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You Control the Outcome: Downsizing in Retirement

You Control the Outcome: Downsizing in Retirement

Congratulations – you’ve reached a point in your life where the heavy lifting of child rearing, career chasing, ladder climbing, and “accumulation phase” have peaked and you’re ready to steadily slide into your glorious, golden years of retirement. Naturally, many people think that retiring and downsizing must be synonymous. Sure, there are many benefits of downsizing in retirement, but there are also some common pitfalls to be aware of. We’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts so you can successfully navigate downsizing in retirement.

Do:

1. Focus on your “must haves.” Set your non-negotiables whether that is wanting to be near a golf course or grandkids, having an attached garage or gourmet kitchen, handicap accessible doors and hallways, and main-level living, etc. Knowing what you want (and don’t want) will narrow your options down quickly.

2. Have a budget. Talk with your financial advisor about your plans. Map out your monthly budget and be sure to make considerations for HOA fees, rising healthcare costs, leisure activities, transportation costs, insurance, and other important budgetary line items that can affect your overall spending in retirement.

3. Try it before you “buy it.” You don’t have to make a final decision immediately. There are many alternatives to simply selling and moving because you feel like you have to.

  • Find a rental comparable to what you ultimately see yourself owning.
  • Secure a “long-term” Airbnb or VRBO to test drive your downsizing plans.
  • Rent a storage unit for the excess furniture and possessions you are considering eliminating. If you can live without them for 4-6 weeks, chances are you are ready to part with them permanently.

Don’t:

1.Set unrealistic expectations. Just because you find a smaller space doesn’t mean it will save you money. Similarly, don’t expect the sale of your property to generate unrealistic profits. Find a trusted realtor to help you understand the process start to finish.

2. Do it alone. Cleaning, decluttering, organizing, packing, and unpacking are strenuous jobs. It can also be emotionally trying leaving a home you’ve created lasting memories in, and parting with sentimental items you’ve accumulated. Seek help. Whether it is hiring a professional packing and moving company, or recruiting your friends and family, secure a support system before you begin the journey of downsizing.

3. Wait until it is too late. Timing is everything. Waiting until you’re forced to leave your home could have severe consequences on your emotional and financial well-being. With the proper advanced planning, you stay in control of your satisfaction and happiness rather than leaving it to chance.

Are you ready to start planning your downsizing efforts? Gateway Insurance Group would be glad to partner with you. Give us a call at 858-428-3929 or visit us at www.gatewayig.com/nexthome

Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Gateway Financial Advisors, Inc., and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. are not affiliated.

Spring Cleaning Life Hacks

Spring Cleaning Life Hacks

Spring has sprung! As you’re enjoying your morning coffee with the windows open, the sunlight hits just perfectly and you notice glittering speckles of dust floating through the air. You look around and the baseboards have dust bunnies and the blinds and ceiling fans have a visible layer of filth. No one wants to buy a dirty house – time for some SPRING CLEANING! You’re in luck – we’ve got a few Life Hacks to make the most common cleaning conundrums a bit more bearable. Your prospective buyers will appreciate the cleanliness and comfort these hacks bring!

Life Hack #1 – Use lemons to remove stains from faucets and other hardware so prospective buyers don’t inherit grimy fixtures.

Life Hack #2 – Use two common kitchen sponges – cut a slit in the middle section and attach them to kitchen tongs. Use these to clean dust from vertical/horizontal blinds and ceiling fans so prospective buyers aren’t fixated on dirty housewares.

Life Hack #3 – Scrub baseboards with a magic eraser sponge and then wipe down with a dryer sheet to repel future dust/hair from clinging to them. Make those important details and accents spick and span.

Life Hack #4 – Eliminate greasy and grimy cabinets by scrubbing with a toothbrush coated with vegetable or coconut oil and baking soda. Your potential buyers will love the freshly shined finishes.

Life Hack #5 – Fill a plastic bag with white vinegar and secure it over your shower head with a twist tie. Eliminate those unsightly hard water stains to make your bathroom look like new again.

Life Hack #6 – Oil and grease stains on your concrete and garage floors are an eyesore. Use some coca-cola to soak them and remove the presence of stains so your buyers see this property has been well cared for.

Life Hack #7 – Coffee filters are the perfect dusting tool for televisions, monitors, and other screens. Your screens will be so clean the prospective buyers will be able to see their smiling reflection as they take in the beauty and charm of your home.

