Creating a Local Service Team
by Stan Corey
An important issue for people in retirement is finding services to perform the tasks that they had taken care of themselves in the past. This becomes more critical when the spouse that handled these matters is the first to pass away. There are many online options today for finding a person to do service work, and many come with ratings and background checks. Using such services gives a one feeling of greater security and peace of mind.
What types of service people do we need to have? Here is a checklist with a few thoughts behind each.
INSIDE THE HOUSE:
- HVAC and Electrical: This is the core issue for providing comfort indoors. It may become more critical if your state of health requires you to be in a temperature-controlled environment. If you are on oxygen or some form of life support you should also notify the local electric company, as they may be able to put your home on an emergency-repair priority list.
- Plumbing: Many people can handle minor plumbing issues such as repairing a leaky faucet or replacing the flapper in your toilet. But even these tasks can become difficult with age. And as the home ages, parts of the plumbing system will need to be replaced or repaired. This will require the skills of a trained technician.
Today many local businesses provide all three: HVAC, electrical, and plumbing. And having a service contract with one of these businesses puts you at the top of the list when you need emergency service.
- Painter: Ideally connect with a business that does both inside and outside painting. Over time you will likely need to have the caulking repaired and ceilings and walls repainted. And the exterior will need attention every few years as the weather takes its toll.
OUTSIDE THE HOUSE:
- Generator: These can be critical, especially when you are living in an area that is vulnerable to power losses from bad weather. Permanent generators may be more expensive and need to be maintained regularly, but they also are much more reliable and can be a necessity if anyone has medical issues.
- Landscaping and general yard work: Who is going to mow the lawn, pull the weeds, mulch the beds, trim the trees, and plant the flowers when your mobility decreases? Many landscape businesses also provide snow removal and deicing of the walkways.
- Roofer: Water damage from above is generally covered by insurance (water damage from below is not). Depending upon the type of roof you have, maintaining it properly will not just protect it from leaks but can actually reduce your home-owner’s insurance premiums.
- LOF (lubrication, oil, and filters): The basic care of a car requires it to be serviced regularly. Unless your car is new, you will likely have repairs, maintenance, and inspections performed by a local gas service station. Get to know them!
- Towing service: If you have AAA or some other type of service provider, you may want to use them. But it can take several hours to get a tow using such service providers because they are paid less under the company contract than they would be normally. So getting to know a local towing company, one recommended by your local service station, can pay big dividends in time of need.
- House sitter/security: If you are traveling for more than just a weekend, do you have the post office hold your mail? Who checks on the house? Do you have a security system that has video monitoring as well as the routine fire and theft monitoring? If something happened at your home while you were away, who would you contact for help?
- Planning for the worst: If something happens to you while traveling, who has access to your estate documents and your bank accounts? Make sure that the person who has your power of attorney has access to your bank accounts, just in case. If not previously arranged, this can take an extraordinary period of time and wasted energy to be approved by the bank, and those financial resources πmay be needed while you are incapacitated.
- Bill-paying service: Establishing a bill paying service either with your bank or by hiring someone to provide the service can be a great time saver and reduce anxiety and stress about having your monthly bills paid on time while traveling.
Being prepared by having an established relationship with service providers can save you money and frustration! And asking friends and neighbors who they use for car service, HVAC issues, house sitters and the like – recommendations can go a long way in getting you the local service team you can trust.
Photo credits by bizlibrary.com and mccluskeychevrolet.com
Stan Corey has been a Certified Financial Planner Professional (CFP), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), and Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA) for almost 40 years. Though retired from the day-to-day activity of providing financial advisory services, he continues to consult in specialized areas as a financial fiduciary. Stan is a sought-after expert who regularly provides financial commentary at national conferences, in print and online publications, and on TV. He has a reputation for taking complex financial issues and making them understandable to the average person. He likes to say he is a “financial translator.” He has published two books: a novel, “The Divorce Dance,” in 2016, and a non-fiction work, “When Work Becomes Optional,” in 2018. Web site: www.stancorey.com.