Financing Home Renovations For A Better Retirement

Couples nearing retirement may be considering upping sticks and relocating to be closer to family or to explore a new country. According to a Merrill Lynch study, 64% of retirees move home during retirement. Therefore, increasing your property’s value in the years leading up to your retirement is the perfect way to ensure a good return when the time comes to sell. Everyone knows that preparing for your retirement is essential, so if you’re one of the ones looking to move home, what are your finance options?

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Remortgage your home

One of the easiest and quickest ways to free up some cash in order to install a new kitchen, undertake a loft conversion or add an additional bedroom to your home is to remortgage your property. This means borrowing a sum larger than your existing mortgage so that you can use the additional funds to complete your renovations. Once you’ve retired and have bought a new home, you might be wanting to complete home improvements on that too. Taking out a reverse mortgage can be an ideal solution for those aged 62 or over who are looking to free up some spare cash.

 Take in a lodger

As a couple nearing retirement age it’s likely that your children have moved on and in their place are large empty bedrooms, gathering dust. Taking in a lodger is the ideal way of increasing your bank balance each month. Most lodgers are very little hassle and choose to spend most of their time in their rooms, so you’ll barely notice the additional body in your home. The extra income will be a welcome bonus, too. Just remember to make any potential lodger aware of the renovations you’re planning.

Turn your home into a business

If you’re after something a little more lucrative than a lodger, consider transforming your home into a bed and breakfast. American B&Bs can be very profitable businesses with the average daily rate being $150 and average revenue per room hitting $58. When you decide it’s time to retire, you’ll have two valuable products to sell; your home and your business, which can result in a nice return for you to rely on during your retirement.

Invest your savings

You’re probably keeping your savings back to use once you retire. However, investing them to boost the value of your home is a great way of seeing a larger profit when you decide to sell up and retire. It’s not advisable to splurge all your savings on your project, but, taking a chunk of them to cover the cost of the work and to, ultimately, increase the value of your home is a practical way of financing your home renovations.

Finding suitable ways to finance home renovations when you plan on moving home during your retirement is the perfect way to ensure it’s a prosperous and healthy one.

The Ages Of Money, And How To Be Financially Secure In Every One

Good financial sense is an essential as we go through the stages of life, although many of us don’t realize this until we have arrived in each one and by then it is too late! With this in mind, get ahead of the game by reading the guide below.

0-20 years

Most folks don’t think too much about the fact that what they spend at this point in their life can affect the rest of it. However, some frugality and sensible investing now can set you up for financial stability.

That means if you are just getting your first part-time job, or your initial job after education it makes sense to save as much as you can. Then you can invest it in long-term assets on the stock market, and it could make you very wealthy by the tender age of 30.

Invest when you are young to be secure throughout life

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20-30 years

These are the years that most folks are concerned with getting their first lot of big-ticket items such as cars and houses. It’s also usually when they choose to settle down and consider having a family. That means there can be a lot of demand on your finances at this time.

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to open a  saving account and create a fund that will allow you to pay for any financial difficulties that so come your way, rather than living right up to your limit all of the time. The reason being that it can be very stressful when life changes do occur, something that is quite likely during this period.

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30-40 years

This period of time is when it’s best to start thinking about your retirement. OK, so it’s quite a way off yet, but getting reliable retirement advice you can trust now can help you build a fund for the future that will allow you to live comfortably. Choose to ignore this and wait until later on, you will find you have to save a lot harder and pay more into any pensions to get anywhere near what you could earn if you do it in your 30’s!

40-50 years

With any luck, some of your previous financial investments are starting to pay off during the time between your 40s and 50s. This means you may find yourself in a position to invest in some luxuries and more of the finer things in life. This is, of course very enjoyable.

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However, you must also remember not to get carried away with this sort of lifestyle. That means ensuring you have reinvested at least a portion of the revenue you have earned to provide for your future financial security in later life and during retirement.

50-60 years

In you 50’s it like you are most focused on retirement, you may even choose to take early, or part-time retirement to focus on other things in life that you enjoy.

If this is the case, then be sure that you keep a firm hold of your expenses and use only the portion of your resources you can afford to pay for this change in lifestyle. Otherwise, you risk financial instability later on in life. A time where you could possibly need it the most due to the increased likelihood of medical costs and care.

