Showing posts with label Retirement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Retirement. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Handling Finances: How to Plan For Your Estate




You don't need to own a lot of property or have a great deal of money to need an estate plan. In fact, if your possessions are limited but those you want to give to are in serious need, you'll want a plan that will disperse your assets quickly. Making a list of what you want to accomplish, what you have, and how you want things parsed out is critical.

What's Your End Goal?


Do you have a charity or family member that holds your heart? Then you have a reason to create an estate plan. Carefully consider the people to whom you want to leave your hard-earned possessions and ready cash. 

While making this list, pay special attention to your remaining dependents, including pets. You want to know that if something happens to you, others are covered.

Define Your Assets


To start, make a list of all your bank accounts. What funds do they have, and where will this money go? Then, make a list of your possessions of value. This can be a home, a car, art, or jewelry.

If you own any of these things jointly, sit down with your spouse or partner, and define how you want these possessions to track. If you're married, generally your surviving spouse and offspring will immediately receive the assets. 

If you're divorced, there will likely be legal limitations to be overcome before your asset dispersion can be securely defined.

Stay aware of the laws in your state. Consider a conversation with a Los Angeles estate law firm to protect your California home and assets, for example, from probate or other asset-draining stages in dispersal.

Proper Valuation


Bank balances, retirement accounts, and other monies, stocks, and bonds are fairly straightforward as far as determining their value. However, real estate values change over time. 

Additionally, if you own art that you purchased early in the career of an artist, it may be worth much more as that artist builds a following.




Proper valuation of your assets is particularly important if you're splitting your estate between heirs upon your death. Hire a professional to give you a valuation on anything that may be of fluid value in the future, and get it reappraised in the event of a sizable market change.

Covering Your Assets


If you know that you're leaving behind someone who will need what you intend to give them, it's critical that you invest in the insurance you need to avoid end of life costs. 

A basic long-term care policy, taken out while you're hearty and healthy, can be of manageable cost as you age and make it possible to pass on your legacy.

Additionally, it's important to remember that it's not only age that can lead to needing long-term care. If you have children, it's crucial that you have a plan in place in case you are incapacitated by illness or injury.

Speeding Up the Process


Create vehicles in which to place your assets for long term needs. If the person you want to give to has special needs, consider setting up a special needs trust. Work with an attorney so you can be sure that your assets go in the right vehicle.



For example, if you have a dependent child who will always need support, the right trust will allow them to receive disability insurance as well as your contribution. 

The wrong trust will block them from receiving any disability until the trust has been completely wound down. Each state is different, so do this right the first time to protect your loved one.

Avoiding Probate


If you only have a will, chances are extremely good that your goods and monies will have to go through probate. Depending on the state you live in, avoiding probate will take multiple steps unless you have a surviving spouse. If you are divorced or your spouse has passed on, probate is likely the next step.

Probate is time-consuming, frustrating, and sometimes costly. Don't rely on your will to protect your loved ones from this process, especially if they need those assets to thrive. Address this while you have the ability to make good decisions.

Nobody likes to think about estate planning, but it's an important part of your legacy that needs to be addressed. Do the right thing now to protect the people and causes you want to support in the future.





Monday, September 28, 2020

Looking for Scenery? Why Retiring on a Lake Could Be Right for You




Planning for the final step of the American dream is something that everyone should do. You don't want to reach the age of retirement and be at a loss for what you want to do and where you want to go. If you're trying to decide on the right location to spend your retirement years, here are some good reasons that a lake may be the ideal spot for you.

The Blue Effect


Most people come to notice that being by water tends to allow them to relax psychologically. This is known as the blue effect where being in, on, or underwater allows both the brain and body to enter a zen state. 

This effect has been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety in patients. It also helps to increase the quality of your internal thoughts, which can boost the health of your immune system.

