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

 

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Amazing Things That You Can Undertake After Retirement

 

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Conquering Corona: How Seniors Can Respond to the Outbreak

Sam Bowman

You’ve faced a lot of obstacles in your life and have conquered them all, but the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Our economy has ground to a halt. Our schools and business are shuttered. Our towns and cities are on lockdown. Religious services are being held online. Holidays are celebrated by computer.

All of this is being done, or so it is said, to protect people like you: senior populations and those who are sick or immunocompromised. But you are not, and have never been, a victim, and you are far from helpless. Your independent spirit and fighting heart are needed now more than ever as you prepare to survive a threat that you cannot see. This article discusses the best tips and tricks you can use today to ride out the pandemic with your health, your sanity, and your finances intact.

First Things First

When it comes to preparing for and responding to the coronavirus, the first order of business is to safeguard your health. That means practicing rigorous hygiene, wearing a face mask, and maintaining social distancing until the crisis passes in your particular area. The days of handshakes and hugs may be gone, at least for a while. Additionally, taking advantage of curbside pickup, food and pharmacy delivery, and store hours reserved for vulnerable populations is probably a good idea right now.

It also means doing your best to shore up your immune system to help you prevent infection or fight it off more effectively, especially if there is community spread in your area. This includes getting sufficient sleep and eating a well-balanced diet packed with essential nutrients. You’ll want to infuse your system with the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to make it an inhospitable environment for any bug that would dare try to invade.

These are measures that won’t just protect you but will also protect those around you. Our already overburdened healthcare system, long beset by a shortage of doctors and nurses, now teeters on the verge of collapse. We need to collectively confront the surge. Anything you can do to relieve the burden on healthcare workers will benefit your community and its sickest patients.

Protecting Your Financial Health

Once your physical health is safeguarded, turn your attention to your financial health. Whether you’re already retired or preparing for retirement, the pandemic can pose a serious threat to your finances. After all, we’ve gone from a record-breaking economy to record-breaking unemployment in fewer than four weeks.

Now is not just a good time to take stock of your finances; it’s essential. An assessment of the state of your finances today can help you better predict the state of your finances tomorrow, no matter what may come to pass in these uncertain times.

Calculating your long-term debt to assets ratio, for instance, will help to ensure you have enough assets on hand to not be overwhelmed by your liabilities, even if these hard economic times should last for a while. You can also take advantage of the array of financial calculators, retirement and post-retirement planning guides, and mentoring resources available online.

It’s also important at this time to resist the urge to overspend, especially if you’re shopping online. You may be feeling bored, anxious, or worried, and that’s just when the temptation to “treat yourself” may be greatest. Right now, it can feel like a package coming to the door is the only thing to look forward to right now, but you don’t want a moment of indulgence and self-comfort to rob you of the future you deserve once this lockdown is over!

Fear Itself

Studies show that the greatest fear many retirees face is the fear that health challenges will derail their retirement dreams. For many seniors inundated with a daily barrage of bad news about the pandemic, it probably feels like those fears are coming true, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you are living alone, with your spouse or children, or in a retirement community, you may be struggling with the anxiety and loneliness of social isolation.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to pay as much attention to your mental and emotional well-being as much as you do your physical and financial health. Make certain that you are reaching out to friends, family, and your healthcare providers for support, and don’t forget the wide array of mental health services available online, many at low or no cost!

This is also the perfect time to integrate gentle exercise and other stress-relieving, mindfulness practices into your daily routine. Consider journaling or meditation or taking a long walk around the neighborhood (properly distanced, of course) at the end of each day.

Above all, limit your intake of the news. Right now, it can be all too easy to get sucked into and consumed by the constant stream of updates, commentary, and health briefings which can make the personal threat seem larger and more immediate than it is right now. Limiting your daily dose of the news can help keep you properly informed while helping you maintain the perspective you need.

The Takeaway

As we contend with this “new normal,” it’s crucial that you take steps to protect yourself, physically, financially, and emotionally, from the particular threat this invisible enemy poses to seniors. Protecting your physical health means taking good care of yourself by getting good sleep and healthy exercise and by eating a nutritious diet. It also means practicing social distancing, wearing face masks when you’re in public, and being meticulous about your hygiene.

Now is also the time to protect your well-being in ways beyond the physical as well. Tabulating your long-term debt to assets ratio, for instance, can help ensure you’ll remain in good financial shape for the future, no matter what the pandemic might bring. However, your financial health won’t mean much if you’re in a constant battle with fear, anxiety, and loneliness. To protect your heart and mind, as well as your body, seek the support of friends, family, and mental healthcare providers to see you through these troubled times.

