Expanding On Your New Year's Eve Financial Resolutions

Expanding On Your New Year's Eve Financial Resolutions

Making resolutions for the new year almost always comes with the emotional high of making a life-bettering promise followed by a lapse in dedication.

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Making large life changes on a whim does give a psychological boost in the short term, but following through with something as complex as a better financial future takes more than a split-second decision. Thankfully it's far from an impossible mission.

If you've made it to February without giving up, congratulations! You've probably made it farther than most resolutions have. Whether you've decided to try and wrangle an unruly checkbook or figure out your retirement years ahead of time, you'll have your work cut out for you. There are a few marked differences between the two yet they share many similar goals in establishing financial stability and long-term growth. Financial planning regards your pre-retirement plans while a retirement plan accounts for when your income suddenly stops and they rely fairly heavily on one another.

If you've made it this far you've likely taken stock of your financial situation and have an idea of what your budget looks like. A good budget is split into distinct categories that are clearly defined without leaving you unable to enjoy yourself or move funds around in the case of an unexpected expense, but letting your impulse spending spiral out of control is a good way to wind up with no savings to fall back on. You may also find your budget plans shifting over time and that's completely normal. For example, a lack of an emergency fund means you might be wise to divert funds into a safety net as an additional savings target before moving money elsewhere.

Allocating budgeted funds means making a plan that is realistic and achievable. If you've previously struggled with sticking to how you've plotted out your funds, it may be time to look at your goals and adjust accordingly. Having regulations on your spending that are strict enough that you struggle to stick to them makes for worse savings than lighter, more consistent goals. Having a physical representation of your goals also gives a tangible reminder of what you plan to achieve whether it's as simple as a note or as elaborate as a bar graph with marked goals and future plans.

Others may find solace in the dream of retiring well before traditional retirement age. Many of the core concepts of early retirement also lend themselves well to strong retirement planning, an angle of financial planning that many younger workers fail to plan for accordingly. The difference between saving a few dollars per year or putting aside a solid percentage of your paycheck can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars through your career.

There's more to retirement planning than simply putting money aside, too. Properly caring for your mortgage and working a life insurance plan into your budget are just as important as paying off outstanding credit card debt. Mortgage payments drain interest that could be put towards other savings and life insurance plans offer settlement buyouts in the case of emergencies as well as stability for your loved ones.

If you still find yourself struggling with impulse buys and wild spending, automating your savings and pulling payment information out of your most common spenders makes it more difficult to fall into common traps of overspending and putting aside your savings until the end of the month. If you only save when you think you have extra money you likely won't save anything at all.

Not every big budgetary change in your lifetime will stick and there's nothing wrong with taking a few tries to find a financial plan that works for you. There's an element of discipline that it takes to avoid falling into bad habits and breaking existing habits can further complicate things. Form a plan, don't be afraid to shift your budget around and always try to save for yourself before anything else. If you don't, you may have to make another resolution next year!

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Hailey Miller's Debut Single Is 'The One'

"The One" is available now across all streaming platforms.

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Being able to blend genres well is a true testament to a great artist, and Hailey Miller has done just that. Breaking onto the pop-country scene with her debut single "The One", the song speaks to the lessons that come out of unfortunate heartbreak, and definitely resonates with people going through one. I got the chance to talk with Hailey about her music, Nashville, and plans for the future:

1. What inspiration did you pull from to write "The One"?

"The One" was inspired by a relationship I was in. It was young love, not the healthiest relationship, and was dragged on for way longer than it should've been. I'd pretty much worked through all the heartbreak by the time it was fully over, and this song felt like the final piece to the puzzle. To acknowledge that some good came from the whole experience, and that lessons were learned. It just kind of poured out of me. It was exactly what I needed at the time. I wrote it and instantly felt peace. Like I could finally let it all go. It's a different kind of breakup anthem, and I hope that people can connect to it in the same way I did.

2. Do you tend to pull from personal experience to write or do you write using a third person perspective?

I definitely prefer to write from personal experience. I've written from a third person perspective, but it always feels more genuine for me to write about things I've been through first hand. It's just easier! It flows better, and feels more honest. Especially if I'm planning on using the song for myself. As an artist, I always want the truths I'm speaking to be genuine. I feel like people connect better that way. If I can't fully connect to the stuff I'm singing, how can I expect the listeners to? Personally, as an artist, the stories behind my songs are just as important to me as the song itself. That being said, if I can connect to someone else's experience deeply, writing third person can be just as fun!

3. What has your experience been like being a woman in the music industry?

You know, I don't have anything negative to say about my experience so far. I've felt respected as an artist from almost everyone I've personally come across in the industry. This being said, I'm very aware of the challenges females tend to face on a larger scale, especially in country. But I try to not let it phase me. In my mind, I'm just an artist…not a "female artist".

