May 7, 2021

Energy Is Critical To Our Standard Of Living

It is easy to tune out all the political yada yada yada because often it is not pleasant.  But all Americans should stay very tuned into our nation's energy policy.  For the first time in decades, we had finally reached energy independence using an all of the above energy policy.  In fact, the United States was exporting energy.  This was possible because we have abundant oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear power and all the renewables that are coming on line, primarily wind and solar.  

What is clear is that renewables alone today cannot power a modern first world economy.  The technology is just not there yet.  The notion that we are going to move away from carbon energy in the next twenty years is not realistic unless we ramp up nuclear energy.  I for one would like to know where all the electricity will come from to power all those electric cars as manufacturers stop producing gas and diesel powered cars. 

Everybody wants clean energy.  That is why we must make all energy sources cleaner, safer and cheaper to maintain our standard of living.  Creating energy that is more expensive would be an incredible burden on the poor and those on fixed incomes. 

At Paragon Home Resources, we work with families all over the country to sell and buy homes.  We assist with life decisions.  That is all great provided when someone turns on a light switch there is electricity there to make it all work.  

May 6, 2021

Falling A Big Problem For Seniors

Those 65 and older must do everything they can to avoid falling because it is the biggest cause of serious accidents.  That means wearing sensible shoes no matter how they look.  And, specific to the home, it means getting rid of throw rugs and making sure that there are clear walking paths within the home. Showers and baths should all have grab bars to prevent slipping when bathing.  Those are the things that can be controlled in a living environment.   

However, there are many things that can't be controlled outside the living environment that require vigilance.  Cracks in side walks or other surfaces are a real problem.  If not paying attention, it is very easy to trip and fall because of an uneven surfaces.  We can all be distracted; but when walking outdoors in any setting, it is important to look down and survey the surroundings.  When going for long walks for exercise, using a walking stick is a good idea for balance.

Falling can cause a sequence of events from broken legs and hips requiring surgery and sometimes very long painful recoveries.  In a worst case scenario, falling can cause hitting the head on the ground, which can even result in death.  Falling is the chief cause that Seniors end up in assisted living and or nursing homes.  At all cost, Seniors must avoid falling.  It means taking necessary precautions to making falling less likely.  An ounce of prevention can help avoid pounds of pain.  

The Golden Girls Is A Good Thing

On average in the United States men die at 76, women at 81.  The odds are pretty good that a woman will outlive her husband and sometimes by many years.  While there is always a grieving period when either spouse dies, women seem to be more adaptable when they find themselves single again.  Of course, another marriage is always an option; but more often than not Senior widowed, or divorced women often develop very close friendships.  

The Golden Girl modality is real.  Provided a woman is still healthy, this is the time when women take trips together, go out to dinners and generally have a second chance at living a great life.  And, why not.  There are many studies that show that interaction with other people is the key to feeling good.  Certainly, emotional health is improved by being with other people.  

Many women join clubs and find reasons to be with other people.  Since the husband is often out of the picture by the time a woman is 75 or older,  all of a sudden someone else does not figure into day to day decisions.   Women find new freedom once their husbands are gone.  That is not to say that life together may not have been wonderful; but it is to say that maybe for the first time in years, a woman can do what she wants to do when she wants to do it without any other concerns.  

Most important, women, whether widowed or divorced should take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy life.  Why not?  

May 5, 2021

Living With One Car - Other Places To Put Money

In the last 50 years, we have all come to believe that anyone who drives needs a car; but it is really necessary today.  With more and more people working from home, just maybe one car is enough for a family.   This certainly could be true for retired couples.  Aside from the cost of the car, insurance, license, repairs etc. owning a car cost a lot of money.  And, cars depreciate the minute you take them off the lot.  So investing in a car is not going to provide any return unless you need the car to do your job. 

Maybe it is time to rethink the car for every driver strategy and instead focus on other places you can put that money.  Home renovations particularly related to kitchens or bathrooms increase home values so there would be a return on that investment.  Buying a rental property can be a great investment.  Putting money in the stock market in moderate risk investments over time are likely to go up in value so again a return on that investment. 

So, if once and a while you need a ride to go someplace there is always Lift or Uber.  Even if you spent $1,000 a year buying rides, you would be way ahead of the cost of owning a second or third family car.  Pencil it to see what you are spending now.  Subtract $1,000 to buy rides and see where you end up.  You might just find that owning one family car is the way to go.  

