What Baby Boomers Want For Their Retirement Homes

Alessia Olsen

Baby boomers are a huge generation when you consider the fact that they easily span two decades – 1946 to 1964. The youngest have crossed the 50-year threshold while the oldest are close to 75. Over a third of the population is single women. Boomers are expected to purchase homes worth $1.9 trillion, including ranch homes in the next five years.

It is expected that a little less than half the population will move. However, only about 20% will venture far from their current addresses. While baby boomers may not want to go too far from their current place of residence, diversity is an important purchasing factor.

Diversity is Important

Many baby boomers are seeking a lifestyle change. Gone are the days when traditional retirement communities held appeal to the older age group. Instead, younger boomers are looking for master-planned communities and ranch homes where they know they will lead socially comfortable lives in a diverse neighborhood. In fact, there are several “stroller-to-walker” neighborhoods that offer amenities to older residents and young families alike.

Developers are focusing more on creating community amenities and clubhouses that gives people a chance to step out of their homes and interact with other residents. The baby booming generation is all about interacting and becoming friends with people of all ages. They want their retirement homes to offer that kind of diversity.

Warm Weather is a Major Attraction

There was a 57.4% increase in sales in the resort market in the past year as told by the National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. Baby boomers are coming quite close to purchasing their second home for retirement and converting it into their primary residence. Fun in the sun is appealing to most boomers.

Florida has once again become the hub of retirement construction with many people looking for their retirement homes. In fact, places like the once-sleepy Venice are observing a spike in construction. The market is looking strong and prices are again up.

Luxury as a Way of Life

Baby boomers are usually savvy buyers with a good handle on their wants and ways to make those needs come true. For many, their next house will be the home of their dreams. Many are expected to downsize on the square footage while upsizing everything else.

People are looking for efficient floor plans because they want to bring in their furniture and still have the same kind of space they are used to. They are looking for homes with superior construction and the best finishes even if they are a bit on the expensive end.

Personable Properties

The ability to personalize a home has become immensely popular with this generation. Baby boomers are looking for homes that speak volumes about them as a person. They want their next purchase to be exactly ‘their way’.

Low Maintenance is Key

For many couples, not having to make costly repairs to vintage homes is a major deciding factor. Baby boomers are more attracted to new construction because of their defect-free aspect, especially when purchasing newly constructed ranch homes.

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Retiree United States Expat Tax Guide

By Ines Zemelman, EA. , Founder of taxesforexpats.com

Thanks to easy transportation and new technologies, the world continues to get smaller. This means many Americans are picking foreign locations for retirement rather than simply moving to the historically typical Florida or Arizona. Lower costs, nice weather, and even acceptable medical care make more exotic places appealing.

As one might expect, though, simply moving abroad after retirement does not exempt United States citizens from tax reporting obligations. Be sure to include tax considerations in your decision making process alongside learning the local language!

United States citizens are required to report all of their income – including pensions, other retirement plans, real estate, and other foreign or domestic investments – regardless of where it was earned or where they are living.

Using This Guide

This guide is intended for those who are already retired, or who are planning their retirement. It is important to include these considerations in decision making so that retirement distributions can be optimally timed and retirement location chosen in a way to minimize taxes.

Retirement Income Taxation

United States retirement income, except distributions from a Roth IRA, is required to be included in gross income for US tax purposes. Note that retirement income is classified as passive income, so the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion  does not apply.

Depending on the foreign country you are living in and the visa type, your retirement income might also be taxed by the country you are living in. The good news is that in most cases you will not be double taxed – the Foreign Tax Credit  will offset this additional tax.

Social Security Considerations

With only a few exceptions, Social Security benefits are taxed the same when residing in foreign countries as they are in the United States. Social Security payments are not subject to US tax if you are living in the United Kingdom, Romania, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Ireland, Italy (if you are an Italian citizen), Israel, or Romania.

Note that Social Security benefits are taxed for individual filers with combined income over USD 25,000, and combined income over USD 32,000 for those filing jointly. Married couples filing separate returns usually will be subject to tax as well.

