Month : April 2016

Retirement

The Benefits of Assisted Living

As many people age, they often feel isolated and lonely with their grown children tending to families and lives of their own, so geriatric depression is a real concern. This has led many elderly individuals to look into assisted living facilities. These facilities provide social and recreational opportunities for residents, as well as increased safety and quality of life. If you are considering moving yourself or a loved one into an assisted living facility, consider the following benefits of these facilities.

Assisted Living Enhances the Quality of Life

Every benefit of staying in an assisted living facility increases the patient’s quality of life. They will become more comfortable, healthy and social.

  • Safety. Perhaps the greatest benefit of assisted living facilities is the immediate safety that they provide. As seniors age, they may become physically weak, visually impaired or unsteady. A living facility provides the safety to help protect them from a serious injury. The staff will be able to assist them with walking and carrying out tasks. If there is an injury, they won’t be alone for very long before receiving help; in fact, these facilities are specifically designed to minimize the risk of accidents.
  • Social and Recreational Activities. According to Assisted Living Today, an assisted living information resource, another great benefit of assisted living facilities is the social and recreational activities that are provided. One of the sad truths of life is that growing old also means losing friends and family. This can create a secluded lifestyle; however, staying at an assisted living facility will enable elderly patients to spend time with others and enjoy new activities.
  • Health Care When It’s Needed. The exact qualifications and hours of the nursing staff will vary by facility; however, nurses will always be available. Patients staying in assisted living facilities will always receive the health care they need — when they need it. This may mean ensuring that their medication program is adhered to or that regular doctor visits are coordinated. The on-hand medical staff will also be helpful in the case of a health emergency, being able to provide immediate care and transportation to a hospital.

How Can I Afford the Stay?

Long-term care at an assisted living facility can be expensive. Depending on the facility and type of care required, Forbes states that it can cost $40,000 to $90,000 per year to stay in these facilities. Fortunately, a type of insurance is available that provides coverage in the event an extended stay becomes necessary: long-term care insurance. A long-term care insurance plan will help cover the cost of staying at any type of assisted living facility.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 70 percent of individuals who reach age 65 will require some form of long-term care. Having a long-term care insurance plan guarantees that you receive the coverage you need when you need it. If you need to stay at an assisted living facility without long-term care insurance, you may end up not going for lack of funds or for fear of draining your retirement account. Your children may be unable to pay the cost and you’ll remain living on your own, even though a facility is a better option for you. Long-term care insurance eliminates this problem and will enable you to check in immediately.

You may currently have an elderly relative who would benefit from staying at an assisted living facility. You may also recognize that you are aging and may require an assisted living facility in your future. Long-term care insurance is a great way to afford the cost of assisted living so that you and your loved ones can enjoy a high quality of life. The many benefits of assisted living facilities make the cost of the insurance premium a worthwhile expense.

About the Author: Charles Wilhelm is a contributing writer and a patient at an assisted living facility. Although he was hesitant to stay at the facility at first, Charles has enjoyed an ever-increasing quality of life thanks to his LTC Tree Long-Term Care Insurance plan.

Image Source: http://www.123rf.com/photo_6756171_active-senior-couple-playing-checkers.html

Home Ownership

Everyday Money-Saving Tips

I was reading “40 Money Tips from Experts” over at the Online Trading Academy and decided to come up with some tips of my own.

With uncertainties continuing to surround the global economy, cost-savings tips in the home are very important for any cost-conscious home owner. Thankfully, it doesn’t take a genius to embrace some of the simplest but most useful money-saving measures in the home. If you want a short list that can help cut your expenses, here are a few recommendations that are guaranteed to trim your monthly expenditure.

  • In the summer, set your home air conditioning two about 24 degrees centigrade. Studies have shown that 24 degrees is the optimum setting that allows for a comfortable feeling without eating into your electric bill. Most homeowners set their air conditioning to 20 to 22 degrees, so the extra 2 to 4 degrees can help you save a considerable amount at the end of the month. 
  • In the winter, set your home heater to 20 degrees centigrade. The opposite is true in winter when you relying on your heater. The higher is the temperature setting, the more power you consume. 20 to 22 degrees in the winter is sufficient to feel comfortably without burning a hole in your pocket. 
  • Unplug appliances when not in use. The stand-by power of most appliances may be low but appliances still consume electricity when plugged. To save on electricity, unplug your TVs, computers, turn off the light, and all other kitchen appliances except for the refrigerator. 
  • Do your household chores in bunches. For example, iron your clothes in one go and not per piece. Wash your dishes in the dishwasher together, and not after every one eats. Studies have shown that doing all household chores that require electric power in bunches can help minimize energy usage by as much as 30% compared to when you iron clothes or wash dishes one by one. 
  • Create a budget and stick with it. One of the most useful money-saving tips is to actually create a budget so you are guided with your monthly spending. Write down what is essential and trim down everything else so you know you can meet your monthly spending goals without sacrificing the important items needed in the home.

Money-saving need not be difficult if you know where to start. See if you can implement two or more of these recommendations and check how much you are saving per month. Once you see the difference, you will be even more motivated to cut your spending further. 

Home Ownership

Downsizing and De-cluttering Your Home

Most people aim to buy their own house and achieve the American dream. This can provide a safe and comfortable place to raise a family, and with ownership, there’s the opportunity to build equity and increase one’s net worth.

However, your financial situation can change rapidly. Perhaps you earned a sizable income in the past that afforded many comforts and extras. A job loss, retirement or a divorce can have an impact on your income, and if you find yourself with less disposable cash, downsizing may be the only alternative. This isn’t the most exciting situation to deal with, but the sooner you act, the sooner you can get your finances back on track. 

