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Many people around the world struggle with seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder. If you are one of them, the winter months are probably tough for you. However, there are some ways you can ease and manage your seasonal depression. By changing your habits and putting the extra work in, you may not completely cure your SAD, but you can definitely learn to minimize it and live with it! In the rest of this article, we will share some of our favorite tips for managing seasonal depression.
What is Seasonal Depression?
Seasonal affective disorder, commonly known as seasonal depression or SAD, is a form of depression triggered by changes in daylight and weather that mainly occur in winter.
What causes SAD? Some experts believe that seasonal variations interrupt the body's inner clock that controls how we function throughout the day, causing us to feel invigorated and alert at times and tired at others. Another hypothesis is that the changing seasons affect chemicals that regulate sleep, mood, and emotions of well-being, such as serotonin and melatonin. Whatever the cause, there are some ways you can consider managing seasonal depression.
Become Physically Active
As it does for other types of depression, exercise can help alleviate SAD because it helps boost your mental health. Moreover, exercise can also help with weight gain, which is a common side effect of seasonal depression. Outdoor activity is one of the most effective treatments for SAD symptoms. However, if it's too cold or snowy to exercise outside, try using a treadmill, stationary cycle, or elliptical machine near a window at home or the gym. If you don't have home exercise equipment, yoga is a great alternative too. You can find tons of great yoga videos and instructions online that can help guide you through your exercises.
Prioritize Social Activities
You may not think social activities play such an important role in managing your seasonal depression, but they do. Studies have discovered a link between social isolation and depression. And, as we know, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people have been isolated than ever before. That's why it's critical to come up with new strategies to keep connected with others during these times. Begin by spending time with family and friends in a nearby park, participating in outdoor sports, or taking walks when the weather permits.
If the wintertime darkness, weather, and COVID-19 have you staying indoors more than you'd like, there are alternative methods to socialize besides the in-person contact. FaceTime or set up Zoom calls with friends and extended family members when the winter weather makes it too chilly to be outside or too dangerous to drive. Staying in touch with the people you care about will help ease your seasonal depression.
If you have recently moved in with a roommate you get along with, consider spending more quality time with them. However, living with a friend is not always easy; it certainly has its challenges. You may bicker a lot about house chores, but don't let these silly arguments lead to isolation. Do your best to compromise and work through your problems together. Falling out with a person you care about can only hurt your feelings and worsen your seasonal depression.
Stick To A Schedule
People who suffer from seasonal depression frequently have difficulty sleeping at night and waking up in the morning. Having a regular sleeping schedule and sticking to it can improve your sleep, which might help with seasonal depression symptoms. This means you should also avoid napping during the day, which can only worsen your symptoms. Maintaining a regular routine allows you to be exposed to light at consistent and predictable intervals. Furthermore, eating at regular intervals can help you avoid overeating, which is also a common symptom.
Bright Light Therapy
Another way you can manage your seasonal depression is by using a "lightbox" for light therapy. This method is also known as phototherapy, and it's most useful on days when you don't get enough sunlight. These lightbox devices give off light that mimics sunshine, which helps a lot to those living with SAD. Typically, after getting a lightbox, you'll have to sit in front of it for about a half an hour a day. It's best you do this within the first hour after waking up in the morning. This should result in a chemical change in your brain that will improve your mood and mitigate the symptoms of seasonal depression.
Similarly, many people with SAD tend to purchase dawn simulators. These gadgets are alarm clocks, but instead of blaring or playing loud music to wake you up, they emit light that gradually grows in intensity, much like the sun.
Keep A Journal
According to experts, keeping a daily journal or a daily planner is excellent for those struggling with seasonal depression because it helps them prioritize life's challenges and identify their depression triggers. When you journal, you release all your thoughts, feelings, and concerns on the page. So, set aside at least half an hour every day to write your journal. Write or draw whatever feels right; don't feel like it needs to look good - it's for your eyes only. It's best to do this at night so you can think clearly about everything that has transpired in the previous 24 hours. Moreover, after you have written everything down and got it out of your system - you should feel relieved and ready to sleep.