Enjoy New Hobbies


A lake provides the perfect outdoor environment where you can try out some new hobbies. Some of the most popular include fishing, swimming, birdwatching, photography, and hiking. All of those activities that you had trouble finding time for while working are now at your disposal to discover. 



When you enlist the help of someone like those at The Stockton Team: Keller Williams Showcase and other places, you can find the right lake house that has all the hobby opportunities that you could possibly want.

Family Getaway


If you're reaching the age of retirement, it's likely that you have some grandchildren or some on the way. Having a fun spot for your grandkids to enjoy while you get to watch them grow up is a necessity. 

They'll have endless activities to enjoy like kayaking, fishing, hiking, swimming, and boating. A lake also provides the perfect backdrop for family events like picnics and birthday parties.

A Private Community Feel


During your years of retirement, you want to enjoy your own schedule. Privacy at your lake home can provide a relaxing environment for you to spend your later years. 

Plus, many lakes create a community feel. You'll get to know the neighbors that surround the lake and feel as if you're a part of a bigger community.

Retiring at a lake house is the ideal choice for many. It offers so many benefits from a more relaxing lifestyle to a sense of community. If you're considering a move to the lake, we highly recommend that you do so as you'll receive all the benefits above.




Monday, August 31, 2020

Financial Organization Skills You Should Know After Retirement



When it comes to your financial well-being, there is a lot that goes into it. Over the years, you'll be sure to develop more and more knowledge on how to properly take care of yourself in a financial sense. When it comes to the organization of your financial well-being, here are some of the things you should know after you retire.

Budgeting


The basis of all your financial organization skills should be budgeting. This is recording how much income you have coming in each month and what you'll be spending it on. Your budget should include things like rent or mortgage, insurance, groceries, and so forth. 


When you have budgeting skills, you can ensure that you make your payments on time and you don't go into unnecessary debt.

Bill Payment Calendar


Apart from building a good credit score and being able to sleep at night, making your payments on time can help you to avoid costly overdraft fees. Some credit card companies may even increase your interest rate if you don't pay your bill on time. Having a calendar system to ensure that you pay your bills on time is a necessity. 


Some retirees may find it easier to set up automatic payments for things like their mortgage and car insurance so they don't have to worry about paying for them manually each month.

Determining Asset Delegation


As you get older, you're more pushed into thinking about what will happen to all of your assets in the event that you die. Apart from getting insurance to help cover the costs associated with your funeral expenses, it's vital that you get your estate planning figured out. 




While most states will allow you to create wills yourself, it's highly advisable to seek out professional legal help. This way, you can ensure that your estate is delegated the way you intended it to be.

Financial Literacy


There are many financial terms out there that we have all heard of. But, how many of them do you actually understand and can utilize in your financial planning strategy for the future? 


It's a good idea to take some time to learn in-depth about things like annual percentage rates, CDs, mutual funds, trust funds, and so forth. This way, you can properly plan out your financial future using mediums that make sense to you.

Just because you're retiring from your day job doesn't mean that you have to stop learning. In fact, the years after retirement give you a great opportunity to capitalize on the wealth you've created. To get started, you should hone in your skills on the topics of the financial organization listed out above.





Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Figuring Out Your Finances Before You Choose a House to Retire In



When it's time to retire, you need to consider where you want to spend your retirement. You need a final home where you are comfortable and safe. Of course, you also need to be able to afford the home. Here are some tips on figuring out your finances before you choose a house to retire in.

Living Within Your Means


Ultimately, you want to pick a home that you can afford easily. You don't want to stretch out your finances in your golden years. You want to have money to spend on vacations, dinners, and spoiling the grandchildren. For that reason, you need to pick a place that is in your budget.

Take the time to look at your retirement plans and income. It may be helpful to sit down with a financial advisor so that you set up a solid budget. They will be able to help you understand what money you have, what income you can get, and where you might be able to grow your money a little more. With all this information, you’ll be better able to set a

 manageable budget. Then you can figure out what you can afford to pay for your home.

