DIY: When It Works and When It Doesn’t

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Census Bureau, do-it-yourself (DIY) work accounts for 37 percent of all home remodeling projects in the U.S. Unfortunately, the flip side is that about 30 percent of work performed by the professional remodeling industry represents fixing DIY attempts.

We are often tempted to do something ourselves to save money or simply for the satisfaction, but how do you know when it’s OK to do the work and when you should call in a pro? As many DIY-ers have learned, even the easy-looking jobs can turn into a nightmare if you lack the proper skills and knowledge. Apart from having experience in that line of work, consider if your goal is to save money. If so, calculate not just the cost of materials but how long it would realistically take to complete a project — and the toll that may take on your personal life. Sometimes it may be cheaper — both financially and for the sake of family harmony — to hire a professional. Remember that professionals generally already own the tools they’ll need for the job and can purchase materials at wholesale prices.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “House Calls: DIY project drawbacks,” at the Leader-Telegram, Sept. 6, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Know your limit, DIY within it” at the Toronto Sun, Sept. 11, 2014.]

Fixing problems in your house is one thing, but what about treating problems with your health? The Internet has become the go-to problem-solving source for everything from broken dishwashers to diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome. According to a recent study, the average American adult spends about 52 hours looking up medical issues each year — a phenomenon called “cyberchondria.”

A future trend in health care that is already in development is the use of an affordable, handheld device that consumers can use to self-diagnose their medical conditions. For those of you familiar with the Star Trek series, this is the same type of data recording and analysis technology Dr. McCoy used to scan patients to determine what ailed them. So, yes, the DIY “tricorder” may be in our near future.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Stop Googling yourself sick,” at, Aug. 11, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The race to create a real-life tricorder,” at CNN, Sept. 7, 2014.]

This focus on health is apparently well-founded. According to a new Merrill Lynch study, health is the “cornerstone of a happy retirement” as well as retirees’ greatest financial worry. In the section titled, “Planning for Health Care Expenses: Not a Do-It-Yourself Project,” the survey reports that less than one out of six pre-retirees (15 percent) have ever attempted to estimate how much money they might need for health care and long-term care in retirement.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Merrill Lynch Study Finds Health is the Cornerstone of a Happy Retirement, and Greatest Financial Worry,” at Yahoo Finance, Sept. 12, 2014.]

Some DIY projects cannot be fixed by a professional after the damage is done. One example is DIY wills and estate planning. One woman in Florida, who thought she had dotted all her i’s and crossed all her t’s using online forms, didn’t live to see her estate plans knocked askew by probate court.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Case Illustrates Dangers of Executing a Will without Legal Assistance,” at Martindale-Hubbell, May 9, 2014.]

In life, sometimes the more we learn, the more we understand how little we really know. DIY projects are probably some of the best training ground for truly understanding that insight. We hope you will turn to us for help when developing a strategy for your own financial future. After all, that’s what we do for a living.

Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies utilizing insurance products. Our firm is not permitted to offer, and no statement contained herein, shall constitute legal advice. Be sure to speak with qualified professionals before making any decisions about your personal situation. Our firm is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, it is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.

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