Top 5 Financial Benefits of Retiring Abroad

Marc from ProTax Consulting Services

Planning your golden years is an exciting task and you’re probably looking forward to traveling or moving to a country with your ideal weather. Or possibly, the opportunity to live close to family and friends. Whatever your reasons, know that there are also financial benefits to retiring abroad. When working out your destination, do factor in how to manage your assets. You’ll also want to figure out your 401k and IRA withdrawals, and Social Security receipts. Work with your expat tax consultant to figure out your dues since you’ll continue to pay taxes in the US.

  1. You’ll Have a Lower Cost of Living

The more affordable cost of living is one of the fundamental reasons to consider retiring abroad. Depending on the country you’ve chosen and your expected standard of living, you can expect to spend anywhere from $1,200 to $2,200 per month on a comfortable lifestyle. Other factors that can influence your expenses include settling in an urban or rural locale, local taxes, travel, and insurance. With a little smart thinking, you can invest the money that you have left after deducting expenses and build wealth.

  1. You Can Expect Affordable Healthcare

Healthcare costs in the US are not only extremely high, but they seem to be skyrocketing as the years pass. Statistics show that a 65-year old couple choosing to retire in the US can expect to pay around $606,337 to get proper healthcare. Many countries have a public health system available associated with very reasonable costs. Do keep in mind that any US Medicare coverage that you have before moving abroad may not cover your medical expenses in a foreign country. However, you can get Medicare to cover any emergency expenses incurred while visiting your hometown.

  1. You Can Take Advantage of Monetary Incentives

Several countries offer benefits to retiring US expats. A good example is Panama’s Pensionado program. It offers incentives to retirees who wish to live in the country as long as they meet a reasonable income criteria. Accordingly, you can expect discounts on expenses like healthcare, utilities, mortgage payments, and various others. If you choose to live in Ecuador, you can expect to get 50% discounts on public transportation and on tickets for movies and sporting events. These savings can translate into valuable financial benefits.

  1. You Can Get Deductions on Income Tax

US expats can take advantage of various income exclusions. The most important among them is the Foreign Income Earned Exclusion (FEIE) that allows you to pay income tax over and above a specific income level. The IRS sets up a limit each year. For instance, this income slab is $107,600 for 2020. Additionally, you can claim deductions for the living costs that you incur while living in foreign countries by way of the Foreign Housing Exclusion. Your tax consultant can advise you best on the tax and financial benefits of living abroad.

  1. You Can Continue to Get Social Security

If you qualify for Social Security at the time that you move out of the US, you can continue to receive the benefits as long as your chosen destination is on the approved list. The IRS requires notification of your move and that you maintain a US bank account for receiving the SS checks. As long as you’re aware of the applicable fees for making purchases and ATM transactions, you should be good to go.

Settling overseas after retirement has a bunch of benefits. Make sure to do your homework when planning your move and take advantage of substantial savings.

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3 Reasons You Should Talk to a Lawyer after Retirement

Timothy Rivera is a full-time writer who writes a wide variety of topics relatable to seniors.  Most of Timothy’s articles talk about retirement, estate planning and investments. Timothy aims to help his readers transition easily toward their senior lives.

For some people, retirement is an exciting life event wherein they can undertake a lot of amazing things. But, for others, it’s a stage in their life that they dread about. Primarily, retirement is the time of life when a person, reaching the age of 66 years old and above, has to leave their active working life permanently. And, as you retire, you tend to be more susceptible to financial, mental, and physical health issues.

Maybe, you’re planning to transfer your estate to your family, or you’re thinking about designating a person to administer your properties in case of incapacity or death. Perhaps, you’re so in debt, but you want to make sure your wealth is protected against lawsuits and creditors. Whatever you think of doing, having a lawyer to handle the legal matters that may arise after retirement is extremely important.

Below are the reasons why you should talk to a lawyer after you retire.

  1. Helps You Prepare An Incapacity Plan

As you enjoy your retirement years and become older in the process, you may potentially become incapacitated to make your own decisions about your finances and, more importantly, your own well-being. Before this happens, you should have your incapacity plan in place to ensure everything will go smoothly.