Consider Additional Expenses


As you probably know by now, a home comes with a lot more expenses than just the sale price. You need to consider all of the additional costs you will have with your new home including HOA fees, home repairs, landscaping, taxes, and cost of living. These costs can add up quickly, so you need to include them in your budget every month. Make sure you have money for repairs, and good insurance, too.




When you start the purchasing and closing processes, you might consider consulting a real estate law firm. They can help you make a contract that protects you from paying too much or making too many concessions on a house that may need work to be up to your standards. They can also help you with other issues that might come up during the buying process.

Think About Medical Expenses


As we get older, we are more likely to run into serious medical issues. These medical problems are draining on the body, but they are draining on the bank account, too. You need to save plenty for any medical expenses that might come your way, including in-home care when you get to your final years. These things do not come cheap, so be prepared.

Your final home is an important decision. While you want to be comfortable in your golden years, you also want to have money to spend and give to the people you love. Before you pick a home, consider these aspects of your finances to help you make the right decision.




Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Reverse Mortgages and Retirement: How Your Home Can Help You As You Age


For many people, retirement is something they look forward to. For others, they fear it due to a lack of financial planning. However, even if you don't have a fat pension or a great investment plan, you can still retire comfortably during your later years if you are a homeowner. 

This can be done via a reverse mortgage that transforms the equity you have built up in your home into retirement income. Below are some of the benefits of using a reverse mortgage for retirement.

It Can Give You Cash


One of the biggest problems for retired seniors is not having enough monthly income. A reverse mortgage can help with this problem in two ways. If you are still making mortgage payments, it can eliminate that monthly expense after you refinance. 


 Then, any equity left can be used to produce a steady stream of retirement income. This can be a great help if you need more than Social Security and whatever retirement plans you have to make ends meet.

It Allows You to Stay in Your Home


One reason why some people are fearful of reverse mortgages is that they believe that they will be forced out of their homes. This is not true at all. The homeowner actually retains ownership of the home until they and their spouse pass away. 


Only then will it be transferred to the lender. The reverse mortgage can also end if you choose to move at some point. Still, it is an excellent option for those that want to continue living in their home permanently.

Your Heirs Won't Have to Pay for It


Another fear people have is that their children or other heirs will have to pay the bill if the amount of equity used exceeds the actual value of the house. This is also false. A reverse mortgage is a kind of financing known as non-recourse. 




What this means is the lender will have no ability to make a claim against an heir to pay for that debt. The responsibility for paying that debt isn't allowed to exceed the value of the home.

The Income Isn't Taxable


Another huge benefit you should be aware of is the fact that the income you receive from your reverse mortgage isn't taxable. This is due to the fact that the IRS categorizes the payments you receive as "loan proceeds." This is a significant advantage over other kinds of retirement income that can indeed be taxed by the federal government.

There are many benefits to having a reverse mortgage during retirement. However, taking out one may not be best for everyone. Consider the benefits, your plans, and your financial situation when making your decision. Get some advice on the matter. It may turn out that a reverse mortgage is right for you and your family.




Tuesday, July 14, 2020

4 Factors in Deciding to Refinance Your Home Before Retirement



As retirement is looming, an idea to refinance your home might be lingering on your mind. You can make the right move using some strategies that will ensure that you remain financially stable. 

Please have a look at the factors that will help you decide whether the idea is viable or not.

Current Interest Rate


If you can lower the current interest rate by 1% or more, mortgage refinancing will be successful. It will make sense since you can pay the loan within a short time. In addition to that, you can build your home’s equity seamlessly with the payment rates. 


If the remaining balance is quite high and you can get a 2-3% reduction on interest, you can go ahead and refinance your home.

Total Refinancing Costs


The cost of refinancing will also play a pivotal role as you make a life-changing decision. Usually, you will cater for closing costs just like you did when you took the initial mortgage. On that account, you have to calculate the expenses to see whether they will favor you or not. 




