Retire AZ Style News

Top 5 Tips for Safe Summer Hiking in Arizona

Summer is nearly hear but the temperatures are already on the rise in Arizona. And for active adults who love to hike outdoors, taking safety precautions to avoid heat stroke and stay protected is especially important this time of year. Trails can turn deadly for even the most avid hikers if they’re not prepared, especially during the summer months. If you’re ready to brave the trails, please don’t forget these top 5 tips for safe summer hiking in Arizona.

  1. About to try a new trail? Keep in mind trail difficulty ratings increase by one level when temperatures are above 90 degrees, so those rated easy become moderate and moderate becomes difficult.
  2. Hikers planning to hit the trails should start preparing early by hydrating with water (not coffee, soda, and energy drinks) the day before.
  3. Hikers should take plenty of water on their hikes, wear sunscreen and a hat, go in pairs and let someone know where they’ll be hiking and when they expect to return.
  4. When hiking a new trail, people should break it up by only going part of the way the first time so they don’t reach overexertion, he said. The next time, they can go a little farther as they become more familiar with the trail.
  5. Watch for signs you’re over exhausted or dehydrated: clammy skin, weakness, blurry vision, cramps, fatigue, dizziness, dragging your feet, tripping and headaches. Listen to your body and head back as soon as possible. It’s not worth the risk to keep pushing forward!

For more tips on safe summer hiking in Arizona or if you’re an Arizona retiree looking for a luxury Arizona retirement community to call home this summer, please contact Sharon Mason today!

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,

 

Sharon Mason

RE/MAX Professionals

623-810-9988

www.RetireArizonaStyle.com 

Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!

Posted by Sharon Mason on June 1st, 2018 1:37 PM

Looking for Volunteer Work? Northwest Valley Connect Needs Drivers

With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. Volunteering and helping others can help older adults reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose.

If you’re an active adult or Arizona retiree looking for a volunteer work then you’ll be happy to know that Northwest Valley Connect is currently looking for drivers! The nonprofit agency helps Northwest Valley residents with transportation challenges find alternatives. One of those is Northwest Valley Connect’s volunteer driver program, in which volunteers use their own vehicles to provide rides for residents for doctor and other medical appointments, grocery shopping and other trips within the area.

NVC officials aim to educate the population it serves on existing transportation resources as well as provide new senior transportation options to service unmet needs. NVC serves as the one-click, one-call resource aimed to keeping older adults in the Valley active and connected to the community. From doctors appointments and errands to grocery store trips and visits with friends, getting Valley residents to the places they need to be easily and efficiently is the agencies primary mission.

Northwest Valley Connect is growing by leaps and bounds. In fact, the agency responded to more than 10,500 requests for transportation referrals and rides during the past year, according to Kathy Chandler, the executive director of Northwest Valley Connect. Most calls are from residents 55 or older with physical limitations, she added. In the past three months inquiries from Sun City, Sun City West and Surprise residents doubled figures at this same time last year.

NVC’s area of service has also seen growth and now includes Litchfield Park, Goodyear and Avondale and the projection for 2018 response to inquiries is 14,000 or more shared Chandler. If you’d like more information about volunteering for Northwest Valley Connect call 623-282-9304 or visit northwestvalleyconnect.org. If you’d like more information about volunteer activities in Sun City or if you’re looking to downsize to a home in an Arizona retirement community, please contact Sharon Mason today!

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,

Sharon Mason

RE/MAX Professionals

623-810-9988

www.RetireArizonaStyle.com 

Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!

Posted by Sharon Mason on May 23rd, 2018 12:53 PM

Top 3 Super Summer Health Tips for Seniors

Though the first day of summer is still
technically not for another month, there’s no denying that it’s already beginning to heat up in Arizona. And while the summertime is a time of relaxation for most people, for older adults, the heat and sun can be dangerous if the proper precautions aren't taken. Here are the top 3 super summer health tips for seniors that Arizona retirees and active adults can use to make sure they have a fun, safe summer.

1.) Watch for heat stroke: It is extremely important to watch for signs of heat stroke, especially for Arizona retirees. Some signs to look for include confusion, disorientation, dry skin, excessive tiredness, headache, lethargy, nausea, and a rapid pulse. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

2.) Stay hydrated: By the time you’re thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. For active adults, the feeling of thirst decreases as we age, so be sure to increase your water intake if you are exercising or doing any type of prolonged physical activity. Aim to drink six to eight glasses of water per day. 

3.) Apply Bug Spray: The elderly is unfortunately prone to the Zika Virus, West Nile Virus and encephalitis. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, use mosquito repellent to help reduce the risk of getting bit by a mosquito carrying this virus.

The beautiful Arizona summers can bring a few dangers for Arizona retirees including sunburn, eye damage, dehydration, heat exhaustion and more. If you follow these top 3 super summer health tips for seniors, there's no reason you can't have an enjoyable and fun-filled summer -- no matter your age.

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,

Sharon Mason

RE/MAX Professionals

623-810-9988

www.RetireArizonaStyle.com 

Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!

Posted by Sharon Mason on May 17th, 2018 12:49 PM
5 Quick Tips to Reduce your A/C Bills this Summer

Summer is just around the corner and summertime energy demand can be higher with weather responsible for up to seventy percent of your electric bill according to Arizona Public Service (APS) department. In fact, cooling accounts for forty percent of the energy consumption in the average Phoenix home.

So if you’re looking to keep your monthly cooling bill costs from rivaling the heats triple digits, here are 5 quick tips to reduce your A/C bills this summer.

