7 Tips To Make Your Early Retirement Goal A Reality

Retirement is supposed to be a phase to reap the fruits of your labor. In many ways, carefree retirement is an attractive concept. Since financial freedom is an important factor in happy retirement, many think that you can only attain it after many years of backbreaking and arduous work. Thus, a vision of gray-haired individuals in their 50’s or 60’s blissfully spending their days pursuing the things they love is a common impression people have about retirement.

Just recently though, a growing movement named Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) is challenging this typical concept of retirement. This lifestyle trend breaks the notion that retirement is only something that people in their golden years can enjoy. Although FIRE has its own share of criticisms, no one would probably say no to the privilege to do whatever you please without work responsibilities to think of even at a young age. After all, there is no rule setting a certain age for retirement. Check out the suggestions below that will help you attain financial independence and enjoy the benefits of retirement earlier in life:

Visualize your goals.

Every dream starts with a vision. It will be difficult to hit a target if you do not know where the target is in the first place. Therefore, if your wish is to retire early, the first thing you need to do is to lay out the things that you want to happen in your mind. At what age do you wish to sign off your work for good? Where and how do you want to spend it? It concerns your future so feel free to design a clear yet realistic vision of your retirement years. Visualizing your own perfect retirement in your mind will keep motivate and inspire you to take steps towards your goals.  

Make concrete plans.

A vision without accompanying action is likely to stay a vision. You need to develop tactics in every goal you pursue especially if it is something as ambitious as early retirement. What are the steps you will take to achieve your goals? You may need to list a step-by-step plan to easily keep track of your goals. It will be great if your concrete plans also involve a specific time frame so you can realistically gauge how long it will take to turn your dream into reality.

Save more.

Several factors make up a blissful retirement but one of the most important is financial freedom. You need a steady flow of income so you can afford to live comfortably after retirement. To do this, you need to be serious and aggressive about saving money. You can start by increasing the portion of your income that goes to savings. As long as you do not deprive yourself of basic needs, saving as much as 75% of your salary is an option you can consider. 

Work more.

You can easily save more if you earn more. So use your extra time wisely by finding ways to earn extra income.If you are creative and resourceful, you can discover a lot of ways to earn additional income. Do make sure that the side jobs you accept will not jeopardize your health or cause problems in your full-time job. 

Reduce expenses. 

To enjoy the rewards of early retirement, you may need to be willing to make some sacrifices. To make it possible to save more, be ready to cut your expenses as well. This might involve living below your means and depriving yourself of some luxuries.  Focus on your end goals so you do not get tempted to splurge. You can make this goal less difficult by adopting smart money-saving strategies. In the process, you may even learn to appreciate the beauty of living with less. 

Invest wisely. 

We all have to deal with rising inflation so it is best to maximize your hard-earned money by investing it where it can yield the greatest interest. You have several options such as starting a business, buying a property, or investing on stocks. These ventures can provide passive income that can be a great source of livelihood when you retire. Do remember that every investment has an accompanying risk so be very careful before making a decision. You need to study and understand the terms of investments as well as weigh the pros and cons. Consulting with a mentor can also help you make a wise choice. 

Settle your debts.

It would be hard to look forward to days of fun and leisure if debts and its accumulating interest are constantly lurking at the back of your mind. Make it a goal to breeze through retirement by settling your debts early on. You can research for ways on how you can settle existing debts with a lower interest rate. If you can, it may be wiser if you choose not to accrue debts in the first place.

In case you are thinking of a worthy goal to pursue, early retirement might not be such a bad idea. However, the road to a happy retirement is not something you can expect to receive on a silver platter. You need to be determined and committed to achieve your goals. Things may not be easy but with a few conscious efforts to do things differently, it is certainly a possibility.

Ty and Venessa Crandell7 Tips To Make Your Early Retirement Goal A Reality
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Four Science-Proven Tactics To Save Money With Ease

For the majority, money is an essential resource that you need to work hard for. With that in mind, you surely would not want to waste the fruits of your labor with careless spending. Proper cash management is essential to securing your future. Aside from the material benefits that money can provide, researchers from Texas Tech University proved in a study that increasing savings or assets significantly contributes to one’s life satisfaction or happiness. In spite of this, saving money is easier said than done. The temptation to splurge and spend follows you wherever you go. With the money-saving strategies presented below, you can watch your finances grow in no time.

Prioritize savings.

If you wait until you are done paying bills and buying necessities before setting aside money to save, you may end up with zero left over to store. You can avoid this mistake by using the “pay yourself first” tactic. Prioritize growing your savings by deducting the money for saving right after receiving your salary.  This is easier to do today as banks and companies often team up to offer an automatic savings option. An experimental study revealed automatic payroll deductions is a highly effective way to increase savings may convince you to try this method.

