Investing for the future is a daunting task that most of us are not fully prepared for. Whether you want to minimize your risk or maximize your returns, you are bound to regret some loss or a missed opportunity along the way. Regret is inherent to the process, but once you've accepted that it's inevitable, you can begin to deal with the fallout. Here are five tips to help you move on when an investment doesn't go your way.
Know What You Want
Find the right balance for you
The surest way to magnify your regrets is to skip this step. If you jump on any investment that sounds tempting, without fitting it into your larger plans, you won't be happy with how anything turns out. So are you looking for sudden, big gains, or do you want the stability of a sure thing? Do you want a diverse portfolio, or a focused one? And how much of your money are you willing to put on the line? Once you figure out the balance you want, you can prepare yourself to let go of the missed opportunities or the losses that go along with your broader goals.
Don't Blame Yourself
There's no sense in beating yourself up
Seriously. Whether your money is going into individual businesses, mutual funds, or cryptocurrency, there are major risks involved, and no one can navigate those risks perfectly. Even if, in retrospect, some choice you made with your money was obviously wrong, you've learned something. Chances are that you didn't study investing in school, so the surest way to learn is to try, and any time you try something new, failure is on the table. So you screwed up and lost some money. If you have a broader plan, then it was money you were willing to risk. Mark off one mistake you'll never make again, and move on. Chances are it won't be your last mistake, but each one will make you a better investor.
Don't Be Reactive
If you let a mistake scare you off track, you'll just make another
I once lost a large chunk of money on a risky investment in an individual company. Shortly after, I allowed myself to be talked into shifting money from another individual stock to a more secure real estate investment. There was nothing wrong with that real estate investment, but the stock I sold has since grown to over five times the original price. I let myself be scared away from a calculated risk because of one bad experience. Stick to your guns. One investment going sour does not predict that others will do the same.
Don't Chase Trends
You are not Nostradamus
You can't predict the future. The good news is tht you don't need to. If you were a day trader, you wouldn't be reading this, so don't try to jump on board with the latest exciting development, and don't jump ship at the first sign that an investment is trending down. You can't know when enthusiasm is peaking or pessimism is about to give way to a rebound. If you're willing to risk and experiment, you can move some portion of your investments around with the shifting financial winds, but don't lose track of the long-term. Siting on a smart investment is the easiest thing in the world, but it does take patience.
Pat Yourself on the Back
Give yourself some credit
Not everyone is even trying to prepare for their futures. The fact that you have regrets at all means that you're doing more than most. Give credit where it's due. You took some risks and they didn't all work out, but you're learning and improving. Years from now, when those lessons have paid off, the regrets you cling to now will look small next to the security that you're just now starting to build. Keep the big picture in mind and keep working.
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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.
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.
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.
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.