Smart Home Purchases for Empty Nesters

Ah, the golden years. The kids are out of the house and college is paid for. Perhaps you did away with your mortgage as well. So, what do you do with all of that extra money? What about making some smart investments for a more secure future?

There are other decisions and purchases you can make that will help you lead a healthier and safer life, while also gaining peace of mind. Here are five smart purchases for empty nesters to consider.


Look into Home Automation
You've likely seen ads for home digital assistants, like Amazon Echo and Google Home. Commercials present home automation devices as fun to use for everyday tasks like ordering groceries, but they have value that may allow you to age in place safely. For example, both the Amazon and Google devices pair with home security companies to allow you to activate your home alarm or close your garage door. If you've installed "smart" door locks or light bulbs, these devices can also lock doors or turn on lights when you're not home.

Consider Installing a Home Standby Generator
My mother retired to Maine, a state known for harsh winters. During one of her first winters there, the region was hit with one of the worst ice storms in history. She was without power for two weeks and swore never to let land in such a position again in the future. She invested in a home standby generator. It has provided peace of mind ever since. Many of my neighbors here at the Jersey Shore made similar decisions after Superstorm Sandy, recognizing how important it is to be prepared ahead of the storm.

Cummins produces some of the most reliable home standby generators on the market, and their website includes a generator sizing calculator to help you figure out which generator is right for your home.

Invest in Fitness
Staying fit becomes even more important as you age. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are three components that everyone – especially older individuals – should have in their fitness routine: cardiovascular exercise, interval training and strength training. Some experts suggest balance training, such as yoga, is also important to help prevent falls.

You can achieve these fitness goals by setting up a home gym of your own. A stationery bike or treadmill and hand weights are a great start. Or, if you like the social aspect of working out with others, invest in a gym membership. Look for a gym that offers a range of classes – yoga, spin, weight lifting, etc. – so you can meet all your physical activity needs in one place.

Trade In for an Energy-Efficient Car
Are you still driving the gas-guzzling mom taxi that got you through those raising-your-kids years? Sure, the car has long been paid off and probably doesn't cost much to insure. But how much does it cost to maintain or fill up its tank? As you know, gas prices aren't likely to go down in the future. Does it make sense to trade in that car for something more energy efficient? Or can your home with two older cars afford to become a home with one smaller, more energy-efficient car?

September is a great time to buy a car with dealers looking to clear out last year's models to make room for the next year's. If you're serious about getting a new car, you may find some great deals.

Work With a Financial Planner
It makes sense to continue contributing to your retirement savings as you age. If you're not already working with a financial planner to achieve your retirement savings goals, you should be. Financial planners can help you with so much more, too. For example, a financial planer can help you figure out what kind of long-term care insurance you need. Long-term care insurance can help fill the gaps when your traditional savings can't cover health-related expenses.

Making informed purchases and financial decisions can improve your health and happiness well into your Golden Years. Start with the recommendations above, and you’ll be well on your way to a secure future.

Leah Ingram, Freelance Writer, Lifestyle and Money-Saving Expert

Leah Ingram

Leah Ingram is a freelance writer, lifestyle and money-saving expert. Her mission is to help you feel more confident about your spending, regardless of income.


She is the author of Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier for Less, which compiles Leah’s unique money-saving advice, including how a family can save $25,000 a year. Her second title in the Suddenly Frugal series is Toss, Keep, Sell!: The Suddenly Frugal Guide to Cleaning Out the Clutter and Cashing In.


Currently, Leah is working on a personal finance book, chock full of ideas to help middle-class families pay for college. That book, tentatively called College Money Hacks, will be out from Career Press in Fall 2017.


For more information, visit Leah's website at

The Spring 2018 Weather Outlook

After December and January delivered brutal cold and snow to most of the United States, February temperatures have been above normal across much of the country. Despite Punxsutawney Phil predicting six more weeks of winter, Mother Nature seems to disagree with the famous groundhog -- at least so far. While the recent chill has been confined to the northern plains, crocuses and daffodils are sprouting out of the ground in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Is this a sign of an early spring? 