Hide your credit cards.

Credit cards can provide a convenient way to shop, but cashless transactions make it easier for you to overspend. To spare yourself the trouble of high credit card bills and charges, get into the habit of paying in cash. Cash may be your last option when your credit card is available, so you may want to leave your plastic at home. If you are not carrying your cards around, you can think twice before purchasing an item or only use it during times when it is really necessary. This claim is proven by Dun & Bradstreet, a consulting company with a study showing that people tend to spend up to 18% more when using credit cards. Just think of how much you can save by paying with physical vs. plastic money.

Procrastinate on spending.

Procrastination is a bad habit that kills productivity. Surprisingly, the practice of choosing to do things later can be a great tactic to help you save for the rainy days. You can do this by opting not to immediately buy items that you want. Instead, give yourself a day or two to think about whether you really want to purchase that item. Chances are, your desire to purchase something might have dwindle. If you are lucky, those items might already be on sale when you do come back to finally buy it. This strategy is proven to work, according to a research from Paris Dauphine University, saying that by delaying purchases  you can kick the habit of impulse purchases and save your precious dollars.

Visualize the future.

If you really want something and you have the cash for it, stopping yourself from buying it can be extremely difficult. To avoid overspending on unnecessary items, try imagining the negative consequences of giving in to your wants. Think about the rewards that you will reap by sticking to your resolve to save money. If you spend without regard about its effects on your future financial status, saving money is much harder. This theory is proven by a study from the Journal of Consumer Research. In order to grow your savings with ease, it will help to visualize the positive and negative effects of your spending habits.

Money management takes hard work and discipline. It may be hard to save up cash to ensure a comfortable future but it will surely be worth it. If you do not want money to be a major concern someday, you have to exert real effort to build up your savings. If you save religiously and invest wisely, you can soon enjoy  financial freedom.

Ty and Venessa CrandellFour Science-Proven Tactics To Save Money With Ease
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Three Vital Reasons To Aim For Financial Freedom

Financial freedom results from earning, or saving, enough money to be comfortable, no matter what unforeseen circumstance occurs. If you’ve established passive income from multiple revenue streams, or have a job that covers your expenses, you are in the perfect position to let your money work for you. Having the liberty to make decisions based on choice, rather than the pursuit of income, is a key element of life satisfaction. This type of happiness adds value to your existence. Here’s how:

You Can Live a Healthier Life

Monetary flexibility is good for your health. Extra capital in your savings account can go toward an emergency health fund. Even with a decent insurance plan, unexpected illnesses or accidents can become a huge expense. If you are not prepared to cover such a cost, you may be forced to choose between: incurring debt and settling for the medical care you can afford. On the contrary, if you’ve budgeted for such a scenario, you can pay for the medical attention you need without creating a financial crisis. Having the peace of mind that comes with being prepared reduces stress levels. Most people fear the unknown because they haven’t been able to adequately plan for it. Fear causes stress. This panic can be minimized with financial freedom. To top it off, creating an emergency fund not only decreases stress, but also betters your mental health. Worrying about money is draining. It can consume your every thought and action, but it doesn’t have to. You deserve the freedom of serenity, the freedom of prioritizing quality over cost, and the freedom of mental health. While money doesn’t buy happiness, it does indeed afford you better options for your health, and we can all benefit from that.

You Can Be a Blessing to Others

Most people have the desire to give, but lack the means. Some choose to set aside their budgets to assist others, but may face financial consequences down the line. This scenario is not ideal. Financial freedom affords you a unique opportunity to help others, sans fiscal compromise. Once you have more than enough money to support yourself, it’s much easier to give freely without sacrificing funds that were budgeted for other needs.

Financial freedom also creates flexibility of time. Charity doesn’t always mean money. Sometimes, time is the best gift you can give. People who must work a certain number of weekly hours in order to pay their bills probably don’t have many opportunities to take time off for service projects. However, people who have the flexibility of time, can and do.

You Can Take Control Again

When you are living paycheck to paycheck, you don’t have full control. Your financial needs dictate your time, decisions, and behavior. You may not be able to be spontaneous, take risks, or boldly stand up for your beliefs. When another person controls your ability to pay for your basic needs, you have to be careful not to agitate that source. Not being fully in control is limiting. Without financial freedom, it’s difficult to feel uninhibited. You may yearn to follow your dreams, pursue your passions, or express yourself without worry, but the consequences feel steep. Just remember, you don’t have to live that way. Set your goals on becoming financially unrestricted and watch how your options widen. Stop missing out on experiences that may interfere with your paycheck. Stop running from your dreams. Make freedom of choice a reality.

