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New Survey Shows Retirees Want to Stay in Homes

shutterstock_147198215An overwhelming number of people nearing or in retirement want to remain in their current home as long as possible, according to the results of a new survey released by The American College of Financial Services.

The Home Equity and Retirement Income Planning Survey found that 83 percent of the respondents do not want to relocate in retirement.

“One very interesting notion was that the desire to age in place increases significantly as you get older,” says survey author Jamie Hopkins, Professor of Retirement Income Planning and Co-Director of The American College New York Life Center for Retirement Income Planning. “We saw more uncertainty between the ages of 55 and 62. But once we started getting past 62 and you start moving into retirement, we saw that these individuals really don’t expect or want to leave their homes.”

The study also saw almost no homeowners with a strong desire to rent in retirement.

The survey, created to better understand retirees’ attitudes about home equity and housing decisions, also revealed that 44 percent have considered using home equity in retirement, but that only 25 percent feel comfortable spending it as a source of income. It also found that only about 20 percent of the respondents felt that it was extremely important to leave their home as a legacy asset to their children or other heirs, while 45 percent listed it as not important.

The results were based on surveys of more than 1,000 people between the ages of 55 and 75 with at least$100,000 in investable assets and $100,000 in home equity. About 53 percent of the participants were male, 47 percent female.

7 in 10 Don’t Understand Reverse Mortgages

Another purpose of the study was to gauge retirees’ knowledge of reverse mortgages. According to the survey, just 30 percent of the participants earned a passing grade on basic knowledge about reverse mortgages. Furthermore, 10 percent of respondents answered all ten questions incorrectly.

“This is really going to open a lot of eyes about just how little people moving into retirement with some home equity know about reverse mortgages,” Hopkins says.

Other key findings include:
  • Despite a strong desire to age in place, only 14 percent of the respondents had considered a reverse mortgage, with only one respondent having entered into a reverse mortgage;
  • The number one reason (44 percent) people did not enter into a reverse mortgage was they did not need it because of sufficient income. Other reasons, in order, were “too young” (18 percent), “not ready” (10 percent) and “too risky” (9 percent);
  • The respondents were generally misinformed about reverse mortgages, while holding a slightly negative view on reverse mortgages as a retirement tool;
  • Respondents thought they were more knowledgeable on reverse mortgages than their knowledge quiz answers suggested, showing both some degree of overconfidence and misunderstanding.

So what to make of this new research? Hopkins says financial advisors need to do a better job educating and talking to their clients about home equity. Additionally, products and strategies like reverse mortgages need to be given a second look by consumers and advisors as there are a lot of misconceptions out there today as evidenced by the survey.

“Hopefully that’s the biggest takeaway from this survey,” he says. “Advisors and consumers need to start thinking about home equity, including reverse mortgages, as part of the retirement income planning process.”

For more information, visit www.TheAmericanCollege.edu.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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Bring Natural Beauty into Your Home with DIY Terrariums

by Rebecca Bradshaw

Organic, beautiful, and practical, terrariums are the perfect way to bring an element of nature into your home. The miniature displays of glass and greenery add a vibrant, living accent to the décor of any room, and best of all, you don’t need to have a green thumb to create or care for these indoor gardens.

Once a staple of the 1970’s, decorating with terrariums has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years thanks to their affordability and the turn towards green living. Traditionally, succulents and other small plants were used to make small landscapes that were housed in glass containers such as aquariums and snifters, but these days terrariums are limited only by the imagination of their do-it-yourself creators.

shutterstock_399219787Depending on the type of plants they house, terrariums can be shown in either low light or well-lit spaces, making them a versatile decorating tool. The general rule of thumb is to place ferns and tropical plants together, separate from cacti and succulents. Containers are layered with small pebbles for false drainage, plant appropriate potting soil, and activated charcoal to keep the terrarium free of fungus and bacteria. The top layer of the container can be decorative, using moss, small pebbles, or topped with sand and seashells to create a “beachy” display.

Everything from uniquely shaped containers made specifically for terrariums to old mason jars can be used to display your indoor garden. A teacup filled with aquamarine makes a small and whimsical terrarium, perfect for the corner of a home office desk. Layers of natural stones and plants placed in tall crystal containers can be grouped together to create a dramatic focal point in a living room, or used as a striking dining table centerpiece. Place plants in repurposed outdoor glass light fixtures and hang at different heights to give any room a creative focal point.  Margarita glasses, repurposed light bulbs, cloches, domed cake stands, and even old soda bottles can make impactful visual statements when transformed into terrariums.  

