Berkshire Broadcast

Summer is here and you’re spending more time outdoors. For most of us, this still means primarily in our own backyards. Personal outdoor space has never been more popular and if yours could use a little sprucing up, here are the hottest trends for 2021.

• Outdoor Kitchens – This trend is going nowhere. Ever since the first built-in BBQ showed up, homeowners have loved cooking outdoors. Choose from a simple pizza oven to a full chef’s set-up with multiple ovens, refrigerators, cooking spaces, and bar.

Edible Gardens – While home gardeners have enjoyed seasonal tomatoes and herb pots for decades, the rise of sustainability trends have increased the attention on home-grown, organic fruits and vegetables. Any small space can be transformed to grow

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Everything old is new again, and that goes for decorating with color. While the last decade in home décor has largely been defined by white and varying shades of beige and gray, today’s designers are harking back to yesteryear with paint colors, furniture and even kitchen appliances.

Part art deco, part ‘50s suburban and part ‘60s mod, these awesome retro colors are fresh and refreshed to fit today’s tastes, say the color mavens at Sherwin Williams, whose wall color faves this year include shades of pink, aqua and pale or mustard yellows with accents of slate or peppery coral—great ways to set off the stark white of baseboards, crown moldings and door frames.

Big Chill, a retro appliance company launched in 2001, is finding huge success with its

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Home sellers assume they must make some upgrades before putting their home on the market. While any deferred maintenance or extreme wear-and-tear issues should be addressed, major upgrades or updates may not net more money when you sell; especially with millennial buyers, who are looking for their first home in droves.

6 Common Upgrades Millennial Buyers Won’t Pay Extra For – and 1 They Will

1. Professional Landscaping – Although a nicely maintained yard is attractive to all buyers, over-the-top landscaping with special hardscapes or fountains will not appeal to millennials.

2. Upgraded Utilities – You may appreciate the new plumbing, but buyers will not pay more for copper or PEX pipes or the brand-new junction box.

3. HVAC – Again, new

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Retiring early is a great idea if you can afford it.

Unfortunately, few people plan for retirement as well as they should. A common rule of thumb is to save 10 times your final salary to retire by age 67. For someone with an annual salary of $50,000, that would mean having $500,000 saved in retirement funds.

If you want to retire early, you probably already know you need to have a good chunk of money saved. But there are some other things you can do too:

Check Federal Benefits
The Social Security Administration has rules for when benefits can start to be collected. The longer you put them off, the more money you can get. To receive the full amount of benefits, you must reach full retirement age. Check out the agency’s to determine your full

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What Is a Negotiated Debt Settlement?

If you’re buried by credit card debt, a negotiated debt settlement with your creditor may be worth checking into. Negotiated debt settlement is a general term for discharging debt in a way that appeals to the credit card holder and the card’s issuer.

It’s best to negotiate from a position of strength by not having submitted late payments or having missed them, which can cause a credit score to fall. If that happens, cardholders will likely have a harder time getting concessions in a negotiated debt settlement. Instead, they should start talking to their creditor soon after realizing they’re having trouble repaying their debts.

Forbearance
There are a few types of negotiated debt settlements, and

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How to Add Interest to your Garden

We’ve all seen the wrong way to add “art” to a yard; pink flamingos, cement deer, and colorful gnomes are all examples of what NOT to do. Yet adding interesting sculptures, fountains, pots, or art is a great way to add detail and enhance your garden. By following a few tips, you can easily bring these elements into your yard.

Location – Place your art carefully, considering how it will look from all sides and areas of the yard.

Neighborhood – Consider any possible violations of your homeowner’s association rules.

Prune – Make sure your art is always on display by pruning plants away from the piece.

Lighting – Add some special lighting to show off the art, fountain, or sculpture.

Don’t Mix

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According to a new survey from the National Association of REALTORS, millennials (born between 1981 and 1996, Pew Research) and also known as Gen Y and Echo Boomers, are the largest homebuying segment at thirty-seven percent. While millennials have been the largest share of homebuyers since 2014, the survey also found that they are most likely to be first-time homebuyers.

The lingering economic impacts of the Great Recession and the pandemic have caused millennials to delay homeownership. They’ve lived with parents, relatives or friends for longer than any other modern generation, saving enough for a down payment on a home of their own.

The economy and pandemic have also impacted a larger number of homebuyers (18%) to purchase a home big

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Compromise is an important part of marriage. From deciding how much to spend on a new living room set to what to watch on TV tonight, compromise is constant.

It can also be a big part of retirement conversations. While agreeing on the financial and logistical issues around retirement is great if you can get there, chances are, there are some aspects of a life together without work that will be a compromise. Getting on the same page before retirement can make it a lot easier.

Here are some topics couples should talk about before retirement:

When to Retire
Do you both plan on retiring at the same time? Maybe one person wants to wait until age 70 to receive the most Social Security benefits, while the other wants to collect them when they’re

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Parents contributing to a 529 college savings plan may find it difficult, if not a little time-consuming, to transfer cash and checks that their children receive on their birthdays, Christmas and other celebrations into the popular college savings fund.

Instead of not knowing if their cash gift is going to pay for college or for a night out on the town, grandparents and others can buy gift cards and have the money deposited in the student’s college savings plan.

The 529 gift cards are used at GiftofCollege.com, a registry for online gifts to 529 accounts. Electronic gift cards for 529s are available at the Gift College website. The 529 gift cards come in fixed amounts of $25 or $50, and in variable amounts up to $500.

Some of the gift cards

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Everyone can agree that 2020 was a very difficult year; the pandemic forced us all to spend more time in our homes than ever before. This renewed focus on our living space resulted in a new appreciation of the way our surroundings affect us.

With more family members working and studying from home, the bedroom offers a personal sanctuary in which to relax and refresh. Making a few simple changes can transform your bedroom into a personal retreat to be enjoyed any time of the day.

New Trends for Bedrooms

Canopy Beds – A focal piece for the room, modern canopy beds are open and streamlined.

Headboards – Headboards are a simple way to update a look without taking up space; add some pattern or texture to the room.

Comfortable Furniture

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