Meghan McCormick's Blog
Your home is your castle, your oasis, your domain. You want your home to be an escape from the stresses of everyday life. For this to be true, there are a few key things that you should have in your home for you to enjoy the ultimate peace that home can bring. If you don’t feel that your home is a peaceful place, you definitely need to heed the tips below.
Have A Peaceful Spot To Relax In
Every homeowner needs a place that they like to relax in. Your spot in the home should be a regular part of your routine whether it’s where you like to drink coffee and read the news, a meditation room, or a home gym. Whatever gives you pleasure and an escape should be a priority in your home and your routine. You don’t need a lot of space to accomplish this. Just a small nook in part of a room or a dedicated room in the house will do. It’s easy to create your own little piece of heaven.
Nice Outdoor Space
Nothing brings peace to the mind and the soul like spending time in nature. For a tranquil escape right in your own home, make use of the outdoors. Do you have a deck or patio area? Can you put a hammock up in the backyard? What about a small bench swing? Any of these simple things can be your backyard oasis. Just be sure to surround these outdoor areas with colorful plants and other relaxing touches like rocks, trees, or even a running water fountain for an added effect.
A Place To Separate Work And Home Life
If you work outside of the office at all, you probably have a home office space. You need this to be functional for your work, but you also need to remember the importance of separating your work life from your home life. Your home can’t be a tranquil place to be if you feel you’re always carrying your work around with you.
A Place For Inspiration
Most of all, your home should be inspiring. There should be areas of your home where you can sit and think about projects you’re working on, problems you’re facing, or just simply let your thoughts flow. For inspiration, you’ll want to include inspiring images, pictures of the people you love, and items that make you plain happy. Your home is one place that helps you to keep the balance in your life. Make sure that you create the relaxing space that you deserve for a happier life!
The idea of homeownership can seem daunting if you doubt you can save up a down payment. After all, even a modest house on a conventional mortgage requires twenty percent plus the closing costs. When saving up seems out of reach, try these creative tips to grow your nest egg:
A lofty word for a simple idea, delaying gratification means doing without for now so that to attain a specific goal. Nearly every budget has discretionary funds—what’s left over after paying rent, utilities, and other necessary bills. Once you’ve identified what’s left over, you get to decide how to spend it. When homeownership is the goal, some purchases become less necessary, and others can wait until you’ve attained your objective.
First, open a savings account specifically for your down payment. Consider setting it up in a credit union or a different bank from your regular financial institution so that the extra effort it takes to move it into your regular account mitigates the temptation to use it to pay bills.
Then, consider ditching these items for less expensive alternatives (or altogether) and putting the savings directly into your new account. Treat the savings as an expense, the same way you did the bill payment, or else the extra funds could just slip away:
- Gym membership: finding a less expensive gym or utilizing a local park for workouts could save you an extra $35-50 per month.
- Dump satellite or cable. Try to opt for less expensive online streaming alternatives or plan regular evenings with friends to share viewing your favorite shows. Depending on the plan you have, savings can really add up and more time socializing with friends is a bonus.
- Instead of expensive meals out, plan a movie or game night at home. Invite friends and share potluck or have everyone bring ingredients to cook together.
- Local libraries have current books, DVDs, audiobooks, and magazines so make a habit of stopping there to check them out instead of paying for your own. Many electronic media memberships have options for sharing with a friend or family member and qualifying for free books and audios.
- Make saving a game. See who saves the most each week—you or your spouse/partner—and allow that person one small indulgence—a latte, for example, or an evening free of the children for a spa bath.
Set a price on each of these events and pay that amount into your savings account. If you don’t isolate the savings, you’ll find it harder to keep it up.
Find alternative income
You could take a second job to add to your savings or a freelance gig. Put 100 percent of what you've paid into your savings account. Other options include monetizing a hobby (if it doesn’t cost you more money than you make) to sell online or through local outlets. Perform seasonal jobs such as raking leaves, shoveling snow or washing windows.
Put all loose change in a piggy bank (or coin jar). Determine to spend only paper money, then save all the loose change. When the jar or bank is full, take the coins to the bank or a coin-counting machine. Discipline yourself to put the cash in your savings account though so it doesn't slip through your fingers.
As you near your savings goals, reach out to your real estate professional for tips on finding the perfect home in your budget.
Depending on how many years you’ve been working, retirement can seem like it’s too far in the future to worry about or too close to be able to effectively make any real change.
However, retirement is about more than doing the math and investment planning. Retirement includes making several life decisions, and considering things you may not have thought of before.
In this article, we’re going to talk about planning aspects of your retirement including your home and assets, your savings and investments, and setting and achieving goals for yourself.
Pay yourself first
If it feels like your paycheck is spent before you get a chance to set any aside each week, you’re not alone. However, it’s never too late to start setting aside money for retirement. The “pay yourself first” theory states that you should set aside a certain amount for bills, savings, and retirement plans before you spend a dime of your paycheck each week.
The easiest way to achieve this is to take advantage of an employer-based contribution matching program such as a 401K. However, if you are self-employed you can still open up an individual retirement account (IRA) or a Solo 401K. With an IRA, you determine where you want to invest your money, and can choose safer or riskier investments based on your own preferences.
Draw up your plan, literally
There’s no better way to start planning than to actually sit down with a notebook or your computer and start figuring out what you want to save and how you want to achieve those savings.
You’ll want to determine how much money you can accrue in your savings account, estimate the price of your assets and properties, and look at the projected return on investment for any IRAs or 401Ks you have in place.
As you likely know, these numbers are all projections. There’s no way to know for sure how much your home will be worth, or how well your investments will do by the time you’re ready to retire.
So, one of the most important aspects of making this checklist is to return to it yearly to determine if you should change your investments or alter your retirement goals.
Determine your lifestyle needs
Whether you have dreams of settling down in a quiet town for retirement, touring the country in an RV, or traveling the world, you’ll need to find out how you can make it possible on your retirement plan.
You and your spouse will need to sit down and draw up a plan for your mutual retirement goals. Determine which expenses you can do away with in retirement so that you can fulfill other goals. Having these conversations now will help you more effectively plan for the future. And, remember that the time of your retirement is always closer than you think.
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