1. Replace disposable air filters at least once a month to save energy and increase the life of your cooling system.

2. Leave your air vents open to help improve the effectiveness of your cooling system.

3. Check windows for any hot air leaking in and seal them with caulk or weather stripping.

4. Add window treatments. Sunscreens can block as much as sixty to eighty percent of the sun’s heat from reaching the glass.

5. Install a programmable thermostat to save time and energy costs.

Be sure to implement one or more of these 5 tips to reduce your A/C bills this summer, and the heat will be the only thing that will have you sweating this summer! If you’re looking for more energy saving tips or if you’re looking to buy a home in an Arizona retirement community or sell your Sun City home, please contact me today!

Your Arizona Retirement Expert, Sharon Mason RE/MAX Professionals 623-810-9988 www.RetireArizonaStyle.com Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on May 10th, 2018 10:51 AM
Enjoy the Last Spring Concert at Sun City Sun Bowl

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Why not enjoy the last spring concert at the Sun City Sun Bowl? This Sunday, May 6th at 7:00 pm Recreation Centers of Sun City hosts Chad Freeman and Redline at the Sun Bowl Amphitheater located at 10220 N 107th Ave, Sun City. Get your country goin’ on as they end the Sun Bowl season with one of the most talented and energetic bands in the west, Chad Freeman and Redline!

This group will get the crowd rockin’ for an evening full of highfalutin dancing fun! Chad Freeman and Redline burst onto the music scene in 2009 and quickly became one of the most recognized country/rock bands in the southwest. Combining their individual talents as well as passion for great music and showmanship, they have continued to grow throughout their tenure and have established themselves as a top performing band while performing at some of the larger venues and events not only in the Southwest, but across the nation as well. With regular performances in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Colorado and Texas, word has spread that for great country/rock music, CFR is the band you want to see at the Sun Bowl.

Gourmet food vendors arrive one and a half hours prior to show time for your dining pleasure at the Sun Bowl. Best of all this concert is free for RCSC Cardholders and their escorted guests only. Please be prepared to show your Member of Privilege Card (with photo) as no key fobs accepted. Don’t forget to bring your lawn chair or blanket!

The Sun Bowl Amphiteathtre hosts numerous concerts, performances and other events geared towards the retirement communities of Sun City. If you’d like more information about upcoming events in Sun City or if you’re looking to sell or buy a home in an Arizona retirement community, please contact Sharon Mason today!

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on May 3rd, 2018 2:17 PM
April 2018 National Housing Report

If you are looking for a new home, chances are you’re not finding many homes on the market. If you’re a seller, you have likely noticed the value of your home is rising — no matter what part of the country you live in.

According to the April 2018 RE/MAX National Housing Report, home prices continued to climb year-over-year for the twenty-fourth consecutive month in March, while home sales continued to decline for a fourth consecutive month, making it a seller’s market in most regions of the country.

“Homebuyers shouldn’t be discouraged by the record-breaking numbers — even with higher prices and closed transactions, this March marks the second-highest in sales in the history of the RE/MAX National Housing Report,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “It’s more important than ever to work with an experienced RE/MAX agent who is invested and involved in their community. They are dialed into the nuances of a neighborhood, making your home search or sale easier and quicker.”

When the months supply of inventory falls below six months, it’s a seller’s market, and all 54 metro areas surveyed for the monthly housing reported under six months of inventory. “We also look at the Days on Market as another indicator of tight inventory and the national average stands at 60 days,” said Contos. “That’s four days less than a year ago and another March record-breaker.”

Of the fifty-four metro areas surveyed in March 2018, the overall average number of home sales increased +36.6 percent compared to February 2018 and decreased -5.3 percent compared to March 2017. In March 2018, the median of all fifty-four metro Median Sales Prices was $236,000, up +3.2 percent from February 2018 and up +4.9 percent from March 2017. The average Days on Market for homes sold in March 2018 was sixty, down two days from the average in February 2018, and down four days from the March 2017 average. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.

To access a copy of the RE/MAX April 2018 National Housing Report, click here. If you’re an active adult or retiree ready to buy a home in an Arizona retirement community or sell your Sun City home, please contact Sharon Mason today!

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on April 24th, 2018 7:05 PM
Watch for Snakes this Spring

Arizona spring weather is some of the most anticipated seasons of the year for many residents and out of town visitors. Everything from camping in Arizona to various outdoor festivals and events are available for everyone to enjoy valley-wide. But the rise of temperature also awakens the rise of something else; snake bites. In fact the spike in snake bites has become a rite of late spring, according to hospital officials at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix, the hospital in Maricopa County that specializes in treating snake bites.

Banner Hospital sees about fifty snake-bite patients a year, the most in the Southwest, according to Dr. Frank Lovecchio, co-medical director of Banner Poison and Drug Information Center. Last month the hospital cared for ten snake-bite patients in a single month. “And there could be more before the month's end,” Lovecchio stated, “because the number of snake-bite reports increases this time every year, as temperatures creep toward ninety degrees.”

"When snakes sense a little bit of heat and humidity, they come out," Lovecchio said. "The snakes are hibernating most of the year and now they are starting to come out. It’s important for Arizona residents to be aware of snakes this spring. Suggested tips include:

• If you come across a rattlesnake, observe its beauty from a distance and let the snake go on its way.
• From a coiled position, a rattlesnake can strike at a distance of about half to two-thirds of its body length, so you do not want to get too close.
• Rattlesnakes are most active in the evening and a night when they do most of their hunting. They are usually very active in the early spring after remaining inactive during the winter months.
• It's best not to hike in wilderness areas after dark. Carry a walking stick and keep it forward to let snakes know you are approaching their area.
• If you hear the "rattle," freeze. Look carefully to locate the rattlesnake and move slowly in the opposite direction.

