Get Your Property to Do More for Your Retirement

Written by Sally Perkins

The economic crisis of ten years ago put a lot of things in perspective. One of the ways it changed retirement is by putting property assets on the same level as stocks and bonds because investors regard property as more stable. You can get properties to work harder for you in your retirement but be prepared, 43% of spending for those aged 75 years or older is on annual home-related expenses.

It can be difficult, but there is a lot of potential for return on investment if you manage your property intelligently. Whether you are a real estate mogul with several rental properties or just working with your home, there is more you can do to bolster your retirement funds.

Refinancing

For those with mortgages, it can be worth looking at refinancing to get a better interest rate. After so many years in the work force, those retiring or soon to retire often have much better credit scores than those they had when first mortgaging their homes.

Once your payments are down, you can use the savings to help pay off the principle. The sooner you can pay off the mortgage the sooner you can put the property to work increasing your income. To find out just how much money you can save try using a mortgage calculator.

Downsizing

Leaving a home that you have lived in for years can be tough, but scaling back to a smaller home has some serious advantages financial and otherwise. As we retire, our needs change and the homes we live in are no different. Maybe the kids have moved out, you don’t use the pool much anymore or your knees just don’t appreciate those stairs.

Not only can downsizing your home better meet your needs, but you’ll save a lot of money on maintenance and utility costs not to mention a reduction in property taxes. You can use the money that you save to reinvest and increase your income or just use it to prepare your new home for your new way of life.

Take Action Early

Many mortgages have strict lending requirements about work. Typical requirements include having to show that you have been employed for the last two years. You can explain away some of these requirements or find mortgages that aren’t so strict but those might be more expensive options. The easiest way to avoid that headache is to take action before you stop work if you have the opportunity.

Make Your Retirement Investments Help Each Other

Mortgage companies usually require higher down payments and interest rates for properties that the owner does not plan to occupy. Down payments can reach 30 percent of the price or more. Perhaps you don’t have the funds for a down payment of that size but you can use your IRA funds to help. Since the money in a Roth IRA has already been taxed, if you use it to buy property all of the equities and earning from it can grow tax-free.

Do the Homework

With all the extra time afforded by retirement, you can do valuable additional research. Finding out potential costs like insurance, mortgage fees, taxes and possible maintenance costs will help you make informed decisions about the viability of individual properties. As in business, income properties are about balancing expenses and revenue.

Research can also help you decide on an area or property in which to invest. Learn the local occupancy and price trends. Area real estate agents, publications and even small local banks are all excellent sources of information. You might even find that getting loans from local banks is a better route than the big banks because the smaller banks have more knowledge and interest in their area.

Gifting Equity

Gifting property equity to your children, their spouses or grandkids can be an option that helps you avoid some tax situations. It is possible to move real estate equity to your kids year by year with no tax liability. There are annual limits but with enough management and recipients you can transfer quite a bit every year and it adds up. It is best to refer to a tax professional to be certain what will work best in your situation.

Diversify

While it is true that property investment can add to your retirement, it shouldn’t be the only thing working for you. Diversification of your funds into 401(k)s, IRAs and the like is still sound advice even in these uncertain economic times. Trust in real estate is high but diversification can prevent you from losing all of your income should the market fall in a particular sector.

Maximize Your Property’s Output

Retirement is a time to relax and enjoy life, but if you want to keep your income high to support your new lifestyle, a little bit of work is required. Property investment, in particular, requires some doing. Using a bit of time, effort and the advantages of being retired you can put your property to work funding your retirement.

Dealing With Home Emergencies After Retirement

Written by Joshua Nelson

You’ve finally made it to retirement, and you’re ready to revel in your “golden years”. You have some plans on how to spend your time and manage your retirement income, but a lot of question marks still remain.

It won’t be as easy to take care of DIY home improvement projects. But when emergency-level projects are thrust upon you, you can’t afford to delay attending to them. Sure, you’d rather spend your time sitting by the seashore, fishing and enjoying the weather in some vacation paradise.

