When You Wish Upon A Star!

Photo by Thomas Minczeski, aka Photoman

December 21st was Winter Solstice, December 25th is Christmas and Hanukkah was December 10-18th. It is a season for celebration, reflection and gratitude no matter your faith or beliefs. And of all years, this season brings the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, also called the Christmas Star.

It is a time to reflect as we have changed this year, we work differently, we celebrate differently, and thus hopefully taken time to reflect on what is truly important. There is a silver lining and nuggets of kindness in this past year, so just maybe this Christmas Star will allow you to be grateful, embrace some of the good that has come of all this change, and celebrate the season your unique individual way!

Wishing you a beautiful Holiday! ~kristin

A little bit about Prop 19

This year, voters in California passed Prop 19, which potentially can changes the financials in a positive way of your next home sale or purchase. The proposition will go into effect in mid-February of 2021, so below is a summary of details. Some things the legislature will still have to interpret some of the language.

Inherited Properties

All reassessment exemptions for inherited properties only apply if the property is used as a primary residence by the child (or sometimes grandchild) or used as a family farm. In cases in which the current market value of an inherited property exceeds the parent’s taxable value by more than $1M, the child’s taxable value will be assessed at the current market value and reduced by $1M. The State Board of Equalization will adjust the $1M amount of inflation beginning February 16, 2023, and every two years thereafter. 

Transfers

As of April 1, 2021, previous restrictions based on location will be removed, allowing eligible (meaning people over age 55, victims of wildfires or other natural disasters (and the severely disabled) homeowners to do a few things. First, they can utilize the transfer multiple times; they can transfer the taxable value of a property up to three times in their lifetime. Natural disaster/wildfire victims will be allowed to transfer once. The language around what constitutes a natural disaster still needs to be defined.

This group can also purchase a property of higher value, meaning the tax bill will go up but by a lower amount than for other buyers. And, finally, they can also move anywhere in California by transferring the taxable value of a primary residence anywhere in the state within two years of the sale of the original primary residence.

If you’re interested in the details of Prop 19, here’s a great resource from the California Association of Realtors that might answer all of your questions!

A little something to ponder…

I stole this from Facebook, so I don’t know who to give credit to. Whoever you are, thank you! Read on…

I asked one of my friends who has crossed age 70 and is heading to 80 what sort of changes he is feeling in himself? He sent me the following very interesting lines, which I would like to share with you:

1. After loving my parents, my siblings, my spouse, my children, my friends, now I have started loving myself.

2. I just realized that I am not “Atlas.” The world does not rest on my shoulders.

3. I now stopped bargaining with vegetables and fruit vendors. A few pennies more is not going to burn a hole in my pocket but it might help the poor fellow save for his daughter’s school fees.

4. I pay my waitress a big tip. The extra money might bring a smile to her face. She is toiling much harder for a living than me

5. I stopped telling the elderly that they’ve already narrated that story many times. The story makes them walk down memory lane and relive the past

6. I have learned not to correct people even when I know they are wrong. The onus of making everyone perfect is not on me. Peace is more precious than perfection.

7. I give compliments freely and generously. Compliments are a mood enhancer not only for the recipient but also for me. And a small tip for the recipient of a compliment, never, NEVER turn it down; just say “Thank you.”

8. I have learned not to bother about a crease or a spot on my shirt. Personality speaks louder than appearances

9. I walk away from people who don’t value me. They might not know my worth, but I do.

10. I remain cool when someone plays dirty to outrun me in the rat race. I am not a rat and neither am I in any race.

11. I am learning not to be embarrassed by my emotions. My emotions make me human.

12. I have learned that it’s better to drop the ego than to break a relationship. My ego will keep me aloof, whereas with relationships I will never be alone.

13. I have learned to live each day as if it’s the last. After all, it might be the last.

14. I am doing what makes me happy. I am responsible for my happiness, and I owe it to myself. Happiness is a choice. You can be happy at any time; just choose to be!

Why do we have to wait to be 70 or 80? Why can’t we practice this at any stage and age?

GUEST BLOG – From Finances to Moving: How to Upsize in Retirement

By Bob Shannon

A lot of seniors think they have to downsize in order to live comfortably in retirement. But this isn’t always the case. If you plan on having your kids and grandkids visit or take up homesteading, a smaller home simply won’t do, and you’re going to need wide-open spaces to make those golden-year dreams come true. These upsizing tips can walk you through the process from start to finish with less stress and hassle.

Budgeting for a Bigger Home in Retirement

As with any major purchase, you need to think about your budget and finances first before you decide to buy a bigger home. If you have a sizable amount of debt, you will want to start by coming up with a feasible plan to pay it down or completely off. In many states, consumers can turn to debt relief agencies for help coming up with this plan. You’ll need to factor in your amount of debt, employment situation, and ability to make payments to figure out which solution is right.

Once you have your debts paid down, you should have an easier time qualifying for home loans. You’ll also want to determine how much home you can afford before you begin submitting those applications. While this may seem like a daunting task, there are plenty of tools available online that make it simple, including calculators and worksheets.

Finally, you will want to figure out how much you will get from the sale of your current home. You can reach out to an experienced local real estate agent for a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis), but you also need to factor in any needed repairs into your estimated profit. For example, if your windows are cracked, repairing them could cost you anywhere from $170 to
$375. However, repaired windows can add curb appeal to your home, making it a worthwhile expense.

Finding Enough Room for Retirement

Now that you’re done with your finances, you can start looking for a home. You can check out local real estate sites or blogs like Walnut Creek Lifestyle for tips on searching and buying, but you may also want to start by hiring the right real estate agent.

