Archive for Lifestyle

Types of Personal Finance Goals to Help You Reach Freedom

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The global crisis has shifted the way we think of many things we used to take for granted. Finances are one of the top concerns during times of uncertainty.

Many people have lost their jobs due to the outbreak. They are now deeply worried about savings, expenses, bills, and the usual do’s of any person of legal age. The landscape is more worrisome for those with children and relatives, depending on their income.

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How Can You Master Your Finances?

In this article, we will teach you some key pieces of advice you should embrace in 2020. It all starts by taking one step at a time. You start small, but eventually, you will get to your personal financial goals. First, let us summarize what kind of goals you should set: personal, professional, or other. The following are some examples you can note down:

  •  Become financial free in 10 years,
  •  Save up to 30% of your income,
  •  Be able to spend holidays every year.

Of course, financial milestones vary from one person to another; you should focus on finding yours. What makes you happy may not work for someone else. Take a moment to write down some long-term personal finance goals you’d like to achieve.

man holding spread out 20 dollar bills in his hand

Top 5 Tips to Master Finances

Now that you have a big milestone in mind, you can start working towards it. You can rely on payday depot to get your goals sooner. Their short-term loans can come quite handy in times of low liquidity.

These are some powerful tips you can embrace in 2020 to excel at your personal finance goals:

  1.  Increase your savings up to 20%-30% of income,
  2.  Reduce expenses to a viable minimum,
  3.  Work on a side job or a side source of income,
  4.  Manage your money with care and attention,
  5.  Remember that money is not everything that matters.

While having a comfortable lifestyle is good for your health, you need to avoid taking it too far. You need to find a balance between money and comfort in your life. For some people, this implies working 9-to-5; for others, it may suppose traveling the world with a bag. It depends.

Think of what you’d like to focus on. Do you want to improve your professional career? Do you want to help your relatives? Do you need to spend time somewhere else to relax? Then, focus on this financial goal until you reach it.

woman standing with her arms stretched out looking at the sky

Financial Freedom is Possible

First, what does financial freedom mean? This term is commonly used online and refers to a state where you, and only you, are the owner of your money.

This is a condition most people may dream of, but only the most constant in the will can achieve. You need to stick to a method of your own to make it happen within some years.

For instance, start saving today for a course, for those holidays, or your retirement. In some years, when you have an amount of money to sit on, you will thank yourself for this decision and all the effort.

What’s more, you may be able to live from your savings if you reach the needed cash. In that case, you could also think of helping your loved ones close to you. Isn’t financial freedom wonderful? Get started today.

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Comment below and let me know about your personal finance journey!

5 Landscaping Strategies to Deter Burglars

5 Landscaping Strategies to Deter Burglars

One of the most important aspects of deterring burglars from your home is ensuring your exterior is designed to make a break in more difficult. There are many steps that homeowners can take to make their abodes less appealing to potential thieves. Here are five landscaping strategies to deter burglars.

photo of a front porch in the dark

Keep Bushes Trimmed Around House

There are a couple reasons why keeping the bushes around your house under control can help deter burglars. First, overgrown shrubs are a great place for robbers to hide. No matter the time of day, someone can conceal themselves between your home and some thick foliage, and completely evade detection.

Shaggy plants can also be a signal to burglars that you aren’t paying attention to your home. This might make them more likely to choose your home over one that has an orderly front yard.

Additionally, an unkempt lawn can be a sign of someone being out of town. This is something burglars look for when finding potentially vulnerable homes.

Strategically Plan Your Shrubs and Perennial Plants

Maybe you don’t want to be constantly trimming the bushes and trees around your home. Actually, unless you’re a true green thumb, you probably don’t want to be doing this at all.

This is where a bit of planning can come in handy. If you’re going to have bushes or shrubs right next to your house, try to pick ones that aren’t super thick, or else have some sort of defensive mechanism. For example, rose bushes can be a great choice because they have sharp thorns. Even the most dedicated of burglars isn’t going to want to wade through a weave of spikes.

It might just be a better idea to have no large shrubs next to your house at all, as this completely leaves burglars exposed to detection.

Get a Home Security System

A home security system is great for lowering the amount of time a burglar is willing to spend inside a home. This makes it more difficult for them to find your most valuable items, since they know they only have a few minutes before the police arrive.

There’s another benefit to a home security system: the decal. Sticking a home security sign in your yard or front window will make your home much less appealing to potential criminals. In fact, about 60 percent of convicted robbers in one study said a home security system was a deterrent for them.

While this isn’t necessarily going to increase your home’s curb appeal, it will keep you safer from intruders. Plus, having a home security system can lower homeowners insurance rates.

Speaking of insurance, during this time of uncertainty, it is important to make sure you have the right insurance that is responding to the situation.  Read a little more about homeowners insurance and COVID 19.

Related Article: 5 Hacks for Saving on Homeowners Insurance

Put Up a Fence

It can be expensive, but building a fence is one of the best ways to keep out potential burglars. There are a few things to consider before you decide on a fence.