According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, not much is forecast to change over the next few months. On average, long-range weather forecasters are predicting temperatures to be above normal for much of the United States - the highest chance being for the Desert Southwest and Gulf Coast regions. Precipitation is expected to be below normal from Texas westward to California and above normal for the Northeast and Great Lakes. 

Despite the seasonal outlook, one weather phenomena is certain to occur: thunderstorms.  In the spring, the clash of air masses creates a ”weather battleground.” This happens when cold, dry air from Canada clashes with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. A frontal boundary divides the two air masses and acts as a focal point for thunderstorms. With the right ingredients, some storms become severe and cause damage including power outages.

Here are some easy ways to ensure the safety of you and your family before the next storm:

  • Start planning now. The combination of knowing your risk and having a long-term plan is power.  
  • "Spring clean" your disaster kit. Replace expired prescriptions, food and first-aid items.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Survey your property for things that might need repair, and trim tree limbs hanging over your home.
  • Inspect your roof for any leaks, especially if you live in an area that receives a lot of snow in the winter.
  • Check and reseal windows and doors, if necessary, to keep the winter cold and spring/summer heat out.
  • Clean out your chimney and gutters.
  • Update your emergency contact information. 
  • Make sure you have a back-up power source in case of a power outage. Having a standby generator means you can safely power your home even through a long-term outage.  

Preparedness is power. Don’t be left in the dark during the next severe storm. Visit the Cummins “Ahead of the Storm page” for more severe storm preparedness tips, and then sign up for a free in-home assessment to find the right Cummins generator for your home.

About the Author:  Cheryl Nelson is a Weather & Preparedness Advisor and Spokesperson for Cummins, a Lifestyle TV Host, FEMA-Certified Natural Disaster Preparedness Expert and award-winning Certified Broadcast Meteorologist.  For more tips, visit Cheryl’s website at and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @CherylNelsonTV 

Cheryl Nelson, Certified Broadcast Meteorologist

Cheryl Nelson

Cheryl Nelson is an Emmy-nominated and AP award-winning Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, TV Host, FEMA-Certified Instructor and Weather and Preparedness Advisor for Cummins. You can visit Cheryl’s website at and follow her on Twitter and Facebook @CherylNelsonTV. 

The Connected Home

The “connected life” is a growing movement to connect everything—our cars, lamps, refrigerators, and even our toothbrushes—to each other and the Internet. To understand the opportunities these new technologies offer our lives, we caught up with Eric Taub, a long-time technology writer for The New York Times and Parade, among others, at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

What happens at CES?
The Consumer Electronics Show is the debut party for all things digital. Whether you’re looking for the latest innovations in televisions, vacuum cleaners, cars, or light bulbs, CES is the place to be.

And what did you see this year?
Lots of improvements to technology breakthroughs that first started over the past few years, including the latest self-driving cars, connected refrigerators, and internet-connected thermostats, light bulbs, and exercise gear.

What’s a connected refrigerator? And why is everything connecting to the internet?
Smartphones and our continuous access to the internet has made the “connected life” possible. The idea is that with everything connected, we can control anything from anywhere. And one item can control another. Add in artificial intelligence, and our cars and appliances will eventually even learn what we like, suggest things that we might enjoy, and then do them for us. Imagine a car that knows you like to get a coffee every morning at 8 a.m. and directs you to the nearest Starbucks. Or a refrigerator that sees you have bread and cheese in it and tells you about a great grilled cheese sandwich recipe—and even turns on the oven in preparation. 

How are cars going to be connected to everything?
Once cars are connected to the internet—and that’s already happening—you’ll be able to start a song at home on your smartphone, and then pick up where you left off when you start driving. As you approach your home at night, your vehicle will automatically sense you’re near, and signal your house lights to turn on, set your stove to preheat for the evening meal, and even record your favorite show that you might have missed otherwise. If your home alarm gets triggered while you’re driving, you’ll be able to get a signal within your vehicle, and even see the video feed from your home on your car’s navigation screen.

How else will this connected world affect our lives?
Healthcare is becoming part of the connected world. Today, if you have diabetes, you can check your blood sugar level using an Apple Watch, and have the results automatically sent to your physician. If you have heart failure, you can track weight gain and blood pressure changes at home, on your smartphone, and automatically have those measurements sent to your doctor’s office as well. If there’s a problem, they can call you immediately and take corrective action.
All of this obviously requires power. What happens if the power goes out?
When you lose power, you lose access to your connected life. The more connected we become, power outages are no longer just an inconvenience; it could be a matter of saving a life.