It is also important to realize that the United States has placed sanctions on several countries that forbid sending of Social Security benefits to these countries. After moving to a sanction-free country Social Security benefits can be collected, including those denied during your time in a sanctioned country. The sanctioned countries are Cuba, North Korea, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

State Tax Requirements

Each state has different requirements, so be sure to research the specific requirements for your current state of residence. Some states, such as Florida, Texas, and Nevada do not impose state taxes. Some states, such as Virginia, Maryland, and Colorado require those retiring abroad to file state tax returns even if they have no tax obligation.

Social Security benefits and retirement income are not subject to state tax while living abroad. Most rental property income, however, is taxed by those states that impose income tax.

Retirement Account Distributions

Although retirement account distribution requirements are really not any different when residing abroad, they are a key part of retirement financial planning, with some serious penalties if a mistake is made.

During the year that you reach age 70 ½, you must take an RMD, or Required Minimum Distribution from your 401(k) or IRA. You can always withdraw more, but you must take the minimum, which is based on the account value and your age. If you do not withdraw at least the RMD, you will be penalized 50% of the difference between the RMD and what you withdrew.

Financial Reporting

It is vitally important that you understand your reporting obligations while living abroad. If your total aggregate accounts outside the United States exceed USD 10,000, you must file form FinCEN 114 . This form is only informational – that is, there is not a tax obligation associated with it – but the form is mandatory for compliance purposes. For higher account thresholds, Form 8938  is required. Again, this is only informational to help the US Treasury track the global flow of money.

These are the thresholds that trigger Form 8938 for US residents living abroad:

Survivor Benefits

One reason many people choose to retire abroad is that they are married to a non-US citizen. Because of this, survivor benefits are a concern. Although there are exceptions, in general a surviving non-US citizen spouse will stop receiving Social Security benefits if they are outside the United States for 6 consecutive months.

Survivor Benefits

A surviving spouse may receive Social Security survivor benefits if they are of retirement age, the United States worker was receiving benefits, they did not remarry, and they meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Citizen of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom
  2. Resident of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom
  3. Foreign spouse and US spouse were living together in the United States for a minimum of five years during marriage. The five year minimum does not have to be continuous.

If these requirements are not met, the surviving spouse can move to the United States after they are widowed and complete the residency requirement to then qualify to receive Social Security payments.

Medicare Benefits

Concern for health care coverage goes hand-in-hand with retirement, especially when retiring abroad. Unfortunately, Medicare benefits are virtually non-existent for citizens living abroad. Although you are exempt from the Obamacare requirements while living abroad, you will most likely want to find some health care option available in your new country of residence.

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Why Sleep is the Most Important Variable to Control During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Steve Kline

As we shelter in place during this pandemic, it’s normal to feel some anxieties. You may be fearful of your health and an uncertain future. However, you can’t be too anxious that you’re losing sleep. If anything, you should still be striving to get adequate sleep. This is not just good for your well-being but your immune system as well.

When you have a strong immune system, you’re able to reduce your chances of getting infected. And in case you do get the virus, your body is well-equipped to fight it. People who don’t get enough sleep have weakened immune systems making them more vulnerable to illnesses.

So it’s really important to get enough sleep every night. But before we tackle how you can do that, let’s first take a look at the ways that you can reduce your stress and anxieties. When you’re able to handle this, it’ll be easier to get that much-needed shut-eye every night:

  • Stop looking at the news. It can be tempting to check the news for updates on the virus. But this is not good for your well-being because it only makes you worry more. And, you may come across more depressing news that’ll add to your stress. Try to limit your news consumption to only a few minutes each day.
  • Exercise. You may not be able to go to the gym or go out for a run but you can still perform physical activities at home. Get your body moving so you’re able to get those much needed feel-good hormones. Exercise also gets you tired enough to be able to fall asleep easily at night.
  • Fill time with hobbies. Pick up the hobbies you’ve left off when you were busy. This time, actually dedicate yourself to it. You might just be able to come up with a finished product that you can be proud of.
  • Bond with family. It’s normal to feel cabin fever during this time. However, there’s never been a perfect opportunity to spend time with your loved ones. Have a routine of spending time together even if it’s just sharing a meal every dinner time, playing board games every weekend, or running errands.
  • Talk to a friend. We may be away from our friends at the moment but thankfully, we have technology to help us stay connected. Find a close friend you can confide to and talk to them about your fears and worries. You’ll quickly learn that you are not alone in feeling that way.