Consult Your Doctor
While changing your daily habits can certainly help maintain a healthy lifestyle and good mental health, sometimes that's not enough to combat seasonal depression. Sometimes, it's best to talk to an expert: your doctor.
Because it is a type of depression, seasonal affective disorder must be diagnosed by a mental health expert. Seeing a specialist if you have SAD can help you work through it. Moreover, they might prescribe you antidepressants if they think it would help you manage your seasonal depression. So, before going to your doctor, prepare for the fact that you might need to use the medication from autumn until spring.
Now more than ever, a home is more than just a home. For those starting a new business, home may be where your company is located. New business owners need a space that encapsulates all the necessary components: an office, storage, and ample living area. After work, entrepreneurs then need their home to be an ideal space to unwind and spend time with family and friends.
Business owners who are just starting can find a home that accommodates a space for living and working. One important consideration for new business owners is finding a place that will work in the long term as your business expands, as well as meeting the needs of your personal life. Real Life with Heather presents some tips you need to consider.
Determine Your Ideal-Home Criteria
When shopping for a home as a new business owner, create a checklist of your most important criteria. Staying focused on your needs is crucial as you shop for a house, and it can prevent you from getting swept away by the cosmetic details of a home that may not otherwise be practical. Jot down ideas you like, and even create a dream board of design elements to later incorporate into a home that suits your needs for living and working.
Consider the number of bedrooms you need, keeping in mind any plans for having children and providing ample room to play and work. It may also be wise to consider a guest room for family and friends who visit.
Business owners should also prioritize a home office. Depending on the type of business you operate, you may need storage space for your supplies and a manufacturing area. If your business primarily takes place online, then you’ll need an internet connection that’s both speedy and reliable. In fact, internet speeds and availability may help determine where you’ll move.
Custom-Built Homes and Modulars
If you are having a difficult time finding a home that works for you, it may be time to think about having one custom-built. Weight the pros and cons of buying versus building a home. Some of the important considerations are timeframes, building costs, and land-prep fees. Home construction can be costly, but repairs and renovation fees to an existing structure can be pricey as well. It may be wise to consult a contractor and obtain estimates prior to deciding.
Modular homes are also popular choices among new homeowners in today’s market, and they can be completed much faster than a stick-built house. Shop around with varying modular dealers to identify setup fees and other costs. Whether you opt to build or go with a modular, there are many quality builders available. Once you have found your ideal home, the moving process begins. Many people dread moving, but there are ways to reduce the stress and create a plan that gets you into your new home without issue.
Create a Moving Strategy
One of the best steps you can take as you plan to move is to reach out to moving companies and hire professionals to assist you. Movers can be easily found online in your area in just a few keystrokes. Be sure to check out the ratings and rates of several movers prior to making any commitments.
As you pack your belongings, stick to an organizational strategy that will make your unpacking process simple. Declutter your home and get rid of unnecessary items prior to packing. Consider packing an hour each day, rather than swamping yourself with the task all at once.
If you take your time and stay organized, your moving process will be much smoother in the long run. Soon you will be settled into your new home-based business and living the life you have always envisioned. You can find your ideal home that meets the needs of your new business and personal life.
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Think estate planning is only for seniors? Well, estate planning can be just as smart for you as it is for your parents and grandparents. That’s because the point of creating an estate plan is to protect your loved ones from the undue stress of having to make decisions and foot financial obligations when they are also dealing with their feelings of grief over losing you. Wondering where to start? Real Life with Heather shares some crucial estate planning steps every adult needs to take.
Buying Burial Insurance
If you want to save your parents or other loved ones from having to cover your end-of-life costs, you should consider buying burial insurance. Burial insurance tends to be fairly budget-friendly and provides benefits that can offset funeral expenses and help out with debts, including personal loans and hospital bills. You should determine what all your final arrangements will entail and how much you need to protect your family.
