Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts

How To Improve The Aesthetics Of Your Home

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We spend a lot of time inside our four walls, so when we plan home improvement projects, we tend to prioritise those that take place inside the home over those that take place outside of it. While this makes perfect sense because we live inside, not outside, it is worthwhile to spend some time investigating ways to improve the exterior of your home. First impressions matter, and you'll be surprised at how different you'll feel about your home after transforming the outside space. Keeping this in mind, here are four tips for improving the exterior of your home.


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Consider its kerb appeal

Approach your home with fresh eyes and consider the overall first impression. You will then want to break down this impression into finer details and determine which areas require attention.


A new front door can do wonders and completely transform the frontage. Similarly, window replacement can improve both the appearance and the insulation.


Your driveway may benefit from resurfacing, and any fencing and gates may need to be replaced. Maintain even and weed-free pathways to ensure that they are both attractive and safe for visitors.


If you have a garden, try to keep it tidy, and if it's difficult to maintain, consider covering it in gravel and putting a few pots out there instead. This will give you a very tidy and appealing low-maintenance appearance.


Maintain your roof and brickwork

This is probably the least exciting project on the list, but it is also the most important.


First and foremost, you must ensure that your roof is in good working order. If you have a flat roof, it may have a shorter life than a pitched roof, so consider EPDM rubber roofing to improve and resurface it. If you find any leaks or notice that heat is escaping through it, call in an expert for advice and quotes.


As brickwork weathers, it may require repointing, and you may also need to consider cavity wall insulation or damp proofing installations. Again, bring in professionals to seek advice in these areas.


Spend some time on your garden

Your garden can drastically alter how you use and perceive the exterior of your home.


A garden, unlike other areas of your home, is constantly changing, so this can be an ongoing project. You could try different elements each season for a year or two to get it to the point where you're happy with it.


You can design features, pathways, lawns, container areas, wildlife areas, fruit and vegetable plots, beautiful shrubs and flower beds, and more. Add to that an inviting seating area, and you'll want to spend a lot more time outside.


You could also include a garden room to increase your living space while also creating an interesting feature and focal point in your garden.


Give your doors a lick of paint

Finally, if you don’t want to replace your front door but it’s looking a little worn down, consider repainting it to freshen up its look. Similarly, you could do this for any other visible exterior doors such as a garage or side door.


These simple but smart ideas will help you improve the aesthetics of your home.


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Smart Features To Boost Your Home's Exterior

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The exterior of your home matters as much as the interior. It will help sell the home as well as act as a safe haven for you to relax and spend your time. If you feel that you have neglected your garden over the years, then don’t worry. Today, we are sharing the best features to add to your home’s exterior to boost its appeal.


Image by Stanly8853 from Pixabay 


Lights

Lighting up the home will make it more inviting. It will also ward off intruders when you are not in during the evening. 


Furthermore, adding lights to your back garden is a great way to increase the time you spend there. The best solar landscape lights will light up your garden and make the work you’ve put in stand out no matter the time of day. You will be able to show off your garden day and night when the grass and surrounding flowerbeds stand out. You will be able to host a gathering or simply sit and enjoy nature yourself in the evenings. When the evenings draw in the garden will stay alight and enable you to spend as long as possible out there.


Utilize the spare space to produce

Growing your own produce couldn’t be easier if you have spare space in the garden. Even if you have a small flower bed spare, you can grow enough vegetables to feed a small family. There, you can grow your favourite fruit and vegetables. 


Adding a produce patch will encourage you to spend more time in your garden, boost its appeal, and increase the sustainable solutions in your home. Sustainable solutions will make your life more eco-friendly and be great for future buyers. Furthermore, it will also educate you on how to plant, grow, and harvest.


Tidy up the path with stones

A messy pathway will not look attractive to you, guests, or future buyers. The best way to maximize its appearance and your time is to add stones. You won’t need to attend and cut down stones as you would grass. 


Adding stones will make the pathway clear and inviting. It will act as a guideway to enter the house, which will boost its overall appearance. If you align the colour of the stones with the rest of your exterior, it will tie in well and make your home look well kept.


Along with the stones, you could add small flowers. These will brighten the pathway and make it appear more inviting. Faux plants may be ideal for those with little gardening skills or time.


A fresh front door

Your front door is one of the first features that you and your guests see. Thus, refreshing it will make a huge difference. A quick paint refresh will make it look brand new. 


Furthermore, you could add smart features to enhance the modern feel of your home. You could add a smart doorbell that allows you to see who is at the door from your phone. These features will also enhance the safety of your home as you can always keep an eye on your front porch.