After you’re able to ease yourself from anxiety, it’s time to tackle sleep. Here are some tips for getting to help you get enough sleep every night.

  1. Invest in good bedding

A good mattress can have a huge impact on your sleep quality. Check to see make sure you have a good one that is just the right amount of soft and firm.

  1. Use sleep accessories

You want to find products that can help ease anxiety. There’s plenty of options in the market from sound machines to weighted eye masks. Pick a few that will solve some of your sleep problems.

  1. Have a night routine

A night routine consists of activities that you associate with bedtime. By practicing this consistently, it’s easier for your brain to prime itself for sleep. Asleep routine can include drinking chamomile tea, taking a warm bath, reading a book, or writing in your journal.

  1. Stop scrolling

Your bedroom should be a no-phone zone during night time. You don’t want this space to be associated with highly stimulating things that you see in the news or social media. Also, you want to avoid blue light from your phone which can stimulate wakefulness.

How has your sleep been throughout this pandemic? What strategies have you employed to improve it? 

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A Quick Guide on Making Your Bird Feeder Squirrel Proof

Rodmarc Edulan

Do squirrels raiding your bird feeder drive you completely nuts? You need to get a squirrel-proof bird feeder.

But there are some tips to follow to make sure your birds’ food is safe and secure.

  • Recognize that squirrels can’t generally jump further than five feet up from the ground, and no more than seven feet across from a vantage point like a tree or a building. They are unlikely to want to drop further than nine feet. Use these numbers to determine the best place for your feeder.

  • Squirrels may be amazing climbers but if you buy squirrel baffles and attach them to your pole you will prevent them from climbing up.
  • You could even turn a toy like a Slinky into one of these baffles. Simply thread your post through your Slinky and attach it under the feeder. Any squirrels dumb enough to try a climb will get an irritating ride back to the ground.
  • Suspend the feeder on a wire at least five feet off the ground and string some soda bottles on the wire on either side of the feeder. This will discourage and prevent squirrels from approaching.

  • Increase the value of your feeder by buying one that is protected by a cage. These bits of kit work well for small bird feeders.
  • Squirrels are lovers of the majority of bird seed types, but safflower seed, which is bitter to rodents, is not among them. Cardinals and titmice particularly enjoy safflower but squirrels do not.
  • Switch your wood or metal poles, which squirrels find easy to climb, for PVC or copper piping, which they find more challenging.
  • Because squirrels are adept foragers for seeds you may find that detritus from your feeders could be what is attracting them to raid your feeders. It’s advisable to keep the area beneath your feeders as clean as possible.

  • Because squirrels taste things in a different way to birds you can deter them by spicing up your seed mix. For example, birds are not affected by the heat from even the hottest chilli peppers, but squirrels most definitely are. Some bird enthusiasts insist on thoroughly mixing in small amounts of spicy additions like dried cayenne pepper, with their seed mixes. Just a tablespoon added to a 10lb bag of seed should do the trick. Use the method with caution though because there is a danger that the pepper could irritate a bird’s eyes.
  • A very popular tip that many people follow when they are squirrel-proofing their feeder is to hang a bar of Irish Spring soap in a sock close by. It is believed that the soap’s scent can repel squirrels along with other unwanted visitors.
  • Another common deterrent involves hanging your bird feeder from a spinning hook. You can also find feeders that have been designed to spin squirrels off.
  • If you are feeling generous to these rodent invaders than you could try giving them their own feeder. You could see how successfully you could deter them with dried corn cobs, or build a DIY squirrel feeder that offers them peanuts.
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Should You Buy a Retirement Home Early?

Isabella Goode

Making financial plans for retirement is essential, especially if you want to be able to retire earlier in life.

But, sometimes even the most well-intentioned actions can end up with the opposite results to what you wanted. If you’re considering retiring soon, you might have thought about the option of purchasing your perfect retirement home before you do so. You might even have seen a property that would work perfectly for you. But, before you buy a forever home, it’s worth considering some of the potential downsides of doing so and weighing up your options prior to making a decision.