If you happen to see a rattlesnake on your property, call a local agency that can help remove the reptile. If you are bitten by a rattlesnake get to an emergency room right away or call the national network of poison-control centers immediately at 800-222-1222 if you are quite a distance away. Stay safe this spring and please be aware of snakes!

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on April 18th, 2018 1:05 PM
Providing Above and Beyond Service in the Valley Since 1994

As a native Arizonan and resident of the Arizona retirement communities I sell, I take pride in proudly celebrating professionalism and honesty as a full-service full-time Associate Broker for RE/MAX Professionals. I bring a strong combination of customer service, sales, market knowledge and marketing to benefit my clients. As a Top 20 REALTOR®, I follow the highest standards of customer service and ethics to conduct business on your behalf and have been doing so since 1994. When something needs to get done I do it. I do this so we have a smooth transaction and to ensure we have a good relationship, trust, and satisfaction. Here is just of the testimonials that one of my past clients had to share about his experience working with me:

“I would like to thank your broker Sharon Mason for the above and beyond services she provided for me on the sale of my condo. I have been a licensed Real Estate Broker since 1961 and am still active in the business myself, which gives me the expertise to recognize the outstanding services she provided. I would recommend her very highly to anyone needing assistance in the real estate field.” - Fred Schonewise

There are eleven wonderful retirement communities to choose from in the West Valley area and my office is located right in the center of them. So when you are ready to make your move, please contact Sharon Mason. I look forward to helping you find the Arizona retirement community and home of your dreams!

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on April 12th, 2018 2:04 PM
5 Interesting Easter Facts You Never Knew 

Easter is this Sunday, April 1st and it is a wonderful holiday to celebrate with religious traditions, Easter egg hunts, yummy peeps and of course quality time with those we cherish. Easter is a fun and beautiful holiday to be enjoyed by all. So to celebrate, here are 5 interesting Easter facts you never knew!

1.) Eggs have been viewed to be symbolic of "new life," so they're extremely popular in the spring.

2.) Easter is supposedly named after two different terms. One is “Eostre” the goddess of spring time celebrations and fertility. The other Easter derivative name come from “Eastre,” the Anglo-Saxon goddess who symbolizes the hare and the egg, hence the Easter bunny and hunting for Easter eggs.

3.) The tallest Easter egg chocolate was made in Italy in 2011. It stood at 10.39 meters and weighed an astounding 7,200 kg.

4.) At one time, Easter was associated with pretzels! The reason? The twists of a pretzel can be seen as arms crossing in prayer. In fact, back in the day, there were pretzel hunts instead of egg hunts.

5.) The art of painting eggs is called pysanka, which originated in Ukraine. It involves using wax and dyes to color the egg.

Whether you’re all about Easter egg hunts, Easter morning church services, family feasts or more, I want to wish you all a safe and Happy Easter!

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on March 28th, 2018 3:41 PM
Top 5 Safe Spring Cleaning Tips for Seniors

The first day of spring was yesterday and now that a beautiful new season is here it’s time to start spring cleaning. No matter how and when you decide to pull out that dust buster and clear those cobwebs, it pays to play it safe. Here are the top 5 safe spring cleaning tips for seniors.

1.) Clean up Clutter: Trips and falls are likely to happen when you accumulate too much. Reduce the risk by removing unnecessary and obstructive items from your regular walking path and place them in storage or donate them to loved ones who might have a need for them. Make maintaining a clear walkway in every room of your home a top priority.

2.) Check the lights: Fall prevention is a yearlong goal for older adults, and you’d be surprised how much bad lighting contributes to slips and trips. It’s especially difficult for active adults who may experience trouble with their vision. Be sure to check all light features throughout the house and replace any missing or burned out bulbs. Ample light allows you to move freely and safely without the risk of falling due to lack of light.

3.) Check the Medicine Cabinet: Holding on to expired prescription drugs can be detrimental to your health. Make sure to avoid potentially dangerous health hazards by safely disposing of expired medication. Be sure to store medications in a cool, dark, dry place like an airtight plastic container.

4.) Crank up the tunes: The older we get, the more imperative it is to stay active and healthy. As an Arizona retiree, you should never pass up an opportunity to get fit, and spring cleaning offers a way to really get your blood moving. Crank up the tunes and play your favorite songs while you clean to infuse some energy and fitness into your day to help power you through your spring chore list. Just don’t forget to stay hydrated and rest as needed.

5.) Call a friend: If the idea of cleaning your home from top to bottom seems like an overwhelming task, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Call friends or family members to help and turn a possible spring cleaning chore into a party. If there is a lot to do, maybe have friends help one day and family help the next. Or consider asking other neighbors in your active adult community if they’d like to create a “spring cleaning club” where everyone helps each other clean one home per week until everyone is reveling in spring cleaning bliss!

Happy Spring!
Your Arizona Retirement Expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on March 21st, 2018 12:52 PM
Friends of Sun Cities Libraries Seeking Volunteers 

Looking for a great way to spend your time this spring? Consider volunteering! Over the past two decades we have seen a growing body of research that indicates volunteering provides individual health benefits in addition to social ones. This research, which is presented by CNCS in a report titled “The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research,” has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.

Studies have also shown that older volunteers are the most likely to receive greater benefits from volunteering, whether because they are more likely to face higher incidence of illness or because volunteering provides them with physical and social activity and a sense of purpose at a time when their social roles are changing. Perhaps the first and biggest benefit people get from volunteering is the satisfaction of incorporating service into their lives and making a difference in their community and country.