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Alternative Ways To Prepare For Retirement

Securing your finances before you retire is incredibly important. If you finish work and you don’t have enough cash backed up, you’re going to struggle and you won’t be able to enjoy your later years. The obvious way to set yourself up for retirement is saving and putting into a pension. The thing is, that doesn’t actually work for a lot of people. More of us are finding that we just don’t have enough to get by on when we retire, regardless of how much you’ve been trying to save. The problem is made worse because there is too much of a focus on saving and not enough information on all of the other alternatives. If you’re worried that saving might not be enough, try some of these alternatives instead.

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Clear Debts

Even if you’ve saved a healthy amount of money, it won’t be enough if you’re plunging half of it into debt repayments. You’ll soon eat through your nest egg and be left with nothing. People often neglect debts in later life because they’re trying to put their money into savings instead. I can see the logic but there’s no point saving money that you’re just going to have to spend later. While you’ve got the money coming in, clear off those debts before you start looking into savings options.

Investing In Gold

When you’re trying to make the most of your money, investments are better than just putting it into a savings account. Instead of seeing small growth from interest, you’ll see a bigger return on those investments. There are plenty of places you can put your money but a lot of them are quite risky. IRA’s are a popular choice for retirement funds everywhere but they put your money into stocks and shares. You can see a good return on that but it’s also susceptible to market fluctuations. A good alternative is a gold-backed ira because it’s far less volatile. If the market crashes, you don’t risk losing any of your money. There are obviously going to be price fluctuations in the gold market but they won’t be anywhere near as drastic as the stock market.

Move To A Cheaper Area

When you’re really struggling to save up money for retirement you should think about the area that you live in. If the cost of living is incredibly high, you might not be able to afford to stay there with the money that you’ve saved. However, if you moved to a new neighborhood with a lower cost of living, you might find that it can sustain you. People don’t usually like this idea because they think it means living in a bad area, but you don’t have to downgrade that much. It’s worth living in a slightly smaller house if it means you can go on more vacations.

Trying to save money where you can is still a good way to prepare for retirement, but you should start as early as possible. Just remember not to rely on those savings alone, try some of these alternatives as well.

The Money Talks You Need To Have With Your Fiancee Now

If you’re getting married to someone, you’re about to share much more than a deepening romantic relationship. You’re sharing a life together, with all that entails. It might mean kids in the future, where you’re going to live, what kinds of lives you’ll lead. As you might have guessed, it will definitely mean sharing a lot more of your financial life. It’s a step that people, especially those that have never lived together, always get caught off guard by. But a few conversations now can you a lot of headaches in the future.

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Full disclosure

This is where you’re going to face the most embarrassment on either side of the equation, so actually starting off with it can be a great ice-breaker. Find a delicate way to broach the subject of debts, past and present. Be a secure presence, taking on the attitude that you will both be in this together. Going into a deeper relationship only to be hit by the implications of a debt you didn’t know about can feel like a betrayal, so it’s important to have this talk above all else.

Money personalities

Then on to a bit of a lighter subject. Everyone has different habits with money. Debt can be one of those habits, but it can be used well or unwisely. Impulse shopping, the ability or inability to save. These are all aspects of money personalities you two can find out together. You might find that one of you is more willing and able to manage certain sides while another is better at another side. Find out your money personality, your partners, and where you’re compatible or where one of you can help the other.

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The splits

There are going to be lines split in a marriage, especially if you have kids. Someone’s career might take priority over another’s. Someone might be considered the breadwinner. But most important is finding the equal-but-different way to split the money. For instance, it’s rarely a good idea to share assets or debts, whereas it can be sensible to use a joint account to give yourself both a bit of personal spending money when you have it.

Your goals

What do you want to do with your money? That’s a big decision. If someone wants to eventually start a business or buy a dozen houses to live off, you need to know that now. Similarly, you need to make sure you’re considering potential family goals like your children’s future or your retirement. Setting off in the same direction financially is important.

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Protect one another

Full disclosure of debt is another part of this, but you have to come to the agreements of how you’re going to protect one another later, too. This might mean plans just in case one of you is the breadwinner and might have the risk of passing before the other. It might also mean working on wills now, not later, to avoid any potential disputes that could leave one of you deprived. It’s not the happiest of thoughts, but it’s an important dedication you might want to make to your partner.