Do You Know the Property’s History?

If you’re going to be living in this home for the rest of your life, then you’ll want to know as much about it as you can before you hand over any money to buy it. This could include getting a professional to survey the property and look for any imperfections or blemishes that could get worse and cause problems for you over time. The last thing that you want during your retirement is to be dealing with property issues that could have been avoided. You might also want to know about the previous owners of the property if it has been part of an estate. One of the best ways to do this is by searching estate records at Public Records Review. Public Records Reviews is a site where you can find all publicly available information about a certain person or a property with a simple search.

Will Your Tastes Change Over Time?

This might not be such a big deal if you’re planning to retire in the very near future, but if you’re considering buying a property to retire in ten years or more from now, consider the fact that your tastes, likes, and dislikes might change over time and when you do retire, you just might not like the house as much as you once did. Consider your preferences today – are they the same as they were five or ten years ago, or do you tend to choose very different styles compared to back then? If you’ve owned a home for a long amount of time before you finally retire, consider whether you are going to need to invest in big renovations to keep the home current and in line with your preferences.

Will Your Needs Change?

If you’re thinking of retiring early, then you might not be paying much attention to how your needs might change when you are older. Older retirees generally need less space than they did when working, but space itself is often different. It might not be a problem now, but when you get older, it might be important for you to have fewer staircases in the home or a downstairs bathroom, for example. Having a big yard might no longer be at the top of your priority list as you get older and find that you struggle with maintaining it. In addition, more Americans are moving away from rural areas and into urban settings; retirees often prefer a more convenient lifestyle so think about how your choice of home will give you access to the things you will need the most when retired, such as healthcare or socialization.

Financial Strain of Owning Two Homes

Before you purchase a future home to retire in, consider the fact that it could damage your financial situation and make it harder for you to retire early. Owning a second home can put further strain on your finances and unless you are able to rent it enough to make a profit after tax, it will only reduce the amount of cash you have available for saving and investing in your future retirement. And, adjustments in tax law can happen at any point, which may make it even more expensive to own a second home.

How to Approach Buying a Retirement Home

Ultimately, it’s down to you to do what you think is best and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to purchasing a retirement property. But for many, the best option is often to wait until you are quite close to retiring to start your search for the right property. If you are considering moving away for your retirement, consider spending a lot of vacation time in that area or rent a property there first to really get a feel for it and decide whether it’s right for you; living somewhere is often much different experience to visiting as a tourist.

Buying a property at any stage is always a major purchase, so if you are considering purchasing a retirement property now or in the future, it’s a good idea to talk about your plans over with a real estate professional and a financial advisor. Flexibility can really pay off in this situation, so it’s worth considering all your options before buying a retirement home too early.

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Have New Grandchildren, Want to Retire, Health Care Conundrum

Q&A with a Reader

Hey guys,

Really appreciate the newsletter and am looking forward to sharing with some of my clients.

I do have a question.

My wife and I are mid 50’s. We would love to hang up the cleats right now but we have this huge barrier here in American called “health Insurance”. It will be a few years before we can access medicare. We have no debt and 7 figures put away however have not found a solution for the health care situation. It would probably cost us 24k a year and that would not allow us to just live on investments.

We have new grandchildren so moving to another country is out of the question …. No way the wife would agree with that. Have you heard of any solutions for people in the US?

Thank you and cheers!!

Hi Scott!

Thanks for taking the time to write and for your kind comments on our newsletter. We appreciate it.

Your situation regarding early retirement and access to health care is a common one for everyone. No matter where one lives, it seems the issue of access to “health care” can be a stumbling block. Add to that the addition of grandchildren, and in some cases, forward movement towards early retirement can die on the vine.

However, let me say a few words about this, and possibly ask you a question or two, since there is no silver bullet that will satisfy everyone.

Do your children/grandchildren live close to you (same city or state, within convenient driving distance now). How stable are the careers of the parents? (meaning will there be a possible transfer, move, promotion to a new location in the mix?) Are your grandchildren in a good school district now (and is the intention for the family to stay pretty much where they live indefinitely)?

