Retire AZ Style News

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

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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
RE/MAX October National Housing Report

September became the fifth month this year to post a decline in home sales compared to a record-setting 2016, while marking the 71st consecutive month of rising sale prices year-over-year, according to the October RE/MAX National Housing Report. Joining August, July, April and February, September home sales dropped 4.2 percent year-over-year in the report’s monthly analysis of housing data in 54 metro areas.

Going in the opposite direction, the Median Sales Price increased to $225,000. Though the lowest price since March, it was 2.3 percent higher than September 2016. The last month when home prices did not increase year-over-year was October 2011. Three-quarters of the way through 2017, other notable numbers from the RE/MAX National Housing Report include:

• In the wake of Hurricane Irma in early September, Miami saw home sales drop 35.2 percent year-over-year. Houston, meanwhile, posted a 3.2 percent gain despite the impact of Hurricane Harvey in late August. • Days on Market declined by one week, from 56 in September 2016 to 49.
• At 3.6, the Months Supply of Inventory was the lowest of any September in the report’s 9-year history. Twenty-three markets are at 3 months or less.
• Mirroring this, inventory dropped 14.1 percent year-over-year, with 46 metro areas seeing fewer homes for sale. Year-over-year, inventory has declined every month since November 2008.

Of the 54 metro areas surveyed in September 2017, the overall average number of home sales decreased 14.9 percent compared to August 2017 and decreased 4.2 percent compared to September 2016. Download your copy of the October 2017 RE/MAX National Housing Report here.

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 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 26th, 2017 10:15 AM
3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Snowbirds

Fall is here and Arizona’s beloved snowbirds are returning back to the Valley of the Sun. You don't have to live in the Phoenix,  area very long before you start hearing about snowbirds. But for those who are unfamiliar with the term, snowbirds are people who migrate to warmer locations to escape the harsh winters of their main home. Typically retirees and active adults, they use their freedom to escape the cold and snow from northern U.S. states and Canada, and purchase or rent homes in the Phoenix area. So in celebration of their welcomed return, here are 3 things you probably didn’t know about snowbirds.

1.) Snowbird is not a new term: The term “snowbird” has been around for almost 100 years. The word was first used in 1923 to describe seasonal workers who moved south for the winter months, and by 1979 it was commonly used in reference to the large number of retiree tourists who flocked to the south.

2.) Oh Canada: Believe it or not, the majority of international snowbirds come from Canada. About ten percent of snowbirds live in a permanent location outside of the United States. Four out of five of those international snowbirds come from Canada. There’s even a Canadian Snowbird Association, which is a nonprofit group made up of 80,000 older adult members aged sixty-five and up.

3.) Hello Boomers: Today, Baby Boomers are taking over the snowbird population. It didn’t always used to be this way, but now the majority of snowbirds are between the ages of fifty and sixty-nine. This generation is known to be very active and they tend to be wealthy, well-educated, and adapt to the snowbird lifestyle very well.

Snowbirds, also known as winter visitors, don’t just hang out down south and then leave. They actually have a big impact on the Phoenix economy! They pay real estate taxes, do all their grocery shopping, buy gas from local gas stations, and some even work seasonal jobs or volunteer. If you’re a snowbird looking for an Arizona retirement community to enjoy the winter or seeking to buy a home in Sun City, 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 October 16th, 2017 12:59 PM
3 Ways Baby Boomers are Affecting the Housing Market

Now more than ever, Valley baby boomers are embracing the empty nest and choosing to buy a home to support their new lifestyle. Currently, there are over 76 million baby boomers, and this new wave is looking for housing solutions to allow them to keep an active lifestyle and age comfortably. The baby boomer demographic is helping drive the demand for 55+ Arizona retirement communities encompassing everything from working boomers to snowbirds and Arizona retirees. Here are 3 ways baby boomers are affecting the housing market.

1.) Active lifestyle: Boomers today are more active than their parents were are healthier than ever before. As a result, home builders are developing homes with easier access to recreational amenities. Active adult retirement communities encompass a variety of activities such as gyms, pools, hiking trails, and clubhouses.

2.) Commute locations: Developers are also watching the trend of working boomers, and are building new communities near business districts or public transportation. They are also providing newer homes with offices to accommodate those who work from home.

3.) Close to home: According to a study by Pulte Group, more than sixty percent of baby boomers want their home in retirement to be within the same state they live, while a third of boomers want to live within twenty miles of their children or grandchildren in retirement. Because boomers are looking for a place that appeals to their current and future retirement needs developers are building more retirement communities near suburbs and neighborhoods to accommodate the aging population.