But realistically, you’re aware that accidents, emergencies, and urgent home repairs are sure to crop up from time to time.

Here are seven of the most common types of home emergencies you need to be prepared to deal with effectively and efficiently as you enter retirement:

  1. Plumbing Emergencies

A home emergency that is potentially the most devastating and difficult to deal with has to do with plumbing. A badly clogged toilet, drain, or pipe that drain decloggers and plungers will not cure, a broken or burst hot water heater/system, or an out-of-sight leak from a plumbing pipe that is softening your drywall and flooding your floor are only a few of the possible scenarios.

Water damage, backed up sewage and wastewater, the spread of dangerous pathogens, and the creation of a slip-and-fall hazard are some of the dangers plumbing “gone wrong” can bring in its wake.

If you don’t possess the tools and know-how for rapid plumbing repairs, or if you don’t want to be bothered with it now that you’re retired, be sure to keep the number of a 24/7 emergency plumber, such as PlumbingFix, always handy.

  1. Outbreaks Of Mold And Mildew

Sometimes in the wake of a flood or simply due to too much moisture or condensation accumulated in certain areas of your home, you may suddenly spot mold and mildew growth.

Mold shouldn’t be taken lightly. It not only makes your walls, ceilings, baseboards, or other affected area look unappealing, it is a genuine health hazard. Black mold especially can cause serious lung infections, exacerbate asthma, irritate allergies, and violent coughing episodes.

Try cleaning away mold or mildew yourself first, using bleach water, a stiff-bristled brush, gloves, and a protective mask. But if the mold is too extensive, too hard to reach (in an attic, cellar, or hard-to-access crevice), or continually reoccurs, it’s time to call in the professionals. Keep an emergency number for a reputable mold removal and remediation company, like RestorationElite, in your personal contacts book.

  1. Power Brownouts

Losing power for extended periods of time is potentially dangerous for anyone, but it is especially hard on children and on the elderly. You don’t want to needlessly risk your own safety and that of family by being taken by surprise by a brownout.

First of all, have a well thought out plan of action. Contact family and friends to let them know you’re safe. Check on the neighbors. Know where the nearest emergency shelter is located. But also be sure to keep such items as these ready at hand:

  • A gas-powered generator. Choose a model that has wheels and is lightweight and easy to move. And don’t forget to stay stocked up on fuel.
  • Electric indoor-grade space heaters, fans, and cooking equipment to run off your generator.
  • A battery-powered emergency radio, with an extra set of unused batteries.
  • Non-perishable food products and bottled water.
  • Warm clothes and blankets.
  • A back-up supply of basic medicines, any necessary prescription meds, and a first aid kit.
  • Candles and flashlights (with extra batteries).
  • Cash you can live on temporarily. ATMs and in-store card scanners may all be temporarily down.
  • Books, board games, or anything non-electronic that will make the time pass.
  1. Broken HVAC System

Especially in extreme climates and particularly for the elderly, having a heating or air conditioning system fail can be a serious or even life-threatening event (in conjunction with a power outage or natural disaster.)

Signs your HVAC unit may need a repair or need to be replaced include: it runs but with little production, it fails to consistently turn on, unusual sounds are emanating from the device, or the unit is leaking water. The last sign specifically calls for professional intervention.

  1. Gas Leaks

An unnoticed gas leak is an extreme danger. Fires, explosions, or gas poisoning are all possibilities, depending on the type of gas, quantity of gas, and what the gas comes into contact with.

If you even suspect you smell gas, move quickly to shut off your gas supply at the meter, open up doors/windows to create ventilation, and shut down all electrical devices. Next, call a licensed gas fitter to inspect your home, detect and eliminate any gas leaks.

  1. Locked Out

While it might be surprising, around a third of U.S. adults have been locked out of their home at one point or another.It often happens when taking out the garbage or coming home from a night out on the town. About one in ten have been locked out while in their pajamas (or worse)!

Solutions include hiding a spare key in a potted plant, under a rock, or some other unsuspected location, giving your neighbor a spare key (if you trust him/her enough), and investing in a “smart lock” and always taking your smart phone with you.