The Friends of the Sun City Libraries need volunteers to work in three specific areas. A person is needed to be on call twice a month to pick up donated books from homes when the resident is unable to bring the materials to the Books Around the Corner store located in the Sun City Library at 16828 N 99th Ave. They also need a volunteer to maintain the Friends of the Sun City Libraries Facebook Page. Friends of the Library are non-profit, volunteer-run community groups that provide vital support to the libraries and Sun City community.

For more details and volunteering opportunities at Sun City Libraries contact Mary Anne McDonald at the bookstore, 602-651-2014 or visit suncitylibraryfriends.org. For more volunteering opportunities in Sun City or for more things to do for Arizona retirees and active adults in the Valley, please contact Sharon Mason today.

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,
Sharon Mason, Associate Broker
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com

Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on March 15th, 2018 10:35 AM
10 Best Places to Retire in Arizona in 2018

Ready to retire in 2018? You may want to consider making Arizona your retirement destination. According to the U.S. census, 15.4 percent of people living in Arizona are sixty-five years or older, a proportion slightly larger than the national average. It’s no surprise Arizona would be one of the top places to retire, especially since Arizona as a whole is one of the 10 most tax-friendly states for retirees, according to Kiplinger, a Washington, D.C.-based business and finance-advice publication.

Here are the 10 best places to retire in Arizona in 2018 according to a Niche.com, a U.S. census data website that helps you discover the neighborhoods that are right for you.

1.) Sun City
2.) Catalina Foothills
3.) Green Valley
4.) Sun City West
5.) Paradise Valley
6.) Oro Valley
7.) Fountain Hills
8.) Fortuna Foothills
9.) Catalina
10.) Carefree

Niche’s 10 best places to retire in Arizona in 2018 ranking takes into account key factors, such as weather, crime rates, residents sixty-five and older, housing costs, and access to amenities such as restaurants, golf courses, exercise facilities, and doctors, in an attempt to measure the appeal of an area for retirement. I

f you’d like to learn more about retiring in Arizona or if you’re looking to buy an Arizona retirement home, please contact Sharon Mason today!

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,
Sharon Mason, Associate Broker
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on March 7th, 2018 12:29 PM
Save the Date for the Sun City Senior Prom at Sundial

Remember your first prom? The dresses and tuxes. The lights. The music. The dancing. Why not relive that special night again? Save the date for the Sun City Senior Prom at the Sundial on Saturday, March 10th at 6:00 p.m.

The Sundial Recreation Center located at 14801 N. 103rd Ave., Sun City hosts the third annual Senior Prom themed “Springtime in Paris.” Spend an evening in Paris and stroll along through memories and celebrate the beauty of all things spring. Dress in your best and come prepared to dance to live music from the band, Faded Jeans starting at 7:00pm.

As KOOL FM’s “2016 Battle of the Cover Bands” Winner, Faded Jeans is the energetic, five-piece electric party band for everybody! Their song list spans Classic Rock, R&B, Pop, Oldies, Country, 70’s Funk, Rockabilly, and Blues, with each song performed true to style. Faded Jeans has something for everyone and is comprised of an incredible mix of musicians from across the country, all with stellar professional experience.

Although the Sun City Senior Prom at the Sundial is a free event for all Recreation Center of Sun City (RCSC) members and their escorted guests, you must obtain a ticket at the Lakeview Clubs and Activities Office at the Lakeview Center. Tickets must be picked up at the Lakeview Clubs and Activities Office no later than Monday, March 5th. Please click here for event details.

For more fun things to do in Sun City, active adult activities or information about available homes for sale in an Arizona retirement community, please contact Sharon Mason today.

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on March 1st, 2018 11:46 AM
Pay Your Mortgage Off Early with These 3 Tips

Did you know? According to U.S. Census data approximately thirty-four percent of homeowners in the U.S. no longer have a mortgage. If you’re an Arizona retiree that wants to be one of the percentage of homeowners that doesn’t have a monthly payment, then here are 3 tips to pay off your mortgage early.

1.) Bi-weekly Payments: This tactic is a no brainer. There are fifty-two weeks in the year and twelve months. If you pay half your regular mortgage payment every two weeks, you'll have made twenty-six half-payments, or thirteen full monthly payments by then end of the year. So you’re effectively making a full extra payment each year. Check if your bank will set up a biweekly mortgage payment plan and ask the bank to credit extra payments toward principal so you save more on interest expense.

2.) Creative Refinancing: There are a few ways you can refinance your home loan to help you pay off your mortgage early. You can refinance your mortgage to a lower rate but keep making the higher payment which helps shave years off your mortgage. Or you can refinance your mortgage to a shorter term which cuts the amount of interest you pay sooner.

3.) Give a Little More: You’d be surprised what a difference even paying just a little more will make on paying off your mortgage sooner. Even something as small as rounding your payments up can help. For example: Round a mortgage payment of $644 up to $650. A mere $6 more a month on a $200,000, 30-year loan can save you four payments at the end of the mortgage loan! Also, be sure to apply any extra money you pay towards paying off your mortgage to the principal balance, not just the next payment.

Obtaining the dream of living debt-free by paying off your mortgage early may seem like a stretch, but it is actually a perfectly obtainable goal if you stay focused. If you’re an active adult looking to sell your Phoenix home or find a home in a luxury Arizona retirement community, please contact Sharon Mason today!