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How to Survive Financially after Retiring from the Military

Karoline Gore

Out of 630,000 homeless people in the United States, approximately 67,495 are veterans and 30.2% of veterans are unemployed, according to the Military Wallet. After serving the military, life should be fun and fulfilling. But that’s not always the case for service members who are forced into early retirement due to lifelong injuries.

They may experience challenges such as poverty, lengthy periods of unemployment, disabilities, mental health issues, and home foreclosure. Fortunately, having flexibility in your retirement is still possible after leaving active duty earlier than planned.

Cut Fixed Expenses

Cutting down the cost of fixed expenses like food, clothing, transportation, insurance, and shelter is great for ensuring your funds last longer. For example, you can move to a smaller house to cut the cost of utilities, insurance, and tax. Also, consider moving to an affordable location.

Other ways you can cut expenses is by limiting to one car or use public transportation. Also, opt for less expensive life insurance cover, and commit to eating at home often.

Consolidate Debts with Personal Loans

Paying off debts and avoiding loans is one of the best tactics to attain financial independence after retirement. Unfortunately, you are likely to take loans to settle medical bills, mortgage, and buy food. Although loans offer some financial aid, the interest rates can be high. If you have bad credit, access to financing can be challenging. For these reasons, you may want to choose personal loans for veterans.

Despite having a bad credit score, personal loans for retired military personnel are easy to access. They also have flexible terms; for example, APRs range from 5.99% to 35.99% and a repayment term of 3-60 months based on the loan amount. The flexibility of these personal loans allows you to pay off old debts. That way, you can focus on repaying your loans at a lower interest rate.

Have a Travel Plan

Traveling during your early retirement for relaxation and sightseeing is therapeutic. However, aim for budget-friendly travel that will push your money farther. Whether you are going on vacation abroad or within the region, pick travel dates during off-peak seasons.

Find Streams of Income

While most veterans with injuries qualify for disability benefits, the payouts are not always sufficient for housing and other basic needs. As a result, they end up with accumulated debts. There are various part-time job opportunities for veterans looking for jobs to stay busy during retirement. It is also wise to invest in passive income. Renting out your home, blogging, and photography, for example, can help you bring in a passive income while you travel.

Creating a retirement budget that covers the cost of food, utility bills, transport, insurance, and shelter is essential. A financial plan prevents you from overspending your monthly income and retirement benefits. Hire a financial adviser that will help you choose the right savings and investment plans to support your monetary goals.

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Tips on How to Purchase a Home in an Active Adult Community

Q&A with a Reader

Been wanting to ask you for years……

I believe you have a “permanent residence” in Arizona.

Knowing how money conscious you are ( I am the queen of frugal ) do you have to pay steep HOAs on your modular home residence?

I had a serious health issue two years ago “Livin’ the dream” now but this has made my hubbie and I seriously look at how we can spend more time together.

While cutbacks in spending are a huge part of this equation, so is trimming down housing costs.

We have so learned this from being an avid reader (and fan!) of you both!

Keep rockin’ it. In spite of COVID you have done us all a great service!

Pam

Hi Pam,

Thank you so much for your kind words about our website! We appreciate it.

Our place is in an active adult community in the foothills of Arizona. Let me just say that there are literally dozens and dozens and dozens of these communities in the surrounding area and you probably will not have a problem finding a community that will suit you. You could even try New Mexico, Texas, or Florida.

Ours is small (350 sites?) and we chose this place years ago because it had a tennis instructor and we wanted to learn the game properly. We were blessed with this greatest guy to teach us…

But there are also communities that have 1,000 spots – some more and some less. The bigger the community, the more pools, community areas, and activities you will have. And I would imagine, the higher the HOA or “Lifestyle Fees” would be. But you also have a choice to purchase the land in some of these places (that means higher property taxes and insurance) or lease the land (which is what we do) and this gives us lower insurance rates and our property tax is based on our place being a vehicle, instead of a brick and mortar home — savings of thousands of dollars a year.

I would recommend going online, “virtually viewing” a few of these locations, and then go out there in person to see them. Then… when you have a location narrowed down, rent for a season to see if you like the community, the activities, where you are in relationship to shopping, theaters, professional ball games or what-have-you.

Then…

When you are ready to purchase, we would recommend that you purchase from an owner instead of through an agent. (This will also save you thousands of dollars).

If you go at the time the yearly “rent” or “Lifestyle Fees” are due, there will be units for sale by owners who might choose not to return to the area for any of a number of reasons. It might be they can’t afford it, it might be they are Canadian and have decided to spend their lives in Canada (for the healthcare), it might be because a spouse has died or is ill, and they cannot return to their place in AZ.

You can get a good price for their unit, because they would rather sell it than spend the $1,000s of dollars for the yearly fee if they are not returning.

