Some people love their job and going to work each day is a reason to wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. The thrill of the task at hand excites them and keeps them busy with to-dos, meetings, and projects. They will likely retire someday, but the urgency isn't forcing them to cross the days off the countdown calendar.
Then there are those folks who cannot wait until retirement rolls around. The 9-to-5 has gotten stale, stress is through-the-roof, and they relish in the day when they can sit on their back porch, lemonade in hand, with their days free for whatever life may bring.
However you may feel about working, the idea of retirement has surely crossed your mind at one point or another. As great as your job may be, retirement sure sounds dreamy. And if the last time you'll clock in will be as exiting as getting your first paycheck, retirement seems like a trip to paradise.
While the average age of retirement in the U.S. is 63, some people have the luxury of retiring sooner. And retiring early, while not commonplace, certainly has its perks. Here are three benefits of retiring ahead of the curve.
Improved Mental Health
While working keeps our minds active, it is also a major source of stress for many. Not to mention the tension of working with people we may not agree with, pushy bosses, demanding schedules, and commuting chaos. These things will be over and gone come retirement.
As per The Motley Fool, "More than 50% of Americans consider themselves unhappy at work. Of course, unhappiness comes in varying forms and degrees, but if your job is a major source of stress, retiring early might actually be a smart move health-wise."
You'll also likely get more sleep, keeping you on the ball and invigorated. You won't be as cranky or short-tempered, creating a more mentally-sound you. De-stress, decompress, and delight in your mental health boost while your mind is still young and sharp!
Time for Personal Interests
After a long day at work, there is little time left for hobbies, passions, and non-work-related goals. Although you may have weekends and a bit of free time after work to pursue personal interests, your job usually comes first. You need to make money, and that trumps tending to your garden, hitting the free weights, or brushing up on your Spanish. Travel is limited to set vacation days and you can't practice with your church choir if rehearsals are at two in the afternoon on Wednesdays.
According to U.S. News & World Report, "Having free time when you are still relatively young is better than having those same hours when you are older. An early retiree will have more energy to travel, perhaps live in exotic places and try out physically demanding new hobbies. Maybe you will find a new hobby that ends up turning into a lifelong passion."
You may even want to start a new career. As Investopedia notes, "If you dream of switching fields or starting your own business, sooner may be better than later. You'll be a more desirable job candidate to many employers the more years you have ahead of you. And if you want to be your own boss, you'll have more time to get your business off the ground."
Improve Relationships… and Form New Ones
More hours at home means more quality time available to spend with family and friends. Reconnect with people you have not seen in a while, bring back the romance with your partner, and give your kids an opportunity not many have by being there day in and day out as they grow.
U.S. News & World Report adds, "Not everybody can make it out during the week, but don't underestimate the number of people who don't work on a 9-to-5 Monday to Friday schedule. You will find new people to socialize with in your area who have similar schedules."
Most importantly, you can get to know yourself all over again. When focus is shifted from work to retirement, you can take a deep look inside and rediscover what makes you tick. Doing this earlier in life can leave you with fewer regrets that you didn't live up to your full potential on your own terms.
Would you retire early if you could?
Between buying a new home and transporting yourself and your belongings to it, moving can be an expensive process. One often underrecognized cost of moving occurs before one's original house has even been sold, and that's staging the house. Homeowners often spend hundreds of dollars making a home appealing to potential buyers. To ease the financial burden of moving, here are several tips for staging your home on a budget.
Downsize Instead of Storing
The goal of staging a home is to create a blank canvas that potential buyers can imagine their own lives painted upon. To accomplish this, homeowners should depersonalize the home as much as possible, removing items that are specific to their family and eliminating clutter. This is where homeowners often incur their first costs as they rush to put as many older things in storage as possible.
To cut costs, focus on downsizing rather than storing items. Look for items that you can sell, donate, or give away. For remaining items, look for alternative places to store them, such as a friend or relative's house. This will also reduce the cost of moving your belongings when it is time to go to the new house.
DIY What You Can
There are times when homeowners should bring in a professional to manage home renovations and decorating, such as when a task requires specialized skills. These types of jobs, when done incorrectly, will incur even greater costs if attempted on your own. However, many of the home improvement tasks that go into staging a home are simple enough that the homeowner can DIY them, such as painting, installing a backsplash, or refinishing the deck. Doing these tasks yourself will save you a significant amount of money.