Despite what you might think, a thick wall, or solid fence isn’t necessarily the best choice when it comes to home defense. These are typically easier for a burglar to get over because they have no give and provide ample footing. Better options are fences with vertical metal bars or chain-link fences with a solid foundation.

Install Some Exterior Lighting

It can be expensive and wasteful to leave exterior lighting on all night. For some people, however, doing this is necessary for their peace of mind. There are some other options to consider that are a bit less extreme, and can provide equally effective results.

Consider attaching your exterior flood lights to motion sensors. This will cause them to only go on when they detect a significant level of movement. By doing this, you can get the benefit of a lit yard, without wasting too much energy.

These are just a few things you can do to help keep your home safe from burglars. Your landscaping is a great place to start if you’re trying to make your home security air-tight.

 

Have you ever been robbed? What do you do to protect your home from burglars?

 

Photo courtesy of: KristopherK

How to Break a Bad Habit Quickly

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Why it is so important to get rid of a bad habit? 

A bad habit like smoking, excessive drinking, physical inactivity, negative thinking, etc can lead to more serious problems then you think. According to a report by NewsMax, 70 percent of the American population has at least one bad habit that could shorten their lives to a great extent. We all know that smoking tobacco is harmful to health but you will be surprised to learn that Sleep Deprivation has even more adverse effects than that.?

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What Are Easy Ways to Break a Bad Habit Quickly?

1) Replace It With a Good Habit 

This is the easiest way to get rid of a bad habit. A bad habit is nothing but a quick fix. People try to fill the inner void with as sorts of illegal drugs and also with legal items like food, movies, toxic people, etc. Hence, instead of filling the inner void with something negative, replace it with good things like exercise, a clean diet, positive and successful friends, etc.

2) Use the Power of Accountability

If you find yourself relapsing and going back to your old habits, make sure you have someone to keep a watchful eye on you. Share the details about your bad habit with your friend or a sibling and ask them for help. In short, you need to ask them to be your accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who will see that you do what you promised to get done. 

3) Be Honest With Yourself

Every addict knows where they are screwing up. But most of them fail to acknowledge the fact that they have a problem. It is very easy to ignore the problems in your life and continue to live as everything is fine. This is why you need to be honest with yourself. Accept that you have a bad habit.

4) Associate Pleasure With Pain

There is a reason you go back to your old habit. Even after promising not to relapse, something drags you back to it. Before you can get rid of a habit, it is imperative that you understand how addiction works. You are attached to your old habit because it gives you some sort of pleasure. What you need to do is learn to associate it to pain. For instance, consider doing five push-ups every time you feel like smoking.

5) Recognize the Patterns

All habits–whether good or bad–function in patterns. Your job is to recognize them so you can break the chain that leads you to your bad habit. For instance, if you are binge eater, it would benefit if you can identify the exact time of the day when you feel like overeating. Are you overeating during the day or you feel like eating a lot during and after lunch?

Is It Really Easy to Get Rid of a Bad Habit?

Honestly, no. It is not easy to get rid of a bad habit. Especially, when it an old one. It takes time for you to form a habit. Habit always gets formed with repetition. Hence, to get rid of, you need to re-program your mind–which takes significant time and effort.

5 Tips for Managing Time in Retirement

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?There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.? Brian Tracy

How does it feel to finally be free of responsibilities of going to work, paying income taxes, and being a productive employee?

It feels blissful for a while but very soon things get real and you begin to struggle to manage your life the way you used to when you were working. Managing time is a lifelong process and you have to learn and relearn it as you advance in your life.

Here are the 5 tips for managing time in retirement.

1. Quit being perfect

Perfectionism may be a strength for young people who are detail-oriented, but it detrimental in old age. You don’t want to waste your limited energy in engaging in things that have little or no value– in the grand scheme of things.

Do not waste your time in things like downloading the right theme for your website, hiring the perfect employees for your company, or reaching a certain milestone in business. Accept whatever you are currently capable of and try to do the best with what you have.

2. Get organized

Remember the time when you had to learn how to be organized in your late 20s or early 30s. Was it an easy thing to do? If being organized is not in your genes, you better learn it by practicing it on a daily basis. No one is born as an organized person. It is a habit that every successful person has to learn. As a retiree, you should try to cultivate this habit by following a morning routine, journal twice a day and perform some kind of a meditation exercise.

3. When overwhelmed, create a to-do-list

In old age, it is very difficult to think everything through. Especially, for people with a neurodegenerative disease like Dementia. If remembering things and getting overwhelmed is your problem, just pull out a yellow legal pad and create a to-do-list. Creating a to-do-list is the easiest way of managing time in retirement. If needed do a brain dump by writing whatever task(that needs to be finished) comes to your mind.

4. Create a schedule that suits you

?If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!Benjamin Franklin

Scheduling is another thing that will help you manage your time in retirement. To have a great day, it is necessary to begin the day in the correct way. Do not wake up late or press the snooze button a million times. Wake up early and follow a morning routine. Go for a walk, prepare a breakfast, read a newspaper and create a to-do-list of things that need to be done on the following day.