Purchasing Life Insurance
Burial insurance provides basic financial protection and can benefit just about anyone. If you have larger debts or a family who depends on you for income or care, CNBC suggests you really should be researching life insurance as well. The larger payouts that come with standard life insurance can help with mortgages and other major expenses, plus your policy will likely be cheaper.
Planning Their Own Funerals
If you want to ensure that your life insurance or burial insurance funds will cover funeral costs for your loved ones, then you also need to plan your own funeral, notes The Motley Fool. This may seem like a stressful task but using an online guide can help keep you focused and objective. Once your plans are laid out, you should share them with a trusted friend or loved one, to ensure they are honored.
Appointing Legal Guardians
Parents need to think even more seriously about estate planning. One of the most crucial steps parents can take to protect their children is to appoint legal guardians/conservators. This will ensure that kids do not end up with family members they do not know or even in the foster system. Have furry kids in your family? You should appoint caregivers for your pets as well so that you will know they are taken care of even if the unthinkable should happen to you.
Planning for Long-Term Care
Having a plan for long-term care can be crucial for your well-being, whether you’re in assisted living or a nursing facility. Many younger people choose to purchase long-term care insurance to help offset the costs. It’s never too early to research facilities and their costs to get an idea about potential expenses. Senior Care offers pricing information on several Dallas-based skilled nursing facilities.
Drafting a Last Will and Testament
When you need to appoint guardians or caretakers for your pets and children, AARP points out that you typically include those details in your last will and testament. This is a legal document that ensures your last wishes are carried out after your death, and your will should also include other provisions regarding your estate. For example, if you have any personal property or assets, you can use your will to divide them among your friends, family members, or even charities.
Completing Advance Directives
Because your friends and family members can also be faced with making decisions about your medical care during an emergency, you should also include advanced medical directives in your estate and end-of-life planning. Decisions to be made include whether you would like to be resuscitated, donate organs or stay connected to life support systems. These directives require a physician before they can be honored, but you will also need to assign a power of attorney. And as with many of these steps, it’s important to discuss these matters with a lawyer.
Organizing Financial Papers
Last but not least, if you have any documents regarding bank accounts, personal info, life insurance policies or passwords for essential accounts, you should make sure these papers are kept organized and in a safe location. Also, make sure that a close family member or friend will have access to these documents in the event of your passing so that they can take care of any crucial business. Taking this important planning step can save your loved ones a lot of stress.
Estate planning may seem like a waste of time when you feel like you have your whole life ahead of you. The truth is that you can never predict when the unthinkable will impact you and your family. So, protect them by checking estate planning off of your to-do list.
Setting goals and working to accomplish them is a very personal experience as no two people will have the same picture of the ideal life in their mind. Real Life with Heather inspires people to take charge of their lives and make them as amazing as they can be. Check out more informative blog posts today!
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Everyone knows that exercise is good for your physical health, but what about your mental health? According to research, leading a physically active lifestyle rather than a sedentary one can significantly impact our well-being. Not only do we get to look good, but we also get to have a healthy mind in a healthy body. If you're wondering how it works, check out these 5 ways exercise can boost your mental health.
How to start being active?
To begin, you could incorporate some physical activity that doesn't require a lot of time or effort into your daily routine. For example, you can choose to walk or cycle to your workplace instead of taking the bus or going by car. Then you can gradually add some organized physical activity a couple of days a week. Going to the gym, running, or having a home exercise routine, for instance. In the end, the goal is to make exercising an essential daily habit that will help you enhance both your physical and mental health.
Now that you know how to start being more active, here are the reasons why you should keep workouts in your daily routine.
1. Improve the quality of your sleep
Lack of sleep can affect your capacity for concentration and induce anxiety. That can have a negative effect on your working capacity and social skills. Being physically active can increase not only the quality but also the quantity of your sleep. Exercising has the same effect on your body as a shower, by raising its temperature. A high body temperature means that you are active, so your mind will stay awake. When your body starts to chill, it gives the mind the signal that it is time to sleep. That is why exercising first thing in the morning is a great way to get your mind and body ready for the day. On the other hand, doctors recommend avoiding exercising right before sleeping and leaving at least 2 hours in between. As much as exercising can help you overcome your sleeping problems, it can also increase them if done improperly.