You will likely have at least one disagreement or even an argument while having the discussions above. Be kind, be honest, and be willing to sleep on a few points. You need to come to some agreements if this is going to work.


6 Simple Ways to Cut Costs and Save During Retirement

A safe and comfortable retirement is a goal for most retirees, but living on a fixed income can make it seem impossible. Since there is no safety of a steady paycheck, many are left feeling overwhelmed, looking for options to accommodate their growing needs. So how do you make sure that you spend your retirement doing everything you love, without draining your retirement funds?

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Well, there are subtle things you can do that will help you boost your savings and stretch your nest egg for years to come.  You don’t have to downgrade your lifestyle to live a fulfilling retired life. Though, you do have to focus on some key areas that are known to be the biggest financial worries among retirees and tackle those first. With some pre- planned financial groundwork and strategic planning, you can enjoy a smooth transition to the retired life.

Here are 6 smart ways to save money so you can enjoy your “dream” retirement:

1. Find the Best Health Coverage

One of the primary expenses retirees worry about is health insurance coverage, especially if you plan on retiring before the age of 65, in which case you won’t qualify for Medicare.

If you aren’t eligible for Medicare, you can still get insured through the Health Insurance Marketplace. While comparing individual plans, make sure to consider factors such as premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. Start your search by signing up at; if your income after retirement falls below a specific cap, you might qualify for subsidized coverage.

But while comparing premiums, look beyond the dollar amount to see if the package is right for you. If you visit the doctor a lot, look for a plan with lower out-of-pocket costs, but if you don’t visit the doctor often then a plan with a higher co-pay may be good, since it will give you a lower premium. Also, check to see if your current doctor is in-network since you might be more comfortable sticking with your current doctor than change to another. Your current prescription medications are another thing you should see if your plan covers. Before you decide on a plan, examine your drug coverage and see how much you will be responsible for paying out of pocket.

In many families, one person retires while their spouse still works. If that’s you, then continuing your coverage through your spouse’s insurance can help you save a lot.  A pre-Medicare retiree with a working spouse can continue coverage through their employer’s health insurance, provided they request enrollment within 60 days of losing their health insurance.

Or, consider establishing a health savings account. You can contribute $6,750 max if you have family HDHP coverage and the money used for qualified medical expenses is tax-free.

Another option would be to apply for COBRA, which is a federal law that lets you continue your insurance through your employer for at least 18 months. However, this might be an expensive option, since you will be paying the full premium, including the amount that your employer paid while you were employed. Some insurers add on an extra 2% as an administrative fee

2. Take Advantage of Discounts

One of the major perks of being a senior are discounts! There are thousands of deals available exclusively for older adults. From retail, restaurants, travel to activities, there are many incredible savings that you can take advantage of.  One way to get access to these senior discounts is by becoming a member of AARP.  For just $16 a year, you can get exclusive access to a myriad of discounts through AARP. These include discounts on car rentals, cruise trips, vacation packages, hotel discounts and more.

Two alternatives to AARP that are a popular discount destination for retirees are Association of Mature American Citizen (AMAC) and American Seniors Association (ASA). For memberships costing $16 and $15 per year, respectively, you will have access to many great discounts, helping you recoup that membership amount and then some. But if you are mobile savvy, there is a whole world of discounts that you can discover using the power of apps.

Forget Googling for deals. Apps like Senior Discounts can help you discover amazing savings for eating, traveling and shopping through your iPhone or iPad.  Flipp is another great app that helps you discover best deals from popular retailers like Target, Kroger, Walgreens, Walmart and more. It offers discount savings between 20-70% on items.

3. Review Your Expenses and Your Savings

Prioritizing expenses and keeping account of where the money goes is a major step to avoid depleting retirement funds. Downsizing doesn’t always have to mean downgrading. There are many ways to cut expenses to save money such as avoiding impulse purchases, buying in bulk, finding cost-efficient ways for your daily commute, replacing that expensive cable bill with a much cheaper Netflix subscription; are all money saving habits you can embrace.

If you live in a place with a high cost of living, and since you are no longer tied to a job, relocation to a much more affordable city can be an option worth considering. You can then use the saved dollars to pay other huge expenses like health insurance.