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on February 21st, 2018 12:24 PM
Top 3 Overlooked Tax Breaks for Retirees

Finally retired? Congratulations! In addition to being the boss of your own time, retirement affords you a variety of new tax breaks that aren’t available to younger people. But are you aware of all the tax breaks you can claim? Here are the top 3 overlooked tax breaks for retirees.

1.) Bigger Standard Deduction: When you turn sixty-five, the IRS offers a gift in the form of a bigger standard deduction. The extra $1,550 will make it more likely you’ll take the standard deduction rather than itemizing and, if you do, the additional amount will save you almost $400 if you’re in the twenty-five percent bracket. Couples in which one or both spouses are age sixty-five or older also get bigger standard deductions than younger taxpayers.

2.) Medical Expense Deductions: Until 2017, taxpayers age 65 and older get a break when it comes to deducting medical expenses. Those who itemize get a money-saving deduction to the extent their medical bills exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income. For younger taxpayers, the AGI threshold is ten percent. If you’re married, only one spouse needs to be sixty-five to use the 7.5 percent threshold.

3.) IRA Contributions: If you’re married and your spouse is still working, he or she can contribute up to $6,500 a year to an IRA that you own. If you use a traditional IRA, spousal contributions are allowed up to the year you reach age 70 ½. If you use a Roth IRA, there is no age limit. As long as your spouse has enough earned income to fund the contribution to your account (and any deposits to his or her own), this tax shelter’s doors remain open to you.

If you or someone you know is retiring this year or are seeking a retirement home in Sun City, please give me a call today. I can help you find the perfect Arizona retirement community where you can enjoy your golden years!

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on February 14th, 2018 12:49 PM
3 Ways to Fall in Love with Your Home Again

Seeing the same layouts day after day, week after week, and year after year is enough to make even the most devoted homeowner feel bored. Since February is the month of love, reignite some interest in your home with these 3 projects that will make your fall in love with your home again.

1.) Flower Power There’s a reason why so many people give the gift of flowers this time of year. Because they’re beautiful! Plants and flowers in your home can add color, fresh air, and even a sense of peace and wellbeing. Treat yourself to fresh flowers on your dining room table. Add some color to your landscape with some bright, unusual flowers, or take advantage of the gorgeous Arizona weather and start that garden you’ve always dreamed about.

2.) Light Up Your life: Lighting is often an underrated feature but is truly one of the most important details. Replacing the light fixtures in your house can dramatically increase your home’s beauty. Anything from lighted Victorian style ceiling fans to Tuscan themed wall mounted sconces can add both personality and value to your space. Under cabinet kitchen lighting and dimmer switches are both very functional and attractive options that can be added to your abode as well.

3.) Red for Love: Nothing gets the blood moving quite like a punch of color in your home. Brighten up your living room with warm red throw pillows. Add a vase of red roses to your bedroom nightstand. Or pair your bathroom décor up with red rugs and accessories. If you’re feeling like daring do-it-yourselfer, a red accent wall in your kitchen can make a heartwarming eye catcher and a sweet conversation starter.

If you’re looking for more ways to improve your Sun City home, or if you’re looking for a new home in an Arizona retirement community to fall in love with, contact Sharon Mason today.

Your retirement expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on February 7th, 2018 9:04 AM
Catch the Motown Magic Sun City Show Tonight!

Looking for a something fun to do in Sun City this evening? If you’re a music lover who loves to boogie then you’ll definitely want to catch the Motown Magic Sun City show tonight! The show takes place at 7:00 pm at the Sun City Sundial Auditorium located at 14801 N. 103rd Ave. Sun City, AZ 85351 and is only $17 per person for Recreation Center of Sun City (RCSC) Cardholders and $20 per person for non-RCSC Cardholders.

Motown Magic is a solid-gold production that guarantees to have everyone out of their seats and dancing in the aisles! This show jives through the decades of Motown chart topping hit artists and groups like The Temptations, Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye and more. There’s little doubt the memories will help re-create the soulful musical memories before the night is out!

Tickets available at the Lakeview Clubs and Activities Office and doors open at 6:00pm. Unable to catch this show? Don’t despair! There’s a December ’63 concert taking place next Wednesday, February 6th at the Sun Dial where the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons comes to life in this re-creation of a Frankie Valli concert experience, showcasing all of your favorite songs including one-of-a-kind classics that have been thrilling audiences for decades along with the band’s most popular singles from the musical Jersey Boys.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Sundial Recreation Center; this active adult gem boasts amenities such as RCSC’s only indoor swimming pools, numerous concerts and special events and the center offers a large contingent of chartered clubs.

Please click here for a list of upcoming shows and activities taking place at the Sundial Auditorium in Sun City. Looking for more fun things to do in Sun City for retirees? Or are you seeking the perfect Arizona retirement community to call home? Contact Sharon Mason, your Arizona Retirement Expert, today!

Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on January 31st, 2018 2:36 PM
3 New Year’s Resolutions for Retirees in 2018 

Can you believe another year has come and gone and 2018 is here? If your new Year’s resolutions don’t include your retirement plan for the year, then you may want to add it! And here are 3 New Year’s Resolutions for Retirees in 2018 to consider.

1.) Promote Healthy Aging: Reaching the golden years of retirement is a celebrated milestone for many, but it isn’t going to be enjoyable if you’re not healthy. In 2018, focus on making your health a top priority so you can age gracefully and enjoy your retirement to the fullest. Make sure to get an annual physical exam from your doctor and create a health plan to maintain your health.