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Tips for People Who Keep Failing to Hit Their Own Goals

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If you’re the kind of person who likes to set goals, you’ll know how demotivating it can be when you fail to hit a target you set for yourself. It makes you feel like a failure, even if that’s not really true. We’re going to talk today about how you can set goals and ensure that you don’t keep failing to hit them. Read on now and find out about the advice you might want to start making use of.


Ask Yourself Difficult Questions


It’s always a good idea to be willing to self-assess. You need to know where you’re going wrong and what you’re doing right if you want to get better at accomplishing your goals in the future. Sometimes that means being willing to ask yourself quite difficult questions and not shying away from your mistakes. We all make them and assessing them can help you as you move forward.


Learn From Each Mistake


Whenever you do make a mistake, you should try to learn from it as best you can. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, and if you feel like yours are costing you progress in life, you should do your best to learn from them. The sooner you start learning from your mistakes, the less likely you’ll be to repeat them time and time again as so many of us do.


Ensure You’re Invested in Your Goals


If you’re not fully invested in your own goals, that’s something that might eventually become a problem for you. Places like Curves N Combatboots sell workout clothes that you might want to buy in order to motivate yourself. Having good gear is important, and being invested in your goal, which in this case might be to get fit, will help to keep yourself consistent and a little more motivated.


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Work on Your Procrastinating Habits


For many people, the reason they fail to hit their goals is due to a simple case of procrastination. We’re all guilty of it from time to time and it’s so easy to do. If you want to make progress and be more productive in life you can’t afford to allow your procrastinating habits get the better of you. It’ll only cause you more problems in the future.


Don’t Allow Failure to Define You


When you do make a mistake or you fail to accomplish a goal you’ve set for yourself, beating yourself up over it or allowing that failure to define you is the last thing you should do. Let it teach you a lesson and see where that takes you. But don’t let it define who you are or what you’re capable of.


Be sure to make the most of these tips if you’re sick and tired of falling short when it comes to the goals you set for yourself in life. Rather than beating yourself up over mistakes and failures, simply try to learn from them and do better next time. That’s all any of us can really do.


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A Simple Guide To Getting What You Want In Life

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Obviously enough, everyone wants to live a life where they are having as many of their own desires fulfilled as possible. But this is something which can take a long time to master, and for most people, it is a matter of trial and error as they try to work out what they need to do to make that happen. For that reason, it is highly likely that you will have already found yourself doing this in your life, possibly with varying results. However, if you are keen to now start trying to get more of what you want, then the good news is that there are plenty of easy ways to make sure that that happens for you. In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the best techniques for ensuring that you get what you want in life - or at least make it considerably easier and more likely that that will happen.

Surprising Mental Health Boosts

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At the moment, many of us are struggling with our mental health. You might have been spending most of your time in your home, especially if you are in a high-risk group. You might be worried about your future health and employment, and the Covid-19 pandemic may have hurt your finances. All of these worries, as well as spending less time with our friends and family members, means that many people are feeling anxious, stressed out, or depressed. 

Gifts to Give a Pragmatic Parent

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Do you dread getting your parents gifts whether if it's for Christmas, birthdays or holidays? It's not because you don't love them, quite the opposite actually. 

Tackling Problems at Work

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We spend a large proportion of our lives at work. While many of us spend a lot of time deciding what we want to do, what company we want to work for - and will work hard getting ourselves there - there’s one thing you can’t guarantee when starting any job. This is that you will get on with your colleagues. The people you work with can make or break a job. While they may be competent in their roles, some people can be problematic on a personal level. They might be rude. They might be brash. They might simply have personalities that just don’t gel too well with your own. So, what should you do if you start to experience problems in the workplace?


First, you need to determine how serious the issues between you and your colleague are. There are some serious issues out there, including racism, sexism, homophobia, or other forms of prejudice or discrimination. These should be brought up to HR immediately. Issues such as sexual harassment and bullying are also major. However, some issues, such as someone being a little blunt, or someone simply irritating you, can often be easily overcome with the right intervention techniques. The infographic below will help you to see some common problems in the workplace between employees and will give you a good idea of how you should deal with them for effective and positive results. Take a read through to clear up any issues you might have!

Infographic Design By USC


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How Becoming A Cybersecurity Professional Will Help You Get The Life You Want

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While “hustling” and starting a business might seem like the best ways to make money, for many, the best strategy is to find a decent career and pursue it. Your choice of career, however, makes a massive difference to the kind of job opportunities available to you, which, in turn, determines how much you’ll ultimately earn. 


If you’re considering a career, then cybersecurity should be at the top of your list. Not only is the work itself surprisingly enjoyable, but it is also one of the most “in demand” jobs in the US right now. 