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2. Fighting depression and anxiety
When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, which are the chemicals that make you feel happy. The more and regularly they are produced, the more comfortable and less anxious you will feel. Exercising also helps you keep your mind active and free of the negative thoughts that are fueling depression. Furthermore, doctors advise those suffering from anxiety and mild depression to try exercising before turning to medicine. It is an easier way to treat your mind and save money on medications. Also, you don't need to spend too much time exercising. 15 to 30 minutes a day will release enough endorphins to keep you happy.
3. Exercise, socialize, and have fun
Aside from being good for your body and mind, you can have fun while exercising and turn it into something enjoyable. Instead of staying alone at home, exercising with friends could help you maintain a healthy social life. That will boost your mood and especially your mental health. Doing yoga with a friend or running through the park together is a great way to socialize and have fun. Even going by yourself to fitness classes can help you make new friends that have common interests. At the same time, exercising could be done while playing. So, you could use games to have fun with your kids or family while also working out. For instance, you can play tag in the yard or have a cycling competition through a park. In a word, one of the 5 ways exercise can boost your mental health is by having fun while working out with your friends and family.
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4. Boost your brain
Stressed people commonly struggle with creativity, which can affect their productivity and create a vicious circle. If you are less productive, it will affect your work, and if you are unhappy with your work, you will become frustrated. People who are frustrated are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as drinking, smoking, and so on. Exercising can help you exit this endless loop and give your brain a boost. Studies have shown that doing cardio, for example, helps your brain produce new cells that will improve its overall performance. Not only does this help boost your creativity, but it also keeps your mind sharp and concentrated. Within 5 to 10 minutes of beginning your workout, you will feel the benefits of exercising for yourself. In the long run, exercising will help you fight addictions, improve your memory and learning capacity.
5. Grow your self-esteem
How we view ourselves is important to our mental health and our ability to cope with social pressures. Even though self-criticism can be constructive, it can do more harm than good if it becomes obsessive. You have to realize that no matter your age or size, you are not the only one struggling with weight problems, health issues, or low self-esteem. There are plenty of people out there that wish they looked different or that they were more healthy. The good news is that exercising can help you grow your self-esteem if you practice it correctly.
For instance, adding a goal before starting to exercise that you can reach. Having too high expectations from the beginning will only make you lose focus and interest. Instead, take it one step at a time, and grow constantly. You will have better results, and it will improve the way that you perceive yourself. Besides ending up having a great-looking body, you will also improve your mental health.
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People who choose to exercise regularly can feel the impact it has on their mental health each day. They have more energy, sleep better, are more creative and productive, and have higher self-esteem. Who would have guessed that something as easy as exercising for at least 30 minutes a day could help so much? These 5 ways exercise can boost your mental health demonstrate how being active can help you have a healthy mind inside a healthy body.
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people found themselves furloughed or unemployed. Perhaps you have been trying to find stable employment for months, but despite your best efforts, you’re still struggling financially. Reading up on personal finance advice on Real Life With Heather can help you start taking small steps towards economic stability. In the meantime, here are a few other strategies you can use to get back on your feet over the next couple of months.
Move to a Cheaper Rental
If your housing costs are eating up a large chunk of your budget, it may be time to think about moving into a cheaper rental. You can save time and make your search easier by filtering out apartments in the Fort Worth, TX area that don’t meet your requirements with a real estate platform like Rent.com. You’ll be able to enter your price range so that you only see options within your budget - in Fort Worth, you should be able to find plenty of apartments for anywhere from $400 to $900 per month.
In addition, you can select other filters, like pet-friendliness or the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need. You could also specifically filter for apartments with certain amenities, such as covered parking lots, pools, or gyms in the apartment complex.
Make a Strict Budget
If you’ve never made a structured budget before, now is the time to start. You will need to include all of your income, your fixed expenses, and your debts. Next, determine how much you can spend on your variable expenses, such as groceries. Finally, see if you have wiggle room in your budget for occasional treats now and then. Make it a point to stay strictly within your budget until you have secured gainful employment again.