If you’re looking to downsize or find the perfect Arizona retirement community to enjoy your golden years, please contact Sharon Mason to schedule an appointment to view my exclusive listings.

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 October 8th, 2017 4:43 PM
Sun City West Free Concert at Beardsley Park

Save the date! There will be a free concert in the park in Sun City West next Saturday, October 7th from 7:00 pm to - 8:30 pm. All through the month of October, Beardsley Park, located at 12755 Beardsley Rd in Sun City West, there will be free concerts in the park open for the public and the community to enjoy.

Bring your lawn-chair and blanket and enjoy local band, A Touch of Gray. A Touch Of Gray is a six-piece classic rock band from Peoria which specializes in Rock, Blues and Pop music styles, all intended to create a fun atmosphere for any occasion. Concessions begin at 5:00 pm if you’d like food or drinks and the concert begins at 7:00pm. Fun for all ages, the Sun City West free concerts in the park are sure to be a hit for the whole family.

Beardsley Park in Sun City West has proudly served as the beautiful venue for great annual community events such as free movies in the park, community Easter egg hunts and much more. If you’d like to learn more about upcoming events in Sun City West or if you’re looking for the perfect Arizona retirement community to enjoy your active adult and retirement years, 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 September 30th, 2017 3:17 PM
Summer Ends With Strong Home Sales 

Summer is at a close and ended with strong home sales despite weak inventory according to the September 2017 RE/MAX National Housing Report. August sales topping July by 2.8 percent, but finishing 0.84 percent below August 2016 which remains the best August in the report’s nine year history. Houston, where Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25, already experienced a 21.3 percent drop in sales from July and a 27.5 percent decline year-over-year.

U.S. home sales in August extended a summer of strong demand and weak inventory that once again resulted in listings with short shelf lives. In addition to the normal late summer real estate trends, a primary focus during the next month will be on housing in specific markets affected by natural disasters like devastating wildfires and hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Other notable numbers include:

• Inventory in the report’s fifty-four markets declined 3.9 percent from July and 13.7 percent from a year ago
• Days on Market have dropped to forty-seven – the fastest listing-to-sale average for any August.
• The Months Supply of Inventory, while continuing to rebound from a May low of 2.6, settled at 3.1 months and set another report record for August.
• After hitting $239,950 in July, the median sales price dipped to $236,475 in August but still finished 5.4 percent higher year-over-year.

“Overall, we’re still seeing home prices rise year-over-year at just above historical averages -- even with slightly declining nationwide prices in August, which is an expected annual pattern,” said Adam Contos, RE/MAX Co-CEO. “The data shows that home hunters continue to experience very limited inventory and increased competition, and home sellers are benefiting from quick sales for top dollar.”

Want to know more about the current real estate market? Click here to download your copy of the September 2017 RE/MAX National Housing Report. 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 September 26th, 2017 9:29 AM
3 Smart Ways to Use Technology to Manage Your Retirement Money

When it comes to managing your retirement accounts, you used to have to get all the information you needed in person. But today, innovative technology is changing the way active adults manage their lives. And though older Americans are typically less likely to change their ways, there are a lot of technological advances that can make money management easier and save time. Here are 3 smart ways to use technology to manage your retirement money.

1.) Online retirement calculators: A comprehensive retirement planning spreadsheet takes some time and knowledge to customize for your needs. If you aren’t up for the task, free online calculators make the calculations for you. A few popular tools are Personal Capital and NewRetirement. Personal Capital is a free online service that aggregates all your financial accounts using secure connections. NewRetirement takes your detailed financial information, such as income, expenses, investments and desired retirement age, and funnels it into a comprehensive analysis.

2.) Online budgeting software: Online budgeting tools securely import your bank and credit card transactions and empower older adults to set up budgets and track spending automatically down to the penny each month. These products can help identify excess spending and opportunities to save more. A few popular online program options include Mint, EveryDollar, and You Need a Budget. Each program is individually designed to help with goal setting, budgeting, and more.

3.) Robo advisors: Traditional advisors offer one-on-one guidance and allocate your money based on a set of recommendations. However, a new breed of online advisors has risen to popularity. Robo advisors take the emotion out of financial planning by using algorithms to build your asset allocations based on your personal situation. Instead of manually managing your money, robo advisors do it automatically. The advantages are that fees are much lower and investment decisions are done by a computer instead of a human, eliminating bias and emotionally driven mistakes. Two of the larger robo advisors are Betterment and Wealthfront. These services use algorithms to build your portfolio based on your investment objectives and life stage.

Which of these 3 smart ways to use technology to manage your retirement money will work for you? If you would like more information about retiring in Arizona or if you’re looking to 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 September 17th, 2017 1:26 PM

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