How to Plan for Your Financial Future

How to Plan for Your Financial Future

It's never to late to start.

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One of the best things you can do for your life is to be financially stable. You don't have to be a celebrity, a high-earning influencer or royalty to live a lavish lifestyle when you're older.

It's all about working towards it. The hard work you put into your financial future will be worth it in the end. Here are some ways you can start today.

Make Your Saving Goals Realistic

That house on the corner that comes with a huge infinity pool and marble countertops? Most likely, it's expensive. Like celebrity-status expensive.

However, that doesn't mean it isn't achievable. For saving goals, make sure they're realistic.

Getting that fancy, state-of-the-art dream home won't be grasped in two years. Thinking realistically, five years is a good measurement instead.

You want to give yourself plenty of time to save up accordingly. Instead of giving yourself a headache by trying to figure out the math, it's easier if you break down into increments. To start with, figure out how much you would need to save every month and go from there.

Reduce Expenses

Sure, that cup of coffee from Starbucks every morning is what you need to get the day started but that $8 each time starts to add up. Rather than shell out nearly $10 for a cup of coffee you can make at home, invest in a coffee-making machine.

It's a one-time price and you can buy ground coffee for half the price of a venti latte every day. As for other expenses, see what else can either be axed completely or reduced significantly.

When it comes to a gym membership, think about how much time you can really dedicate to working out. If your work schedule has you busy then maybe it's a good idea to cancel that membership. Instead, start working out from home.

Pay Off Credit Cards

Whether you have one or ten cards, they need to be tended to. And why not?

Think about it: paying off credit cards is one of the best things you can do for your financial future. When you pay that debt off, that money becomes available right then and it goes towards improving your credit.

If possible, see how many bills you can put on your credit cards. That'll allow you to focus on what's important (like paying necessary bills) while improving your credit score at the same time. Doing that doesn't allow for much room to put unnecessary expenses on your cards.

Borrow Money to Invest It

It can be pretty tempting to go to a loan agency to pay for that new handbag or new car rims. Instead of borrowing money for lifestyle gains, use it to invest.

What's one good way to invest borrowed money? Stocks!

The stock market is constantly changing which can make it risky but can also pay off big. You want to be a wise investor so be sure to read this article when it comes to the debate on whether to invest in Kellogg stock or General Mills. The answer will surprise you.

The future may seem far away now but focusing on it today will better help you financially later in life.

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A Letter To My Angel, Amanda

Rest Easy Angel 11.07.18

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Amanda,

Your death has been the hardest thing for me to accept because every day I knew you, you were so full of life. You were radiant. Your presence lit up every room you walked into and your infectious laugh filled it. You cared for everyone and put others before yourself. You were one of my first forever friends.

You accepted and loved me for everything I was and everything I was not. You kept me company whether we were sitting in my basement doing nothing at all or spending the day in New York City. You were constantly making me laugh and were always there for me.

I scroll through my camera roll and your Facebook all the time and there are so many random pictures of us that I can't place, that I can't explain, but they're my favorite pictures because they remind me that we have so many memories together that it's impossible to remember them all.

But every time I think of you I'm overwhelmed with seas of memories that I can remember every moment of. Do you remember when we went to your farmhouse for the weekend and spent hours melting crayons with a hair dryer to make our own board? Well, that picture ended up being my Dads background for about 6 years, I still can't tell you why.

Or the day I found out I was moving back to California and you held me while I ugly-cried and told me that we would be friends no matter how far apart we were because you knew that was my biggest fear? And then moving day when you came over and drew notes in sharpie over all of my boxes and we made a mattress slide?

I have countless memories that include you that I'll cherish forever, from playing Just Dance with you in the basement to sharing our 13th birthday party.

These past two months I've been full of anger. I've been angry at the world for taking you and angry at myself for letting life and distance get in the way. I'll probably hold a piece of that anger for the rest of my life but I'll also hold eternal appreciation and admiration for you.

I want to tell you that I appreciate that you were always there for me when I needed someone. I appreciate that you could make me laugh until I couldn't breathe even on my worst days. I appreciate that you accepted me for all my flaws and never expected perfection. I appreciate that you were always supportive and encouraging and most of all I appreciate that you were the most amazing friend.

I want you to know that I admire your strength. I admire how you were always able to find the good in everything and see the best in everyone. I admire how selfless you were, always putting others before yourself. I admired how nonjudgmental you were, you always gave the best advice. I admire how hard headed you could be, never giving up until you reached your goal but more importantly I admired you for being you.