Where to Cut Spending
What if you’re looking at the estimated budget you have written out, and you’re struggling to figure out where you could actually cut down on spending? Sofi suggests that you can turn down your thermostat to save on your energy bills, reduce your grocery bills by looking for deals and avoiding pricey snacks, and refinance any loans that you may have. You can also look for fun, affordable activities in your area!
Look for Work
If you worked in an industry that was affected negatively by the pandemic, you may not have been able to find a new job in your field yet. For now, you might need to be open to the idea of working in another industry or doing some freelance work on a part-time basis while you continue hunting for the right full-time position. To let people in your life know that you’re looking for work, The Muse recommends sharing your situation on social media, reaching out to one person at a time to see if they could refer you to an employer and even attending networking events, which will likely remain virtual during the pandemic.
You might not be able to cover all of your expenses on your own right now. If you have found yourself in this position, you’re not alone, and it’s okay to look for help and apply for financial assistance. You may want to begin researching local programs that have been set up to help people who have suffered from financial hardships because of the pandemic.
Dealing with economic uncertainty can be anxiety-inducing. But you have the tools to rebuild your finances and overcome these obstacles. By taking simple actions to save in your daily life while seeking your next job opportunity, you can make it through this challenging time.
Ready to make a budget and stick to it? Get actionable tips and advice from Real Life With Heather. Browse the blog today to start getting your personal finances under control.
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Nowadays, most of us lead our lives in the fast lane. We live by the schedule without a minute to spare. And balancing between our career and personal life is not an easy job. In the twirl of all our to-dos, we forget to take care of the most important thing - ourselves. And in times like these, we often feel selfish or guilty if we take some time off for ourselves. Thus, it's no wonder we're exhausted, stressed, and tense all the time. That's why it's not only good but necessary to make time for self-care. And before you say you don't have time for that, we're here to talk about little daily habits everybody can incorporate into their schedule. So, here are 6 summer self-care tips for busy people!
Start Doing 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
Many people think self-care is all about going to spa retreats and getting massages, but it definitely isn't. The best self-care practice is all about the little things you do every day to make yourself feel better and stronger. One of these little things is a 4-7-8 breathing technique. This is something you should start each day with before even stepping out of your bed.
What is the 4-7-8 breathing technique? It's a breathing exercise where you take 4 seconds to take a deep breath through your nose, 7 seconds to hold that breath, and 8 seconds to slowly breathe out of your mouth. This may seem pointless or even silly, but quite the contrary. This technique will help you start your day on a good note - relaxed, content, tranquil, and ready to crush at your job. And it only takes 19 seconds to do it!
So, as far as summer self-care tips for busy people go, this is by far the easiest one, but among the most effective ones as well.
Another great breathing exercise that found its spot on our list of self-care tips for busy people is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a technique that will help you refocus and start or go on with your day more calmly. All you have to do is close your eyes and think about your breathing. Concentrate on every inhale and exhale. You can even focus on how your stomach and chest move during practice. If your mind starts to wander, just go back to your breathing.
The best thing about mindfulness is you can do it wherever you are and whenever you feel overwhelmed. Additionally, it can take 60 seconds or more. So, you can't say you don't have 60 seconds every day to restart yourself.
For example, if the chaos in the office is making you anxious, just find a quiet place and focus on your breathing for a minute or so, and you'll be good to go.
Take a Walk Every Day
We all know the positive effect physical activity has on our health. However, if you're a workaholic, you probably don't have enough time for a gym. Luckily for you, you don't need the gym to stay healthy or practice self-care. It's enough to take a short walk around your neighborhood every day. You can do it after work, with your family or alone. Taking a walk is a great way to clear your head and boost your mood and energy. Of course, if you like jogging more, go for it! A run around the block is a great stress reliever! As a plus, it won't take much of your time.
All in all, physical activity is a must, no matter if it takes 15 minutes or a whole hour. Therefore, you should turn it into an everyday routine for your well-being to improve your health and practice self-care!