However, in doing this, you should work with an an elder law attorney to know your legal options. These can include the writing of a power of attorney. In simple terms, a power of attorney is a legal document appointing a family member to act in your capacity and make decisions for your welfare. Since it’s a legal document, it’s best to speak with a lawyer to help you decide the nature and scope of this arrangement, considering a family member will have control over the decisions about you.

  1. Knows How You Can Protect Your Assets After Retirement

Being a retiree means you’re getting old and becoming vulnerable to health issues. And, when you get seriously ill after your retirement, you may not be able to safeguard your assets against any threat that may come your way. Because of this, you need the assistance of a lawyer to explain the different legal options available to your situation.

For example, asset protection strategies are the best ways to keep your wealth away from creditors and judgment holders. Specifically, your lawyer can recommend the establishment of trust so you can transfer your assets to a trustee for the benefit of your beneficiaries. By doing this, any person who has a monetary interest in you can no longer go after those properties placed under the trust. As a result, you can rest, knowing that you can leave everything you’ve worked for many years to your family’s next generation.

Moreover, your assets can also be taken away from you because of your nursing home expenses. This is where Medicaid comes into play. It’s a federal and state program that assist people with limited income and resources. Since nursing home costs are expensive, Medicaid is there to support your expenses. However, to qualify for Medicaid, you need to exhaust your assets first, thereby leaving little to no wealth for your family. To protect your assets from this setup, talk to a lawyer to help you create a Medicaid asset protection trust. This can be an ideal solution to meet the program’s strict asset guidelines.

  1. Helps You Create a Will

Of course, retirement doesn’t mean you’ll die soon. But, as you retire and age, you need to be prepared for anything that may happen to you as you become older and weaker. This process can include the creation of your will. Essentially, a will refers to a legal document outlining and expressing a person’s wishes in terms of the distribution of their properties after their death.

When you draft a will after your retirement, you can guarantee that your family will get what they’re entitled to in the event of your death. On the other hand, just like other legal papers, making a will requires legal expertise. This is where a lawyer comes to rescue. By having a legal professional on your side, you can craft a will that’s valid and binding under your estate planning laws. They can guide you in making sure that your will follows the formalities required by your state. Not only that, but they can also assist you in making sound decisions, such as the selection of your beneficiaries and other estate planning matters.

Takeaway

Indeed, many things may happen as you start your retirement years, and one of these is a possible decline in your mental and physical functions. Therefore, if you want to be prepared for this situation, hire a lawyer as soon as you retire to discuss the possible legal options to protect yourself, your assets, and your loved ones in all circumstances.

Hopefully, you find this article useful in understanding the reasons why talking to a legal professional after your retirement can make a big difference in your and your family’s lives.

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6 Signs You’re Ready to Retire Early

Allesia Olsen

For many people, early retirement seems unattainable. Sure, it would be a relief to shelve your day job sooner than later – but is it possible? While retiring early is no mean feat, it’s possible if you’re a great planner. You can’t wait until you’re almost retiring to begin planning – you need a well-implemented long-term strategic plan. Getting ready for retirement? Here are 6 signs you’re ready to retire early.

  1. You’re Debt Free

Nothing impedes an early retirement than being burdened with debt. Student loans, credit cards, car loans, mortgages, home equity loans all hamper your ability to save and invest for retirement. If you retire with debt, it affects how you spend and your quality of life. The more your outstanding debt, the more you expect to pay in terms of interest charges. When you have no debt, you have more control over your retirement finances.

  1. You’ve Diverse Income Sources

One of the major components of successful early retirement is having multiple income streams when you’re longer working. Do you have rental property or other entrepreneurial activities? Do you have a fund that you can rely on after retirement? Do you have a diversified investment portfolio that can provide you with income necessary to pursue your goals? Varying your incomes, investments as well as utilizing income sources that outpace inflationary pressures is critical as you’re getting ready for retirement.

  1. Your Savings Exceed Your Retirement Goals

Many sources quote the 25 times rule of early retirement that attempts to define how much money you need to save before you retire, which is 25 times your annual expenses.

Accounts such as the 401(k) or IRA are a great way to save for retirement since they are tax-advantaged, and your earnings grow tax-deferred.

Diversifying savings is critical for early retirement. Stashing your money in an interest-bearing checking account, high-yield savings accounts, money market account, taxable brokerage account, or a CD ladder ensures you have access to your money while avoiding an inflated tax bill.

