Five Steps to an Early Retirement

Early retirement is an ambitious and worthwhile goal – and despite the doom and gloom in and around financial markets since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), early retirement is possible. All you need is a well thought out plan and some clearly defined action steps to set you on the road – and then it’s just a matter of following your course and staying focused until your goals are reached. Below are five steps to planning your early retirement – why not get started today?

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Be Clear About Your Goals

Take some time to get very, very clear about what you want to do in your retirement. And how early is ‘early’? Are you thinking of travelling? Starting a business? Just doing up your home, or alternatively upsizing or downsizing at all? Think carefully about these questions, as your answers will inform your plan and how you go about executing your roadmap to early retirement. Once you know where you’re going, you can work out the best way to get there.

Take Stock Of Where You Are Now

Work out how you’re currently tracking in terms of wealth and finances. Then you can see how far you’ve got to go in order to meet your goal of early retirement. Aim to establish a few milestones along the way as well. Working towards early retirement isn’t always easy and it’s a good idea to have a few smaller goals in place in order to keep your motivation high.

Make A Plan

Map out a plan of action to get you from where you are now, to where you want to go (i.e. your early retirement, or ‘destination point’). This plan will likely involve a budget, possibly some plan around investing and/or accumulation or divestment of assets; something to do with wealth building and debt reduction in any case. Your plan will be unique to you and your personal set of circumstances and opportunities. You should also ensure it takes into account your personal level of risk tolerance.

Consult An Expert

As most people are not financial experts, it’s a good idea to discuss your goal of early retirement with those who have a good track record in such matters. This should include your accountant, possibly a financial planner and, if contracts are involved, you should also consider adding a legal expert to your ‘early retirement brains trust planning team’. Another option is to enlist the aid of budgeting experts such as Positive Solutions Finance , who are experienced in money management and planning.

Stay Flexible

Knowing where you want to go, how you intend to get there, and following this plan are all great steps to early retirement. However, personal situations – and financial markets – are not static. It’s important to adjust your strategy to take into account any changes to your circumstances, or those around you.
Planning your early retirement doesn’t have to be a headache. With a little forethought and some expert advice and assistance, you might find it can actually be fun – although not as much fun as early retirement.
Got any tips for those who would like to retire early? Share your insights via the comments box below.

Lovingly written by Joy

7 Incredibly Simple Ways to Make Your House a Home

Moving into a new house or condo is often a fairly disorienting process for most people. The new surroundings are typically sterile and devoid of personality, which makes it hard to love the space. Turning a mere house into a real home takes time and a little forethought. If you'd like to jump-start the process, these quick tips provided should prove helpful.

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Spice Up the Color Palette

For practical reasons, most houses boast muted beige or gray tones in spades to avoid putting off potential buyers. Once you've moved in, you can remake the new house in your own image using your preferred colors. Even if you like understated shades, repainting the walls to reflect your own tastes is the easiest way to put your stamp on the place.

Lay Down a Few Throw Rugs

One of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to make any house more inviting is by slapping down some unique rugs. Avoid mass-produced items purchased from big-box stores like Bed Bath & Beyond. Instead, head to a local second-hand store and find a few broken-in rugs with some history and personality that jive with your home's interior theme.

Buy Some Vintage Furniture

If you want your home to look lived in and inviting, nothing beats antique furniture. You'd be surprised at what you can find at restored furniture stores in your area and online. Desks, tables, couches and chairs with a few miles on them always add a touch of class and make any home feel a lot warmer.

Display Some Mementos

In many ways, a home is like a trophy case or a scrapbook for your personal experiences and interests. Mount souvenirs that you've acquired on your various travels on the walls in high-traffic areas. They'll act as conversation starters when you have company. If you need to flesh out your tchotchke collection, you can always hit up eBay to buy portraits and sculptures.

Add Custom Storage Gear

Unless you live in a palatial estate where square footage isn't an issue, making the most of interior space is a top priority. You can use your chosen storage solutions to add flair to your home by installing unique hooks, storage cubbies and box benches. You'll bump up the utility factor and beautify the house at the same time.

Green Up with Houseplants

Humans are hardwired to gravitate towards nature. In fact, many studies have shown that caring for houseplants can actually improve physical and mental health. Positioning a few tropical cacti, Norfolk Island pines or Chinese evergreens around the house will really liven up the new digs. In addition, they can actually improve indoor air quality over time.

Put in New Windows

As Retro TeckWindow explains, a new window can open up your home, making it brighter and imminently more welcoming. From bay windows to casements, adding a new window is an affordable way to truly make your house a home.

