Retirees can roughly be divided into two groups – those who want to downsize to a smaller home, like a condo or bungalow, and those who want to remain in their family home. I conducted an informal survey on my Facebook personal finance page last week, and 66 per cent of those who participated said they preferred to stay in their family home, at least for the time being.
This finding backs up a survey I wrote about recently that showed, first, a strong desire among seniors to stay in their homes and, second, how common it is for these seniors to be pressured by family members or realtors to sell. A few readers responded to this column by essentially saying that even if seniors don’t want to sell, they ought to for their own good as well as their family’s.
Several readers worried about their elderly parents’ safety at home, which is understandable. Stairs, bathtubs and slippery hardwood floors can all be a hazard to someone with limited mobility. One answer, obviously, is to move to more suitable accommodations. Another is to retrofit a home. This Washington Post article offers six ideas for making seniors comfortable and secure in their homes, including a walk-in shower and carpeting to cover hardwood. Here’s another list of common ways to retrofit a home.
Finally, here’s an overview of provincial programs that help seniors pay for renovations that make their homes safer and more accessible.
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Rob’s personal finance reading list…
How to score a cheap flight
I like this guide to finding the lowest-cost airline tickets because it’s super thorough and detailed. My wife and I will be using some of these ideas for future trips. Now for some tips on how to protect yourself from lost luggage while travelling.
Getting negative items off your credit report
A credit counselling agency offers a few suggestions on how to clean up blemishes like late payments, overdue bills and repossessions.
Homeowner vs. the wasps
Housing blogger Sean Cooper writes about his adventures dealing with wasps on his property and then makes a recommendation about how much to budget for professional help with this problem. His blog post rang A bell with me because wasps love our house, too. We once has a nest bigger than a basketball in our backyard.
The grandmother scam strikes again
Warn your elderly parents or relatives about this swindle, where seniors are conned into providing money to supposedly help their grandchildren out of trouble. We keep hearing about scams like this because they keep hooking people.
Today’s financial tool
This list of consumer resources from the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments includes a guide to relevant online financial and investing content relevant to seniors.
Q: “I'm looking for the best way to compare the return on my four accounts to the total return on the S&P 500 and the S&P/TSX composite indexes. I was hoping for a website that will show me the total return for both those indexes.”
A: Here’s a website that provides monthly tables of short- and long-term total returns for all major stock and bond indexes relevant to Canadian investors. Total returns combine changes in share price and dividends or bond interest.
Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length.
How to get over your money shame. I agree with one of the messages here: While saving 10 per cent of your pay is a good savings goal, saving 2 per cent is a lot better than zero. Don’t give up if you can’t meet the goals everyone says you should aim for.
In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance stories
- Ten tips for lending money to your family
- Home-sellers save big bucks by skipping or staging properties themselves
- Why I’m switching from pizza to doughnuts in my dividend growth portfolio (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)
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