Yes, it will be used, and yes, you might not be “in love” with their decor, but you will have saved so much money by

1) not purchasing the land

2) not going through an agent, and

3) buying at the time when rent is due

Then you can realistically purchase whatever bed, couch or curtains you want to make the place yours.

Another benefit to having the place used, is that it will be completely furnished. Our used unit came with EVERYTHING including pots, pans, glassware, hammers, nails, light bulbs, sheets, towels, mops, brooms, bleach, laundry detergent, TV, stereo, … you name it. Again, it might not be your perfect style, but you will have saved a lot of money by not having to furnish the place completely from scratch. If you have doubles of things, just give them away to a senior home, church, orphanage, school or a charity.

Take a look at this piece, Worry Free Housing if you haven’t already.

Please feel free to ask us any other questions. We hope you find this information to be useful.

Again, thank you for your very kind words about our website.

We are thrilled that you have overcome your health issue and that you have many years ahead of you to enjoy your life with your husband and family.

Sending you our very, very best.

Akaisha and Billy

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Improving Life as You Age

 

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How Investing in Property Can Increase Your Retirement Fund

 

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Watch Your Income Increase with Four Money Management Options

 

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The Best Years of Life: Enjoying Retirement with a Chronic Condition

Sam Bowman

You’ve been looking forward to retirement for pretty much your entire life. You have dreampt of the day when you could finally leave the rat race. You’ve longed for the time when you could finally spend your days doing what you love with the people you love.

But now you are facing a chronic health condition, and you fear that your dreams for the retirement you deserve are evaporating. Your diagnosis, however, doesn’t have to deprive you of the post-retirement life you have been dreaming of. The life you’ve been working for. The life you deserve.

This article will show you how to live your best retirement life, even when you are living with a chronic health condition.

Monitor Your Financial Health

One of the most significant challenges facing anyone preparing for or in retirement is ensuring their long-term financial well-being. It’s difficult to predict exactly how much money you will need to maintain the lifestyle you want during retirement. In fact, our estimates are usually far short the reality.

And when you are facing a medical diagnosis, the challenge can be especially acute. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to anticipate how a chronic health condition will impact your finances across the long term. That’s why it’s especially important to have a robust nest egg ready and waiting for you and your family when you need it.

Many people who are hoping to retire early are using the FIRE technique of strategic investment to help them quickly grow their retirement savings. If you have a chronic health condition, the ability to ramp up your financial reserves can make all the difference not only in when you retire but also in the quality of the life you live after retirement.

Fighting for Your Rights

If you have been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition, there are certain rights and benefits that you are entitled to. This can include everything from financial assistance for people with particular types of physical or cognitive impairments to protections against discrimination in housing.

The nature of your condition itself might also qualify you for additional benefits and protections. For example, many workers are now suffering from chronic and sometimes life-threatening illnesses due to asbestos exposure in the workplace. This can entitle you to financial settlements to support your care and offer some measure of compensation for the health affects you are suffering.

What all this boils down to is knowing your legal rights and enlisting help, including legal support, when you need it. This way, you can ensure that you have the resources you need and deserve to live the kind of retirement you want.

Practicing Prevention

When you are facing a chronic illness, by definition you are going to be more vulnerable to infections. And the last thing you want is for your glorious retirement plans to be sidelined by illnesses that could have been prevented.

If the recent pandemic has taught us anything, after all, it’s the crucial importance of meticulous hygiene. So, to live your perfect retirement life in the face of chronic illness, make sure to make rigorous sanitizing and frequent handwashing a part of your daily routine.

Shaking Things Up!

One of the best ways to live your ideal retirement life is to break out of your comfort zone. True, your diagnosis may have altered your plans a bit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make new and even better ones.

So perhaps you can’t spend your days perfecting your golf swing, as you’d planned. But you can get out on the beach with a metal detector and go about finding some hidden treasure — or at least a little bit of coin!

And while you might not be up to hiking the Appalachian Trail or hopping trains across Europe as you had once envisioned your dream retirement to be, you can still enjoy some international flavor closer to home.

For instance, you might just decide to head to the high deserts of Mexico for a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the “Golden triangle of tequila-making.” And if your visit to Mexico has you yearning to stay for a while, then you have a ton of great options for making your new retirement fantasy a reality.

La Pueblita Retirement Community, for example, offers a beautiful community in a breathtaking setting. Best of all, the Community provides all-inclusive services, from medical care to aging-in-place support. And that means that your health condition isn’t going to stop you from living out your retirement in style!

The Takeaway

Living with a chronic health condition isn’t easy, but it’s even worse when your diagnosis jeopardizes the retirement dreams you have been working toward for decades. Thankfully, it is still possible to live an ideal retirement, even when you are confronted with a chronic health challenge. The most important thing is to know your rights and seek support when needed, focus on your financial goals and needs, practice sound preventative health, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box!

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