For example, if you save about $100 per month and the closing costs are $5,000, it will take you roughly 50 months to break even. The need to refinance the loan doesn’t make sense at this point if you intend to move out of your house.

Eligibility


To qualify for the loan, you need to have a stable income and a positive credit score. Therefore, you should look at your financial status to ascertain whether you will get the loan or not. The new underwriting process will dig deep into our cash flow and credit status. It will also look at your home equity concerning the amount that you have.


How Long you will Stay in your home


If you don’t intend to sell the house or move out, there is no need to refinance. It will take many years to clear the debt so that you can start saving again. On that account, you should only take action if you will continue living in your current home. With low-interest rates, you can repay the debt faster and start enjoying the golden years.

Subsequently, refinancing your home is an excellent idea if you can get a lower rate to pay off the loan. Your income, credit score, and home equity play a crucial role as well. Plus, you can benefit from the strategy if you don’t have intentions to sell it.





Thursday, July 2, 2020

4 Tips for Deciding Where to Move After Retirement


Retirement is an occasion to be celebrated after a life of hard work, planning, and saving. With so many options worldwide, the idea of searching for the best place can be overwhelming. 

While most people stay in their current homes, others decide to relocate. Deciding where to live after retirement should involve a thoughtful process instead of just picking a favorite childhood vacation spot. Below are four things to consider when choosing a retirement home

Cost of living


Choose a city with an affordable cost of living; when you choose a retirement home, your cost of living will play a significant role in your day to day life. Find a city with an affordable cost of living that suits your lifestyle and budget. You should also ensure that housing cost is within your financial means. Do not just consider luxury homes without checking your budget.


Safety and Security


Always consider the safety and security of the area; as you grow older, safety should be your number one priority. Take a look at the economic data and crime statistics of the cities you are considering moving to and choose somewhere you can feel safe. 


Crime varies from place to place, and some towns may not have available crime statistical data online. It would be best if you considered turning to the local police or the local people for answers. This will give you specific information making your decision ultimately more straightforward.

The healthcare services and amenities


Choose a city with available healthcare services; before moving to a new town, always consider the availability and quality of the healthcare system. Ensure that there are hospitals and available medical emergency services nearby in case you are in dire need. 



Talk to the local people and do some research, inquire about hospital wait time, emergency response time, and local pharmacies. It would be best if you chose a city that will make you feel taken care of.

Weather and climate


Consider the climate of the area; weather should be factored in when selecting a retirement hometown. You will spend your retirement years in the weather of your choice. Whether you want to move to a warm climate area in a small beach town or a cold winter town in the south, it is yours. 

Most times, retirees move to a warm-climate area to avoid the risks that cold weather pauses on their health. The real hustle of scooping snow from surfaces or the threat of slipping and falling on ice is less manageable for aging people.

When considering your final retirement home, you should ensure to explore all your options and find all the factors named above. Discuss with your friends, family, and independent advisors about this next chapter of your life. This will help with emotional preparation if you decide to move out of your current city. Acquaint yourself with the new area you are considering moving to.



Monday, May 18, 2020

How to Take Care of Your Finances After Retirement



Your ability to manage your money after you retire may actually be just as important as your ability to save. To make sure that your income is well-protected, it’s critically important to know your risk tolerance. You must be comfortable with your investments as they currently stand. You will also want to plan properly for those you will leave behind.

Cash Today: Needs Vs Wants


Careful monitoring of your spending and tracking where your dollars are going out is always a good investment of your time. Knowing where you need to spend your money and doing so with care will give you more cash for your “wants” when they crop up. 

If one of your retirement goals was the chance to travel, then you will probably need a reliable vehicle. With a focus on the right car, you can pare back other expenses more easily.

Investments: Maintaining Liquidity


If you have money in stocks and bonds, converting those assets to cash will be a simple process. However, if the majority of your money is tied up in your house, art, or rare coins, converting these things to cash may be more of a challenge. 



