxes, and make sure you keep accurate records regarding your employees’ wages. It’s a lot more involved than it first appears, so it’s important that you do your research or get help before you hire your very first employee.
Working as a caregiver can be a wonderful way to secure additional income while helping others. Depending on your background, you could easily land a job as a home health aide or personal care aide. Just keep in mind that caregiving can sometimes be a difficult role. So be prepared to implement work-life balance boundaries so you can offer the best possible care while also being mindful of your own needs.
Working in the insurance sector is ideal for retirees because of the flexibility and on-the-job training. You can often work from home in insurance jobs like sales agent, claims adjuster, or underwriter. Many roles don’t require a degree, but ongoing training gives the support you need to excel (and meet sales goals).
Communicating with clients and developing positive relationships is vital in insurance roles. If you enjoy working with people and solving problems, insurance may be the right field for you. Plus, this fast-paced, collaborative field will help you stay social, which can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Before applying for a job, research companies to see if they’re the right fit.
If you hope to travel during your retirement but need to finance trips, a travel job might be an ideal fit. AARP explains that travel jobs like travel agent, event planner, campground host, tour guide, or a Peace Corps role are excellent for retirees who want to see the world. And, the Peace Corps has no upper age limit, so anyone can apply to work for them. The organization also offers health and dental benefits during your service. However, the compensation you receive could affect your Social Security benefits, which is an essential factor in your employment decision.
Other travel jobs can involve free lodging in exchange for minor groundskeeping tasks, such as at RV parks or campgrounds. Many volunteer opportunities that include free lodging are available via Volunteer.gov. In partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and National Park Service, you can explore nature and culture wherever you want to travel.
Bookkeeping is a field that can involve everything from data entry to file organization. As a bookkeeper, you can work in professional, technical, healthcare, finance, and insurance areas. Bookkeeping requires attention to detail and a focus on facts and figures, and you can often work from home. However, if you prefer to work in an office with a team of colleagues—which offers socialization and mental perks—those types of roles are common, too.
Whether you like to stay up to date on neighborhood news or enjoy writing about your life experiences, freelance writing might be the perfect fit. Consider reaching out to local newspapers and magazines for journalism jobs, or contact businesses with websites for short-term copywriting gigs.
Freelancing is ideal for seniors since you can work as much or as little as you want. Plus, becoming a digital nomad is also a possibility with freelancing. Plenty of older adults are making the leap and traveling the world while working retirement jobs.
It’s important to remember that freelancing also demands that you keep organized with taxes, health insurance, and other financial aspects of self-employment to succeed as a freelance writer. Working through retirement is a choice many seniors make, and finding the right position is easier than ever. With your expertise, plus a few refreshed skills, you can choose any of these roles and continue to enjoy the perks of retirement.
Guest Author Hal Salazar Elders Today
Photo via Pexels
Acting as a caregiver for your senior or disabled loved one when their health is declining is hard enough, but handling those responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic has been even harder. When you’re a caregiver, you deal with high levels of stress and anxiety, and the pandemic has only added to your long list of concerns. However, by following these tips, you can navigate this difficult phase with dignity and ensure that your loved one gets the care that they need.
Options for Long-Term Care
If your loved one’s health has been declining, you may be struggling to keep up with their needs. It may seem like a risky time to consider transferring your loved one to an assisted living facility for long-term care, but if they require more support than you could realistically provide on your own, you may need to explore this possibility regardless of the extenuating circumstances.
With vaccinations in full swing, however, you may find that many potential communities have reopened spots for new residents. Once you find several options, be sure to take a tour of each community to get an idea of what your loved one can expect.
Financing Long-Term Care
If you have found a safe assisted living community where your loved one can enjoy high-quality care, you will need to help them figure out how to cover the costs. According to Daily Caring, your loved one may be able to use their private savings, long-term care insurance or Medicaid.
If none of these options work for your loved one, they could consider selling their home to foot the bill. You can assist them in researching home prices and real estate market trends in their area. Bear in mind that it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of selling a home in the current market before making a final decision on financing long-term care for your loved one.