Life is full of change, some of it we plan for, some of it is thrust upon us without our consent or through an opportunity we cannot resist.

Retirement is a huge change as well. Will you be staying in the home you are living in now? Or do you plan to downsize?

The reasons I am asking these questions, is, that “right at this moment” Grandparents, parents and grandchildren are in a certain (convenient?) location… but that might not stay the same. Will that change in 3 years? 7 years? What’s the likelihood of that situation changing? With our mobile society, the chances are pretty good.

I cannot tell you how many grandparents we know who have moved to the location of the grandchildren (or didn’t move to the location of their choice due to the grandchildren) … and then the parents of those children were transferred, got a promotion (or a divorce) or simply moved to a better area for work, better schools, better cost of living, and so on, thus throwing a wrench into the Grandparents’ plans for being close to the grandchildren growing up.

Sometimes the grandparents moved again to be close to the children, only to have the parents get another promotion or opportunity and take the kids with them.

We even know of some personal friends of ours whose children moved to Texas (after living in Oklahoma close to the Grandparents) and brought the children with them. Then our friends put money into their “forever home” and build a “Granny unit” in Texas, moved there, furnished it, bought a car, and so on… only to have the Son-in-law get offered a promotion to another state. They ended up selling all their stuff again and their forever home, which has been very stressful on the whole family.

My point is… the future is not written in stone.

For instance, if you plan to downsize in retirement, that downsizing can save you considerable amounts of money annually on housing costs. That extra savings can be placed towards visiting the grandchildren or purchasing travel tickets for them to visit you.

You might consider snowbirding and traveling in your retirement – or you might choose to go to a state where costs of living (and health care) are cheaper, also utilizing these savings for family visits.

You might choose to utilize medical tourism or purchase a concierge plan with a doctor (who – for an annual fixed price – offers you so many doctor visits, so many x-rays, etc.) which then also keeps your health costs down.

You might want start your own Health Savings Account where you place $10,000 (or more) each into an account yearly that you don’t touch except for health costs. In 5 years you would have $100,000 saved for medical expenses. In 10 years, you’d have $200,000 (and so on.) That’s a lot of medical care out of country for Medical Tourism.

Basically, you’d only need to get to the age where you could receive Medicare and go from there.

Even Canadians who have moved overseas or who snowbird have to return to their home country after 6 months in order to keep their health care plans active. Or they could let their country’s health care plan go, and purchase something locally in their new country..

Again, my point is… there are options. Nothing is frozen or unmovable. Chances are, things are going to change in a few years regardless.

When did you think of retiring? 1 year? 5 years? – If it’s 5 years, this gives you plenty of time to activate your personal HSA, the children will be older, and you could continue to research your options.

What do you plan to do with your time away from your normal work/job/career? – If you plan to keep your same home, don’t like to travel or don’t like the idea of snowbirding, you might want to golf, play tennis and bridge, work in the garage on a hobby (building sailboats, wordworking, doing sculptures, etc.) or volunteer in your community.

What kind of retirement are you thinking about?

These, actually, are the questions you need to think about and discuss together. Because the style of retirement will dictate many things financially, including going to see the kids if the parents take a promotion out of state or country. (Our good friend’s daughters both moved. One took the husband and kids and moved to Colorado, the other moved with her husband to Asia. Both of them did this for work opportunities.)

Below are some articles on this whole topic which might give you some insight, or which might move the sides of the box you have placed the description of your retirement into.

Everyone is different, there is no “one right answer.” I would suggest dreaming a bit about what retirement means to the both of you. It’s “easy” to say “We can’t do “X” because of 1) the grandkids 2) costs of health care 3) I don’t know what I’d do with my time 4) I can’t imagine leaving my beloved home 5) we have pets 6) I don’t want to make new friends 7) something else.

We can always find a block if we want to. It’s scary to move out of a comfortable routine, no doubt. And maybe you don’t want to move out of a comfortable routine. That’s ok too!

I hope these questions and different perspectives help you to shake things up and be able to move some mental furniture around.

You absolutely can find a workable, satisfying solution for yourselves, and still retire early, if that is what you want to do.

Wishing you both all the best.

