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Done With DIY? Try DIFM

Done With DIY? Try DIFM

By Bart Astor  

I just read that Home Depot, the mecca for do-it-yourselfers, is realizing that we boomers may now be less interested in DIY and more interested in DIFM (that’s “Do it for Me.”).

How very smart of them.

Despite having more free time on our hands, and having formerly relished the challenges and cost savings of doing work on our homes by ourselves, we’re done with that. Time to let others do it.

Am I alone in this?

I hardly think so. I’ve talked with many peers and I hear the same tune, “Eh, well, I just don’t really feel like doing that repair. I just don’t have the energy.” Or, “You know, it’s getting harder for me to climb that big ladder. Do you know a good handyman?”

Home Depot heard that same refrain and apparently they’re ramping up to focus on catering to the professional contractors. As owners of our homes for many years, we’re still interested in home improvement, especially if we’re thinking about sprucing it up to sell. But instead of going to Home Depot to buy the stuff we need to make the repair or improvement, or buying that cool tool, we’re hiring handymen and small contractors, who then go to Home Depot to buy their supplies. It’s a different clientele who have different shopping needs. So that’s the Home Depot business model now.

DIY is not over. Millennials, the generation that’s even larger than boomers, are not quite fully into home buying yet. But they will likely soon be and will probably have the same DIY ethos. Still, for Home Depot to stay profitable in the shorter term, they realize they have to fill the boomers’ needs. Once again, “if you fill the needs of the baby boomer generation you will succeed.” Apparently we still have enough buying power to sway.

I recall how great it felt when I remodeled my first home.

I still brag about replumbing, rewiring, stripping floors and wooden windows, and saving tons of money by doing it myself. I read manuals (we didn’t have it online then—in fact there was no ‘online’ except in New York where people stand on line, not in line). I held the book up next to me as I read, “the red wire connects to the black one, and the green to the white,” (or maybe that’s backwards. I could never remember, especially when wiring a 3-way switch). I got jolted, I got soaked, I repaired one water leak and then had to repair several others downstream, and I had paint-stripping goop all over my clothes at the end of the day. But I saved thousands!

I still need to save thousands. In fact, as my earnings have diminished, it’s even more important that I save money in home repairs. But, well, I just don’t really feel like doing that repair. I just don’t have the energy. And besides, my millennial son-in-law can do it!

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Bart Astor

Bart Astor at Bart Astor
Bart Astor is a recognized expert in life’s transitions and eldercare. His book, AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life: Smart Choices about Money, Health, Work, Lifestyle, and Pursuing Your Dreams, was released in May, 2013 and was #1 in Amazon’s retirement planning category for 6 consecutive weeks and a Washington Post best seller. His unexpected personal journey led him to write his best-selling book, Baby Boomer’s Guide to Caring for Aging Parents, now in its second printing and critically regarded for being today’s must-have healthcare resource. Bart has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, including ABC’s “Good Morning America,” PBS’s “MarketPlace,” Ric Edelman’s “The Truth About Money,” AARP Radio, and Boomer’s Rock radio. His perspective comes from personal experience, both good and bad, and sometimes that’s what matters most.