  1. You’ve Got Health Insurance

Health insurance is the main retirement expense for most retirees. While Medicare covers some costs, it doesn’t cater for everything, and you’re not eligible for it until your 65th birthday.

Do you have adequate health insurance coverage until you’re qualified for Medicare? Apart from health insurance, you may also need to look into long-term care insurance, disability, and life.

  1. You’ve Sorted Out Your Investments

Many people confuse savings with investments, which are two different things. Investments are assets that are expected to generate returns in the long-term. They can range from stocks to bonds to real estate or even gold. Different investments have different amounts of risk attached to them. It’s prudent to protect yourself from loss of capital by diversifying your stocks and assets and assume less risk as you approach retirement.

  1. You’re Only Financially Responsible for Yourself

Getting ready for early retirement is an uphill task when you have people depending on you financially. Do you have children or elderly parents you’re supporting? Early retirement is challenging, and having additional financial obligations may necessitate a postponement. However, having financially independent family members can fast-track your early retirement.

Pulling off an early retirement is no mean task. However, getting ready for retirement requires a good financial foundation coupled with great planning to help you pursue your retirement goals.

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How to Become Comfortable with Traveling Even When You Have Disabilities

Roger Foster worked as a caregiver for five years and is now sharing his professional experience to the world by writing medical-related articles. Roger aims to help more and more people understand their health and how they can combat common diseases through his articles.

Traveling gives people different kinds of emotions. Experiences can also vary; you may encounter challenges that affect your overall journey, but traveling will help make you a better person. Don’t let any challenges stop you from seeing various places. Here are the reasons to travel if you’re wondering if you should travel or not:

  • Traveling Makes You Healthy: One of the benefits of traveling is doing some physical activities. Regardless if you are going to your destination via plane or on a car, you will likely find something to do.
  • Traveling is Good for The Brain: Everyone needs to get out of their comfort zone once in a while. Going on a trip can make you smarter, especially when you carefully plan decisions and you’ll learn new things along the way.
  • Traveling Makes You More Interesting: Nothing beats the first-hand experience; every time you visit a new place, there’s always something new to learn. The best stories are often from the activities you’ve done – even if things don’t always go as planned!
  • Traveling Makes You More Open-Minded: Going on a trip not only makes you an interesting and convincing storyteller, but it can also widen your perspective about people and their cultures. Experiencing foreign customs lets you see the whole world in a different light.
  • Traveling Gives You Reasons to Smile: No matter how well you pack, you won’t be able to bring anything that you need, and there are chances that your flight can be cancelled or delayed. You also may realize that you forgot to carry the appropriate clothing for where you’re headed to. Traveling will teach you to lighten up and not be so serious about everything.

Some people face more challenges when they are traveling and have disabilities. However, these setbacks should not stop you from enjoying new places and destinations. All it takes is figuring out what can make you more comfortable traveling with your disabilities when you are on the road.

Traveling Comfortably Even with Disabilities

Going to a new place is not always easy, and people with disabilities may find it more challenging to enjoy traveling. If you are disabled, a vacation to a distant location can be discouraging, especially if it’s your first time to visit there. Will you be able to rent equipment like top power chairs at your destination? Lack of infrastructure and facilities for disabled travelers, language barriers, and mobility problems can ruin a well-planned trip. Here are some tips that travelers with disabilities can do to have an enjoyable and comfortable journey.

  1. Plan Ahead of Time

You have to prepare well before traveling abroad, especially if you are physically disabled. Whether you are permanently disabled because of an illness or injury or find moving challenging because of old age, you should set some expectations based on your research. Are you going to a PWD-friendly country or city? Will your hotel or travel agent be able to arrange a wheelchair for you during your stay? Preparation is key to enjoying your trip, especially when you have physical or mobility limitations.

  1. Bring What You Really Need

When you are traveling with a disability, it’s best to pack the things that will make your journey more comfortable. There are many types of wheelchairs, but some stand above the rest. Rolstoel wheelchairs are ideal when traveling because they are lightweight, fold easily, and can carry weights up to almost 400 pounds. Bringing along a heavy piece of equipment isn’t practical. Aside from packing your medications and other medical information that you may need during your trip; a lightweight motorized vehicle will provide ease and convenience when you move around.