5. Do not waste your precious time watching television

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?The mood state Americans are in, on average, when watching television is mildly depressed.? Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The above quote stands true for people of all ages. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the author of the book “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” has talked a lot about how people lose their momentum when they begin punching below their weight.

Sitting on the couch and watching television all day is not something you have done your whole life. So, why engage in this dangerous habit now. Television is the root cause of mental disorders like depression, anxiety, emotional spending, melancholy, etc.

Bottom line

Managing your time in retirement is a lot different than in a full-time day job. You have to face challenges that you have never known before and deal with things like loneliness and boredom.

Loneliness can make you less productive and, as a result, you would avoid making the effort to manage time altogether. By focusing on the principals of time management, you can solve these unique problems that only a few people have.

Finding Good Tenants for Your Rental Property

3 Ways to Pay Your Mortgage Off Faster
3 Ways to Pay Your Mortgage Off Faster

To avoid ending up living a nightmare, you must put in the time and effort to find your dream tenants. Otherwise, property damage, unpaid bills, and high turnover rates could end up costing you dearly in the long run. Thankfully, by completing thorough screening procedures, you can find quality tenants, ideally those who will care for their property like it is their own. To help you navigate this process, here?s what you need to know about finding good tenants for your rental property. First, let’s review the reasons we want good tenants to keep our asset cash-flowing positively.

The Cost of Having Bad Tenants

The cost of having bad tenants can quickly grow if tenants fail to care for the property and pay their bills on time – or at all. Here are a few ways that bad tenants can cost you.

Property Damage

Tenants should never cause more than normal wear and tear on the property, such as worn out paint and flooring. Unfortunately, careless tenants can leave behind pure havoc in their wake, including large holes in the walls, missing appliances, and plumbing leaks. Whether these problems occur due to direct action by the tenants, or an overall lack of care, the costs quickly add up and are up to you to resolve in the end.

Unpaid Bills

Bad tenants can leave behind thousands of dollars in unpaid bills ? and that?s not even counting your missing rent payments. Depending on your local rules, you could get stuck paying the bills to avoid getting a lien put on your property. Oftentimes, this happens when the city owns and operates the utilities, as is found with electricity, gas, and water.

High Turnover Rates

When tenants do not pay their bills or take care of the property, you will likely need to complete an eviction process, and then find new tenants. Eviction alone can cost you over $5,000 to simply get bad tenants out of the property for good. Finding new tenants can then run you around $2,500, putting you well in the hole for the year and that is before you even factor in the cost of repairs and unpaid bills.

How to Tell Good from Bad Tenants

Now that you know what you want to avoid, it is time to explore how to tell the good tenants from the bad. Unfortunately, this is virtually impossible at a glance, as there are no telltale signs you can spot on your own. In fact, take it from a veteran New York private investigator, Darrin Giglio, who has run countless background investigations in his career: “You can’t tell about people. The most plausible seeming, and the ones you feel really good about, can turn out to be the complete opposite. The only way to be sure of someone is with a background check, as deep as fits the situation.”?

So there it is: bad tenants can present themselves in a positive light, giving you all the right documents to pass your checks. And, despite your diligence, it is far too easy to break state and federal laws when running these checks yourself. Fortunately, with assistance from a tenant screening service, it’s easier to gauge the likelihood that prospective tenants will pay their bills on time and take care of your property. Even better, a service will handle every phase of the screening process for you, providing accurate information and eliminating the risk of breaking laws along the way.

Steps to Choosing Excellent Tenants 

Although it does take time and effort to select excellent tenants, it does not have to feel overly complicated or hard to approach. As your marketing efforts draw interest in your available properties, here are a few easy steps you can follow in verifying that applicants qualify in full.

Ask the Right Questions

Before you can ask prospective tenants any questions, or even advertise your rental, you must know what state and federal laws allow. To abide by Federal fair housing laws, for example, you cannot discriminate against applicants because of their protected classes, such as race and religious background. What you can do, however, is ask all applicants to complete your pre-screening questionnaire to verify they are a good match for the available rental.

Perform a Thorough Screening

Handing over the official screening process to a dedicated company can free you from the stress while ensuring you thoroughly vet your prospective tenants. Tenant screening companies tend to offer several different levels of screening, ranging from credit only to criminal background checks, past eviction, and more. Services can begin as low as around $25 – a modest cost compared to the costs we discussed earlier.

Screening services may even offer all of the credit, criminal, and eviction screening plus verification of all employment, references, and other important documents. You just have to select the level of screening that will give you the data needed to see if applicants meet your qualifying standards.

Identify Your Ideal Qualifying Standards 

In order to make proper use of your tenant screening results, you must have something to compare it to ? and that?s where your qualifying standards come in. While working within state and federal laws, you can identify the metrics applicants need to satisfy you they qualify to rent your properties, including income and credit scores.Make sure that the standards you select accord with all laws and apply equally to all applicants. Otherwise, you could be open to discrimination claims and legal action. When you have standards in place and follow strict professional tenant screening procedures, you can decrease your risk of signing on bad tenants. Your efforts can help maximize your return on investment and keep your stress levels low.