4. Growing up in Oregon, what/who inspired you to move to Nashville and write country music?

My earliest inspiration was definitely my aunt. She was singing country music professionally when I was super young, so I grew up seeing that and my family was super good about surrounding me with all sorts of music. My dad had this thing where he would always tell me to "listen to the words" and then at the end of the song I'd have to tell him what I thought it was about. It made me realize at a young age that music isn't just sound, it's stories. I fell in love with country music and its stories. Then came along these powerhouse female singer/songwriters…like Taylor Swift, and that was it. I knew it was something I wanted to do, and I knew Nashville was the place to do it. So, I learned the guitar, taught myself how to write, and made the move as soon as I possibly could! It's pretty much a 19 year old dream in the making at this point.

5. How has Nashville shaped your artistry and/or songwriting since moving there?

Nashville has already shaped my artistry and songwriting immensely. I think the biggest thing is being around so many talented artists and writers. It's super inspiring! Every time I go to a show or writer's round in town, I go home wanting to work even harder. That's the magic about Nashville. In a place where the industry could feel very competitive, the community is so amazing that instead of feeling intimidated, I feel inspired. I think that's so cool. Being able to learn your craft in an environment like that, where everybody is willing to collaborate and learn from each other. There's no room to sit still and not work hard. I think that alone has made me a better artist and writer. I've discovered my own unique writing style and sound, and can't wait to develop it even more.

6. What has your experience been like releasing your first single independently?

It's been amazing! I've had the best time with it. The process was so fun, and such a learning experience. Since it was my first release, I tried to go into it with little to no expectations and I've been blown away! The support I've received is beyond what I ever expected, and people are listening!! That's all I could've ever asked for. I think putting out music for any artist, independent or not, is always a little scary because there's this fear that people won't connect to such a personal part of you. There's so much work behind the scenes that goes into it. But it is so rewarding to read people's messages about how they connect or relate to the song. It's the best feeling in the world!

7. What are your future goals and aspirations within the music industry?

I ultimately just want to keep writing and putting out music that I love, and that other people love. Whether that's on a small scale level, or a larger scale. As long as I'm continuing to make music, I'm happy! That being said, I'd love to do some touring soon, and work towards my first EP/full length album.

8. Do you have plans to release new music soon?

Plans are in the works. I don't have a definitive date for you guys quite yet, but new music is on its way! I've been writing tons and I have some stuff that I'm dying to get out. I'd keep an eye out in the upcoming months for sure.

Listen to "The One" across all streaming platforms now and keep an eye out for future music from Hailey!


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What you should know about Buying Off Plan Properties in Dubai

What are the key questions you should ask yourself before investing in Dubai's lucrative off plan property market?

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Dubai is a lucrative market when it comes to buying and selling properties – especially off-plan properties in Dubai. Many investors have identified Dubai as their go-to location to invest in high return off plan projects that are secure and backed by decades of success. However, investing in off-plan projects is a high stakes game and not everyone's cup of tea. For new investors here are some of the critical factors that need to be looked at when making a decision.

First and foremost it's important to be absolutely clear as to whether you wish to buy properties for investment purposes or to live in it yourself. For instance, you would want to choose a smaller unit that is easy to rent out and therefore offers a secure and consistent return.

Secondly, location is key when it comes to choosing your property regardless of whether it's for investment purposes or to live in. Some of the important questions to ask yourself when evaluating an off-plan project are:

1. Does the property currently have easy access to major highways or will there be access to major highways by the time the project is handed over to you?

2. How close is it to schools, malls, and hospitals? A property that is easily accessible will be far easier to rent out than one that is further away.

3. Similarly how far is it from pharmacies, supermarkets, dry cleaners etc.?

4. You also want to be asking yourself how easy it will be to resell the property once it's completed in a few years – this is something that is missed by seasoned property investors and consultants as well. For instance, you can get a great villa for 1 – 1.5 million AED but if you have to drive 15-20 KM to the nearest supermarket, you will have a very tough time re-selling it.

5. Do not make the mistake of buying a property that looks great on paper but is built with poor quality materials or has imperfectly shaped rooms. Again, it will be tough to sell this kind of property in the future. It's easy to get lured in by attractive payment plans but its worth the time and effort spent on digging deeper and investigating the build and the developers' reputation etc.

6. For instance, if you had the option to buy similar properties in Dubai Hills and Emirates Living (both are close to Sheikh Zayed Road and both are excellent communities from a "quality of development" perspective), choose the one which is newer in terms of its construction. A newer townhouse will require less maintenance and therefore will eventually save you money in the long run. That's one of the main reasons why off-plan properties are a far better option compared to ready properties if you are looking to move in 2-3 years down the road.

With a City like Dubai, that's continuously expanding there are always opportunities to capitalize on off-plan projects and reap the rewards of a long term investment.

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