Grow Wealthier During Retirement

Written by Jeremy Biberdorf

Most people think of retirement as a time to live as simply as possible with the hope savings accumulated through life won’t run out before the end of your life. While this is the reality that many older adults deal with, it’s not absolutely necessary. In fact, it’s possible to grow wealthier during retirement. It may require some reallocation of assets, but if you’ve prepared for retirement, it may surprise you to know that your wealth can actually grow as you go.

1)    Eliminate Inefficiencies. It’s important not to waste money. Take a careful look at your life and make those difficult changes. If you have poor credit, you’ll pay much more for loans for the rest of your life. Choose OneMain personal loans to see some practical examples. If you are currently renting, consider buying a home. This will build personal equity, another leverage point for future borrowing. Restrict monthly spending as much as possible. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. And if you feel you must have it do without something else as a tradeoff.

2)    Focus on Enrichment. Retirement is a time to live gently. Fortunately, gentle living is not terribly expensive. Spend time exercising, meditating, reading, taking classes, and hanging out with the people who mean the most to you. Not only will filling your days with healthy activities like these preserve your wealth, it will make you healthier so that you enjoy your retirement more.

3)    Increase Saving. No matter what age you are, you should be saving as much as possible, at least if you hope for a retirement that’s free of financial anxiety. Your savings will be the basis of future security. Even if you are well on your way to a comfortable retirement, saving is an integral skill to keep active. If you are able to work part time, through a job or a profitable hobby, you can continue to add to your savings.

Now we come to the investment portion. Once you’ve controlled spending and increased your savings, you want to allocate your financial resources in a way that will build wealth without requiring too much in the way of active management. Here are some ways to do that.

1)    The 4% Rule of Investment. Let’s say you have $1,000,000 invested in index funds through Vanguard. Investments like these grow, on average, about 8-10% per year. Retirees who withdraw 4% of their investment balance every year ($40,000 in this case) still see their investments gaining value, at a faster rate than money is being withdrawn. This is an incredible way to gradually accumulate greater wealth during retirement, even as you’re living off of the investment balance. The less you take out to live on, the larger balance you have gaining value.

2)    Real Estate and Other Passive Income. Some people build wealth through ownership of property, companies, and more. If you have a property that yields a positive cash flow through renters or other forms of tenant, you can live off of this income or use it to increase your wealth. Once you’ve paid off the property which, by the time you retire, may have already happened, you’ll enjoy that entire monthly rental balance in your pocket less the on-going costs to maintain the property.

3)    Make Sure You Know About All Assets. By the time you retire, you will likely have worked a number of jobs, lived in many houses, and had an incredible variety of experiences. In this time, you may have received inheritances, retirement accounts from work/pensions, property, and other assets. It is important to make sure you know what you own, and to have it allocated in the way that best provides ongoing security. By knowing exactly what you have you can better maximize your returns. Get rid of low performers and build an efficient portfolio of quality investments.

Retirement doesn’t have to be a time spent watching your resources move inexorably to zero. You may be able to create a situation in which you money grows significantly, even when you no longer have direct income from your career. This takes time, hard work, and making the best of your opportunities prior to retirement, but if you are able to hit these targets you’ll have a prosperous retirement with a large estate.

Independence and Aging – Tools That Can Help

Written by Jessica Hegg

Independence comes in a lot of shapes and sizes for seniors. For one 65-year-old couple living on their own in the house in which they raised their family, independence might mean getting to stay in that house til their final days. For a 76-year-old man in an assisted living facility, independence might mean being able to care for himself, feed himself, and get out for walks and visits without assistance. No matter what independence in your Golden Years looks like to you, these tips and tools can help:

Mobility Tools

Using assistive devices to aid your mobility doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your independence. On the contrary, mobility aids and assistive devices can empower your self-reliance, making it easier to get around your own home and even help prevent falls.

At the first sign of leg or foot weakness, pain, balance problems, exhaustion, or experiencing multiple falls, talk with your doctor about your mobility plan and whether an aid might help you. From canes to walkers, knee scooters, and wheelchairs, retaining your mobility and independence may be as simple as finding the right tool to support your movements and balance.

With one third of adults over 65 experiencing a fall at some point, fall prevention is directly linked to remaining mobile and independent. Falls can lead to hip fractures, strains, muscle tears, and even hospitalization. ‘Fall proof’ your living environment by:

  • Removing clutter and trip hazards (like cords and curled up rug corners) from walking pathways
  • Getting your vision checked for any impairments that might affect your walking
  • Investing in proper fitting shoes that support and stabilize your movements
  • Installing grab bars, rails and guide lighting around staircases, ramps, and bathrooms
  • Exercising regularly to strengthen bones, muscles, balance, and coordination

Technological Tools

Independence in retirement is taking on new meaning in the digital age. Technological devices, mobile applications, and online services are making living on your own while still staying connected easier than ever.

The rise in use of virtual assistants is a trend making its way into the homes of many Baby Boomers. While Siri on your iPhone can help you look something up on the web or place a call, free standing virtual assistants like Amazon Echo with Alexa or Google Home can go even further. With a simple command, they can update your grocery list, play music on your home sound system, turn on the TV, set alarms, update you on the day’s news, and more.

Online video chat services like Skype and Google Hangout encourage older adults to stay connected to family and friends by live video chatting with them on a computer, even if they live far away. In addition, social platforms like facebook and instagram help you engage with others, check out local events, view photos of family and friends, and more.

Mobile applications you can download and use on your smartphone or tablet, like Instacart or Peapod, let you order groceries online and have them delivered to you door. And apps like TaskRabbit help you find local help to assist with errands, house cleaning, pet sitting, and more household jobs. Looking to add some cash to the old retirement account? Use sites like CraigsList, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace to sell high-valued, gently-used items you no longer want or need.

Everyday Use Tools

In addition to preventing falls and exercising regularly, avoiding annoying health ailments that can affect your ability to complete tasks on your own, like arthritis pain, back inflammation, or muscle strains, can be simplified with even the most basic everyday tools.

Reacher grabber tools are inexpensive, nifty devices that make reaching objects off the ground or up on high shelves easier than ever before. The lightweight design and clever grip handle of a reacher tool helps you extend your reach without exerting too much effort, while rubber and magnetic jaws on the end help you grip and pick up hard to reach items.

Handle grippers make eating, writing, and even brushing your teeth easier, especially if you are one of the 20% of adults in the U.S. with arthritis. Handle grippers slide or wrap around thin instruments or tools to provide a wider, nonslip area with which to grip them securely.

High-powered blenders aren’t just for infomercials anymore. With a strong emphasis on eating a healthy diet infused with lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains, senior health is showing more and more benefit from whole foods nutrition. And simply put, high-powered blenders can ease the time-consuming process of preparing food, and take the pain out of having to handle multiple pots, pans, lids, and utensils.

Toss an avocado, banana, greek yogurt, fresh spinach, and frozen berries into a high-powered blender for a super food smoothie rich with vitamins, protein, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Or blend roasted tomatoes and garlic, cream, and basil on a soup setting for a quick, warm meal that might have otherwise taken 20 minutes to make.

When it comes to independent living for older adults, a handful of factors come into play including health, mobility, finances, and living environment. For each and every one, there are tools, both physical and virtual, that can simplify daily living and boost your independence. What’s your go-to independent living tool?