Life Hack #8 – Streak free windows enhance your home’s appeal. Use some crumpled newspaper and window spray (or make your own using 2 cups water, ¼ cup vinegar, ½ teaspoon liquid soap) for a streak-free shine.

Be sure to reach out to Gateway Insurance Group to learn more about simple tips that can make all the difference for the value of your home. Visit us at www.gfapandc.com/nexthome

Don’t Be That Neighbor… Tips to Increase the Value of your Home

Don’t Be That Neighbor… Tips to Increase the Value of your Home


Tip 1: Let the experts help

 

Invite a NextHome realtor or interior designer over to give your home an initial assessment. You’ll avoid wasting time or money on less significant renovations and you’ll walk away with new inspiration. Remember: not every home improvement is cosmetic. Deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems severely affect the value (not to mention SAFETY!) of your home. Hire an inspector and make a checklist of urgent, important, and someday renovations

 

Tip 2: Landscaping Matters

 

Curb appeal is basically a love language in itself. Get rid of trash, clutter, and any other eyesores that might detract from a first impression. Purchase plants that are native to your region or plants that are drought-tolerant; these require less water and maintenance, which means cost savings for you.

 

Tip 3: Paint, Paint, Paint

 

One of the simplest and most cost-effective improvements of all is paint. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people.

 

Tip 4: Owning Less is Better than Organizing More

 

Your home tells a story and a clutter-free, bright space is always going to attract more potential buyers. It can be a worthy investment to hire a professional cleaning service to deep clean your home.

In addition to cleanliness, visual space or how large your home feels also matters. Replace heavy closed draperies with vertical blinds or shutters to let light in or try adding a single large mirror to a room to visually double the space.

 

Tip 5: Big Return on Bathroom & Kitchen Updates

 

A great room to update for less than $750 is the bathroom. The two rooms that benefit most from even small renovations are the kitchen and bathroom. One cost-effective change — like replacing an outdated vanity, old plumbing, and lighting fixtures or adding a new tile floor — will guarantee a lot of bang for your buck and give your bath an updated, modern look.

You don’t have to start from scratch to increase value in the kitchen. Start by swapping out just one item, such as a stained sink or ancient microwave for shiny new stainless models. Even small kitchen updates will add big value to your home.

Be sure to reach out to Gateway Insurance Group to learn more about simple tips that can make all the difference for the value of your home. Visit us at www.gfapandc.com/nexthome

The dirty “D” word of insurance – Deductible

The dirty “D” word of insurance – Deductible

In the business of insurance, customers and clients have identified two dirty words, premium, and deductible, because they imply a cost the customer will have to pay. Premium refers to the monthly, semi-annual, or annual bill a customer pays for insurance protection. A deductible is the financial portion of a claim an insured (aka homeowner) would be responsible for in the event a claim is made.

When it comes to homeowner’s insurance, a deductible can actually be structured one of two ways: it can be a flat rate (for example a $1000 deductible) or it can be a percentage of the insured structure (for example a 1% deductible on a $250,000 home would be $2500.)

Generally, the higher deductible a customer can afford, the more inexpensive the regular premiums will be. With a higher deductible, the customer is taking on more personal risk in the event of a claim, so the insurance companies reward them with a lower bill.

 

PRO TIP for homeowners: set up a separate savings or investment account that always keeps your deductible set aside so you can use it as needed during the time of a claim.

Also, be aware that a homeowner’s insurance deductible does not operate in the same fashion as a health insurance deductible. Each homeowner insurance claim requires the same expected deductible* and small claims do not add up until you “meet your deductible” as it does in healthcare. This means that clients should not file a claim unless the damage to the property is substantial enough to surpass their deductible. Your designated insurance agent will be able to help educate you on do’s and don’ts of filing claims.

 

PRO TIP for homeowners: consider bundling your home and auto insurance with the same company to earn discounts on your insurance costs.

Finally, don’t expect to write your insurance company a check for your deductible in the event of a claim. The insurance company will assess the damage and make payment to the insured minus their deductible. For example, a homeowner’s insurance claim adjusted in the amount of $10,000 with a $1,000 deductible would pay the insured $9,000.

When you understand the dirty words of insurance, they become a little less intimidating and you can control how you use them (literally and figuratively.)

Be sure to reach out to Gateway Insurance Group to explore your options for deductibles, discounts, and more! Visit us at www.gfapandc.com/nexthome

*With some policy provision exceptions (like a lesser deductible for a wind claim, etc.)