2.) Know your SSN Options: For many Arizona retirees, Social Security retirement benefits are an important income source. Nine out of ten people age 65 and over claim Social Security benefits and they average nearly forty percent of total income of people in this age bracket. And how you claim Social Security and greatly impact your benefit amount. Your Social Security increase by eight percent per year, so the longer you wait to claim the more you’ll be able to claim. To find out the best option for you, speak to a financial advisor.

3.) Develop a viable financial plan: Whether you’re drawing social security, working part-time, or making investments, having a strong financial plan is key to fully enjoying retired living. The stress of worrying about how to make your mortgage payments, pay taxes, or wondering if you’ll have enough money to travel isn’t the way anyone wants to spend their retirement. Creating a budget plan and actively tracking your spending habits can also help you create a budget to live within your means.

If buying a home in an Arizona retirement community is in your retirement plans in 2018, please contact Sharon Mason today!

Your retirement expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on January 24th, 2018 9:12 AM
3 Helpful Tips to Prepare for Retirement in 2018

There’s rarely a greater joy in life than when you make that personal decision to hang up your hat and enjoy retirement. Just don’t forget that retirement takes planning, commitment, and a good financial head on your shoulders. Here are 3 helpful tips to prepare for retirement in 2018.

1. Determine your needs: Retirement can be expensive, with experts estimating that you need seventy to ninety percent of your preretirement income to maintain your standard of living when you stop working. The average American spends twenty years in retirement, so ask yourself, “What do I want?” Do you want to buy a home? Travel? Go back to school? Start a business? Determining your retirement needs and identifying what you want to do in retirement will help you plan better so you can enjoy your golden years to the fullest.

2.) Build a solid savings: Financial experts now recommend saving as much as fifteen percent of your salary for retirement. Don’t touch your retirement savings early or you may have to pay withdrawal penalties, lose principal and interest, and lose tax benefits. If you’ve just now started saving with few years left until retirement, don’t be deterred. It never hurts to explore investment and saving options that can help you reach your retirement goals faster.

3.) Eliminate debt: It's easier to save and fund your retirement when you don't have looming debts hanging over your head. When you're about to enter your retirement years, credit card debt -- and any student debt -- should be paid down. Thirteen percent of baby boomers still have student loan debt. Sit down with a financial planner to whip up a plan to quickly eliminate debt so you can use you can retire in style.

If you or someone you know plans on retiring in 2018 or are seeking a luxury Arizona retirement community, please give me a call today. I can help you find the perfect retirement home where you can enjoy your golden years!

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on January 17th, 2018 3:47 PM
Full Price Sale in Less than Two Weeks

As a full-service full-time Associate Broker for RE/MAX Professionals, I take great pride in specializing in the top local Arizona retirement communities. I’ve been a licensed REALTOR® since 1994 and my experience and certifications have helped make me an asset to home buyers and sellers alike. For sellers, my extensive marketing plan gives homeowners the opportunity to get the maximum value for his/her property.

For buyers, I help negotiate the best possible deal and search until I find the perfect property. Nothing satisfies me more than seeing the smiles that come with a successful sale. That’s why I love hearing from the people I’ve helped with their real estate goals. Here’s what one of my previous sellers had to share about their experience working with me.

“We are writing this letter to you in appreciation of all you did to expedite the recent sale of our home. We bought and sold many houses over the years and like to think we know how to pick a Realtor- and this time was no exception.

We appreciated the fact that you responded to our first phone call and that pressure was excreted to list with you. The presentation/comp book was well done and helped with the pricing of our property. Your knowledge of today's real estate market, interest rates etc... Was most helpful and led to a full price sale in less than two weeks.

Your professional manner, the fact that you came when you said you would, and kept us apprised of what was happening when other agents showed our home, made this a very positive experience.

It has been a pleasure having you as our agent and we have recommended you to our former neighbors. Thank you so very much for everything.” - Len and Carol Hilder

Ready to sell your Phoenix home in 2018? Or are you looking to buy a Phoenix home in one of the premier Arizona retirement communities? Let's get together to talk about your real estate needs together. I’m only a phone call away!

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on January 6th, 2018 9:38 AM
3 Great New Year’s Resolutions for Retirees 

One of the fun things about the New Year is making positive changes to pursue the good things in life and better yourself. Maybe this is finally your year to officially retire, or perhaps you’re ready to start a new traveling venture at this junction in your life. Here are 3 great New Year’s resolutions for Retirees to take with you into 2018.

1.) Stay Active: The older we get, the harder our bodies have to work to keep up with our lifestyles. Things like arthritis and other ailments can also add to the mix of getting older. This year, make a commitment to take better care of you. Exercise is a great way to improve balance as well as stave off depression and excessive weight gain. Physical activity can be as simple as a daily walk or participating in a group exercise class at the local senior center.

2.) Eat Well: Food is more than just something to nibble at. The right foods help soothe and even eliminate painful ailments associated with getting older. Adding more nutritious foods to your diet will not only help you feel good, but it also gives you the energy to do the things that you love. Joining a delivery service that delivers fresh fruit and veggies weekly or making a weekly trip to the local farmers market is a great way to add something good to your plate.

3.) Sharpen Your Mind: It’s no surprise that the older we get, the harder time we have recalling details. Memory loss is one of the most common things that come with the aging process. Adding some fun brain teasers such as computer games or Sudoku can help keep your mind sharp. Not into playing solo? Joining a book club or a board game group is not only challenges your mind, but also adds the joy of social interaction.

I hope 2018 motivates you to take better care of you so that you can age gracefully and get the most out of life. Happy New Year!