Plan for the Move
When you and your loved one have found the appropriate space, it’s time to start paring down their belongings and preparing for the move. Your loved one may have difficulty parting with cherished items, so be patient and helpful as they decide what to keep and give away.
Consider also helping them determine whether they need new furniture or if their couch, chairs or loveseat will work in the new space. If fit isn’t an issue, having their furniture cleaned is a great way to prepare for a fresh start. Research reviews to determine a furniture cleaning company’s reputation before making a deal, and be sure to clarify their cleaning methods and whether it comes with a warranty.
Discuss Final Wishes
The thought of saying goodbye to your loved one is heartbreaking, but you need to speak with them about their final wishes. Next Avenue recommends having this conversation while your loved one is still of sound mind and can convey their own opinions. You can use the information you glean from this discussion to create or update an “advance directive” that outlines their end-of-life plans in regards to health care.
As a caregiver, you may feel like you’re holding down another full-time job. Supporting your loved one as their health worsens presents a fair number of challenges. However, rest assured that your loved one appreciates all you do for them, even if they can’t express it. By carefully weighing their long-term care options, taking precautions to keep your home safe and clean, and being willing to have those emotional conversations about their final wishes, you’ll feel confident that you’re doing everything you can to keep them happy and healthy.
Lifestage is a senior advisory agency dedicated to helping older adults establish a successful legacy and find support through every life stage. For a consultation, reach out to us today.
Guest Author Hal Salazar Elders Today
Photo via Pexels
There is a lot of conflicting information out there about how a person should be behaving after they are fully vaccinated against the covid-19 virus. For starts simply getting the shot does not mean you are fully vaccinated. For those who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine you are not considered fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after you get your second shot. For the single dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson you are still not considered fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after your shot. If you have only received 1 shot of a two-shot course you are not fully protected. Also, if it has been less than 2 weeks since receiving a complete course of vaccine you are not fully protected. Until the 2 weeks has passed after getting a complete course of the vaccine it is recommended that you continue taking all precautionary measures in order to keep yourself safe.
According to the CDC they are still learning about how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. Even after you’ve received the full course of the vaccine and waited the 2 weeks, they recommend that you keep taking the standard precautions in public places such as wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others and avoiding crowds.
So, what’s changed?
As of the writing of this article the CDC advises the following if you’ve been fully vaccinated:
When can I a get a COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines are rapidly becoming available to more and more people. Washington state is providing vaccinations in phases. To determine when you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine you can use the Washington State Department of Health Phase Finder Tool. The Phase Finder tool is designed to help people in Washington find out if they are eligible for a COVID vaccine now or if not, sign up to be notified when they become eligible. It asks a series of questions related to the four phases of vaccine distribution (living situation, age, health conditions, risk factors, work situation and zip code) to inform eligibility. You can also view a map of vaccine locations in Washington.
More and more people seem to be catching on to the importance of self-care. And along with that comes more criticism. One of the most popular critiques of practicing self-care is that it’s selfish. However, incorporating self-care into your life is anything but selfish. In fact, it helps you to become the best version of yourself possible, which allows you to be there for others in a way you otherwise couldn’t be.
Another misconception of self-care is that it’s expensive. True, certain luxuries that fall under the self-care category can cost a pretty penny and add up over time. But you can still take care of your physical, mental, and emotional health if you are on a tight budget.
Pay attention to your hair and skin.
Taking care of your hair can be simple or complex, depending on your hair type. When it comes down to it, however, you want to make sure you wash your hair regularly, keep it conditioned, and use the right kinds of products for styling. Also, be mindful of the treatments you use (e.g., bleach, color, straightening), as some can be damaging to your hair.
It’s also essential to use quality products when it comes to taking care of your skin. It’s easy to lose sight of how important your skin is to your well-being, but keep in mind that as HowStuffWorks explains, your skin is actually your largest organ.
Eat healthy foods.