Selling your home and moving to raise cash quickly means that you may not get the best price. Such a move will also be extremely stressful and may impact your health.

Tax Planning


The laws on Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) have changed repeatedly over the years. If you are approaching 70, contact your accountant for instructions on the best way to manage the minimum distributions you must take from your retirement accounts to avoid a punitive penalty.


After You’re Gone


Make sure you have a life insurance policy that will at least cover your funeral expenses. In addition, consider setting up an agreement with a funeral home and mortician so that the expense of managing your final remains is taken care of. 

The professionals at Damar Kaminski Funeral Home & Crematorium can help you select the best plan for your budget. Once you’ve made your selection, be sure to let your family know of your choice and get a copy of the agreement to your executor.

Conclusion


The first few months after your retirement may be worrisome. Making sure that you can thrive on the retirement dollars you have coming in may take some budgetary adjustments. However, if you can keep your goals in sight and focus on putting your time and dollars there, you can enjoy a retirement focused on what you’ve always wanted to do.



Sunday, April 19, 2020

4 Fun Luxuries You Should Budget for in Your Retirement



Just because you're retired doesn't mean your life has to be boring. In fact, with no job to report to, your retirement can be one of the most fun stages of your life.

Of course, to take part in these fun activities, it's important to budget for them while you're still saving for retirement. To help give you an idea of how much you'll need to save, here are four fun luxuries you should budget for in your retirement.


Travel


If you've always wanted to see the world but never had the time to do so, retirement is your perfect opportunity. Whether you choose to travel the country in an RV, fly off to faraway places, or take things slow on cruises, travel should definitely be something you budget for. By prioritizing which destinations you'd like to visit most, you can be more accurate in your budgeting for these indulgences.


Experiences


Even if you don't feel like traveling far from home, you can still budget for experiences that are right in your own backyard. Whether it's season tickets to the local orchestra, some front row seats to a show by your favorite band, or a membership at your local zoo, experiences can add so much richness to your life. If you can include others in on your experiences, you'll likely find that your enjoyment increases that much more.


Sports


While you probably shouldn't use your retirement years to take up tackle football, retirement can be a great time to try your hand at calmer sports, such as golf. You may find a hidden talent for a sport that you never got to try during your working years. 



You could even find yourself becoming so passionate about a sport that you spend some money to buy country club properties for sale so that you can always be ready to play.

Hobbies


During your working years, your hobbies are what you do with your leftover time and money after the essentials are taken care of. With the right budgeting, though, your hobbies can take a much more central role in your retirement. 

You can use extra disposable income to upgrade to better equipment that's required for your hobby and use your extra time to perfect certain skills within the hobby.

With so many activities to do during your retirement, you may encounter a "fear of missing out." In other words, you may see retired friends doing things that you wish you could do, putting stress on you to find the money and the time to do the same things they do. However, as long as you're enjoying what's right in front of you, you can relax and know that you're making the most of your retirement.



Wednesday, December 11, 2019

There's No Wrong Time To Be Thinking About Your Pension


There might not be a wrong time, but there is a right time, and that time is now. Whether you're in your twenties, thirties, forties, or fifties, if you've not started thinking about your pension, there’s no time like the present. Obviously, the earlier you start preparing the better.

If you think your retirement is a lifetime away, you’ll be surprised how quickly it comes around. Before you know it, you’ll be knocking on the door of retirement and have made no financial preparations. Do you want to spend your twilight years worrying about every penny you spend? Surely that’s not why you’ve been working all these years.


Getting the Best Pension Deal


There are plenty of different pension options, but you need to be sure you've got the right one. You might have caught one of the many media stories about pension misselling. 

If you don’t want to get caught out with a mis-sold pension, you must do your research. Here are some of the contract-based pension schemes you might want to sign up for.

