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Saving for Retirement: When Should You Start?

Television ads assure us that we are never too old to begin saving for retirement. That makes sense; even a little financial padding is better than none. Pundits, however, are now saying the best time to start retirement strategies is when we are between 35 and 50 years old.

The reason is simple: People in that age range have usually paid back student loans and are established in their careers. They are probably making respectable incomes and have more disposable money. They own more assets than they did when they were younger. At the same time, though, they are still young enough to take advantage of compounding benefits.

Of course, people in this age group may have accumulated debt as well. They are dealing with issues like how to finance their children’s education and possibly help elderly parents. In addition, employment retirement plans are moving from benefit-based to employee contribution-based. Social Security is certainly not secure, and it becomes obvious that people are going to have to be responsible for much of their retirement income. If these years are indeed the best years to begin investing for retirement, there are many questions that must be answered. Is it a better choice to help our children pay for their educations or to use the money to fund our own retirements? Should we invest in long-term care insurance for our parents if they cannot afford it?

Another question concerns restructuring debt. Does it make sense to restructure in order to be able to invest? The answer depends upon individual circumstances; restructuring could result in paying more interest. Should you borrow to get the funds to invest? How much money should you be contributing to superannuation as opposed to a separate investment portfolio?

Most people are not financially savvy enough to answer these questions for themselves. Sometimes, considering the financial future, people panic and begin setting aside clumps of money they need in their daily lives. There has to be a balance; individuals should have a plan to systematically put away what they can afford. If you have questions or concerns about your investments or retirement planning, visit your local Nationwide insurance agent. Together, you can map out a plan to make working beyond retirement optional, not mandatory.

 

* Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I  believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday Funday

10606256_10154661126145705_7525215711271235747_nHappy Friday!!!

How are things going?

This last week has been fall break at our house. I can’t believe it is over. Back to school for the boys on Monday!

Yesterday we took them all to the dentist. It was a new dentist since I really wanted to start going somewhere in-network. It went really well,  although my oldest needs to go back for some fillings. My middle son needs to work on losing a tooth and my 3.5 year old needs to stop sucking his thumb. We got lucky with our 7-year-old since he stopped the minute he saw his little baby brother do it. He didn’t want to be like a baby.

I got back from Colorado on Tuesday. I had such a great time! I had a blast hanging out with my brother and sister-in-law for a few days as well as my parents and my aunt and uncle. I wish we all lived closer to each other. It was great to see my cousin get married to the love of her life. I still remember when she was born. I was eight and remember it well as I only have one first cousin. And now she is a married women.

We spent three nights in Denver and two in Boulder. I also got to see a friend I met here at Ft. Campbell that is now at Ft. Carson. It was so nice to catch up with her. We explored Pearl street a little bit and found a used bookstore as well as a pretty cool pharmacy. Pearl street reminded me a bit of Santa Rosa. Colorado is really really amazing! Beautiful state!

I updated a few things on the blog yesterday. I went through the Blogs I Love page and deleted any sites that are dead or don’t seem to be blogging anymore. I am still working to add people to it too. I also added a Duty Station Guest Post page to have a list of duty stations that have been written about and to invite anyone who would like to write one to let me know.

I also am going to be posting a little bit differently than I have been. Not a huge change but I will be posting more about blogging, being a WAHM and my photography. I will also post more about being a mom and special needs. I will still be posting about Military life but as my life isn’t as centered around it as it used to be I wanted to start including some other topics. With the holidays coming up I might even start blogging more about baking :)

I also have a winner for my Coming Home Book giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Halloween is just a few weeks away and I am pretty excited about it. Every year I say I am going to dress up too and never do so we will see. We plan to go to a few different trick or treating type events.

I really want to see Gone Girl. I am hoping that can happen sometime soon. We have also been watching Supernatual! It took me forever to get through season one but now we are in season three and I am totally hooked. I am glad there are so many seasons.

I have been reading Written in My Own Heart’s Blood and don’t want to put it down! It is getting to that point where I think I might have to stay up until 2am to finish it. I love when I feel that way about a book.

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Other than a cub scout event and a birthday party I think we are going to have a pretty low-key weekend which I think I need.

What are your plans?

* This post contains affiliate links!

How To Write Your Blog Posts

file3271296081455So you want to be a blogger? Good choice. Blogging is a great thing to do whether you do it for a hobby or want to make money on it eventually.

In order to be a blogger, you have to write blog posts. I think writing them can sometimes seem overwhelming.

