How to buy the last house you’ll ever buy

My husband and I bought what we thought was a starter home 20 years ago. Now we think of it as our “forever” home, where we plan to retire and live out the rest of our days.

We got lucky, because most of the features that make our place good for “aging in place” — the single-story layout, open design, wide doorways — weren’t on our must-have list when we were newlyweds.

We’re not the only people who didn’t think far enough into our future. The vast majority of homebuyers and remodelers don’t consider what it might be like to grow old in their homes, says Richard Duncan, executive director of the Ronald L. Mace Universal Design Institute, a nonprofit in Asheville, North Carolina, that promotes accessible design for housing, public buildings and parks. In my latest for the Associated Press, what you should take into consideration for the future when buying a home.

Q&A: Keep your ID papers current

Dear Liz: In helping my 92-year-old father update his trust, we ran into a snag. Both his passport and driver’s license had expired.

We thought he didn’t need them since he does not travel, drive or hit the bars.

But to notarize documents, you need current identification. Getting a state ID card added many weeks to the process.

Remind your elderly readers to keep their ID current.

Answer: Consider it done.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How to stop being afraid of credit cards. Also in the news: Personal finance lessons we wish we learned in school, protecting seniors from financial scams, and how to avoid money mistakes after losing a spouse.

Scared of Credit Cards? This Tool Could Help You Make the Leap
There’s nothing to be afraid of if you do it right.

6 personal finance lessons we wish were taught in school
Probably more helpful than trigonometry.

How to Guard Against Common Scams That Target Seniors
Protecting your loved ones from predators.

4 Money Mistakes People Often Make After a Spouse Dies
Don’t make any impulsive decisions.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How to find the most important information in your credit report. Also in the news: Financial scams that target seniors, questions for first time tax filers, and how to cut your tax bill with credit card deductions.

5 Things You Absolutely Need to Find in Your Credit Reports
How to find the important information.

7 Financial Scams that Target Seniors
What to look out for.

5 Questions First-Time Tax Filers Need to Answer
Welcome to the real world!

Cut Your Tax Bill with Credit Card Deductions
Business owners should pay close attention.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Where to save for retirement if you make less than $100,000. Also in the news: Financial therapy, the least prepared states for retirement, and a guide to refinancing your mortgage.

Don’t Wait For Obama’s MyRA: The Best Places To Save For Retirement If You Make Less Than Six Figures
The best time to start saving is now.

Do You Need Financial Therapy?
You don’t need to deal with money problems alone.

Retirement readiness looks grim in many states
Wake up, South Carolina!!

Four-Step Guide to Refinancing Your Home Mortgage
Lower interest rates could save you money.

Money-saving tips for seniors
Easy ways to keep some extra money in your wallet.

Daily money managers can help pay the bills

Dear Liz: I read with interest your answers about older people who need a trusted gatekeeper to keep others from taking financial advantage. I want to let you know there’s great help out there for seniors: the American Assn. of Daily Money Managers. We daily money managers provide assistance to people who have difficulty managing their personal bill-paying responsibilities and associated personal paperwork. This service offers a cost-effective way for clients to get assistance with organizing, bill paying, balancing checkbooks and reviewing statements from a trusted source. A daily money manager does not replace the services of other professionals — such as CPAs, banks, financial planners and attorneys — but assists clients with daily affairs and helps maintain records and information that is essential for these professionals. People can find more information at the association’s website, http://www.aadmm.com.

Answer: Thanks for pointing out this resource. Many older Americans have trouble with household money management. They may forget to pay bills or keep track of their account balances, leading to bounced checks. Organizing their paperwork and collecting information for tax returns can become an ordeal. Some people have trusted family members who have the time to take over. For others, daily money managers can be the answer.

Daily money managers are distinct from conservators or guardians, however. They aren’t supervised by the courts, so potential clients need to take care in hiring one. In addition to the AADMM’s website, people may be able to get referrals from financial professionals such as a lawyer, financial planner or accountant. The daily money manager should be insured and willing to work with those professionals.

Daily money managers aren’t limited to helping only seniors. They also can help busy executives, travelers and people with attention deficit disorders who have trouble keeping up with daily financial details.