This may come as no surprise to you, but what you eat makes a big difference in your overall health and well-being. And when you do it strategically, it really doesn’t cost much more money to eat healthily then it does to eat poorly. You can’t really go wrong with whole foods like vegetables, fruit, lean proteins, fatty fish, and nuts and seeds. And there are even certain foods that specifically fight depression; avocados, bananas, carrots, and beans are a few of many examples.
Break a sweat.
Working out also makes a big difference. Try to find an exercise routine that you enjoy, even if it takes exploring several different kinds. Running, brisk walking, swimming, weightlifting, yoga, HIIT, and recreational sports can all provide you with a good workout. Not only will it improve your cardiovascular health, strengthen your immune system, and reduce your risks of disease, but sticking with a consistent fitness routine can do wonders for your self-esteem and help you conquer stress, anxiety, and depression.
The good thing about exercise is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money doing it. In fact, you don’t have to pay for a gym membership because there are so many workouts available online that you can do from home or at a nearby park.
Catch them z’s.
Along with eating well and exercising, SleepScore explains that in order to maximize your health, sleep must be a priority in your life. Otherwise, it will not only negatively impact your physical and mental health, but you won’t be able to function at full capacity in everyday life.
Without enough sleep, it’s harder to focus and be productive, so, if you want to be your best self, come up with a bedtime routine that helps you get the sleep you need. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Many people find that taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music, doing light yoga stretches, meditating, and/or doing other relaxing activities transforms their sleep habits. Lowering stress levels by creating an organized and decluttered home can help as well.
If you are ready to take your health and well-being to the next level without dropping a lot of money, practicing self-care is the way forward. Remember to take care of your skin and hair, choose healthy foods at the grocery store, develop a solid exercise routine, and get the sleep your mind and body need. And of course, keep a lookout for online coupons, promo codes, and other savings opportunities that can help you stay within your budget.
Are you concerned about a senior loved one? Let Lifestage develop a plan based on social, legal, medical, and financial factors tailored to your loved one’s needs. 509.473.9956 or info@Lifestageusa.com
Guest Author Brad Krause http://selfcaring.info/
As you grow older, your financial priorities often change. You may frequently think of issues such as how to maintain your lifestyle and pay for medical expenses on a fixed income. Here are 7 money-management tips for seniors to consider for their retirement years.
1. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. Prepare for the possibility that you may become unable to handle financial affairs on your own. Consider writing down a list of your financial institutions and account numbers and keeping it in a safe place that would be accessible by your loved ones in an emergency. Consulting an attorney may help you decide if you should have a power of attorney (POA), which would allow one or more people you designate to make key decisions on your behalf. Talk to your attorney about whether it would take effect immediately or only in the event you become incapacitated
2. Be careful about creating joint accounts. The person you hold a joint account with has the ability to make transactions, including withdrawing money from a checking or savings account, without your prior approval. Your banker or attorney may be able to help you identify other options, but you should think very carefully about who you give access to your money. Also consider, if your co-owner has debt and cannot pay, it may be possible for the funds in your account may be taken to pay the debt.
3. Stop unsolicited calls and sales offers. In general, you should be wary of anyone who approaches you unexpectedly to say he or she specializes in helping seniors with home improvements, health cures or financial products. Consider being added to the national Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-888-382-1222 or visit www.donotcall.gov. Also review the privacy disclosures that banks and other financial institutions send at least once a year. They explain if you can limit the sharing of your information and how you can do so. You can also opt-out of prescreened credit offers by visiting https://www.optoutprescreen.com/. The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides you the right to Opt-Out of prescreened offers which prevents Credit Reporting agencies from providing your credit file information to companies who may send unsolicited credit or insurance offers.
4. Check for reoccurring charges or subscription services you no longer find useful. Many consumers pay hundreds of dollars each year in fees that get automatically charged to their credit card or bank account on a monthly basis for a subscription or other service they may no longer use. Some may have started as simply as a free trial that was never canceled so closely review your credit card and bank statements to find any charges that you may be able to cancel because they are for products or services you can do without.