Your retirement expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on December 30th, 2017 4:23 PM
A Christmas Poem

October's old witches and goblins have gone
The turkey and stuffing are done
The wind brings a chill as December arrives

The tree lights all twinkle as one
The icicles hang from the roof-tops in town
As the rain and the snow starts to fall
The storefronts light up with Christmas displays
And Santa arrives at the mall

As presents are bought and presents are wrapped
For those that we love and adore
A small child's eyes, so young but so wise
Wants one more trip to the store

The video game, the doll or the train
Santa must know I've been good
I'll stay up all night, and help him unload
And get all the gifts that I should

Yes, Christmas is here, the laughter and joy
And all that goes with it you see
But when it is gone, our friendship goes on
You make every day Christmas for me...

Written by Mike Kimes

The best part of the holidays? Spending time with family and friends who make the season bright and memorable with their love and laughter! No matter how you celebrate, please remember to enjoy the little things because they will one day become the big things.

Have a Happy Holiday and a wonderful New Year!

Your retirement expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on December 24th, 2017 12:42 PM
Top 3 Tips to Max Out Your Retirement Fund in 2018 

The holidays are here and believe it or not, 2018 is just around the corner. Which makes now the perfect time to start planning your retirement plans for the New Year and take full advantage of the tax breaks and 401k match your retirement account provides. Here are the top 3 tips to max out your retirement fund in 2018.

1.) 401K Match: One great way to max out your retirement account fund is to get a 401K match. If you can’t max out your 401k, aim to save at least enough to get a 401k match which could be anywhere to fifty cents to a dollar from your employer for every dollar you contribute.

2.) Utilize Direct Deposit: Contributions to your 401k retirement account are typically withheld from your paycheck before you spend them. Direct deposit is the best and fastest way to fund your account and reduces the temptation to skip making a deposit.

3.) Avoid Penalties: Want access to your retirement funds quickly? Don’t act too fast. There are penalties if you take money out of your 401k account too soon or even too late. You’ll be charged a ten percent penalty for withdrawing early (before the age of 55) and there’s a fifty percent penalty if you fail to take the required minimal distribution after age 70.

Ready to retire in 2018? Are you looking for an Arizona retirement community to enjoy your golden years? Contact me today! As your Local Retirement Expert, I’ll ensure a high-quality, smooth real estate experience regardless of the situation and help you find the retirement home of your dreams!

Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on December 18th, 2017 8:48 AM
Here’s How to Fully Enjoy Being a Snowbird

While many places are combating tons of snow and shoveling their driveways, Arizonans are enjoying hikes, outdoor festivals and afternoons by the pool. It’s no wonder Arizona is one of the top places snowbirds love to frequent during the winter time. For those who don’t know, the term “snowbird” refers to travelers who choose to fly south to escape the harsh winters. Whether you’re a first time snowbird or you’ve been doing it for most of your retirement, here’s how to fully enjoy being a snowbird.

Secure your home: The thought of heading to a sunny paradise is enough to make anyone forget about their snow covered bungalow back home. But taking the extra steps to secure your home will help make your transition home much smoother. Add additional security to your home such as timers for lights, extra locks, and someone to check in on your space.

Bring your meds: Sunscreen? Check. Bathing suit? Check. Flip-flops? Check. But did you remember to pack your important prescriptions and medications? It’s a good idea to pack your meds in a safe place and keep them with you at all times while traveling. Be sure to have enough extra to cover you while you’re away or be sure to confirm out of state prescription refills are approved with your health care provider. And don’t forget to pack your insurance cards.

Save smart: It’s a given you’re going to need cash for living and enjoying your time in the valley of the sun these next few months. In addition to travel expenses, don’t forget to set aside money for any last-minute emergencies that may occur. Sort out finances and makes sure a trusted family member or friend knows where to find your important documents just in case.

Are you a snowbird ready to buy a home in one of our many Arizona retirement communities? Contact Sharon Mason, your retirement expert today!

Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on December 9th, 2017 11:10 AM
What the Holidays Look Like After Retirement 

December is officially here and if you’ve recently retired, you may find that your holiday celebration might look a little different. Thanks to reduced obligations and increased free time, Arizona retirees may be better able to enjoy the season. However, older adults need to be wary of common pitfalls that can trip up holiday celebrations later in life. Here’s what the holidays look like after retirement.

It's a common mistake for seniors to continue lavishing gifts on their grandchildren after retirement during the holidays. While retirees with plenty in savings think they can afford to splurge, many don't take into consideration how it will affect the long-term value of their portfolio. Having a budget is essential for avoiding overspending on gifts.

Gifts aren't the only thing that might change after retirement. Travel may need to be adjusted. If older adults choose to retire in a different state from their family, the cost of holiday travel may become a cost burden. Seniors may need to budget more for airfare. They may also need to rent a vehicle or book extra nights in a hotel if they want to return home at a more leisurely pace. Because driving extra hours can wreak havoc on aging bodies, the easier and more cost efficient your holiday travel plans are, the better.

Regardless of how or where you’re spending your holidays after retirement, it’s important to make smart financial choices so that you’ll have less to worry about during this busy, festive season.

If you’d like more tips on retiring in Arizona or if you’re seeking an Arizona retirement community to call home, please contact Sharon Mason today!

Your retirement expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on December 3rd, 2017 12:24 PM
November 2017 RE/MAX National Housing Report

Despite record low inventory for the month, October home sales increased 2.5 percent year-over-year and kept 2017 prices ahead of 2016, according to this month’s RE/MAX National Housing Report. Thirty-seven of the fifty-three metro markets in the November RE/MAX National Housing Report posted sales increases over October 2016. Meanwhile, inventory gauges were at their lowest point for an October in the report’s nine year history.

