A retirement plan is more than an idea or a casual conversation with your significant other. It’s a detailed description of how you are preparing for your life after retirement and what you want that life to look like. Furthermore, that plan will need to be updated when unforeseeable life events occur. Here are some tips that anyone can use when preparing for retirement.

Make your retirement checklist

Everyone’s retirement plan will be unique. But one thing all good plans have in common are that they are tangible. Make a checklist of things you need to accomplish before, during, and after retirement. Depending on your situation, this may include:

  • investment goals
  • savings goals
  • pension and 401k details
  • healthcare cost changes
  • social security benefits

Determine how much you’ll need

Lifestyle aside, retirement is expensive. And with inflation and cost-of-living increases it will likely only get more expensive. No one can predict, with 100% accuracy, what will happen in the future when it comes to stocks and investments. But when calculating your monthly expensive after retirement you should remember to adjust for increases in these costs.

Put your post-retirement expenses in a spreadsheet (estimate high). Next to them put your savings and post-retirement income. This will allow you to balance your monthly spending post-retirement.

Consider your housing situation

If the home you currently live in is the home you want to stay in forever, you might want to consider potential problems that may arise. As we age, things like steep stairs, lawns to maintain, and other issues may become a factor. Others elect to move into condominium-style housing. Many people don’t want to move too far from family, whereas others seek out better weather conditions. Whatever you choose, do your research in advance to learn just how much moving will cost (or save) you.

Don’t touch your retirement savings

Emergencies may arise when we need to put the present before our longterm plans. But it’s important not to fall into temptation of spending retirement savings on luxuries. Remember that financial troubles at retirement age are emergencies in and of themselves. Also keep in mind that there are often withdrawal penalties for taking funds from a retirement account.

Start your plan now and update it often

It’s never too early or too late to start saving for retirement. Whether you’re in your 20s or your 60s, there are always benefits that can come from good retirement planning.

If you’re young, all the more reason to begin planning early. Since rates of return on investments are anything but predictable, investing earlier is more likely to pay off in the long run.

Another important thing to remember is to update your plan regularly. Once per year, around tax season, reflect on the retirement checklist and spreadsheet that you made. Are you making progress toward your goals? Is your income trending upwards or downwards? You may find that if you keep retirement on the forefront of your thoughts that you make more informed spending and saving decisions.

 

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Decorating a home is no simple task. You have to consider the architectural style of the house,  how to best use the space to avoid clutter, and to give the home a sense of cohesion and continuity across the rooms.

Professional interior decorators attend school and earn degrees and certificates that help them make these difficult decisions. After all, things like furniture and appliances are expensive items–you don’t want to spend a lot of money on items only to decide later that they don’t go well together.

If you don’t have plans on hiring or becoming an interior decorator, there are a few simple rules you can follow to make sure your home has its own tasteful appearance and atmosphere.

Whether you’re buying your first home, redecorating your current home, or staging a home you hope to sell, these tips will help you create a look that will leave an impression on anyone who steps foot inside.

Space and negative space

In art, negative space is a space on the canvas intentionally left blank. For home design, negative space is an important aspect of decorating any room. Negative space in a home means a part of the room or wall that is left open, free of furniture, decorations, or clutter.

In practice, negative space serves two important functions. First, it creates a spacious atmosphere. Cluttered rooms typically have a negative effect on us, particularly over long periods of time. Rooms with negative space also tend to be let in more light, which improves the overall spaciousness of the room.

The second function of negative space is to draw attention to certain features of a room. On a wooded hilltop, you won’t notice just one tree. But on a hill with only one tree, it becomes easier to focus and appreciate that single tree. This rule also applies to the interior of your home. To showcase a piece of furniture or a painting on the wall, you’ll want to surround it with some negative space.

Balance and symmetry

Two concepts that hold true in different types of design are the usefulness of balance and symmetry, and understanding when it’s okay to break the rules (make a room asymmetrical).

Having symmetry around your dining room table is usually a good idea. You want the same number of chairs on each side and you want the chairs to match. However, when choosing living room furniture, asymmetrical design can come in handy when pairing a couch with two armchairs.

What does it mean to balance a room? Take a look around your kitchen and living room. Are there some items that are much taller than others? Are some items crowded into one corner? It may become habit to simply place items wherever they fit, but sometimes it’s a better option to rearrange furniture to create vertical and horizontal balance.

Create a color palette

The colors of your home are of utmost importance when it comes to creating a good design. One good way to prepare for color issues is to create color palettes for your home–one for each room, and one master palette. Doing this will help you choose furniture, paint, and decorations that will not only look good in each room, but will flow as you walk through the house.

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