5. Review your credit reports even if you don’t plan to apply for a new loan. Mistakes or other errors on your credit reports could make it more costly for you to buy insurance or borrow money. Also monitoring your credit reports is a way to detect identity theft. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. You can order your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
6. Think very carefully before accepting an offer to “advance” you a portion of your future pension, Social Security or other retirement income. These offers are often similar to payday loans and they likely involve high fees and exceptionally high interest. Unfortunately it is common for consumers to find themselves in need of similar loans in the future to make up for cash shortages caused as you repay the original loan. If you need to borrow money fast, check with your bank and other financial institutions, and compare the products they offer based on the Annual Percentage Rate.
7. Think twice about a reverse mortgage. Remember that a reverse mortgage will eventually have to be paid back with interest. Reverse mortgages allow homeowners age 62 or older to borrow against the equity in their homes without having to make monthly payments as long as they meet the terms of their loan agreement, such as staying current on property taxes. However, the money borrowed plus interest must eventually be repaid, usually when you or your heirs sell the house. Be especial careful about a reverse mortgage in the name of just one spouse. If the spouse with the reverse mortgage passes away the surviving spouse may be forced to move out if that person is not also on the reverse mortgage agreement. For more information about reverse mortgages visit: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0192-reverse-mortgages
You can’t anticipate every problem, but you can reduce risk. Start by going through the house room by room and check for hazards, while thinking of your loved ones current physical and cognitive limits. It is often easier to change a space than to change a person. Some things you can probably take care of right away and some things may require more work and planning. For example, think about:
Below are 10 simple things you can do right away that can make a big difference for a seniors safety:
If the list of changes you need to make seems overwhelming, try to break it down into individual steps. First focus on major safety hazards then move on the things that will improve the comfort and convenience of the home. Over all these things will make a seniors home safer, more accessible and more comfortable while giving you peace of mind.
Caring for an aging relative can be overwhelming at times especially if you must balance it with work, raising children and all the other responsibilities of daily life. Sharing these responsibilities with other family members can help relieve the burden you may feel if going it alone. This is a conversation that is best to have as early as possible before an emergency throws life into chaos. Start by calling a family meeting to have a calm discussion about what type of care is currently needed and what care is likely to be needed in the future.
Many families find it is easiest to identify a primary caregiver who acts as the first line of support. This doesn’t mean the primary caregiver should act alone. Think about everyone’s schedules and what tasks each person may be best suited to handle. Also be sure to think about how to give the primary caregiver a break when needed. Whenever possible include the family member who needs care and use this person’s wishes as the basis for any plan.
It is often beneficial to prepare your thoughts before sitting down for this conversation. Takes some time in advance to develop a list of possible problems and solutions.
Here are some questions to consider for your conversation:
Who is available to help with grocery shopping?
Who will help with or attend medical appointments?
Who will make sure prescriptions are filled and taken appropriately?
Who will be the person to communicate needs or changes to the rest of the family?
Who will handle financial matters?
Who will research assisted living options if necessary?
Who will help with basic home maintenance or yard work?
Be sure to think about your personal limitations:
How often are you able to physically visit?
Would travel be necessary?
Will your personal finances be affected? How long can it be sustained?
How will this effect your home and work life?
Can you remain calm in emotionally difficult situations?
After making these decisions remember that responsibilities may need to be changed as conditions change. Be realistic about how much you can do and what you are willing to do. Look into what resources are available in the community and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
The decision to move in to assisted living can be emotional and the physical process of moving in can be exhausting. It’s common to have second thoughts or to feel some initial anxiety after a move. It is also normal for family members to feel a sense of guilt about not being able to care for a loved in their home. Any change can be difficult, and it may take some time to acclimate to a new setting but there are a number of things you can do to help ease the transition.
Leaving a home can be difficult for anyone, especially for those who are not enthusiastic about the change. Keeping these things in mind can help to ease the transition and aid the process of settling in.
Ty Strahl is the areas leading senior adviser. Her job is to help you navigate the many aspects of aging and to help seniors who are in transition to find the right solutions for their individual needs.