Think back to when you were five years old. One of the most common questions you were asked was, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" You were so certain at the time that you were going to be an astronaut, a dancer, or a pro baseball player. There was no doubt in your mind. Fast forward two decades: How's that working out for you? Oh, you work in finance now? Why'd you sell out to corporate America?

Turns out, if everyone ended up doing what they dreamed of doing when they were five, we'd probably have more humans on the moon than on Earth. A 2012 LinkedIn survey of 8,000 professionals found that only 30% of workers worldwide followed their childhood career dreams. In the United States, that number is even smaller: only 25%. But is that such a bad thing?

The "follow your dreams" adage, which is a quintessential element of our free-enterprise American culture, doesn't always work out in all respects. Maybe you dream to work for a nonprofit that specializes in saving an endangered species of bug, get married, have a family, and move to Madagascar. But by the time you're forty, you're a pro-bono lawyer living with your family in Maine. But hey, even though you haven't accomplished every dream, you still accomplished some. That's better than a lot of people.

Why do we stray from our career dreams so easily?

Mostly it comes from a realization that our dream jobs are unrealistic, not lucrative, no longer of interest, or are surrounded by a lot of competition. We've all seen those competitive singing shows, for example. Out of thousands of young hopefuls, only a handful will actually have a successful music career. So if you're not insanely motivated and willing to sacrifice everything, you'll just end up singing backup. But the world needs backup singers!

A certain disenchantment hits us after college, when we realize that the world is just a big game, and it's all about playing your cards right, having natural talent, connections, and luck. But we shouldn't be discouraged. Pursuing our passions as a career seems like a beautiful idea, but there are actually some reasons why it might not be the best choice.

According to career advisor Allison Green of US News, we should scrap the advice to "follow your dreams" as it applies to careers. She's not a cynic, but a realist. She says that the advice to pursue our dream careers often makes us study the wrong field in college, which won't properly prepare us for the field in which we end up working. (Not to generalize here, but acting school does not generally teach students how to wait tables, though many actors start out as such.) If you really want to be an astronaut, what are the odds that you're going to get through the incredibly rigorous stakes it takes to get to NASA? Maybe our eyes were bigger than our textbooks on that one.

The other reason that people shouldn't necessarily funnel their passions into their careers is that they don't realize that when it comes to a paycheck, baking 3,000 loaves of bread every morning might not seem like so much fun. Part of what makes our passions fun is that no one is forcing us to do them, but when our ability to produce a bestselling novel in one year will effect whether we can afford to eat, there's the same chance for stress, frustration, and burnout as we would have in any other job.

But what gets people bummed out about their current "non-dream" jobs is the guilt they feel at having "sold out." They are focused on how their jobs are just jobs, and not fulfilling some greater purpose. This leads to a loss of drive to perform, a general feeling of inadequacy, and ultimately, a greater chance of failure at that job, too.

A job is a privilege

Even if you're not an MLB player, your job is something that will help you put food on the table and provide for your loved ones. You must stay in a job to be able to afford to keep up your passions. What many workers need is an attitude adjustment. Just because your job has nothing to do with your passions doesn't mean that you should abandon your them. If you love to do something, you'll find the means to do it early in the morning or late at night.

The passion that you have for your hobbies can be applied to your job, too, no matter what it may be. You can feel passionate through your attitude and your understanding that life gives you stepping stones, that your dreams can be achieved outside of the realm of career. At the end of the day, you may not be an astronaut, but there are other ways to get to the moon.

For more information about how to launch a successful and fulfilling career, read this.

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Home garden and porch

As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.

Extensive Plants and Greenery

A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.

Lawn Care

As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.

Paved Pathways

There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.

Usable Outdoor Furniture

Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.

A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.

Unfortunately, giving back can sometimes go haywire. If you're ready to make a donation, first consider common mistakes made when giving back.

Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.

Acting Quickly Out of Emotion

Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.

Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.

Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation

Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.

If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.

Donating Unusable Materials

Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.

Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.

Strictly Giving at Year's End

As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.

With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.

Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.

The Age of Your House

Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.

The One-Percent Rule

An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.

The Square-Foot Rule

Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.

The Mix and Match Method

Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.

Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.