Feb 5, 2021

Retirement - Are You Surprised!

Maybe you were thinking about retirement, maybe you made the decision, maybe through unforeseen circumstances retirement was forced upon you. In any case many Americans have to face retirement earlier then they had planned. Here are some steps you can take to help with your financials.

Cut Your Spending

As soon as you can cut your spending on everything and anything. Start now and cut as deep as you can, remember you can always add services and nice to haves back once you’ve figured you steady state income stream.

  • Can you trade or sell your car for a lower cost more economical model?
  • Cancel any monthly subscription services like Netflix, Cable TV, Magazines, etc?
  • Can you lower your cell phone costs and or data plan?

Do everything you can to lower your monthly out of pocket costs.

Lower Medical, Dental and Other Health Care Costs

What can you do to find the lowest medical cost between now and when you turn 65 where Medicare kicks in?

  • Visit healthcare.gov for medical plans that may be more affordable.
  • If you are employed or were recently employed you could check out keeping your current Medical plan. This is known as COBRA. Check with your employer.
  • If you are over 65, enroll in Medicare.

Do You Have a Retirement Savings Account (RSA) 401k

If you are financially strapped, you can tap into this for funds until social security and/or your pension kicks in, but you should do this as a last resort. For me I’ve been fortunate to save my 401k and plan on deferring my pension until I’m 62 years old, when I get a slight bump in pension plan. I’m also hoping to leverage my pension and 401k until I’m 70 or older before I start taking social security. Remember you social security benefit continues to grow every year until age 70.

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Feb 4, 2021

Prevent Water Damage in Your House

Water damage can be a very costly problem. Here are some ideas on how you can mitigate or al least get early notification of a potential problem.

Clean Your Gutters

Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause water to back up into your house. They can create ice dams or cause erosion around your foundation. You should clean your gutters in the spring and in the fall after all the leaves have fallen from the trees. Be careful on your roof and ladder or take the easy answer and just pay a handyman to do the job.

Use Sensors for Early Notification of a Problem

You can use water sensors to alert you of a leak. These devices should be placed at common leads culprits like washing machines, water heaters and dishwashers. They make really simple devices or you can get water alert sensors that connect to wifi and can send you messages if there is a problem.

Test Your Sump Pump

Every couple of months, I put water in my sump with a garden hose and I make sure the sump pump turns on and off and drains properly. You may also want to consider a battery back up system for your sump pump.

Turn Off Your Water for Extended Vacations

I had a neighbor leave for Florida in the winter. While he was gone, one of his small 1/4" water lines to a sink on his 2nd floor failed. Water ran for weeks and flooded his whole house, causing ceilings to drop all the way down to his basement.

If they had turned off the water, this wouldn’t have been a problem.

Turn off your water!

Replace Your Washing Machine Hoses

Overtime your washing machine hoses can become brittle and crack. You should think about replacing these every few years.

I just returned from a month long trip and got home to a leaking water heater. Water can cause lots of damage to your house.

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Feb 3, 2021

Is the RV Lifestyle Right for You?

With Covid 19 in the air, my wife and I feel very fortunate that we’ve had our RV to get away on weekends and visit our property in Florida. With the RV we’ve been able to maintain social distancing, cook all of our own meals in the RV and use our own bathroom. Really no different then being at home.

If you are open minded this can be a really low cost way to to travel. You’re not necessarily restricted to to campgrounds either. Menu venues have open camping such as county fair grounds, orchards, wineries, casinos and more. I often spend the night in Wal-Mart parking lots if I’m just looking to sleep for a few hours on my journey.

Most modern RV’s have all the conveniences of home and with a good cell phone and data plan you can always stay connected. You can use your phone or a use it as a hot spot for your iPad or computer. It’s easy to research best places to stay or how to make a repair to your camper.

With Covid I’ve come across many families traveling with their families and home schooling along the way. Earlier last year my daughter and I went to Florida where she taught her classes and I worked from the RV.

Unlike your neighborhood the campground is very social place, just keep your distance. Build a camp fire, take a walk, explore the area. So many different things to do then maybe around your house. Being from Michigan we go up north or to the westside of the state to enjoy the great Michigan beaches in the summertime.

Explore the different types of RV’s

Motor Homes, Travel Trailers or 5th wheels can all satisfy your need from small to big. Most of these have slides in the side that expand to really give you a bunch of space. If you opt for a 5th wheel or larger travel trailer, you’ll need a truck with sufficient towing power and capacity for your trailer. Depending on the size, you might even be able to move into full time and sell your house. My Mom and Dad were full time RV’s for 15 years.

If you’ve never camped or traveled before, think about renting and motorhome or RV before you dive in.

How much does an RV cost?

Unfortunately with Covid, the demand for RV’s has increased significantly in the last year. You may have to wait more then a year to have a made to order one built. Nothing wrong with looking for a more affordable used camper where the depreciation was already paid down by the previous owner.

The cost a a trailer can start at $25,000 for a new one, plus the cost of the truck to tow it. Motorhomes start at around $80,000 and go up from there. The more amenities you get in the RV, the higher the cost. Hitches are also expensive.

Buying an RV isn’t cheap! Plus you have the cost of gas, lodging and eventually repairs. So before you buy, think again about renting and trying camping first. I think it’s a great way to get out and see the country.

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