SIPPSelf Invested Personal Pensions are a type of pension that can run alongside a workplace pension. These pensions are an individual contract between yourself and a pension provider. The broad investment powers of a SIPP mean you can invest in a range of assets.

SSAS – SSAS stands for the small self-administered scheme. It is a type of defined contribution pension an employer can self-manage. There do, however, have to be fewer than 12 members.

QROP – A Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme is an overseas pension scheme that meets specific HMRC requirements. A QROP has to have a beneficial owner and trustees. It can receive transfers of UK pension benefits.

These are just three examples of the type of pension scheme you might be able to sign up for. For a person without any pension scheme knowledge, navigating the pension waters can be very dangerous. But who can you ask for advice?


Where to Get Your Pension Advice

Trying to find the best pension advice can be challenging, especially if you have no previous experience. Whether you want SIPP, SSAS, QROP, or any other type of pension, having someone you can trust in your corner is vital. 

To lower the risk of mis-sold pensions or a mis-sold annuity, you should seek the advice of an FCA authorized financial adviser. Don’t be tempted to get help from a pension introducer, as these people are not the best place to go to for pension advice. 

There have been numerous cases of a pension introducer playing a part in one of the many mis-sold pension and mis-sold annuity scandals of recent years. A pension introducer often cold-calls potential clients. 

They then pass on your details to an unregulated marketing firm. They are not regulated by the FCA and therefore could be a party to a pension mis-selling scam.

If you find you’re the victim of a mis-sold pension, it is possible to get claims advice, but the route to getting your money back is fraught with obstacles. To be successful with mis-sold annuity claims or SIPP claims, you have to be able to prove you were given the wrong advice. It might relate to a final salary pension transfer, defined benefit pension or one of many other pension alternatives.

There have been many cases of mis-sold pensions and annuity claims in the recent past. So much so that a whole industry has grown up around mis-sold pensions. SIPP claims, annuity claims, problems with a defined benefit pension, or a final salary pension transfer can often be solved. 


Provided you know where to get claims advice. The best place to start is by calling the Pensions Advisory Service. 


Thursday, December 5, 2019

4 Expenses You'll Need to Think About as You Approach Retirement



While the prospect of bidding farewell to employment entices most, many seniors fail to account for the added expenses that come with retirement. Though you’ll likely have some income coming your way, it’ll be considerably less than what you’ve grown accustomed to receiving. As you grow older, here are four expenses that you’ll want to be mindful of.

Healthcare


Old age generally gives rise to medical issues. With that said, you’ll need to account for frequent doctor visits and potential medications. On average, retirees rack up $500 a month in medical expenses. 


From deductibles and copays to premiums and coinsurance costs, there are various fees that come into play. To ensure that your savings account doesn’t take a hit, set aside ample funds to cover healthcare costs.

Funeral Needs


While this is a grim reality, death will inevitably rear its ugly head. When the time comes to commemorate your loss, you don’t want your loved ones to have to carry the financial burden. 




With that in mind, place enough money to the side so that your family members can tend to your funeral needs without dipping into their own wallets. Moreover, you’ll want to guarantee that you’re working with an affordable funeral home service like Damar Kaminski Funeral Home & Crematorium.

Leisure


With so much free time on your hands, you’ll have nothing but opportunities to relax. Sitting inside all day can be a drag, so you’ll want to fill your time with activities that spark joy. Unless you can score some free leisure, these outings will generally cost money. 


If your budget doesn’t allow for frequent trips to the museum or movie theater, consider volunteering. Not only is this a free alternative, but it’ll also provide a chance to give back to the community.

In-Home Care


If you can no longer care for yourself, enlist the help of elderly care professionals. With their helping hands, you’ll be able to carry out daily activities with ease. Bear in mind that these services are rather costly. If this is the avenue you pursue, don’t be alarmed by the high rates. By accounting for this expense in advance, you’ll have enough funds at your disposal to cover the costs.