Don't Redo, Update
Homeowners are often eager to make their houses look as appealing to buyers as possible. However, recall that the point of staging is depersonalization, making a home presentable so buyers can mentally impose their own style onto it. When staging a home on a budget, focus less on completely transforming the space and more on making what is there look presentable. For instance, if you wanted to give your bedroom a facelift, trying to replace the furniture and flooring would be pointless unless it was damaged or unkempt. Simply organizing the space and replacing the bed's comforter would be sufficient.
Another way to update the space without entirely redoing it is to rearrange it to maximize the space that is already there. For instance, pulling the furniture away from the walls will make a room appear bigger and allows more space for those touring the house. Using window trimmings that maximize natural light and incorporating wall mirrors can also make a room seem more spacious.
Raising a larger family than most means that your lifestyle is going to change. Costs will continue to multiply as your family grows larger. However, just because your family is large doesn't mean your quality of life needs to suffer. It just means you need to make a few adjustments to help things work smoother and more efficiently. We've compiled a couple of money-saving tips for larger families to help you get the most out of your dollars.
Always Buy in Bulk
The benefit of having a larger family is that things you buy in bulk rarely ever go to waste. Smaller families can benefit from buying in bulk, of course, but your large family will see the most use out of shopping in large quantities. You'll want to avoid going to smaller stores for necessities such as groceries and clothes, as these places generally have higher markups on their items.
Buy Wholesale Items Online
If you want to take buying in bulk to the next level, one of the best money-saving tips for large families is to buy online from wholesalers. Buying online comes with a number of benefits that you won't get when you go to a physical store:
- You don't have to drag your kids to the store with you
- You have a lower probability of making impulse purchases
- You can search for exactly what you need
- Wholesalers sell in very large quantities for a lower price per item
Never Throw Away Something Useful
When you have to buy things for multiple children, your costs to replace items will be much higher. That's why it's so important to keep everything you can. Clothing is a big part of this. Hand-me-downs can prevent you from needing to replace entire closets every year. Try to repair or upcycle any clothes that may have damage, as this is usually much cheaper than buying brand-new items.
Stick to a Budget
When you support a large family, expenses can sometimes get away from you. Proper budgeting helps to keep the extra purchases that add up to a minimum. Budgeting correctly can save you a lot of heartache in the long run. It's up to you how much control you want to take; you can make your budget weekly or monthly, depending on how tight a ship you need to run. What's important to remember is that making the budget is only the first step—sticking to it is where you'll really need to enact some willpower.
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Sometimes there is no choice—a home needs to be sold in the winter.
Spring may be the most popular time to put your house on the market, but homes do sell in the colder months. With fewer houses available, your home may be someone's only choice when house hunting in your neighborhood. As your neighbors hold out until spring, you'll already be done and ready to shop for your next house!
Here are a few tips for selling a home in the winter to get you on the right track.
Keep Paths Safe and Landscaping Fresh
Landscaping is the last thing on a homeowner's mind in the winter. Everything was cut back in the fall and may now be covered in snow. Still, take a walk around the house and yard to check everything out. Branches may have fallen from heavy snow, leaving a mess in the yard. Keep everything neat and tidy.
The last thing you need is a potential buyer slipping on the ice-covered walk in front of your house. Buyers often consider those moments bad omens, and this can affect their decisions. Shovel, snow blow, spread salt—do whatever you have to do to keep the driveway and walking paths clear, and don't forget the porch and deck.
Make the Inside Warm and Cozy
In cold weather, buyers won't spend a lot of time examining a home's exterior. Instead, impress them with the inside by creating an atmosphere which causes them to want to move in.
When there's time, leave wintery types of snacks and drinks, such as hot cocoa and cookies, available on a table during showings. This gives your home a welcoming feel to buyers.
Light the fireplace (if you have one) for a lovely ambience and set your thermostat to a comfortable setting. A warm home in the winter is much more appealing than a chilly one.
Make Your Home Less Personal
Understandably, this can be a tough thought for homeowners. After all, you've spent years creating memories in your home. To buyers, though, they need to picture it as their own. Too much personality makes that difficult.
It's always important to stage your home in a way that makes it look clean, comfortable, and move-in ready. Don't feel offended by the idea of taking family pictures down and replacing them with generic décor. This will help your home sell faster by helping buyers envision their own things there.
Cleanliness and Maintenance
Clean, clean, and clean some more. Make appliances, counters, and floors shine. No matter how old your home is, it needs to feel like new to potential buyers. If you aren't into dusting, now is the time to try. Don't forget window coverings that might need washing.
Be prepared ahead of time for home inspections by taking care of maintenance now. HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical should all be up to code and running smoothly.
Use these tips for selling a home in the winter, exercise patience during the slower months, and your home will sell before you know it.