Create a textured and visually pleasing terrarium by combining variegated spider ferns with Moon Valley friendship plant and Golden Clubmoss in a covered glass dome. A lidded container allows condensation to build and keep plants moist. Small, slow growing Starfish, Variegata, and Nerve plants are also good choices to fill covered terrariums. For a more arid arrangement that requires little moisture, tiny barrel cacti and pale succulents work well together in open topped containers and low sided bowls. Water terrariums are also an easy to maintain option. Pothos, duckweed and other surface floating plants can be placed in clear, open vessels filled with water, seashells, and other organic elements to create a beautiful, natural display.

Diorama or “tiny world” terrariums are a popular decorating option these days. Plants, along with small figures and natural elements such as stones, twigs and feathers are arranged in containers to create scenes that tell a story or capture a memory. From detailed to simple, do-it-yourself diorama terrariums bring a unique and personal impact to any space they occupy.

Whether you build your terrarium from all natural elements or add non-organic items, these tiny indoor gardens are sure to bring the beauty of nature into to any room in your home.

 

Sources: Homedit, Houzz, ArtSeaChic, Better Homes & Gardens

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7 Ways to Rid Your Home of Plumbing Problems

by Sean Hansen

Every house has plumbing issues here and there, but calling a plumber isn’t always the best bang for your buck. Here are 7 ways to eliminate plumbing problems that anyone can accomplish.

plumbing1. Keep the areas under your sink clean.

In order to fix leaks and the damage they can do to your home, you have to notice them first. This is almost impossible if the space under your kitchen sink is home to a hardware store’s worth of cleaners, sponges, and plastic bags from grocery stores. This also applies to your bathroom sinks and towels. Stop treating sink cabinets as long term storage, and start treating them like they’re designated maintenance space.  I promise that you’ll be able to find convenient and dedicated storage for all of the odds and ends kept under your sink.

2. Be Vigilant.

If an area under your sink feels damp then check it out. Ignoring what could be a major leak won’t do you any favors in the long run and could seriously damage other parts of your house.

3. Treat your equipment with respect.

A Garbage disposal isn’t a trash can, and sinks aren’t stray hair and grease storage bins.  When at all possible, put those items where they belong – in the trash. If you have to use your garbage disposal (no-one’s going to throw away 20 grains of rice or half an ounce of gristle), be sure to run hot water over it before, during, and after you turn it on.

4. Fixing clogged sink drains.

It isn’t normal for your bathroom sink to take 10 minutes to clear after having the stopper removed. 

The most likely culprit here is your P-trap.  Under your sink, there’s a vertical pipe that runs to a U-shaped Pipe. That U-pipe is your P-trap, and that’s what you’ll most likely have to clean. Place a bucket under the drain and remove the P-trap.  Clean the interior of the P-trap with a wire brush and run some hot water through it. Check the drain itself and other pipes to see if there’s any easy to clean debris there as well, while also taking care not to remove said pipes. When you’re finished, reconnect the P-trap, tighten both ends, and run some water through it to make sure there aren’t any leaks.

After you’re done cleaning out the traps, consider buying some drain filters. They’re cheap, catch a lot more junk, and will save you some time.  As an added bonus, you can also use these for showers and bathtubs. Just be sure to replace them as needed.

5. Running Toilet.

A toilet that keeps running long after it’s been flushed isn’t just annoying, it’s expensive and can waste in excess of 100 gallons a day. Typically, there are three common culprits:  the tank flap, faulty float position, or a defective refill valve. You can check for online tutorials to diagnose and fix any of these problems. The parts are cheap and the process itself is easy. I had literally just fixed a faulty float not five minutes before writing this article.

6. Dripping Faucets.

Fixing a dripping faucet is a little bit more delicate work than turning a screw on a float assembly, but it’s still within the realm of most DIYers.  The main issue here is that the assemblies themselves are a bit smaller and more intricate than a simple toilet mechanism. Delta and other manufacturers have all published diagnostic and repair guides on their respective websites. Take a look and decide if you think you can pull it off. If not, call a professional.

7. When to leave it to the experts.

A majority of the things we’ve listed are things that most people can do with a little bit of time, research, and effort. That being said, the majority of your plumbing system is under the house or in the walls, and as a result, it’s invisible to you. While the fixes we’ve talked about here are fairly simple, there’s a reason calling a plumber can be expensive – they know what they’re doing.  Scheduling an inspection of your plumbing system can’t hurt anything, and if you’re uncomfortable about a diagnosis or feel like the guy might be trying to rip you off, then shop around. Be sure to also check consumer services to make sure you’re not being taken for a ride.

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