The Months Supply of Inventory dropped to 3.3 – the lowest for any October in this housing report. It was mirrored by the Days on Market average of fifty-one days, also a new low for October for the report and a full week faster than the selling rate of homes in October of last year. The Median Sales Price of $224,000 increased 3.3 percent over last October and was $19,000 higher than the same month in 2015. The median price remained on a par with the prices of last spring that kicked off the peak summer selling season.

“The housing market is steady and at least somewhat predictable with record-low inventory and increasing prices in markets across the country,” said Adam Contos, RE/MAX Co-CEO. “With job growth and increased household formation, buyers will struggle and may even be priced out of the market until home building catches up.”

The average Days on Market for homes sold in October 2017 was fifty-one, up two days from the average in September 2017, and down seven days from the October 2016 average. To access the housing report infographic, visit: rem.ax/2cYFT50.

If you are looking to sell your Arizona home or are ready to buy a home in a luxury Arizona retirement community, please contact Sharon Mason today.

Your Arizona Retirement Expert,
Sharon Mason,
Associate Broker
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on November 29th, 2017 1:38 PM
Don’t Forget to Breathe This Thanksgiving

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays upon us, it’s easy to get swept up in the stress of planning and spending. The Black Friday Sales, the early holiday decorations on the shelves, and booking tickets to see loved ones can send anyone into a frenzy. Remember to stop, breathe, and take the time to enjoy the little things. Gratitude is a wonderful emotion to feel and what better time to remember what you’re thankful for than at Thanksgiving?

So as you gather with family and friends to share a day of Thanksgiving, don’t sweat the small stuff. When necessary, pick your battles. Remember to count your blessings. Remember to let those you love know how much you care for them and what a blessing they are to your life. Share the hugs, the pats on the back, hearty handshakes, and make a mental memory of the time going past. We are only here for a fleeting moment in time so it’s always the right time to say, “thank you,” “I love you,” and always the right time for a prayer of Thanksgiving.

I hope you and yours enjoy this festive Thanksgiving season and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Your retirement expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on November 19th, 2017 3:09 PM
Take a Moment to Thank a Veteran

Take a Moment to Thank a Veteran by Joanna Fuchs

When you see someone in a uniform,
Someone who serves us all,
Doing military duty,
Answering their country’s call,
Take a moment to thank them
For protecting what you hold dear;
Tell them you are proud of them;
Make it very clear.
Just tap them on the shoulder,
Give a smile, and say,
"Thanks for what you’re doing
To keep us safe in the USA!"

It is with great honor and respect that we thank all those men and women who have served and continue to serve this great nation. Thank you for your service and Happy Veterans Day!

Your retirement expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on November 11th, 2017 2:24 PM
Top 3 Retirement Blunders to Avoid

Did you know? The Social Security Administration reports that one quarter of those who are age sixty-five today will reach age ninety, and ten percent will make it past age ninety-five. So if you want to be financially set during those golden years, finance experts say you should avoid these top 3 retirement blunders.

1.) Draining your retirement accounts: Dipping into your retirement accounts early might seem essential at the time, but it can hurt you in the long run. While loans can be taken from 401(k) accounts and IRA money can be withdrawn early for certain needs financial advisors suggest keeping your hands off that money so that it can accumulate compound interest. That interest can add thousands more to your account balance at a time when you’ll truly benefit from it.

2.) Not budgeting for health care: Medical expenses can be a major cost in retirement and one that is often neglected. It’s easy to underestimate health care costs and find yourself in the red financially. The best plan of action is to carefully review your Medicare options with a professional to pick the best plan for you and budget accordingly.

3.) Taking Social Security benefits too early: Retirees can begin benefits as early as age sixty-two. However their monthly balance will be lower than what they could receive if they wait until the full retirement age of sixty-six. In fact, delaying taking social security benefits could give retirees an extra eight percent for every year they wait to claim benefits, says T. Michelle Jones, a certified financial planner and vice president at Bryn Mawr Trust.

When it comes to developing a retirement plan, it pays to avoid these top 3 retirement blunders and maximize your savings. For more tips on retirement or if you’re looking for an Arizona retirement community please contact Sharon Mason today.

Your retirement expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on November 6th, 2017 3:34 PM
Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treating with Grandkids

Little ghouls and goblins everywhere are gearing up for Halloween this Tuesday. And with a bit of preparation, you can help to give your grandchildren a safe and memorable Halloween. Here are some great safety tips for trick-or-treating with grandkids.

• Bring along a flashlight so that you and your grandkids can avoid tripping on the sidewalk.
• Remind all of your younger grandkids to cross the street at corners and crosswalks rather than jaywalking.
• If your grandkids are wearing dark robes or other clothes that are hard to see at night, this may pose an issue when crossing the street. So having glow sticks or reflectors can help make them easier to spot.
• Don’t let your grandkids bring any sharp weapons or dangerous props with their costumes. Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
• Be sure to check all of your kids’ candy at the end of the night.
• Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Don’t stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
• Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Some parents and grandparents will skip trick-or-treating and opt for a party. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this is the perfect opportunity to provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. A variety of fruits, vegetables, and cheeses are also recommended.

However you choose to spend Halloween with your grandchildren, have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Your retirement expert,
Sharon Mason
RE/MAX Professionals
623-810-9988
www.RetireArizonaStyle.com
Join Sharon on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted by Sharon Mason on October 29th, 2017 4:25 PM

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