Thanks again for writing.

Articles are below.

Akaisha

How to Fail at Early Retirement

Worry Free Housing

Why your house is a terrible investment

Going Naked

Comments on Going Naked

Top 10 Q&A on Medical Tourism

Cancer Treatment in Guatemala

Buying Medical Care vs Buying Medical Insurance

Stem Cell Therapy

Orthopedic Care in Guatemala

Medical Insurance and Health Insurance Options

Medical Tourism

Relocation

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Should You Go for Alternative or Complementary Therapy for Cancer Treatment?

About the Author

Lauren Cole is the Content Marketing Strategist of Dayspring Cancer Clinic, an alternative cancer treatment center located in Scottsdale, Arizona. When not working and writing content, she enjoys gardening and reading books.

Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are conventional cancer treatment methods. Cancer patients, however, have the option to undergo therapies and use medical products that don’t fall within the scope of standard cancer treatments. These treatments are categorized as Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), and they are proving to be in wide use among cancer patients.

The question is, is going for complementary and alternative cancer treatments the right decision for cancer patients?

Complementary and Alternative Therapy Are Not The Same Thing

It’s easy to lump alternative and complementary therapies together since they’re not standard cancer treatments. However, alternative therapies are quite different from complementary ones.

When a specific cancer therapy is labeled as “alternative,” it means it’s being used as a substitute for chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and other conventional approaches to cancer treatment. Eschewing FDA-approved anticancer drugs for a special diet or some type of herbal medication is a primary example of alternative cancer treatment.

On the other hand, complementary cancer therapies are precisely what the phrase denotes: they complement standard cancer treatments. Complementary therapy is often used not only to manage the symptoms that cancer patients experience, but to improve their quality of life as well.

There are times when an oncologist recommends a specific complementary therapy to go with a patient’s conventional cancer treatments. It’s called integrative treatment, which, as the name implies, integrates safe and effective CAM treatments with standard cancer therapies.

Examples of CAM Treatments

Cancer patients who decide to undergo CAM therapies may be asked to take dietary supplements, herbal medicine, and other non-standard medicinal products. It’s also common for them to undergo such treatments as acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage therapy, and even music therapy. Activities like yoga and visualization are also encouraged.

Reasons Cancer Patients Opt For CAM Treatments

The number of cancer patients opting for CAM therapies has been steadily increasing over the years. According to one study, 85% of cancer patients in the United States admit to CAM use.

Cancer patients use complementary and alternative therapies for a variety of reasons.

Many CAM therapies are purported to help patients deal not only with the symptoms of cancer but the side effects of standard treatments like chemotherapy as well.

Some cancer patients believe that since most complementary and alternative therapies are “natural,” they’re less toxic than conventional therapies. There’s also the immune boost that some CAM practices claim to provide.

Having cancer can be quite stressful, and the focus that many CAM treatments have on helping patients calm down and relax is perceived to be key in relieving themselves of stress.

In many cases, CAM therapies are often used to improve the quality of life of cancer patients. As mentioned above, cancer patients have to endure the symptoms of their disease and the aftermath of chemotherapy, radiation, and other conventional treatments. Proponents of CAM treatments claim they can alleviate the suffering of cancer patients and help give them a better quality of life, even when the battle is nearing the end of the line.

Is CAM Therapy The Right Decision?

Let’s face it: there is no cure for cancer just yet. Even conventional cancer treatments do not guarantee that they can defeat cancer all the time. However, many patients have seen their cancer go into remission after standard treatments, which attest to their efficacy.

Many CAM therapies, on the other hand, are deemed to be generally safe after careful evaluation. Still, more studies and medical trials are needed before they can be definitively regarded as highly-effective cancer treatments.

Then again, if you’re a cancer patient and you’re considering undergoing CAM therapies for any of the reasons mentioned above, then go for it, by all means. After all, whether to go for conventional treatments or CAM therapies is a personal decision that only you have every right to make.

Just keep in mind that if you choose the CAM route, it’s still best to consult your oncologist or your personal physician about it. While doctors can only make recommendations, they can at least educate you about possible contraindications of CAM treatments to your standard medical care. It’s also possible that your doctor might help you find a reliable CAM practitioner for your cancer treatment needs.

