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Downsizing/Choices


From Strategy Financial

Downsizing Can Help Retirement Savings Last

Ideally, in retirement, you reduce your monthly expenses. No more commute, less need for work-related clothes and dry cleaning, and the ability to eat lunch at home every day. But is it enough savings to balance the lack of income from work?

If you're like many retirees, near-retirees or even those just starting to plan for retirement income, you may have an uneasy feeling about just how much money you'll need and how long you'll need it to last. If you're just not feeling confident about it, there is one thing you can do to help: Downsize.

Downsizing to a less expensive condo, townhouse, apartment or smaller home offers numerous savings advantages, from reducing your monthly mortgage or rental costs, to lower maintenance, property tax and utility bills.

If you're thinking of moving out of state, perhaps to a locale where you've vacationed and dreamed of living for years, consider the pros and cons of what living there year-round may mean. Is it a dreary place in winter, or too hot in the summer? Does it feature a year-round community where you can make friends with locals, or is it pretty much abandoned when tourists or snow-birds are gone -- and could you bear that? Oftentimes those lovely vacation spots can be quite isolated during the off-season.

It may come down to your basic personality and disposition: do you prefer the opportunity to make good friends and always have people around with whom to spend time, or would you be OK with getting away from it all and minimizing outside relationships, at least for part of the year? Consider, too, how your spouse's answers may differ to those same questions.

Then, too, you should examine the practical side of relocating. For example, will the cost of living be higher or lower than where you currently live, and what can you expect in terms of health care and other expenses and amenities? After all, your large family home may not be as expensive as a tiny condo on the beach, complete with high monthly expenses and high property taxes.

If you plan to move to another state, you will need to investigate tax and estate laws to see if you'll need to update your wills and trusts. If you have a network of trusted financial professionals and attorneys, you may want to check if they are licensed to continue working with you in the state where you want to relocate.

Then again, you could just move to a smaller place in your current neighborhood or community. You may opt to live closer to relatives, which can offer the potential for significant savings when it comes to home care in your later years. If so, consider features in a new home that will be more convenient as you venture gracefully into old age, such as a single-story home with a low-maintenance yard and accessibility features. Also think about your locale of choice -- such as whether you'd like to move to a more urban scene in a trendy downtown location near art galleries, museums, fine restaurants and concert halls. Perhaps a condo with a skyline view, concierge and doorman would fit the bill. After all, if you spent the majority of your adult life raising a family in suburbia, retirement may be the time to enjoy other types of entertainment.

A third option is to move to a senior living community. According to a survey by the Demand Institute Housing & Community, one in five baby boomers is considering relocating to a senior-related housing or active-adult community.4 While many of these campuses have come a long way in featuring more cultural and upscale amenities, many still suffer from a reputation of the proverbial "old folk's home."

The key to downsizing -- or what some prefer to call "right-sizing" -- is to make the right decision for your lifestyle and finances. Some retirement-oriented communities may offer work and entrepreneurial opportunities so you can get out and about, make new friends and contribute to your retirement income. Do not under-estimate the value of a strong social network comprised of people of all ages. After all, if you're going to live a long and healthy life, why not live it among friends?

4 Media Post. May 15, 2015. "Redefining Senior Living for Boomers http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/248470/
redefining-senior-living-for-boomers-through-the-n.html
.
5 Harvard Business Review. April 24, 2015. "The Remedy for https://hbr.org/2015/04/the-remedy-
for-unproductive-busyness
. Accessed Aug. 5, 2015

Five hearing tech announcements that could benefit older adultsPosted: 12 Sep 2016 07:20 AM PDTHearing technology advances -- the hearing aid industry considers changing. It’s a positive when you see disruption of industries that have too tight a lock on the consumer, whether it is in categories of health insurancetelecom carriers or hearing aids.  You spend time with people everywhere you go – those with significant hearing loss but no hearing aids; they have hearing aids, but hate to wear them.  According to a recent NY Times article, two-thirds of adults over 70, but only 15-30% of those wear them – and at $5000 a pair, no wonder. In recent years, personal sound amplification products(PSAPs) that are not classified as hearing aids and thus do not require the audiologist role, though the FDA may change that. Just asking, if the device is called a 'Wearable,' does Silicon Valley find it more worthy of funding?  But anyway. In July, Consumer Reports published an explanatory guide that should be required reading for organizations that serve older adults. It would seem to be the wild west of innovation.  Here is a sampling of five recent product announcements:ReSound. The firm "introduced a new model to the award-winning ReSound LiNX2™ family: the world's only mini behind-the-ear (BTE) model to feature Made for iPhone. In addition, the mini BTE also features telecoil capabilities. ReSound LiNX2 is the world’s first internet-connected hearing aid, connecting to the internet to locate misplaced hearing aids. This new model enhances the award-winning ReSound Smart Hearing portfolio, giving users even more choices to meet individual preferences and hearing loss needs." Learn more at Resound.Oticon. 

"Technological limitations of current hearing aids have led to the use of tunnel directionality: Speech coming from the front is clear, whereas the rest of the sound environment is suppressed. This results in a limited, narrowed and artificial listening experience. With new, groundbreaking technology, Oticon Opn™ is fast and precise enough to analyse and follow the soundscape and differentiate between sounds. Even in complex listening environments, this allows Oticon Opn™ to constantly open up and balance individual sounds to deliver a rich and meaningful soundscape, empowering the brain to choose on which sounds to focus." Learn more at Oticon.
Eargo. 

Silicon Valley based startup that "offers an entry-level rechargeable hearing aid (FDA class I medical device) that it sells directly to consumers. Eargo is a near-invisible in-the-canal device offering four volume settings. Developed by a French ENT, it features patented silicone “flexi-fibers” that enable the device to sit comfortably deep in the ear canal while letting air and natural sound flow freely to the eardrum. At $1,980 per pair, the Eargo hearing aids are more expensive than many of the new off-the shelf “hearables” (classified as personal sound amplification products, or PSAPs, by the FDA), but less expensive than the higher end hearing aids fitted by audiologists." Learn more at HearingTracker.com.

Cochlear.
 "Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, announces today it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its newest innovative hearing loss solution, Kanso. The Kanso Sound Processor provides a distinct new way for cochlear implant users to hear. Unlike most hearing aids and current cochlear implant sound processors that are worn on the ear, Kanso is a small, off-the-ear hearing device  that provides a more discreet hearing solution and delivers the same hearing experience as a behind-the-ear sound processor." Learn more at Cochlear.

iHearMedical.
 "iHear® Medical announced today the launch of the world’s first online hearing solutions platform. The company begins taking orders today for its flagship invisible iHEARHD® hearing aid, and the iHearTest™, which recently received landmark FDA approval as the first and only home hearing screener. Delivery of iHear products starts July 15, 2016. The company also plans to launch the iHEARMAX™, a mini behind-the-ear hearing device, on August 15, 2016. iHear’s products are currently being offered in the U.S., with plans to introduce them in China and other markets in 2017." Learn more at iHearMedical.