Remembering you is so easy, it's having to miss you that's so hard. My life is better because you were a part of it and I'm far from the only one. There is an army of people that miss you every day that will carry a piece of you forever. Rest easy, angel.

I love you.

Shea.

You are forever in our hearts. 

Amanda Aujero

"Amanda was one of my only friends starting high school and was there with me through family dinners, sleepovers, breakups, SAT's, and graduation. She was a light and such a beautiful person. We laughed so hard together that we would pee our pants. I miss her like crazy and plan on visiting her and talking to her for the rest of my life. She taught me to live with no regrets." -Mary Skrzypczak

"One thing I loved about Amanda was that she had such an open-mindedness I could tell her anything with no judgements." -Avery Zulauf

"My favorite memory of Amanda is us driving down the main road in LBI and laughing our asses off. I have known Amanda for years but her last 2 1/2 years on earth, I feel as if we got the closer we had ever been and I'm internally grateful for that. I love you Amanda." -Catie Keating

"There's a billion amazing words I could use that perfectly describe Amanda, but the one that I think differentiates her from most people is "real". She was real. That girl was truly one of a kind; irreplaceable. I knew from a young age when we became friends in elementary school that I could lose all of my friends but if I only had her I would be okay. It even felt that way at times but she and I were happy having just each other. One of my favorite memories with her was when I moved to Florida to start my freshmen year in high school. We were both upset we weren't experiencing high school together and we promised that we would never stop being best friends. I was scared starting at a school in a new state and not knowing anyone, and you know what Amanda did? For the first week or so before I made friends she would FaceTime me at lunch everyday so I wouldn't eat alone. Now that's true friendship right there. When I moved back it was like I never left. I always thought of her as a sister who just happened to be my best friend too. If you learn one thing from this it's that everyone should have an Amanda in their life. And if you don't, then don't settle because if you have that relationship with someone it outweighs having hundreds of friends. Having that special relationship with someone regardless if you're both here or not will never die. It lives on and it's something that I will cherish forever." -Selena Gonzalez

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Unexpected House Repairs You Should Know About

It's best to be prepared.

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As a first-time homeowner, the excitement of your newly purchased home leaves you blind to the dangers in the future. While your house is a symbol of safety and comfort, it's also susceptible to damage.

Damage that you didn't plan for. That said, unexpected house repairs can leave your wallet drained or your home in ruin if you can't foot the bill.

To make sure you're completely prepared for the future and your new house can stay looking the same, here are some unexpected house repairs you need to know about.

Take a look!

Roofing

Your roof is what takes hit after hit either it's rain, hail, even lightning. It's the thing keeping your head and your family's head nice and dry.

If there were to be damages, your roof becomes susceptible to leakage, holes, and tears. To keep you and your family safe, check your roof regularly.

If you notice anything off within the shingles (especially after a bad storm), contact a roofing company immediately. They'll come out to access the damage and what'll need to be done along with the cost.

HVAC

The piece of equipment that keeps your home cool in the summer and warm in the summer needs regular maintenance in order to stay operational. Once every six months is when you should have a professional come out to conduct a checklist of what needs to be done.

After that, you can take care of the maintenance yourself. Some of the things that'll need to be done is changing the filter, cleaning coils, and lubricating moving parts.

If you decide to ignore the regular maintenance that should be done on your HVAC unit, repairs could run as high as four digits.

Driveway

If your home has an asphalt driveway, the harsh elements can wreak havoc on it. That said, constant damage can cause it to crumble or develop cracks.

If left untreated to the point of breakage, you're looking at a hefty bill. To prevent that, clean it every so often and apply a sealer to keep it looking new.

Wooden Deck

Decks are great for hosting summer barbecues and enjoying those cool nights. However, if you don't take care of it properly, deck repairs can cost upward of $10,000.

Rather than dread the day you get that high of a bill, it needs regular upkeep. Making sure debris such as twigs are pulled out in between the floorboards isn't enough. After that, you'll need to scrub it with a solution that's made specifically for decks then apply a sealant.

The sealant is the most important step as this is what'll keep moisture out of the boards. This will prevent rot and bugs.

Foundation

The foundation of your house needs to be in tip-top shape in order to prevent structural damage. But most importantly, it should prevent water from pooling beneath your home.

Water is the enemy of houses. A slight leak can turn into a major one which will become an expensive repair.

To make sure your foundation is good, pay close attention after it rains. If there's water where the house and ground meet, there's a problem. You should immediately get this issue corrected.

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