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Germ-free kitchen: 4 ways to help you get there

John Liverstone

It would be fair to say that cleanliness is even more relevant in the current times we are living in. The recent outbreak of coronavirus means that we are all more conscious than ever of staying hygienic and ultimately, reducing the chance of bugs, viruses and harmful bacteria making their way into our system.

There’s no doubt that the kitchen plays a huge part in this. It’s the place where all sorts of harmful germs can accumulate and if you don’t tackle them appropriately, you are left with some major health and safety issues.

Unfortunately, the sheer scale of this room means that we can’t dissect each and every threat, but by the end of today’s guide you will hopefully be armed with enough information to make your kitchen a much healthier place to live in.

Start with your lighting

We’re talking about germs, so there might be a few raised eyebrows with this first suggestion. After all, unless we are talking about a super hi-tech piece of lighting equipment, this isn’t going to directly help in our battle to clear our kitchen of harmful bacteria.

However, it can at least point you in the right direction. A lot of kitchens are dimly lit, meaning that we just don’t see where all the stains and general bacteria are. It means that things get left for weeks and weeks and in short, the damage has probably already been done by then.

Clear the clutter

This next point follows a similar path to the previous one. Clutter isn’t directly going to result in germs coming to your kitchen, but it can prevent you from clearing them up.

If your counters are full of clutter, the chances of you being able to give them a proper clean are exceptionally slim. As such, clear the clutter, and work with completely empty surfaces. You’ll spot all sorts of dirt that would have previously gone unnoticed.

How your oven can be the silent contributor to germs

So far, a lot of today’s article has spoken about the dirt and residue that is found on countertops. This next point goes a little more granular and just focusses on your oven.

This is one area of the kitchen where many of us forget about. We think that due to the high temperatures in there, we don’t really have to give it a proper clean.

As it turns out, there are all sorts of health threats that can emerge in the oven. Many of these can be easily prevented, so we would really urge that you don’t forget to clean your oven on a regular basis.

Be wary of your dishtowels

Another area that few of us think about are the dishtowels. These are one of the easiest ways for harmful bacteria to be passed around from location to location around the kitchen, and again have a really simple course of action associated with them. Put simply, they need to be changed regularly – sometimes every day. Have separate towels for separate duties; the best approach is to have one towel for dishes and another for hands.

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Tips For Designing The Perfect Home In Early Retirement

Karoline Gore

The AARP survey shows that 76% of Americans, aged 50 and above, want to stay in their homes, and 77% hope to remain in their current neighborhoods, according to Kiplinger. Aging in place is a common trend among seniors, as it allows them to live independently, comfortably, and safely. Nonetheless, you can still age in place after leaving the workforce earlier.

In fact, early retirement gives you endless opportunities for creating a lifestyle of meaning. This includes designing a living space that fits your lifestyle now and in the future. Check out these tips for designing the perfect home in early retirement.

Choose Ideal Interior Design Elements

As an early retiree, you want your space to stay functional and beautiful for the years to come. So, when looking at aging in place home designs, determine your dream features and pick suitable interior decor that fits your style. For example, in addition to lowering counters to create a spacious and wheelchair-friendly kitchen, consider fitting marble or granite countertops for long-term care.

Alternatively, create a gourmet kitchen with a large but stylish island. Also, instead of installing the typical chrome grab bars in the bathroom, opt for ones customized to match your interior décor.

Hire Expert Custom Home Builders

Whether you’re looking to remodel your existing house or build a custom home, make sure to work with expert builders. A professional contractor understands your vision of living in a perfect home after retiring. Because of their expertise and reputation, they will focus on quality and even go the extra mile to find the right neighborhood for your dream home.

According to Paradisa Homes, you deserve a space with thoughtful designs, high-quality materials, and masterful construction. Expert builders will give you a clear perspective on creating the ideal infrastructure and design, based on your present and future needs. By hiring building experts, you can achieve the perfect house that is visually striking and appealing for aging in place.