Did you know that in the past year alone, demand for cybersecurity professionals rocketed by more than 330,000? Companies now know that they need to protect their data and systems, but are struggling to find people to fill the positions.


The effects of this heightened demand are remarkable. Firms are willing to pay top dollar for people with the right skills to protect their enterprise. Those in the world of cybersecurity are able to earn a massive premium over other skilled professionals with equal qualifications, simply because the area is hot right now. To put the whole thing into perspective, 42 percent of organizations are looking to fill information security more than any other job. 


Do you want a better life? If so, take a look at this infographic on the opportunities for cybersecurity professionals. It shows how cybersecurity is snowballing and the increased demand from firms in both the US and across the world. 


Infographic by Norwich University





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Outdoor Electronics For A Different Kind Of Play

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child playing with dried leaves

Most parents like the idea of giving their children something unique and interesting to spend their time on. It can be hard to drag the little ones away from the computer screen, nowadays, and many mums and dads would rather their little ones be enjoying themselves outdoors. Of course, though, there aren’t that many digital devices that can survive outdoor play. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the best outdoor electronics on the market, giving you the chance to change the way your children play, without forcing them to use toys that they don’t like.

Drones


You’ve probably already heard of drones before, with these electronics taking the world by storm over the last few years. They come in all shapes and sizes, with some designed for professional camera work, and others made for fun. You will be looking for the latter and this isn’t too hard at all. It’s worth reading some reviews when you’re looking for products like this, along with considering local laws that could make it hard for your child to play with their drone. This sort of toy can teach your child about physics, along with giving them the chance to test their dexterity, with most cheaper drones being challenging to fly.

Boats


While they are often underrated when compared to their airborne counterparts, boats are amazing machines. With some being almost unthinkably huge, it’s easy to let the imagination wander when a child is playing with something like this. You can look at these battleships to learn more about the options you have available to you, giving you the chance to find a remote-controlled boat that will interest you and your child. You will need a body of water to be able to use a product like this, with lakes, ponds, and swimming pools being far better than a bath. Of course, though, like the drone, you need to think about your local laws.

Mobile Games


Not everyone has the resources to splash out on expensive gadgets for their children. Unfortunately, a lot of these items are very expensive and this leaves families on strict budgets without the option to buy them. To make up for this, mobile games have been opening up over the last few years, and there are now several options which are designed to be played outside. Pokemon Go! is a great example of this. A player needs to walk around outside if they want to progress, and there are often large meetings of other players who can trade and get to know one another. This sort of product is changing the way children can play, all without their parents having to drag them away from their phones.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of creating a different kind of play for your child. A lot of people find it hard to know what they need to do when they’re looking for alternative options for outdoor play, though this market is booming like never before.
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Future Planning: An Introduction To The FIRE Movement

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For most people, their career path is very simple. They go to college, find a job after graduating, and slowly but consistently work their way up the career ladder over the course of the next 30 or so years. Then, usually by the time they are in their 60s, they are able to retire. This is the conventional career route that has been a staple of society for decades; but it’s a route that a group of people are now challenging. 

Introducing FIRE 

FIRE stands for “financial independence, retire early”. The driving force behind the idea is that retirement is not something that people should have to wait until their 60s to achieve; instead, people focusing on FIRE look to retire as soon as possible, with some achieving this goal in their 30s (though between 40 and 50 is more standard). 

Frugality is a big part of the FIRE lifestyle; in many ways, the movement is strongly related to anti-consumerism, and people choosing to spend more time enjoying the simpler things in life rather than working in order to spend. 

How is FIRE possible?

There are a few additional considerations anyone contemplating FIRE will need to keep in mind - which we will discuss in more depth soon - but the core essentials are aggressive saving and investment. People looking to achieve FIRE will spend as little of their income as possible - saving 75% of income is far from uncommon - and will instead choose to invest. Over time, the combination of savings and compounded interest from investments results in people having a large enough sum of money to retire and be able to live on the income from investments alone, rather than relying on a salary. 

How much is considered sufficient to retire on?


Most people aiming for FIRE aim to save 25 times their anticipated annual living expenses. So, if you were to estimate that you would need to spend $60,000 per year, then you would need to save $1,500,000. The x25 rule is thought to be sufficient to allow people to withdraw 4% from their savings to meet their living costs during their retirement.

Is it really possible to save that much money?

While the idea of setting so much money aside may initially seem outlandish, it is a goal that many people are able to reach. Admittedly it’s not a short-term goal - without a lottery win or two, no one is going to achieve FIRE in just a few years  - but if you’d like to retire earlier than expected, then it can be done. 

How can you get started on the path to FIRE?