If retirement is right around the corner, there are numerous ways you can plan for your new lifestyle. Above are some common expenses that you’ll want to take into consideration.



Thursday, November 28, 2019

Retire in Comfort: 5 Qualities to Look for in Your Retirement Community



After dedicating 20 years or more to your job, you’ve finally reached retirement. Now, you want to sit back, relax and enjoy the next chapter of your life. 

During your retirement, you may decide to go to a retirement community rather than look for a house. Unfortunately, looking for a retirement community isn’t always the easiest thing to do. 

There are certain qualities that you must look for and ask about when you’re looking for a comfortable community to retire in.

The Amenities


The first quality that you should look for in a retirement community is the amenities that come with it. Even if you want to live modestly, the community you’re looking to reside in should have the basics.

The basic amenities should include a gym or fitness center, internet access, a place for activities, an independent kitchen and security. Keep in mind that every retirement community is different and may not have certain amenities.


The Location


The next thing you need to look for is the location in which the community resides. In fact, the location is actually one of the most important factors when looking at retirement communities. As you search, try to see if there are any communities located near your family and friends.


How the Community Cares


Again, many retirement communities are different and have different ways of caring for their residents. If you’re someone who requires assistance to do daily activities, you need to make sure that the community offers the right kind of care. 




In addition, it’s in your best interest to see if a community has 24-hour emergency care. There are a few communities that don’t offer this, which can spell trouble if you have an accident.


The Staff


Before even thinking of paying a visit to a retirement community, always research the staff first. When it comes to senior care, you want to know you’re in good hands. During your visit, it’s also essential that you pay close attention to how the staff interacts and communicates with the current residents.


The Overall Community


Aside from the amenities and health care, you want to be in a community where you can feel like you’re living life. Retirement communities are meant to make life easier for seniors, not harder and stressful.

However, there are those few communities that are just out for a buck and don’t have much to offer. Naturally, you want to avoid those. If you don’t feel like the community is for you, then it’s best to keep looking until you find one that is.

Finding a place to spend your golden years doesn’t need to be difficult. Take your time, weigh your wants and needs and always tour more than one community before you make your decision.



Wednesday, November 20, 2019

How to Live Debt Free so You Can Retire with Peace of Mind



Escaping debt can feel like a breath of fresh air. When you are starting to plan for your retirement, one of the best ways for you to prepare is to start mitigating your debt. If you are not sure where to begin, however, following some of these guidelines can be crucial for your future.

Live According to Your Means


Perhaps one of the most obvious and immediate pieces of advice that all individuals should do their best to follow is to reduce their spending. One of the best ways to avoid further debt is to live according to your means. 


Make a list of all of your monthly payments and make sure that they are only things that you need. This means taking a look at your hobbies and seeing where you can afford to reduce your spending.

Look into Immediate Debt Settlement


Bringing experts in to discuss your debt can allow you to get all of your smaller accounts settled as quickly as possible. Basically, a good debt settlement program will allow you to work with expert negotiators to discuss terms with creditors on your behalf. 




They use various negotiation strategies to allow you to pay less on your unsecured debts. These can include credit cards, payday loans and other, smaller unsecured debts based on your situation.

Make Extra Mortgage Payments


Another excellent way to plan ahead for your debt-free future is to try to pay off your mortgage, or car or student loans, as early as possible. This means taking the time to plan out how much money you owe to your lender and pay a little bit extra every month. 


This will allow you to pay off your mortgage sooner and save money in the long-term on your interest payments. Set aside as much as you are comfortable paying on a regular basis.

Set a Goal


Setting goals can be one of the best ways to adjust to your needs. Think about some savings goals that you may have for your future. Do you want to have a certain amount of money saved up before you can retire? Is there a certain degree of debt you want to leave behind before you start planning? Work with financial planning tools to reach your goals faster and easier.

No financial situation is ever the same. Establish a reliable degree of flexibility in your goals in order to see the most efficient results. Always take things at an easy pace to ensure that you are stable during your debt mitigation journey.


