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Home Upgrades that Yield Top Returns

Home Upgrades that Yield Top Returns

The 2015 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report for this year is out. So if you’re trying to prioritize this year’s home improvement projects and figure out which ones will yield the best returns, take a look at the report.

According to the annual report (http://www.remodeling.hw.net/benchmarks/cost-vs-value/the-2015-cost-vs-value-report_o), done by Remodeling magazine in cooperation with REALTOR® Magazine, looks at how much of your investment you can expect to recoup on renovation projects when you sell. 

As in previous years, the data are sliced in various ways.

For instance, you can get a big picture by looking at national data. You also can see the data broken down by geographic area or look at midrange and upscale projects’ standings nationally and by geographic area.

Here are some key results from the study.

Top 5 Midrange Projects (national averages in terms of cost recouped)

  1. Entry door replacement (101.8%)
  2. Manufactured stone veneer (92.2%)
  3. Garage door replacement (88.4%)
  4. Siding replacement, vinyl (80.7%)
  5. Deck (wood) addition (80.5%)

Top 5 Upscale Projects (national averages in terms of costs recouped)

  1. Siding (fiber-cement) replacement (84.3%)
  2. Garage door replacement (82.5%)
  3. Siding (foam-backed vinyl replacement) (77.6%)
  4. Window (vinyl) replacement (74.9%)
  5. Window (wood) replacement (71.9%)


Women and Retirement

One of the biggest issues facing women around the globe is a shortfall in retirement savings. That’s according to a new study by from Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® in collaboration with Aegon.

The Changing Face of Retirement Women: balancing family, career & financial security (http://www.transamericacenter.org/docs/default-source/global-survey-2014/tcrs2014_sr_global_women_report.pdf) looks at women’s retirement prospects across the globe and gauges how women feel about their retirement readiness.

Despite the fact that today’s women are more educated and have greater career options than previous generations did, they still face obstacles, including lower pay and time off for caregiving, that affect their ability to save for a comfortable retirement.

Gender gap

Women are still less prepared for retirement than men are. For example, only one-fifth (20%) of women overall feel they’re on track to achieve the income in retirement they anticipate they’ll need. Twice this amount (40%) simply don’t know whether they are on course or not.

But in some parts of the world, women do feel confident about retirement, particularly those living in emerging economies, including China, India, and Brazil.

Though some view their retirement preparedness positively, there’s also widespread angst about the topic. When asked what words they associate most with retirement, optimistic respondents used positive words most often, and those include “leisure” (45%) and “freedom” (39%).

But nearly one-quarter (24%) of women associated retirement with “insecurity” and almost a fifth (18%) with “poverty”.

In some countries -- Poland, Hungary and Japan -- negative associations with retirement were quite pronounced. The word “insecurity” was most frequently cited by women in Hungary, for example.

Women who are most positive-minded are from China (84%), Canada (78%), and Sweden (77%).

Here are some study highlights from the Transamerica study specific to American women:







The study makes some recommendations both to women and to policymakers and employers about improving women’s retirement security.

To women, the report says, “Taking ownership of retirement through planning is one of the most important factors in improving confidence about achieving retirement goals. Half of women whose retirement plans are ‘very developed’ are confident they are on track to achieve their desired retirement income.”

Employers can implement automatic enrollment features in workplace retirement plans, give part-time workers access to retirement savings vehicles, provide help and information about caregiving services, and offer phased retirement plans to allow workers to remain in the workforce longer.