The path to FIRE will always be slightly different for every person who chooses to walk it, as everyone starts from different financial positions and with slightly different goals in terms of how much they want to be able to save. However, the general steps needed to reach FIRE are as follows: 

#1 - Cost cutting 

Cost cutting is crucially important to those looking to pursue FIRE for two reasons. Firstly, FIRE requires a much higher savings rate than the 5-10% of income that most people aim for, so outgoings will have to reduce to allow this to be possible. Secondly, when actually retired, living a low-cost, frugal lifestyle is incredibly important to ensuring funds are sustainable, so it’s a good idea to get into the habit as soon as possible.

You will therefore need to go through all of your expenses and see where you can cut back. Be stringent here: anything but essentials should at least be considered for cutting if you’re dedicated to reaching FIRE. For areas of your budget that cannot be cut entirely - such as groceries, insurance payments, and so on - look for ways to reduce the amount you spend instead.

#2 - Debt repayment

FIRE requires people to save and invest as much of their income as they possibly can, while spending as little as possible - a situation that is difficult if you are carrying credit card or student loan debt. These debts will continue to accrue interest for as long as they are outstanding, which means that there’s more money being spent servicing debt than there is being saved into a potential retirement pot - which is obviously less than ideal. 

As a result, the extra funds found after cost cutting should be put towards clearing debt rather than saving for retirement; by doing this, potentially hundreds (or even thousands, depending on the size of the debt) of dollars in interest can be saved and diverted to an early retirement fund instead. 

#3 - Mortgage repayment 

Owning a property is outright is an important part of FIRE, as having to pay a mortgage (or, worse still, rent to a landlord) will inevitably deplete savings significantly and reduce the amount available to live on when retired. As a result, ensuring that your mortgage is paid off should be your next focus when you have cleared all debts; there are various methods available when it comes to paying off a mortgage, so explore these and decide which will work best for you.  

#4 - Investing 

With your mortgage paid off, you can now consider your investment options. Within the FIRE community, low-cost index funds are perhaps the most popular, but experiences and preferences do vary, so it’s advisable to seek the assistance of a financial advisor who can help decide which investments are the right choice for your specific goals. 

A quick note: Above, we have suggested that mortgage repayment and then investment is the best choice for those looking to achieve FIRE - but this is a hotly-debated topic within the FIRE community. 

Some people believe that investments and mortgage payments should be done at the same time (so interest can be earned on investments during the mortgage repayment), while others say, as we have, it’s best to focus all funds in paying off your mortgage first so that this important step can be achieved as soon as possible. 

The decision, however, is entirely yours: if you would like to split your focus, choosing to invest and pay off your mortgage at the same time, then you can do so - the route to FIRE is different for everyone, so go with what you believe to best the best course of action for you. No two routes to FIRE are the same!

Common questions people ask about FIRE 


FIRE is such an unusual idea that it is natural people may have further questions about how it works, so below we’ve sought to answer the most commonly-asked questions...

#1 - Is it possible to retire early and still pay college tuition for my children? 

Yes, but it’s complicated; there’s a helpful guide here that parents should find useful when deciding how to factor college tuition into their FIRE plans. 

#2 - Is FIRE for me if I love my job and don’t want to stop working?

Absolutely! Many people who reach FIRE continue to work even when, mathematically speaking, they do not absolutely need to. The goal of FIRE is to simply have the financial independence to choose to work, rather than having to work out of financial necessity. 

#3 - Is property ownership an essential for FIRE? 

Realistically, yes - even if you would like to live a nomadic lifestyle (such as travelling the country in an RV) post-retirement. Property is an excellent investment, so even if you’re not intending to live in your current home when you’re retired, it will still be a valuable asset and can contribute to your income if you choose to, for example, rent the property out while you explore the world. 

#4 - Should I try to increase my income in order to reach my goal faster? 

Yes, doing so can be beneficial and is a common choice for many people focused on FIRE. It is usually preferable to try and increase your hours/wage in your day job rather than embarking on a potentially-unreliable side hustle, though you can give this a try if you would prefer to do so and have the time available. 

#5 - What happens to early retirees if the market crashes? 

As we have discussed, FIRE is highly dependent on investments - but, of course, the market can go up as well as down, which could spell trouble for those who are solely reliant on investments for income. This concern is one of the reasons why working with a financial advisor is so important; they will help to diversify risk and ensure that funds are stable even in the event of a market crash. In addition, keeping some savings in cash (as in a high-interest standard savings account; not storing literal cash) can be a good way of protecting against market downswings. 

In conclusion

The FIRE movement definitely goes against convention, but can be an incredibly positive step for those who choose to commit to it. We hope the above has provided food for thought and, if you decide FIRE is the right choice for you and your family, we hope the journey is as smooth as it can possibly be.


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