4. Save on Auto-Insurance

With middle age, auto insurance rates typically drop because of your years of driving experience. But, senior drivers, even with a clean driving record, and the same driving habits might be faced with a higher insurance rate, because, as a group, they are considered to be more prone to accidents.  Many states require insurance companies to give drivers, 55 and over, discounts for keeping a clean driving record and for taking certain driving courses, like defensive driving. You can access these classes through AARP and AAA for a much lower price.

Not all auto insurance companies increase the premium for older drivers at the same age. Some might increase it at your 60’s, and some might wait till you are 70. You should shop around and see what company is offering the lowest rates. If you are not planning to drive as much, you might be qualified to receive a low-mileage or usage-based discounts that offer breaks in premiums for drivers whose annual mileage falls under a certain mileage cap, which is usually between 7,500 and 15,000 miles per year.

With a usage-based, or pay-as-you-go program, you can get a personalized auto insurance quote based on your driving habits, and other patterns like the average speed you drive, braking habits, average number of miles, and time you drive. All these factors are monitored by a small telematic device that you would be asked to install in your car. Based on the results, you will be able to get a customized premium rate that might be lower than what you are currently paying. Sometimes you can get a discount just for installing that device

5. Take a Part-Time Job During Your Retirement

By having a steady flow of income, you won’t have to exhaust your retirement savings to fund your hobbies. A part-time job will also keep you physically and mentally active. It isn’t just about the paycheck, staying in the workforce, albeit part time, can give you a sense of purpose especially if you don’t know how to spend your retirement. A fatter nest egg is a nice little side effect.

There are several routes you can take after retirement. Starting your own business is a good option for those wanting to work at their hours and pace. If you have a hobby or passion, you can look for ways to start a business around it. For example, for retired teachers, starting a tutoring business can be a good source of income, or if you were a salesperson, you could look into affiliate marketing, where you make affiliate commissions selling things you love. Amazon has a popular affiliate program you can join for no starting fee.

One advantage of being retired after so many years in the workforce is the wealth of knowledge you acquire. You can put that to good use by becoming a consultant. Becoming a tour guide, working part time at your favorite golf course, teaching English abroad, working as a librarian assistant or a bookkeeper are all professional options that let you keep that income coming while allowing you to have ample time for your friends.

6. Consider a Reverse Mortgage Loan

A reverse mortgage loan can enable you to put off accessing Social Security payments till later in life, bringing about a bigger monthly payment through social security if you wait. By drawing on your reverse mortgage loan to cover your expenses, you also get to let your investment assets grow. If your investment portfolio assets are not doing well, a reverse mortgage loan can cover you till the market conditions improve again.

It’s a way to make ends meet, but it’s definitely not free money. It’s a loan that will eventually need to be paid back, with interest, when you move out, upon your death, or if you fail to comply with any terms of the loan. Also, you only get a percentage of your home value, not the full amount. What you may qualify for depends upon several factors including age, home value and interest rates, and the amount received will be affected by any amounts owed on an existing mortgage. A reverse mortgage loan allows you to convert a portion of your equity to cash without having to sell your house. You must continue to pay taxes, insurance, and maintain your home as well as comply with loan terms in order to avoid foreclosure. While processing the loan, your lender will usually charge an origination fee, appraisal fees, closing costs and other fees that are similar to what you paid while you bought your house.

Retirement can be everything you ever wanted it to be if you plan and lay a good financial foundation that keeps your future secure. Thoroughly researching and comparing health and auto insurance plans can help you save hundreds of dollars, while still giving you the satisfaction of staying covered for difficult times. Taking advantage of discounts while shopping for everyday items is a fantastic way to aggregate savings that can add up to a substantial amount over time. Budgeting and taking note of money coming in and going out can help you stay in control of your finances. But if you still need help to cover costs on a rainy day, you can always look into getting a reverse mortgage loan.

*If you qualify and your loan is approved, a HECM Reverse Mortgage must pay off your existing mortgage(s). With a HECM/Reverse Mortgage, no monthly mortgage payment is required. Borrowers must continue to pay taxes, insurance, and home maintenance as well as comply with loan terms in order to avoid foreclosure. **Consult your financial advisor. © 2017 Re-published with permission from original post at