The first step to writing a blog post is to come up with a topic. I do this in a few different ways. Sometimes an idea just comes to me. If that happens when I am not going to be writing, I put it on my “blog post ideas” list. Then, I have something to look at when it is time to write the post. I have also started writing more on my phone when I am out and about or just for something different to do. I can then email it to myself to put into WordPress and edit. I wrote about three posts this past weekend when I didn’t have any Wifi.

Once you come up with your topic, you need a catchy title. Sometimes I end up changing my title after I wrote the post. My first title just didn’t seem to fit or I thought of something better when I was writing the post. People might get your post in an email or see it on Twitter or Facebook. You want your title to be something people want to click on. You can be creative as you would like to be. That is the beauty of blogging. Your blog, your title. It might be a good idea to make sure you explain a little about your post in the title so people know what you will be talking about.

So you have your topic idea, your title, what now?

Start writing!

Just start writing!

Then write some more. Keep writing until you hit the amount of words you want for your post. Ideally that should be 500+ but in reality that might not always happen. Sometimes my posts are only 300 words or so. Just keep writing until you feel you are done. Then, go back and edit. If you are stuck and can’t write because you are afraid of it sounding a certain way, you will never get anywhere. Just write!  If it really turns out horrible, you never have to publish it and no one will ever have to know. Remember, your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect and might change a bit before you actually publish it.

So you finished your post, now you need to edit. If you use Google Chrome you need to install After the Deadline. This is the best spell check I have ever seen. What is so awesome about it is that it will give you the option to spell check anything your write online. From Facebook statuses to Blog posts. It has really helped me stay on track with my spelling. After spell check I like to “preview” my post and read it like I was one of my readers. Spell check can’t catch everything, especially if your mistakes are typing a real word that is wrong versus just a word that is spelled wrong. I tend to do this when I am typing so I try hard to catch all of that before I publish my work.

After all that is done I add photos, tags, links and then hit publish or schedule the post. When the post goes live, it will automatically go to Twitter. I have set it up that way. I will then also post to it Facebook, Pinterest and sometimes LinkedIn or Google+.

What are your tips for writing a blog post?

 

The Difficulties of Solo Parenting

I have heard it said that Military wives or any wife whose husband has to go away for work should not call themselves a single mom. I agree with this. We are not single moms. We do however go through periods of time as a solo parent. It could be weeks or it could be months or even a year or longer.

Being a solo parent means you are responsible for everything in the house having to do with the kids from day-to-day to the big decisions. This might depend on where your husband might be at the moment and how often he can talk to you.

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It means being mom AND dad for a period of time. It means not as many breaks.

It means doing it all for a temporary amount of time.

People tell us that they don’t know how we do it. How we get through the solo parenting times. How we can fill the role of mom and dad.

It’s not something that I would ever consider easy. It is the hardest part of deployments for me personally. It drains you, it puts you into survival mode. It makes you handle parenting a little differently than you might otherwise handle it.

There is the day-to-day. If you have a baby, everything from the feeding a to the diapers is all you. No one to hold them when you need a 5 min break, no one to change that diaper when you have had enough for the day. It’s hard!

With toddlers and preschoolers you are always moving. You are the one planning their days and figuring out bedtime. You make all the meals and tear your hair out trying to figure out what to feed them sometimes. It’s hard!

When you have school aged kids you are the one doing all the school stuff. You are the one taking them to scouts, soccer and church programs. You are the one telling them it will be okay and that daddy will be home soon. It’s hard!

Parenting is hard for everyone, Military families or civilian ones. 

It’s tough to take care of little kids day in and day out. Adding in solo parenting just makes it even more stressful. Not having that other set of parenting hands can take it toll.

I really think having a good support group and being able to change your perspective a little can really go a long way during these periods of time. Knowing you always have another mom or friend to call and hang with when you need it can be like medicine to the soul.

Realizing that your solo parenting days are limited is also a way to help you get through it. Don’t get me wrong, some days are harder than others. Some days no matter what you tell yourself you are going to feel pretty bad about the situation. However, some days, that simple reminder that there is an end date to the madness can help you at least get through until bedtime.

I always used to tell myself that this just time that separated us from life without my husband and life where I had my husband home.

Just days on a calendar I needed to get through.

If you are in the mist of solo parenting, know that you are not alone. Know that it won’t last forever and know that you can get through it too. It’s a frustrating part of Military life but one you can endure with support from those around you and the knowledge that there is an end date in your future.

How do you handle periods of solo parenting?

 

 

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