Pick the Right Floor Plan

As you grow older, staying in the home where you have grown comfortable and created long-lasting memories sounds ideal. However, you need to create safe and accessible spaces. Your home should have an open floor design with few obstructions. Keep in mind, climbing up and down the stairs might be a simple activity now, but as you age, it becomes challenging. Thus, think of designing a stair-free entrance, open kitchen, and bedroom on the first floor.

With the help of an expert designer, you can build an exterior door and accessible ramp as part of the architectural design of the house. You will also want wider doors, lever-style door handles, and non-slippery floors. Having an open floor layout allows you to build a comfortable space without the worries of accessible issues in the future. Consider placing your bedroom on the first floor and install large windows to maximize the flow of natural light.

Your daily lifestyle matters when enhancing your retirement home. For instance, if you enjoy golfing, fishing, and other outdoor activities, find a retirement spot that allows you to engage in your hobbies with minimal setbacks and limitations.

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Downsizing During Retirement

Jane Brown

Retirement often comes with innumerable changes in a person’s lifestyle. It is an exciting phase of life associated with financial freedom and big plans, such as downsizing a home. Typically, This involves purchasing a smaller house than the current one. Downsizing is a real opportunity to save and enjoy equity from the home sale. As a retiree, this means less upkeep, low bills, and more time doing things you love doing. However, to see through this process, it involves researching the best states to settle and considering various aspects such as taxes, health care, and the cost of living.

According to real estate experts, the majority of retirees opt to downsize their homes owing to a variety of reasons as discussed below:

High Home Maintenance Cost

Age comes with a decline in health and the ability to perform demanding household chores. Therefore, a larger home is a burden to retirees when it comes to attending to daily house tasks. Downsizing gives them an option to move into a smaller home near their family where they can get help with home maintenance. Living closer to loved ones allows them to focus on their healthy life. However, if the family is distant, you can opt for moving to stratified communities that offer critical amenities without moving far distances.

Smaller houses with excellent features fit aging individuals in leveraging the amount of upkeep at an older age. They can still have some style in their smaller home by adding a custom sliding barn door. These trendy doors are easy to slide open or shut and gives them the ease of being able to divide a room, if necessary.

Living in a Larger Home Alone

Having your kids leave home is a significant change in terms of company and socialization. It can cause loneliness since the ones you love the most are now gone to cater to their life responsibilities. At some point, this may affect your daily motivation and routine. The space children used to fill in the house becomes more extensive for your needs. Such unused rooms will elevate the cost of upkeep and property taxes, yet they are not used. Downsizing to a home that suits your lifestyle the best will help in eradicating such expenses and increase your retirement workflows. This can enhance you to make investments that generate cash flow and create a reverse mortgage. Reverse mortgages allow individuals to stay in their homes and convert them into a lifetime income stream.

Increment of Home Value

If you have been living in a home for quite some time, chances are its value has appreciated. This is if it has been well maintained. Many homebuyers will want to purchase it. All you need is to be assertive on the real estate market to get maximum profit from the house. Such investment can lighten your financial load by extending your savings for retirement. This allows you to have flexibility in your retirement based on the amount of money that you have saved.

Increased Monthly Housing Expenses

While working, housing costs may fit comfortably within your budget. Retiring can unexpectedly push your expenses to over thirty percent of your regular payments. The National Housing Act recommends standard housing affordability of thirty percent. Therefore, any individual paying over thirty percent of their pay is considered financially troubled. Despite the moving expenses associated with downsizing, living in a smaller space reduces the cost of utilities, property taxes, and maintenance. This reduces monthly debt and increases the monthly cash flow.

Housing Features No Longer Fit Your Lifestyle

There may be many features you might be passionate about in your home while working. However, as time moves on, you develop disinterest in them. For example, you might have loved your home’s closeness to a nearby elementary school because of your kids. But after your kids grow and move out, you now find noise irritation from the school. Furthermore, features such as staircases or a steep driveway may take a physical toll as you grow older. Weather can also be a consideration since shoveling snow becomes more difficult with each passing year. Besides, since you’re only using a few rooms, it makes no sense to pay for heating, cooling, and lighting rooms that you don’t use.

There are many things to think about when retiring. Using good common sense will get you where you need to be to enjoy those retirement years. You deserve it.

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