May 4, 2021

Remodeling An Older Home

Remodeling an older home can be challenging.  Whatever your budget, you should factor in the cost of updating electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning and even replacing windows and parts of the foundation and wood structure that may have rotted, or be infested with termites.  Once those walls are opened up, necessary repairs will become very apparent.   All of this can cost thousands of dollars.  

If you are thinking of buying an older home because it appears "charming" with the notion of renovation that we often see on HGTV, my suggestion would be don't do it unless money is no object.  Doing the cosmetic updates are easy.  It is the structural repairs that may be necessary that could end up being a money pit.  And, once the jobs starts things will need to be brought up to code to pass local inspections.  

Homes that were built 30 or more years ago will not meet current codes.  Many times, once those walls are opened up, in order to pass inspection,  the home will need to be brought up to current codes.  This could be a very costly proposition.  

If you already own an older home and are considering renovation, just know that the story will not end with the new kitchen or bath fixtures.  The process is like lifting rocks only to find something ugly underneath that will have to be repaired or completely replaced.  It is all fine as long as there is a large contingency budget to deal with the unexpected aspects of the job.  The contractor will not be able to see those things until the wall is opened up and that is when the need for more budget will come into play.  

May 2, 2021

Moving To Second Or Third Tier Cities

Many people are moving to second or third tier cities in the United States to get away from clogged freeways and other big city problems.  This is especially true now because the technology is there to allow people to work from home.  However, in choosing one of the smaller cities, do your homework.  One of the biggest drawbacks is medical services and availability.  There are just not enough doctors in many of these smaller cities and that shortage is likely to get worse as many doctors retire.

Certainly, anyone over the age of 65 will need access to good medical care that will only become more needed as someone grows older.  Any one with a serious or chronic illness of any age may face the same issues.  Shopping is really not a problem, since these days just about anything can be ordered on line.  Access to all foods and medicines are available in most smaller cities.   There will be less things to do in smaller cities.  Generally, there are fewer high end restaurants for those that are Foodie's.

Perhaps the best compromise is to be an hour or so away from a major city.  So that means moving out to suburbs that may be far enough away to avoid big city problems; but close enough that good medical care is accessible when needed. 

At Paragon Home Resources, we work with people to sell and buy homes anywhere in the country.  We can assist with life decisions by providing pertinent information to determine those locations that could work best for the long term. 

May 1, 2021

The Five Mile Rule - Amenities Near Buy

When buying a home or condo, or even renting an apartment, it is a good idea to implement the five mile rule.  That is everything you need for daily living should be within five miles of your home.  First, it cost money to drive further; but also it takes time.  

So, if your favorite stores for food are CostCo and Trader's Joe's, make sure they exist within 5 miles.  It would be very good if medical services and hospitals are within 5 miles, particularly if you are 65 or older.  And also having a Home Depot or Lowes nearby is a good thing too. 

Ideally, the market, drug store and your bank should be on a street corner near you.  Make things easy on yourself.  Sometimes people trade a lower home price moving further out for near by amenities.  Just know that if you do that, it could take 10 years or longer for those amenities to show up. 

In the mean time, you will spend a lot of time in traffic getting to the things you need everyday.  And, there is a cost to doing that.  Don't do it, if you can help it.  

Mom Moving In For Elder Care Assistance

In some cases, an aging parent, usually Mom ends up moving in with one of the children, usually a daughter if there are multiple siblings.  It is usually Mom because more often than not Dad dies first.  As millions of Baby Boomers turn 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day for the next 15 - 20 years, we could start to see more and more of this multi generational living.  

The implications are huge.  Let's start with the home or physical space that may be needed to support Mom.  Generally, Mom's bedroom preferably with private bath needs to be on the first floor because steps are not a good idea.  Builders today are building homes with mother-in-law suites to accommodate this very scenario.  However, if an existing home, it will have to be made retirement friendly to accommodate Mom.  Renovations to get the job done can be expensive, but still much cheaper than senior care communities. 

Next is the care needed itself.  If Mom is still living independently then minimal extra care may be needed.  If not, then perhaps some level of home care could be required.  This can range from assistance with bathing to home health care services.  Again, various levels of home care are likely to be less expensive than a senior living community.

Mom moving in for elder care assistance is a viable option; but without some level of home care, it could be an incredible burden on the family.  In many instances, husbands and wives are still working.  So attempting to take care of Mom at home requires some good thinking as to what is feasible and what could be impossible.