Financial freedom unlocks liberation in many other areas of life. You can’t afford to let money control you. Your health, passion, and life of charity are waiting for you. Create a path to economic independence, and start living the life you deserve.

Ty and Venessa CrandellThree Vital Reasons To Aim For Financial Freedom
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How to Keep The Romance Alive (Even With Kids)

Whether you’re new parents or a couple married for 25 years with children in their teens, keeping romance alive isn’t always easy. Schedules get complicated and busier. Stressors may change, but new ones always seem to replace the old ones. Life is just plain busy. So finding the time — making it — is key to ensuring love grows along with the kids. Remember: One day it will be just the two of you once more.

Here are six simple ways to keep that romance alive.

  1. Date Nights

Schedule a date night and stick to it. Write it in the calendar and honor it just like you would any appointment. The date doesn’t have to be fancy, complicated or expensive. Dinner and a movie — let yourselves be entertained. Or a hike on a mountain trail with a picnic by a stream. A bottle of wine, cheese and loaf of bread on a beach as the sun sets. A tennis match or golf outing. It’s about time for the two of you. Take turns choosing the date.

  1. Me Time Is Just As Important

Give each other time alone to do something that rejuvenates you. Sometimes, we need to fill ourselves up before we can give to others. Take the kids to a movie so you can have a few hours to read a favorite book in peace. Encourage your partner to join that softball league. Walk the dog on that favorite trail. Have a women’s — or men’s — night out where you can enjoy friendships without worrying about what the kids are doing. Respecting each other’s individuality is a gracious gift.

  1. Write It Down

Leave each other love notes in unexpected places — a lunchbox, by the coffeemaker, taped to the bathroom mirror, inside a suitcase. And do so frequently.

  1. Getaway Just The Two Of You

Take a night or weekend away. You’re lucky if you have family who volunteers to watch the kids so that you can have a romantic getaway. If you don’t, ask good friends who you trust to watch the children — and return the favor. Even if infrequent, a night or two in a place other than home rekindles the fire.

  1. Remember the Golden Rule

Be kind to each other. Raising children is difficult. There’s no one manual to follow. And sometimes the stresses of the day trigger negative reactions. Remember to forgive one another, to allow for imperfection and to realize not everything said in frustration is personal. Forgive and move one. As Gary Chapman, author of “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate,” said: “Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment. It is a choice to show mercy, not to hold the offense up against the offender. Forgiveness is an expression of love.”

  1. Thoughtful Communication

Take time to talk each day, to connect, even for 5 minutes. Listen actively. Grab a quick kiss while doing the dishes. Say thank you for the little things. Hug as you pass each other in the doorway. Hold hands while watching that Disney movie for the 10th time. And always say “I love you” as you fall off to sleep.

Although making the time for each other and creating romance is easier said than done, it is essential for a happy family, and successful marriage. If you can carve out the time together, it will make parenting more fun and rewarding– you will not only be building a special bond with your children, but also a deeper bond with your significant other.

 

Ty and Venessa CrandellHow to Keep The Romance Alive (Even With Kids)
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The Importance of Becoming the Dreamer and the Doer

Sarah Ban Breathnach, a celebrated author and public speaker, once claimed that “the world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.” And in those two sentences, Ban Breathnach captures the entire sentiments of the mentality we all need to adopt in order to live a productive and fulfilling life. Too often, people feel the need to define themselves as one or the other––as a dreamer or a doer, a romantic or a realist, a play-it-safer or a go-getter. But progress doesn’t function in dichotomies. Progress is a result of everyone becoming their best selves and not conforming to definitions, boundaries, or labels.

In the pursuit of whatever it is that you want to get out of life, you must work on and improve both aspects of your character. You must become both the dreamer and the doer. You must embrace your inner dreamer and allow yourself to live a lifestyle that promotes and encourages creativity and imagination. Live in a way that allows you the freedom to chase inspiration wherever and whenever you may find it. In doing so, your life will fuel your passions and reignite your spirit, again and again, every day. The world needs dreamers to think outside of the box, imagine the possibilities, and challenge the standard because that is exactly how progress is made.

Additionally, in order to match your creative imagination and make your ideas and dreams constructive and fulfilling, you have to become a go-getter and take action. The world needs people who realize their dreams and act on them. More than anything, the world needs people who have come alive. There’s a difference between people who dream of their goals and the people who make them a reality. And in order for this world to advance and change, we need people to be proactive in pursuit of whatever it is that makes them come alive. So wake up every morning determined to do one thing each day that sets your dream in motion.

