Category: Baby Boomer Retirement Issues
It seems like an oxymoron to think that, just when you were beginning to think about down-sizing, you could actually soon outgrow your existing home. Worse yet, you could do the same for the home you are about to build or buy for retirement.
The more precise statement is that you probably won’t outgrow your home, but if you are not careful, your needs will change to the point that your home no longer fits you. Anyone’s health and/or mobility can change quickly – and when it does your choice is either to move, or put in expensive and inconvenient renovations.
Several important concepts apply to this issue. “Universal design”, as the name implies, means that one set of design principles should be applied when it comes to accessibility. In other words, whether you are a young child, healthy and athletic 40-something, a slowed-down senior, or confined to a wheelchair – your home ought to be able to accommodate you. Universal design fits nicely with another principle, the goal of “aging in place”. The AARP has statistics showing that 84% of Americans 50 and over would like to age where they live now.
So with these two concepts in mind, what can you do to promote your future aging in place – whether you are renovating your existing home, building a retirement home, or buying into an active adult community? First, you should read up on universal design as it applies to aging in place (see references below). If you are buying an existing home or one that is in the process of being built you might be able to negotiate some of these improvments into your purchase contract. Or you can choose to look elsewhere.
Some of the obvious steps are:
- Wide doorways and hallways
- No changes in levels (unless they are ramped) between rooms
- Ramped entry(ies) to your home
- Tall toilets and grab bars in bathrooms
- Non slip floors
- No glare, contrasting lighting and paint
- Lever style handles instead of doorknobs
- First floor master bedroom (or the option for that)
- Provision for future elevator (if building or remodelling)
- Kitchens and major appliances on the main floor
- Kitchen counters at varying heights to fit a range of users
Building in universal design principles now will save you time and trouble, and allow you to age in place. Incorporating universal design principles in new construction can add about 5% to the cost, an enormous savings compared to the 30% of a home’s value retrofitting can cost. Most people tend to think they are 10 years younger than they actually are, so Topretirements urges our visitors to carefully consider universal design and incorporate it now. If we are fortunate enough, we will all age and lose mobility. It’s smarter to prepare now.
The National Association of Home Builders has a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist program to help builders and designers. Pima County, Arizona is just one town that has mandated universal design elements for all new housing.
Posted by Admin on November 24th, 2008
NAHB Aging in Place Suggestions
NC State R.L. Mace Universal Design Institute
Blueprint for Boomers
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Category: Active adult communities
Bulletin: 25 Best Places to Retire (follow this story to find link). If you are one of those folks who loves Martha Stewart, your new retirement community dream just got a lot more interesting That’s right, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and KB Home have teamed up to create an active community for adults 55 and over in La Quinta, California. LaQuinta is one of the fanciest neighborhoods in Palm Springs.
“I’m very excited about our newest Martha Stewart community with KB Home created especially for mature adults who lead active lives,” said Martha Stewart. “As in all of our communities, these homes will be affordable and beautifully designed with an eye to practical details.”
To celebrate the occasion approximately 100 guests and local officials gathered in full Martha-mode. Topretirements was sorry to not only have missed a fancy luncheon, but we’re we especially mourn the opportunity to participate in a cupcake-decorating contest judged by Martha Stewart. Stewart chose winners who received gift baskets including an autographed copy of her latest book, Martha Stewart’s Cooking School.
The community will feature one -story ranch style homes ranging in size from 1,300 to 1,800 square feet, offering two to three bedrooms, two to three baths, and two-car garages. The community will be gated and include an expansive clubhouse. The homes will feature new exterior elevations inspired by Martha Stewart’s many trips to Mexico, and the local landscape. Classic California Spanish style facades will be enhanced with ceramic tile work, awnings, eight foot shutters and expansive covered patios with great outdoor living spaces. The interiors will be open, cool and bright, with thoughtful design options like wainscoting, picture-frame molding, open shelving, and bead board. The community is projected to open in fall 2009, and KB Home is taking names now.
The homes in La Quinta will also be environmentally friendly. All homes will be ENERGY STAR® qualified and engineered to heat and cool efficiently and use less energy resources. Additionally, all homes will include low-E windows and ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances.
Posted by Admin on November 18th, 2008
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Category: Financial and taxes in retirement
—By now you have probably received your November 401k statements, and maybe you even had the courage to open them. If you haven’t lost 40% of your portfolio since last year, cheer up – you’re a winner!
This article will explore strategies for how you can weather the depressing economic turmoil that has engulfed us in late 2008. We would love to hear what you are doing and thinking about it too. Just go to our Forum and join the thread on “Retirement and the Economic Mess“.
There is no doubt that the economic mess is negatively affecting most retirements. Not only have trillions been shaved off of our financial portfolios, but the same statement applies to our respective real estate equity. People who have already retired are wondering how they are going to survive with diminished resources. Prospective near term retirees are questioning if they should delay retirement. And younger folks wonder if they ever will be able to retire.
Here are some possible strategies to consider:
Posted by Admin on November 11th, 2008
- Don’t panic and sell. We like the advice we have heard elsewhere – you haven’t lost it until you sell it
- Keep investing. If you are working and contributing to your 401k or the like, keep putting money into equities. You might lose some in the short term, but if you believe in the American economy, today’s low prices will put you ahead some day. At least that’s what we think Warren Buffett would say
- Think about working longer. The more money you have in your investment portfolio, the more worry-free your retirement will be
- Get a part-time job. If you are retired or must retire soon, include plans for a part-time job. Not only will that give you a financial cushion, but it will keep you busy too
- Move to one location instead of two. Many retirees were hoping to be snowbirds – having one home in a warm location for winter and another for the warm months. If your resources don’t permit that, consider the Carolinas or Georgia where you might get the best of both
- Downsize to a more manageable home. Right now might not be the time to sell anything, but think about what makes sense for you long-term. In our opinion too many people hang on to their big suburban homes for too long – all those extra expenses (taxes, heat and A/C, maintenance) could be going toward something fun
- Get creative. So your first plan for retirement didn’t work out, or is on hold. Get ready with plan B!
- Look for bargains. If you will be able to afford living in a retirement community and you have the cash, think about buying now. In some sunbelt states 50% of the houses for sale are in foreclosure. The banks owning them aren’t sentimental, they want a sale. Advice we read recently on foreclosure purchases is to: focus on highest quality properties; look for languishing properties; make a good offer; offer to close quickly
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