With all the chaos and rush we deal with every day, we tend to focus only on negative things that happened to us. And it truly is hard to focus on positives in situations like these. Unfortunately, this is something that brings us down and makes us anxious more and more every day.
That's why we recommend documenting your gratitude. Set aside 3-5 minutes of your day and write down 3 good things that happened to you that day. This doesn't have to be something big, just simple things that make you happy. For example, you went to your favorite café, ate the most delicious lunch, or bumped into your old friend. Focus on these little things and let them make your day. Acknowledging your gratitude this way can be highly therapeutic, and it's definitely one of the top summer self-care tips for busy people.
Make Sleep Your Priority
Everybody knows how important sleep is. It's vital for your health and general well-being. Therefore, you mustn't neglect it! Even though you're a busy person, you have to get those 7-8 hours of sleep every day. Otherwise, you will feel the consequences on both your physical and mental health. You'll feel tired all the time, you'll become demotivated, you won't be able to focus, etc. This all will harm both your work and personal life.
Additionally, power naps are all the rage now, and for good reason! You'll need not more than 15 or 20 minutes of sleep to recharge your batteries and go on with your day like you just woke up from 8 hours of good sleep. These power naps can do wonders, so make sure to put them in your schedule.
Include Self-Care Time in Your Schedule
Just like you schedule everything in your life by the minute, you should do the same with your self-care time. Put a self-care marker on both your personal and work calendar. And once it's marked there, there's no going back - you're going to have to do it, just like everything else. It will be just another one of the goals you set for that day.
Again, this doesn't have to be anything significant. It can be everything from breathing techniques or talking with a friend to reading ten pages of your favorite book or watching an episode of your favorite show. Practically anything that makes you happy and stops time for a minute or two.
Now that you read all 6 summer self-care tips for busy people, is your answer still 'I don't have enough time'? We don't think so! These simple tips will take a few minutes out of your busy schedule, but they will help you thrive in both your personal and professional life. As you can see, taking a deep breath before starting your day or going for a short walk can make a huge difference in your everyday life. It's simple routines like these that give us strength for bigger things. So, don't neglect them - embrace them!
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As a parent, it’s easy to decide to save for your child’s future. However, deciding the best way to save is a bit harder. It really depends on your purpose for saving. Therefore, before you choose how to save, determine what your ultimate goal is.
Life Experiences and Beyond
If you want your child to have enriching experiences throughout her childhood or during college, consider opening a custodial brokerage account in your child's name. This money could be used for summer camp, music lessons, a study abroad trip, or a nest egg. Commonly reserved for long-term objectives, parents usually use a nest egg for their child’s future education costs, home purchase, or retirement plan.
With a custodial account, each child can receive up to $14,000 a year from each parent without being subject to a gift tax. However, the account is still taxable under the so-called “kiddie tax” rules, which state the first $1,050 will be tax-free. Then the second $1,050 is taxed at her rate, which is usually lower than your rate. Any amount after that is taxed at your rate.
Until your child reaches a certain age, generally between 18 and 25 (depending on your state), you manage the account. Once your child is of age, she gains control of the account and can use the money however she wants. If you wish to remain in control of the savings account for a longer period of time, a trust account may be a better option.
Custodial accounts have quite an impact on financial aid, according to the Balance. Assets in a custodial account belong to your child and count more heavily. When determining aid eligibility, 20 percent of a child's assets are assumed available for college, while only 5.64 percent of a parent's assets are considered available.
While thinking about the future, you may also wish to consider whether life insurance is a viable option. Not only will a life insurance policy provide your beneficiaries with income-tax-free money, but the value also grows over time. Of course, you will likely have to pay a monthly premium for the policy, so learn the pros and cons of life insurance.
Building a Career in Business
An essential tool that has become more synonymous with high-level business jobs recently is the MBA. Obtaining this next level of education can provide you with greater career choices and increased earning potential. These changes will have a direct impact on your ability to plan for your family’s future and financial stability. Other added benefits of an MBA are expanded leadership skills, growing job prospects, and the ability to impact your family's success in other ways (inspiring and leading by example).