Essentially, Sarah Ban Breathnach got it right when she said we have to become a hybrid of both a dreamer and a doer because that is just what you need to make something meaningful out of your life.

Ty and Venessa CrandellThe Importance of Becoming the Dreamer and the Doer
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4 Ways To Celebrate The Fourth With Your Kids

It really is true that children make all holidays more exciting, and the Fourth of July is no exception. While watching fireworks at the end of the day is usually the the most traditional and most anticipated aspect of this holiday for children, there are so many fun things to do before the show starts. The Fourth of July festivities don’t have to wait until dark to commence, and there are a lot of great ways to celebrate with your kids earlier in the day. If you’re wondering what activities to plan, read these 4 ways to celebrate the Fourth with your kids.

Make red white and blue treats

Whipping up some sweet treats are an easy way to entertain your children while enjoying quality bonding time. Look up a good sugar cookie recipe, or even more American, an apple pie, and teach your children how to make it. Baking is a simple, fun activity and provides a finished product that acts as the perfect canvas for children to decorate with red, white, and blue icing and star-shaped sprinkles. Decorating treats are also perfect for bigger groups of kids of all ages, but be sure to make plenty because they go fast! Visit our Pinterest board for some good Fourth of July recipes.

Plan fun crafts on hand

Patriotic crafts are a great way to get in the holiday spirit with your children, and are fun for both you and them. Crafts keep kids engaged while developing a family tradition that everyone is sure to cherish. The best crafts for children involve letting them be creative and take reign of their work. Have your child pick out a few rocks from the yard that they can paint with red, white, and blue designs, or create firework artwork using red, white, and blue paint and some straws. View our Fourth of July Pinterest board for more ideas for fun crafts:

Play sports together

Backyard sports are a great way to get your children active on the Fourth, and are also a good way to bond as a family. Set up a volleyball net in the backyard for your family to hit the ball back and forth, or maybe start up a competitive tournament. The more the merrier! Badminton is another backyard sports favorite that is super easy to set up and play. If you want to stray away from the conventional sports, you can even get creative and hold a relay race or water balloon war if it gets really warm.  

Participate in a neighborhood parade

Have your kids decorate their bicycle or golf cart with patriotic decorations to ride in the local Fourth of July parade. Many neighborhoods and cities have small parades in which kids and their parents can join in and display their American pride. Decorating their bicycle and dressing up in red, white, and blue to parade around the neighborhood is a great way to get your kids excited about the day, and is a fun social activity as well.

 

Ty and Venessa Crandell4 Ways To Celebrate The Fourth With Your Kids
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Why Traveling the World is Actually an Investment in Yourself

One of the main reasons that people don’t just take off from work to travel the world is that they feel that it’s an expensive luxury. They operate under the assumption that travel is for the rich. While it’s true that it takes money and time to be able to travel, it’s anything but a luxury. Traveling the world is actually an investment in yourself. So, this year, make time to broaden your horizon and better yourself by traveling to new places and experiencing other parts of the world.

Traveling the World Puts Your Problems in Perspective

If you’ve ever felt like the weight of the world was on your shoulders, there’s nothing like traveling to a country where others are far less fortunate to alleviate that pressure. When you see how the vast majority of the world lives, it’s almost impossible to feel resentful of your own circumstances.

Hopefully, having your own problems put in perspective will inspire you to give back in a sustainable way to the communities you visit.

Even if you happen to visit corners of the world where people have similar privileges, those experiences still have the ability to impact your perspective. After all, humanity is humanity, and we all have issues we need to work through. When you travel the world, you get a front-row seat to see how everyone else lives, and you start to realize that we all need to work with one another to make the world a better place.

Traveling the World Eliminates Fear of Other Cultures

Again, when you get that front-row seat to the way everyone else lives, you begin to develop a greater sense of empathy. You realize that everyone is a person; everyone deserves love and compassion.

It’s so easy to classify people who don’t look or sound like you as “other,” but the truth is that we’re all human, and there’s no reason to fear one another. The first step to eliminating that fear is to foray into understanding. When you travel the world, you take that leap into understanding and being a part of someone else’s rich and colorful life.

Traveling the World Inspires You to Achieve Greatness

Finally, traveling the world is an investment in yourself in that it inspires you to achieve greatness. Opening yourself up to new perspectives and seeing the world through different lenses allows you to see greater potential in yourself and in others.

Traveling is one of the most inspirational things you can do, so what are you waiting for? Achieve greatness, broaden your horizons, and learn to love the world!

Ty and Venessa CrandellWhy Traveling the World is Actually an Investment in Yourself
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