Have you ever experienced a power loss?
Ironically, at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the main convention hall lost power for over two hours as a result of unexpected heavy rains. Tens of thousands of people had to be evacuated. All of the great connected products that we’d been discussing went down. And with that, the connected world suddenly became the disconnected world. 

The Cummins Connect Series of home generators also have some pretty smart technology built into them. The 13-20kW QuietConnect generators have in-built intelligence allowing you to control your home’s electrical loads automatically so you don’t have to pick and choose what you back up. You can also control the generator from anywhere in the world via a handy smartphone app. This allows you to monitor its status, receive critical notifications before issues occur and control your generator from anywhere at any time, giving you the peace of mind that your home – and life – will remain safe and connected during a power outage.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Power Train technical training seminars off to a great start

Power Train delivers technical training to distributors and customers who design and specify generator installations.
Power Train delivers technical training to distributors and customers who design and specify generator installations.

The first Power Train event to be held in its new location of Daventry, UK, was delivered on 6-7 February to about two dozen industry professionals from around Europe. This also kicked off the annual Power Train series, with similar events to be held quarterly in 2018.

Hosted and presented by Cummins Sales Application Engineering Europe and Russia team, Power Train is an excellent forum that Cummins provides to its distributors and customers on all technical aspects of power generation installations and systems. Specifically designed for customers in electrical, mechanical and consulting engineering professions that design and specify generator installations, these technical seminars are a great way to engage with clients as it provides them with a knowledge-based background for future installations. 

In this specific Power Train event, there was a particularly strong level of engagement due to a large number of high-profile consultants in attendance, including contingencies from EDF Energy, Hewlett-Packard, Red Engineering, Interxion and the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation. The attendees are now taking away with them awareness of the Cummins brand and in-depth knowledge of our products. 

Power Train is a fully accredited Continuous Professional Development (CPD) course and consists of technical lectures and group activities for attendees to apply theoretical calculations to practical real-life applications, along with a specialized tour of Cummins assembly plant in Daventry. 

Power Train is free of charge and registration is open for sessions scheduled throughout 2018. For more information and to register, visit

Adam Sidders Marketing Communications Leader Power Systems

Adam Sidders

Adam Sidders is the Marketing Communications Leader for the Power Systems Business Unit of Cummins Inc. Prior to joining Cummins in 2012 Adam worked in Financial Services for Europe’s largest independently owned insurer as their Marketing and Communications Manager.

Glass factory grows with Cummins

To meet continuous production and workflow demand, Cummins Turkey provided the emergency standby power solution for the Baştürk Glass Factory with 2 x C2500 D5A diesel generator sets.
To meet continuous production and workflow demand, Cummins Turkey provided the emergency standby power solution for the Baştürk Glass Factory with 2 x C2500 D5A diesel generator sets.

Since opening one year ago, the Baştürk Glass Factory has already seen tremendous growth. Production capacity has doubled to six lines and 600 tons of glass containers per day in the small town of Yeşilyurt, Turkey, where it employs 350 people. With this growth, the Bastürk Glass Factory has elevated to an important place in the domestic and international glass market. 

To meet continuous production and workflow demand, Cummins Turkey provided the emergency standby power solution with 2 x Cummins C2500 D5A diesel generator sets. Cummins Turkey’s Power Generation team solved all technical queries coming from the customer and provided close support during each phase of project. Design considerations such as synchronization with the utility, automation, paralleling and a compact room arrangement were all successfully implemented by Cummins Turkey along with local dealer AET. As a result of response time, close communication and a problem-solving attitude, Cummins Turkey created a strong relationship with the customer for future opportunities.

For more information on standby power solutions, visit

Adam Sidders Marketing Communications Leader Power Systems

Adam Sidders

Adam Sidders is the Marketing Communications Leader for the Power Systems Business Unit of Cummins Inc. Prior to joining Cummins in 2012 Adam worked in Financial Services for Europe’s largest independently owned insurer as their Marketing and Communications Manager.

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