  1. Reach Out for Help

Avoid feeling discouraged when you want to travel, however, when you’re affected with a physical disability – you might need to reach out to the right people for help. First, you should speak to your doctor about your plans to travel. Apart from your medications, your physician is also licensed to recommend coping measures suited for your trip. Second, relay your disabled travel concerns to your travel agent. Travel professionals will know where to book a PWD-friendly hotel for you. Lastly, contact the airport and airlines in advance to arrange for assistance for your flight.

Takeaway

Whether permanent or temporary, you shouldn’t let your disabilities hinder you from traveling. There are plenty of modern wheelchairs and lightweight motorized vehicles that will not cramp your style. Life didn’t stop when you obtained a disability; thus, you can still strive to live your life to the fullest. Traveling with a disability is never easy, but with careful planning and getting hold of the right equipment, you can focus on enjoying your trip with people that matter to you most.

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Choosing the Best Place to Live in Retirement: What You Need to Know

Isabella Goode

If you have entered your senior years and it’s now the time to plan for your retirement, you may be wondering what step to take next. It’s only natural that you will want to live in an environment where you feel comfortable and content in your golden years.

We all have different likes and dislikes, so while one location may be the perfect spot for a retiree, it may not suit your needs. There are several factors to take into account when picking a place to retire, so here is everything you need to know to help you find the best retirement spot.

Consider Retiring Locally

Before coming to any decision, your first step should be whether a move is actually needed. If you live in an area that is affordable, near to your family and friends and has the amenities and services you want, there is no reason to move and step out of your comfort zone. For pre-retirees who are wanting to cut costs and move elsewhere locally, there are lots of tips that can help boost your home’s value. If you are in good financial shape but want to explore, you may get pleasure from taking frequent vacations throughout the year instead, or by purchasing a weekend getaway property.

Assess Living Costs

With pre-retirees expecting to spend up to 80% of their current income during retirement, it’s critical that you look into low cost of living costs to help stretch your money further. If you would like to move, even if you have found your dream location, the last thing you want is to blow all your income and be left with nothing.

States like Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma are regarded as the best for low cost of living, whereas states like California and Hawaii are the most expensive. With regards to housing, the lowest average property prices can be found in states like West Virginia and Indiana, while you can expect to pay out more in states such as New York and Massachusetts.

Know Your Taxes

When deciding on where to live during your retirement, it’s vital that you take taxation into account. The three key areas of taxation are state taxes, taxes on retirement income, and taxes on dividend income. Bear in mind that even if a state has a lower tax rate, it doesn’t mean it will be cheaper to live in. There are other taxes that apply, which will make up the overall cost.

Even if you live in an affordable area, if you aren’t happy with how you are spending your days, it’s advisable to move somewhere where you will feel happier and more comfortable.

Evaluate Amenities

The place where you spend your retirement should have all the amenities and services you require. Whether it’s grocery stores, fitness centers, or golf courses, having ample wellness opportunities close by will keep your mind active and ensure you have things to do. Many retirees like to try out new things and take up a hobby, so having places where you can engage with others is crucial. You should also pick an area that has arts and retail venues, recreational land, and public libraries.

Schedule a Visit

If there are lots of different locations in the country that spark your interest, it’s best to go out and visit them. If you have a couple of years before your retirement begins, use it as the perfect opportunity to explore. Spending a couple of weeks in each location and seeing and doing as much as you can will give you a more educated idea of whether it’s the right place for your golden years.

Instead of spending all your time near the hotel, try and get out and visit local communities. You should always go with your gut instinct, so if you don’t feel comfortable in one area, it’s best not to settle. There are other factors to consider when visiting retirement locations, such as the economy, weather forecast, and crime rate. If you are worried about your safety, you can visit the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program to give you a better overview.

Research Communities

There are lots of retirement communities across the country that you should research before making your final decision. If you’re a person of faith, finding a retirement facility that caters to your needs is important. There are catholic retirement communities like St. Anne’s who honor all faiths. St. Anne’s Retirement Community offers a range of residential apartments, cottage-style homes, and villas that can be the perfect environment and space for your retirement years. Do your research and you will be sure to find the perfect community that suits your needs.

Living out your golden years in a safe and welcoming community should be top of your list. Before making your final decision, make sure that you take all the factors above into account.

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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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