Saturday, November 16, 2019

Reaching Retirement? How to Decide When to Sell Your Home



Retirement might be so close that you can practically taste the salt in your margarita and feel that wonderful, crisp ocean breeze. Instead of putting the cart before the horse and getting wrapped up in a fantasy, let's take a look at the right time to sell your home before perhaps downsizing and easing into retirement.

Seller's Market


What's wonderful about potentially selling your home before you retire is that you might be able to sell your home for much more than you initially paid for it, or perhaps more than your home has been worth over the last couple of years. 


Listing your home in a seller's market could shore up much-needed funds for retirement. You might also decide that now's the right time to sell your home based on personal factors.

Your Home is Too Big


If you look around and see a bunch of extra rooms or a home that requires too much in the way of upkeep and utility costs (e.g., heating), then it might be time to sell your home.


Personal Factors


If you could move a short distance and realize a tremendous property tax windfall by doing so, then why wouldn't you make the move? The truth is that you probably would make the move in a hurry if you only knew that such a possibility was out there somewhere. 




The thing to do is sit down and do some research. Are there retirement homes and other amenities nearby that offer lower property tax opportunities?

Financial experts say that, as long as you've lived in your home for two of the previous five years going in to a sale, you should be able to exclude $250,000 in capital gains from the sale if you're single and $500,000 in capital gains from the sale if you're a married couple.

You might want to get in touch with a realtor or financial expert who can tell you more about these potential savings if you sell your home now. Look for claims like "we buy houses" when you're shopping around for the best realtors to sell your home.

If you've been living in the same place for two of the last five years, then now might be the perfect time to sell your home and realize tremendous capital gains savings that otherwise wouldn't be possible. Think of what you could do with another $250,000 or $500,000 over the next twenty years of your retired life!


Monday, November 4, 2019

Finding an Assisted Living Community That’s Right for You



If you’ve found that, as you’ve aged, you now need assistance with your daily tasks, then an assisted living facility can be a great option for you. It will provide you with the care you need to live a fulfilling life. However, it can also be a serious financial decision. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that you find a community that’s right for you.

Make a List of Needs


Many seniors start out by looking at the various assisted living communities and end up getting overwhelmed. Instead, start by making a list of needs. Include everything from the type of medical care that you need to the recreational activities you need in your life. 


When you have a list of what you’re looking for in an assisted living facility, you can better determine what facility is going to fit your needs quickly. This helps you stay on budget and ensure that you don’t spring for something that’s fancy but overly expensive.

Set a Budget


Your assisted living care should be easily affordable for you. You should take a look at what your budget is and will be in the future. Set yourself a budget for what you can comfortably afford to pay for your cost of living, keeping in mind your retirement fund and savings. 





By setting your budget ahead of time, you can limit yourself to looking at facilities in your price range. If you look at facilities first, you may find yourself signing a lease for a place that you end up having trouble affording.

Take a Tour


Now, you should have a very good idea of the qualities you’re looking for in a property and what price range you can afford. Next, it’s time to get your list together of potential properties to visit. You want to take the time to tour each facility to get a feel for how it will work for you. 


Don’t be shy about visiting a place multiple times before you decide whether or not you want to live there. This will help you maintain your budget and help you feel secure about this financial decision.

Speak with the Current Residents


One of the best ways to get a feel for how a community will work out for you is to talk with the existing residents. See how happy they are with the assisted living facility and get some information about the daily activities that are offered for residents. 


You may be surprised that you can learn more from a 10-minute conversation with a resident than you’ll get from reading all the fliers about the community.

When it becomes time to move into an assisted living facility it’s likely that you’ll have a lot of questions running through your mind. Understand how to slow down and take it to step by step; this can drastically help with your overall financial decision on where to stay. 


Be sure to start by utilizing the four tips above to find an assisted living community that’s right for you.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan



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