Looking at the Big Picture

Turning a house into a home requires attention to detail and a fair amount of planning. Whether you're shooting for a cohesive theme or more of an eclectic look, each of the elements outlined above contribute something to the total equation. Use them as you see fit to make your home stand out from the residential crowd.

Lovingly written by Joy

How to Transfer Your Schooling Skills to a Resume

Every year thousands of college students graduate and are eager to join the work force, only to discover an unfortunate reality. While a college degree is often required for many of today’s jobs, lacking practical work experience can leave a young graduate’s resume looking paper thin. It is essential for college graduates to market the skills they have learned in school effectively in order to stand out to prospective employers.

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Be Practical

Employers today often require relevant experience for entry-level work. Though this sounds like a difficult conundrum, an effectively written resume can overcome this obstacle. To best market your skills, frame what you have learned in college in a practical application. For example, a graduate with a University of Florida businessadministration online degree might say he or she “implemented marketing strategies to attract new customers to the campus bookstore.” This provides a level of context to your skills and abilities, which in turn improves your marketability to potential employers immensely.

Put Education First

Though veterans of the work force often list their academic accomplishments at the end of a resume, a recent college graduate should list it proudly at the top. Be sure to include your school, your major, and the degree you have earned, as well as your grade point average if it is higher than 3.0. If you are applying for a job specific in scope, it may also be helpful to list specific courses you have taken that are relevant to your career objective, and demonstrate your proficiency in the field.

Be Concise

In today’s ultra-competitive job market, employers are often inundated with dozens of applications for few open positions. A new college graduate needs to remember that unlike term papers, resumes should be short and to the point. Creating a visually appealing resume, while avoiding lengthiness
will help accentuate the most important elements of your education while also keeping the potential employer engaged. An ideal resume should maintain font size no smaller than 11 or 12 point and should use a traditional font like Times New Roman or Arial. Don’t add unnecessary points, and stick to what that specific employer might be interested in. 

Employing these methods can help make a resume light on practical work experience impressive to employers. When simply earning a degree is not enough to land your dream job, constructing an articulate resume highlighting your skills in the most efficient manner possible can make all the difference on today's job market.

Lovingly written by Joy

5 Ways to Keep a Clean Home without Spending a Fortune

Maintaining a clean home each day without spending a fortune can quickly become overwhelming without the proper planning and supplies. Using a few tips and tricks can ensure your home remains bacteria-free and an enjoyable living space for both you and your guests.

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Clean Up and Sweep Daily

Cleaning each room by picking up clutter and sweeping or vacuuming daily is a way to avoid deep-cleaning needs less often. Simply taking the time to wipe counters, toilets and other surrounding appliances rids larger messes that require more time to clean entirely. Invest in cleaning wipes and sweeping products that allow you to quickly sweep and mop with minimal effort, keeping spills at bay while allowing you to ensure your home is clean and safe for children and pets at all times.

Rid Clutter and Excess Items

Rid the clutter from your home and living areas to create a more serene and enjoyable living environment. Throw out unused magazines, newspapers and junk that no longer serve any use to the individuals in your household. Have children keep toys and belongings in their own rooms using organizers and dressers to keep items out of sight.

You can also consider an affordable option of investing in a storage unit to keep goods and belongings out of sight and out of the home. Using a storage unit is a way to create minimal look and appearance in any home, regardless of the size of your household.

Invest in Organizers

Take time to invest in organizers around the home to keep your belongings from view while allowing you to retain your items and furniture. Using baskets and shelving units are ideal solutions to keep from adding up clutter on end and coffee tables. Organizers are also perfect solutions to implement within closets, keeping clothing and other personal belongings including shoes from piling up and taking up even more space throughout the home.

Hire a Professional Cleaning Company

Consider the option of hiring a professional cleaning company to help with keeping your home nice and clean if you are busy with work and family life during your free time. Using professional cleaning services is not only a way for you to save time when cleaning your home but it is also a way to rid the stress of maintaining the cleanliness of your household. Whether you are looking for a weekly cleaning service or if you are simply looking for a one-time deep-cleaning of the home, there are various services and packages to choose from when you opt to work with professionals who specialize in home-cleaning and management for a living.

Buy Cleaning Supplies and Necessities in Bulk

Buying cleaning supplies in bulk has many advantages. Not only are getting more product for your money, but purchasing more at once saves you valuable time and also saves on gas and other related expenses.

Knowing how to keep a clean home without spending a fortune on various services and supplies is a way to keep any type of atmosphere you create at all times. Whether you opt for professional cleaners, shop in bulk or get a bit more organized, there are plenty of ways to keep a clean home with minimal effort each day.

Lovingly written by Joy

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