If you wish to save for college, a 529 plan offers two enticing benefits. First, the money grows tax-deferred, and any withdrawals are tax-free, as long as they’re used for qualifying expenses for college, such as tuition, room and board, books, and computers. Second, a 529 plan is considered a parent's asset, so unlike a custodial account, there's less impact on financial aid.
The lifetime contribution limits for a 529 are high at about $200,000. Family members and friends can contribute, and some states offer additional tax incentives. So, if you have family and friends in other states, consider shopping around to find the best 529 plan to fit your needs. The friend or family member can open one, and you can contribute.
The only way to save for retirement through an IRA is with earned income from the account holder. Once your child becomes old enough to work, she can invest her money into an IRA, and Schwab recommends using a Roth IRA account.
While your child is still a minor, you can help her get a head start on retirement savings by opening a custodial Roth IRA on her behalf. Although smaller brokerage or mutual fund companies may not offer these accounts, many of the larger ones – Vanguard, Schwab, and TD Ameritrade – will do so.
Although you can teach your child to save using a piggy bank, consider helping her save through investing. The best route of investment depends on what your main goal is for saving. No matter which option you choose, you're thinking ahead and planning for your child’s financial future, so that is a parenting win.
Imagine an office where the coffee machine is right next to you, there are always snacks in the fridge, and you can wear whatever you want. That’s more than just a fantasy for millions of people in the information economy such as copywriters, journalists, and web developers who have made the move to working at home in the new gig economy. Here are some tips on how you can join them and start living the dream rather than just dreaming.
Set Up a Workspace
Once you’ve gotten the legal documents filed and your business plan worked out, you can move on to the fun stuff. Setting up a dedicated workspace is important if you intend to work from home. Your computer and its accessories are your new lifeblood, and you do not want to face a meltdown when approaching a deadline for your first client. Take a look at the system you have now and get ready to upgrade if necessary. An old laptop the entire household uses for gaming is not going to cut it, so you may have to invest in a new one that is dedicated to your new career. Check out the state of your cables and peripheries as well before you head to the shop.
Next up comes your chair. Since there’s a good chance you’ll be sitting down and tapping at the keyboard for the better part of the day, you’ll want something that’s ergonomic to avoid back and shoulder pain. The right one should support your posture while reducing pressure on your hips, factors that will increase your overall comfort and make work a lot easier.
Install an Accounting System
You want to be ready for your first client, who might show up sooner than you expect. This means having a system in place to manage your income and expenses; otherwise, you won’t know how much money you’re making, and you could end up in hot water come tax time. A simple Excel spreadsheet may suffice in the beginning but not once the business starts picking up.
According to the Freelancers Union, a website devoted to the gig economy, the right cloud-based software will not only minimize the amount of time you spend on accounting but improve your financial decision-making. They propose a variety of solutions, including one that’s free and others for as little as $9 a month.
Stick to a Schedule
Time management could be the difference between success and failure, as hours spent gazing at cat memes can be costly and cut into your bottom line. That’s why experienced freelancers agree: Make a schedule and stick to it. This includes rather mundane things like getting up at a decent hour and getting showered, dressed, and ready for action. Too much freedom can be your worst enemy.
Next comes the actual work. It’s handy to make a checklist of the things you need to do each day, then set aside specific hours for each task. Remember not to make your schedule too tight. Trying to do too much in too little time is a real risk when you’re getting started, as the pressure is on to bring in the revenue. Be sure to include breaks and meals in your planning to avoid being run ragged.
Get Out and Network
Now that you’ve set up your home office and established a daily routine, it’s time to leave. Some of your most valuable work won’t be found online at your desk but by meeting with potential clients at networking events, so be sure to fit this into your schedule. You can start small by contacting other freelancers in your area and inviting them out for a cup of coffee.
For bigger occasions, make sure to be prepared. This means learning a little about other attendees, dressing appropriately, and having business cards at the ready. And remember, the contacts you make are only worthwhile if you follow up later with an email or a phone call. Your marketing and self-branding should continue unabated when you’re back at home in your comfy office chair.