A real estate agent can also narrow down home choices to ones that include the features you want most in retirement. For instance, if you plan on homesteading and hosting family members, a larger yard or land may be necessary. Then you will have plenty of space to play with the grandkids or grow your own vegetable garden and raise livestock.

Depending on the sort of hobbies you plan on taking up, you may also want to look for a home that includes a shed or workshop. You can always add one later, so long as you have the extra acreage. Also, make sure the features inside your home will keep you and your loved ones comfortable for years to come. This could mean making sure there’s an extra room that can be turned into a playroom or smart home features that can be used for aging in place.

Planning a Safe and Stress-Free Move

Once the deals are done, you’ll need to plan for a safe and problem-free move. For seniors, this may mean hiring professionals to help you pack and move your belongings. Otherwise, you could end up overdoing it and injuring yourself trying to do it on your own.

You can use an online move planner to figure out when to start hiring pros and when to take care of other essential moving tasks. That way, you won’t forget anything crucial, like changing your address with the post office or using up the food in your fridge.

When you have bigger dreams for retirement, a smaller home simply won’t do. If you do plan on upsizing your home, do make sure you know which steps to take to avoid added stress. Most of all, make sure you find a home that fits you and your plans to help you make the most out of your golden years!

If you want more information on upsizing, downsizing, or Prop 19, contact Kristin Lanham at (925) 899-7123 or kristin@lanham.com.

Check out Batch & Brine!

Batch & Brine in Lafayette is the newest venture from the siblings and cousins who co-own Broderick’s. I’m not the biggest fan of the latter, to be honest, but since this was a separate venture, I wanted to check out their new place. I’m so glad I did!

Batch & Brine was created by a dynamic group of relatives — siblings, Mike, Rolla, and David Ghaben, cousins, Sam Ghaben and Celina Gonzales, alongside their son, Victor Ghaben. With roots that extend from New Mexico and the Mediterranean to California, their restaurant’s culture captures the essence of growing up in their family’s kitchens and restaurants.

Their craft cocktail/Mixologist manager Casey Carr personally came to our outdoor seating area. We wanted margaritas, but not too sweet, so he made a recommendation on tequila and used all natural ingredients (no purchased sweet and sour), and the result was delicious, smooth, and not too sweet. We really appreciated the personal attention and had a nice chat. He mentioned the family hired a chef who has worked in some San Francisco restaurants, but is from New York with Jewish and Cuban family roots who uses quality ingredients in the food.

I tried their sliders, and my friend had the blue burger with whipped Roquefort and pretzel roll; both had homemade pickles. Our meals were clearly made from quality ingredients and all the food was very tasty. This is a place that will definitely be one of my new go-to restaurants.

What made it even more special on a Friday night was they had live music and happy hour M-F from 2-5 pm, all which make the ambiance more comfortable, enjoyable, and inviting. They are not allowing indoor seating right now because of COVID-19, but they did have a fire pit and heat lamps outside, so you can still enjoy the “normal” sit-down experience.

Thanksgiving Trivia!

Let’s have some fun this week! It’s Thanksgiving week and I hope you all are planning a safe, socially-distanced, and delicious holiday meal. You may not be able to gather with family like usual, but you can always do a video call and quiz each other with some Thanksgiving Trivia. Read on:

The first Thanksgiving lasted how long? (answers at the bottom)

  1. One day
  2. Two days
  3. Three days

Which Indian tribe taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land and were  invited to the Thanksgiving meal?

  1. Apache
  2. Wampanoag
  3. Cherokee

What is a snood?

  1. The loose skin under a male turkey’s neck
  2. A hat worn by a Pilgrim
  3. A hot cider drink served at Thanksgiving

Which President is believed to be the first to pardon a turkey and start this annual tradition?

  1. President Lincoln in 1863
  2. President Roosevelt in 1939
  3. President Harry Truman in 1947

Today, our Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of November because…?

  1. It is the date the Pilgrims landed in the New World
  2. This was the date set by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 and approved by Congress in 1941
  3. It was the date people voted to have it on

What is a baby turkey called?

  1. A chick
  2. A nestling
  3. A poult

It has been estimated that how many Americans eat turkey at  Thanksgiving?

  1. 88%
  2. 50%
  3. 75%

True or False: All turkeys gobble

  1. True
  2. False

Ready for the answers…? See how you did! Scroll down.

The first Thanksgiving lasted how long? 

  1. One day
  2. Two days
  3. Three days

Which Indian tribe taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land and were  invited to the Thanksgiving meal?

  1. Apache
  2. Wampanoag
  3. Cherokee

What is a snood?

  1. The loose skin under a male turkey’s neck
  2. A hat worn by a Pilgrim
  3. A hot cider drink served at Thanksgiving

Which President is believed to be the first to pardon a turkey and start this annual tradition?

  1. President Lincoln in 1863
  2. President Bush in 1989
  3. President Harry Truman in 1947

NOTE: Lincoln was the first to do it, some say Truman, but he never pardon, the first president to do so was Bush.

Today, our Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of November because…?

  1. It is the date the Pilgrims landed in the New World
  2. This was the date set by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 and approved by Congress in 1941
  3. It was the date people voted to have it on

What is a baby turkey called?

  1. A chick
  2. A nestling
  3. A poult

It has been estimated that how many Americans eat turkey at  Thanksgiving?

  1. 88%
  2. 50%
  3. 75%

True or False: All turkeys gobble

  1. True
  2. False

NOTE: Only male turkeys gobble. They do so to attract female turkeys.