  1. Damaged Roof

Roof repairs are easily among the most urgent of all home repairwork. Ice dams in the winter and clogged up gutters in the fall can push water up your roof and down through any leakage points.

If you spot even a small leak, attend to it quickly or call in a roofing contractor to help. An annual roof inspection with minor repairs will do much to prevent leaks and warn you when a new roof put on will have to be installed.

We’re aware that retirement translates to not having to worry so much anymore. However, planning out strategies to dealing with these emergencies will provide you with the much needed peace of mind.

Joshua Nelson is a super-connector with ManageBacklinks.io who helps businesses with building their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. Joshua frequently writes about the latest advancements in the SaaS world and digital marketing.

Arthritis Friendly Retirement Activities

Written by Jessica Hegg

Freedom from job obligations is probably one of the biggest advantages of retirement, but the “take this job and shove it” effect is usually only short term.

Apropos of nothing, I’ve always found it interesting that a man who sang about quitting his job chose a stage name like Johnny Paycheck. There is probably a deeper meaning there that eludes me.

Back to the blog. Most of us who retire around 65 can expect to live at least another twenty years, because as they say, 60 is the new 40 and 80 is the new 60. All these days and hours will start to drag unless you have a sense of purpose, and since many of us define ourselves by our occupations, this intentionality is not always easy to find.

Somewhat complicating matters, many of us start experiencing chronic physical illnesses, such as arthritis, in our 60s and 70s. Although arthritis is not fatal or even terribly serious, it can transform previously enjoyable activities into chores. Furthermore, because of unwanted side effects, powerful muscle relaxers or painkillers are often not a very good option.

So, what are some arthritis-friendly ways to not only pass the time as we age, but also help us find purpose and meaning?

Low-Impact Exercises

Physical exercise is important at all ages, and the most recent research suggests that even a little bit of moderate exercise, such as a half-hour of brisk walking four or five days a week, has significant emotional and physical benefits.

Walking is very easy on the joints, so even folks with arthritic knees and/or ankles can do a few laps without much of a problem. A few light stretches after exercising should help ease any lingering discomfort.

No-impact water aerobics may be an option as well, and many people also benefit greatly from senior-friendly yoga classes. Such activities address not only the physical component, but the emotional component as well. Loneliness is a fairly significant problem among older people, even people who are married. Being around like-minded people of a similar age and station in life may help participants feel like they belong somewhere. Many class participants might go on to teach their own classes, thus giving them a sense of purpose.

Aquatic exercises place no strain whatsoever on joints, and yoga stretches might actually reduce arthritis pain, if for no other reason that the participant focuses on something other than achy joints for about a half hour a day.

Art Therapy

Some people communicate better visually than orally, and art therapy is simply an extension of that idea. Primarily, two types of people can benefit from this activity:

  • People who have experienced traumatic events in their lives and need to understand them, and
  • Those who are looking for personal development.

Many retired people fall squarely into that second category.

Similar to yoga, art therapy is a good way to stop thinking about arthritis pain for a few hours a week. As for using arthritic fingers to paint, many people ask “do arthritis gloves work?” The answer is a resounding yes. The compression and heat ease discomfort, and many gloves have no fingers, so fine motor skills, like holding a brush or manipulating a phone, are largely unaffected.

Volunteering

Practically no one has arthritis of the jaw, and there is no such thing as arthritis of the soul, so even more advanced arthritis cannot stand in the way of volunteering for a cause.

To find temporal fulfillment as well as emotional fulfillment, volunteering in this context probably means operating a soup kitchen instead of serving lunch a couple of times a week or being a higher level campaign operative as opposed to an envelope stuffer. While there is certainly nothing wrong with serving lunch or stuffing envelopes, and these activities are vital to their respective organizations, retired people have a near-limitless resource to share (their time), and this resource is arguably more precious than money or anything else.

You did not call in sick due to a head cold while working, and there is no reason to call in sick during retirement either, especially when there are so many available options.