Smart Home Purchases for Empty Nesters

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Editor’s Note: The following article was authored for Cummins by Leah Ingram, a freelance writer, lifestyle and money-saving expert.
Ah, the golden years. The kids are out of the house and college is paid for. Perhaps you did away with your mortgage as well. So, what do you do with all of that extra money? What about making some smart investments for a more secure future?

There are other decisions and purchases you can make that will help you lead a healthier and safer life, while also gaining peace of mind. Here are five smart purchases for empty nesters to consider.

Look into Home Automation
You’ve likely seen ads for home digital assistants, like Amazon Echo and Google Home. Commercials present home automation devices as fun to use for everyday tasks like ordering groceries, but they have value that may allow you to age in place safely. For example, both the Amazon and Google devices pair with home security companies to allow you to activate your home alarm or close your garage door. If you’ve installed “smart” door locks or light bulbs, these devices can also lock doors or turn on lights when you’re not home.

Consider Installing a Home Standby Generator
My mother retired to Maine, a state known for harsh winters. During one of her first winters there, the region was hit with one of the worst ice storms in history. She was without power for two weeks and swore never to let land in such a position again in the future. She invested in a home standby generator. It has provided peace of mind ever since. Many of my neighbors here at the Jersey Shore made similar decisions after Superstorm Sandy, recognizing how important it is to be prepared ahead of the storm.

Cummins produces some of the most reliable home standby generators on the market, and their website includes a generator sizing calculator to help you figure out which generator is right for your home.

Invest in Fitness
Staying fit becomes even more important as you age. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are three components that everyone – especially older individuals – should have in their fitness routine: cardiovascular exercise, interval training and strength training. Some experts suggest balance training, such as yoga, is also important to help prevent falls.

You can achieve these fitness goals by setting up a home gym of your own. A stationery bike or treadmill and hand weights are a great start. Or, if you like the social aspect of working out with others, invest in a gym membership. Look for a gym that offers a range of classes – yoga, spin, weight lifting, etc. – so you can meet all your physical activity needs in one place.

Trade In for an Energy-Efficient Car
Are you still driving the gas-guzzling mom taxi that got you through those raising-your-kids years? Sure, the car has long been paid off and probably doesn’t cost much to insure. But how much does it cost to maintain or fill up its tank? As you know, gas prices aren’t likely to go down in the future. Does it make sense to trade in that car for something more energy efficient? Or can your home with two older cars afford to become a home with one smaller, more energy-efficient car?

September is a great time to buy a car with dealers looking to clear out last year’s models to make room for the next year’s. If you’re serious about getting a new car, you may find some great deals.

Work With a Financial Planner
It makes sense to continue contributing to your retirement savings as you age. If you’re not already working with a financial planner to achieve your retirement savings goals, you should be. Financial planners can help you with so much more, too. For example, a financial planer can help you figure out what kind of long-term care insurance you need. Long-term care insurance can help fill the gaps when your traditional savings can’t cover health-related expenses.

Making informed purchases and financial decisions can improve your health and happiness well into your Golden Years. Start with the recommendations above, and you’ll be well on your way to a secure future.

About the Author: Leah Ingram is a freelance writer, lifestyle and money-saving expert. Her mission is to help you feel more confident about your spending, regardless of income.

She is the author of Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier for Less , which compiles Leah’s unique money-saving advice, including how a family can save $25,000 a year. Her second title in the Suddenly Frugal series is Toss, Keep, Sell!: The Suddenly Frugal Guide to Cleaning Out the Clutter and Cashing In .

Currently, Leah is working on a personal finance book, chock full of ideas to help middle-class families pay for college. That book, tentatively called College Money Hacks, will be out from Career Press in Fall 2017.

For more information, visit Leah’s website.

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