Though success may not come immediately, you’ll hit your stride soon enough by staying motivated and sticking to your schedule. So get back to work and stop looking at those cat memes!
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Lucy is available at: Gigmine.co
Feeling a little bored of your home’s design and décor? Want to freshen up the interior and add some new features? As you decide what to include in your remodeling plans, keep your health in mind. Certain renovation projects can help you maintain a healthier lifestyle. Some of these projects will likely require you to hire a contractor, but for some renovations, you can go the DIY route. Here are a few projects that can help you create a healthy home, along with tips for vetting contractors and selecting the most qualified tradespeople to work on your house.
Before you start calling local contractors, think about which remodeling projects you could take on by yourself. You’ll need to get a basic toolkit together — for example, you should have a tape measure, screwdrivers, hammers, pliers, nails, and screws. If this sounds expensive, then you’ll need to look for ways to save money, such as looking online for special deals or waiting until seasonal or holiday sales. For example, you could possibly use Cyber Monday coupons to help save money on the supplies you’ll need to get started.
What can you accomplish with some standard tools and a little elbow grease? You can grab a few buckets of paint and spruce up your walls for about $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot — cool colors like blues and greens can influence your mood and make you feel calmer. Installing ceiling fans will help you stay cool on hot days, and if you know your way around electrical wiring, you can do it without a contractor for about $75.
Central Air Conditioning
If your area sees high temperatures every summer, you might want to take things a step further than a DIY ceiling fan installation and have professionals set up your home with a central air conditioning system. Shop around for HVAC technicians by running background checks, verifying their permits and licenses, and getting cost estimates to compare.
The cost of a central air conditioning system can vary depending on where you live. It can get pricey, but central air conditioning provides a wide range of health benefits when the temperature rises. It can lower your risk of dealing with conditions like heat stroke, and it filters the air in your home, resulting in better air quality.
Want to get a few more workouts into your usual routine without going to the gym? Consider splurging on an in-ground pool. According to Active, swimming is a great full-body workout that will increase your endurance, strength, and flexibility.
Installing an in-ground pool isn’t a quick and cheap upgrade. And you will also have additional costs, including utilities and increased insurance prices. Before selecting a contractor for the project, ask them which subcontractors they like to work with; building an in-ground pool will require a bigger team, so you want to make sure that you approve of everyone involved.
Have you ever had the opportunity to relax in a sauna and found yourself wishing that you could do it more often? Sauna sessions can help you recover after intense workouts and even improve your cardiovascular health, and according to Cost Owl, you can install an infrared sauna in your home for about $1,500 to $3,000, plus the cost of labor. Make sure to look at the portfolios of any potential contractors; saunas aren’t the most common home fixture, so you’ll need someone with the right experience.
If you feel like your home needs a new aesthetic, keep your health in mind as you make your budget and outline your plans. Carefully screening contractors and getting the right tools for DIY projects is the key to making it happen. Outfitting your home with the features you need to improve your well-being can make a huge difference in your day-to-day life.
Downsizing can mean something different for everyone, but it usually involves moving to a smaller home and getting rid of possessions. For most people, downsizing is an inevitable part of life, whether it brings you to a smaller single-family home, condo, or even an assisted living facility. Below, learn more about downsizing and find helpful resources that will guide you through the process.
Purchasing a New Home
For many seniors, it makes the most sense to buy a new home that’s smaller and easier to take care of. Here are a few tips for picking the perfect home.
Planning Your Move
Mapping out your move can eliminate a lot of the stress associated with downsizing. Once you’ve decided where you’re going to move, use these tips to develop a plan for a seamless transition.
Packing and Unpacking
If you hire professional movers, they might take care of packing for you. However, you may still want to do some of it yourself. Here are a few tips for making the process easier on yourself.
Downsizing involves a lot of work and is often stressful. However, the process may also allow you to start fresh with a new perspective. Following these tips will help streamline the process so you can avoid feeling overwhelmed and focus on getting settled in your new home.