Downsizing includes the task of de-cluttering and moving out items. Since you’re looking for a cheaper rent or mortgage, your new home will probably be smaller than your present home. Understandably, you may want to retain as many of your possessions as possible. But with less square footage, this isn’t always possible. Need a practical solution? Here are three simple tips for downsizing and de-cluttering. 

1. Look for a place with plenty of storage. Although you may sacrifice square footage to save money on housing each month, you don’t have to sacrifice storage. Pay close attention to the closet space and other storage areas in the homes or apartments you check out. Can the closets accommodate your clothes? Is there a utility closet or attic space? Adequate storage lets you keep more of your treasured belongings. 

2. Get rid of some items. Be honest with yourself. In all likelihood, there are several items that you can part with to free up space in your new house. If you have clothes or shoes that you haven’t worn in over a year, donate or give them away. If your new house has less living space and fewer bedrooms, sell your excess furniture and generate extra cash. This extra money can help with your moving expenses, or perhaps pay down debt and other bills before you move. 

3. Find a local storage unit. Maybe you’re retiring, selling your house and moving to sunny Jacksonville, FL. If moving from a big house into a condo or smaller house, Uncle Bob’s can provide a safe home for items that you were unable to sell or donate. Rather than clutter your new space with extra boxes and furniture, take these items directly to your storage unit. 

Some people downsize by choice in order to simplify their lives and enjoy their earnings. Others, however, downsize to avoid financial ruin and credit damage. Regardless of the reason for seeking cheaper, smaller accommodations, downsizing can have a positive impact on your finances. The extra money can help increase your personal savings, pay down credit card debt or alleviate living paycheck-to-paycheck. Rather than view downsizing as a step backwards, view it as a step in the right direction. Besides, the less you owe, the sooner you can reach financial freedom.  

Mind Over Money

Stop Being Persnickety

Morning
Creative Commons License photo credit: h.koppdelaney

Persnickety. Yea I never heard of it before. I found it by looking in a thesaurus for picky. I thought it would get your attention.

Anyways, as I said in my series on coupons, being picky can cost you a lot of money.

Groceries

Just in case you didn’t know, most store brands are made from the same manufacturers that produce the name brand. They come from the same factory and every thing. So why do you insist on buying the name brand? Is it because of loyalty? Quit it!! That’s costing you money that you could use for your future self and/or children. It all tastes the same. And don’t get me into soda. You shouldn’t even be drinking soda it’s bad for you. Drink water from the faucet…it’s actually good for you.

Vehicles

The intent of a vehicle is to get you from point A to point B. Marketing made you believe that it’s to make you a better person. It’s not. So don’t make up your mind on what vehicle you want before you go shopping for one. Set a price point and then you can be picky, but if the car is out of your price point then either try to get them to sell it to you at that price or don’t get it. Don’t try and talk yourself into getting it. Your really just hurting yourself in the end.

Clothes

You’re obviously paying for the label if you buy designer clothes. Stop!! They are way overpriced. Remember that the only reason they are that expensive is because people are willing to pay that price. Don’t be a fool.

That $100 Abercrombie & Fitch pair of jeans cost about $20 to make…if that. You’re paying for the name. Sure you can say you’re paying for quality. But I’ll say that makes no sense. Lets say that A&F jeans last 4 years and a $25 pair of jeans last a year. At the end of those 4 years I’ve spent the same price plus I have 4 pairs of jeans.

The cheap stuff isn’t really as bad as you think

So yea, don’t be so persnickety and save some money.

Is there a certain brand or item you must have and can’t have a substitute?

Money Management

What Does It Really Cost?

why is the sky blue?One of the trickiest parts of personal finance is figuring out the actual cost of purchases.  It doesn’t sound complex.  After all, the cost of something is simply what you pay.  Right?  While price can be the overall cost, often it is a bit more complicated.

The Real Cost

Buying a house is an excellent example.  Right now market prices are lower than they have been in years.  Many people are looking at homes and thinking that now might be the time to buy.  And it might.  However, the actual cost of a house is more than the price listed on the sign in the yard.  If you are thinking that you can finally afford a home of your own, make sure you really can.

Mortgage, property taxes, homeowners insurance and even loan fees and interest all factor into the overall cost of homeownership.  Plus, there are the little unexpected expenses that renters don’t have to worry about.  If the sink breaks in your home, you alone are responsible for fixing it.  While a little leak may not cost much, a new heating system or replacing the roof can cost a lot.  Home repairs and maintenance must also be figured into the total cost of your home.  These little incidentals that aren’t included in the listing price of a home should be considered as you determine the actual cost.

More Than Meets the Eye

Homes aren’t the only expense that can be more than expected.  Cars require maintenance, insurance, gas and cleaning.  Pets require food.  Dinner at a restaurant generally means a tip.  The price tag and the final price often don’t match up.

As you plan your spending don’t make the mistake of forgetting the additional expenses.  Sometimes these forgotten charges make things more than you can afford.  If you are hoping to buy a new car make sure your finances can handle the payment as well as the other expenses associated with owning a car.

Research and Calculate

A great way to determine if you can actually afford something is to make a budget that includes the desired item.  Using the car example, you would create a new budget that includes all of your current expenses as well as your new car payment, the new insurance quote, maintenance estimations and other expenses associated with this purchase.  Can you make the new budget work?  Evaluate your purchases before you make them to make sure you can afford the actual cost of the item.  It is important to make sure you can afford items before you buy them.

Learning to master personal finance isn’t an easy task.  Constant attention is required.  Learning to research purchases in advance will help you avoid the common financial pitfall of getting in over your head.

Have you ever been surprised by the true cost of something you bought?

photo credit: optick