Do You Have a Retirement Checklist?

It doesn’t matter how old you are someday you will hopefully retire. According to Pew Research Center, there are 75 million baby boomers in the United States and retirement is coming quick or may already be here. So if you are a boomer or just thinking about retirement and feeling like you are not prepared there is still time to get on the right track. Here is a retirement checklist to help get you started:

Know how much you need to live

The first step in planning for retirement is to know how much money you will need to live. Make a list of all of your expenses and your sources of income. If your costs outweigh your guaranteed income you may need to reevaluate your costs.

Rethink your retirement savings plan

Unless you have a pension you will not have a set amount of money to live on for your retirement. If you have a 401k or other employer-sponsored retirement plan you will need to plan to make that money last. It may be best to meet with a financial planner to determine ways to maximize your income stream. A financial planner may also help you consolidate your retirement accounts.

Understand your social security benefits

Depending on the age at which you start social security withdrawals you may have less money than you thought. Social security withdrawals before the age of 70 could result in 20-30% less in benefits. Deciding what age you will retire and when you will draw on your social security benefits is an important decision.

Plan for inflation

Like it or not the cost of living goes up. The cost of health care also continues to rise and without proper planning for inflation in living costs and health care your retirement income could run out sooner than you planned. A good start for planning is to know that over the past one hundred years the average inflation rate has been 3.4%.

Have a will

It is important to establish a will and/or living will. This will help you and your family make important decisions regarding health care, long term care and estate issues.

Tackling retirement planning ahead of time will help you begin the next chapter of your life worry free and allow you to plan for the fun times ahead.

Make the Best of Your New City

Businessman with city viewThere are many reasons you may find yourself in a new city or state, far from home and your comfort zone, possibly even your family and friends. Whether you’ve decided to close the gap between your long-distance-relationship, were transferred to a new city by your company, are uprooting yourself for the college or university of your dreams, or are simply seeking new opportunities and fresh faces, getting familiar with a new community be disheartening.

As a real estate agent, I see this often. Meeting new people and becoming acquainted with a new area may be easier if you follow some of the suggestions I offer to buyers new to any given area:

Put yourself out there. Most towns and cities find ways to encourage their residents to come together as a tight knit community, in fact some cities may even have a planning board or association dedicated to this. Many areas may have outdoor venues and pavilions for varying activities such as free concerts or even large group work-outs. Keep an eye out for any mixers or activities in your new neighborhood.

Pick up a hobby! If you’ve recently moved to a new city surrounded by water try out kayaking! Find something you enjoy and you will more likely than not find other like-minded people out and about practicing the same hobby.

If you’ve moved to a city or area where walking to and from varying destinations, walk! If you’ve moved to Boston, or a city similar to Boston, try walking to work rather than taking public transportation. This is a great way to get situated in a new area. Not only will you learn the different roads and geography of your new city, you may find a hidden gem off the beaten path that you would’ve never noticed otherwise. Which leads me to my next suggestion:

Seek out hidden gems! Sometimes small businesses, gyms, pizza places, and coffee shops are the best way to meet people and get a feel for the residents of a certain area. Look for smaller establishments and you’ll be sure to find a very serious group of ‘regulars.’ This is another good way to fit into the community and a good way to meet people. Plus you’re experiencing all your area has to offer rather than dining at or hanging around corporate locations you can find all over the country!

If you’re moving to my area from far away, I’d be happy to walk you through the change as your real estate professional!

 

Adding Solar Panels to Your Home

Going green has been a term that has been floating around for some time the past few years.  As fears of global warming and overall global awareness have increased rapidly, the ideas soon follow.  It’s an interesting and empowering idea, reduce your global footprint and preserve the earth.  The best part is that in some cases, you can save money even with little to no investment.

If you are looking to install something like solar panels on your house, there is a federal program for both a business or a person that provides an investment tax credit of 30%.  Depending on the state there are state funded programs that are similar and even programs.  The state programs are similar to the electric car incentives in that they are slowly disappearing, which makes now a good time to make a decision.  Energystar.gov has more information on the specifics.

As mentioned that is only one path, there have been companies that claim to decrease your electric bills.  This is achieved through leasing.  A low monthly fee to lease the solar panels and a reduction on your total monthly bill – at least that is the idea.  There are many  knowledgeable professionals in the New England and surrounding areas, who may be able to assist you further.  For example SolarCity provides exactly what was described above.  Keep in mind the results will vary depending on where you live and even the seasons.  A free consultation never hurt anyone though, you could spend less and go green in the process.