Retirement, Financial Independence, and Living Life

Retirement, Financial Independence, and Living Life

This is what a happy life is to me.

After two very long posts this week, DIY Wedding Ideas – Worth It Or A Waste Of Money and How Much Money Should I Save Up For A House, today’s post is a somewhat shorter (and a rambling) one.

Lately, we’ve been home “shopping” online a lot.

It’s almost become an addiction.

Okay, who am I kidding? It is an addiction. Luckily, shopping for homes online is a free hobby of mine.

My favorite websites right now are Zillow and Realtor and I look at each a few times each week. We don’t plan on moving for around two years from now, but it’s still something we plan on putting a lot of thought into.

Before you think both me and Wes are crazy planners, I do want to say that it’s mainly just me who is crazy. If Wes had his way, we would have moved yesterday.

We want to move to a new state (Colorado is winning right now), and the next home we buy will probably be our “forever” home. We plan on living in it for a long time and possibly retiring in it.

The whole thing sounds a little crazy, even to me, especially since we are only 25.

 

What is a happy life?

Colorado is exactly how I imagine a great life (and retirement) would be. Whenever we visit the state, we are always amazed by how beautiful it is and we even love the air (it’s not humid like in St. Louis where you are constantly walking in a sea of mist).

With our future move to wherever we end up deciding on moving to, we have been thinking a lot about what a happy life is.

Every time we talk about possibly moving to Colorado, it always leads to us saying something similar to “this is how I imagine retirement would be. This is a happy life.”

Some think we are crazy, but why do so many people think you can’t enjoy your life until you reach retirement? Why do we have to wait to like where we live until we reach retirement age?

There are plenty of ways to save for retirement, while also enjoying the life you live right now.

My dad passed away in his 50s, before he was even able to retire. Well, technically, he “retired” when the doctors told him he only had a few months left to live. So, he spent his “retirement” in a horrible way. He worked extremely hard his whole life and saved for retirement religiously, and it’s something I’ve always admired. However, I don’t want my whole life to be all about working.

I want to be able to enjoy life now, instead of waiting decades down the line to possibly (sorry if that sounds morbid) enjoy myself.

 

Anyway, what does retirement mean to me?

Since we plan on moving somewhere enjoyable soon, does retirement mean anything to me? That is a question someone asked me recently. They said I would have nothing to look forward to in the future.

Retirement to me means financial independence. I want to have freedom when it comes to my career and also when it comes to how I enjoy my life.

I don’t see myself ever not working, unless I was prevented in some way (such as medical reasons). I like the motivation that work brings, and I like what I do. However, I understand that my feelings about everything may change in the future, and that is why financial independence is something I want to strive for.

 

How do I plan on reaching retirement?

I’m definitely not one of those people who plans on cutting everything in their lives in order to reach retirement. I still want to enjoy life, take vacations, spend time with friends and family, and more. However, I think doing all of that, reaching retirement, and living a fun life is all possible at the same time.

I plan on reaching retirement through a mixture of cutting expenses, growing my income, and hopefully adding some passive income to the mix. Thanks to several different personal finance bloggers (mainly Paula at Afford Anything), I have been more and more interested in getting into real estate and renting out places both long-term and short-term (such as through AirBnb or VRBO). That is a passive income area I would like to get into.

Even though I am no where near retirement, I do want to live an enjoyable life right now though.

 

How do you see yourself in retirement? Living in another country? Working still?

What does a happy and successful life look like to you?

 

Do You Have Life Insurance?

Do You Have Life Insurance?

This is my family :)

According to the insurance research firm LIMRA, life insurance ownership is at its lowest point in over 50 years. This is a crazy statistic considering that approximately 44% of those who took part in the survey said they don’t have enough money to pay for expenses if their loved one were to pass away suddenly.

This study also reported that around 30% of households do not have life insurance at all.

One major task I have failed at since leaving my day job in 2013 is finding life insurance. When I had my day job, I had a small amount of life insurance provided and paid for by my employer. Nothing crazy, but I never looked any further into it at that time.

Now that I work for myself, I have no life insurance and that is something I would like to change, especially since we plan on having children in the next few years.

Even though finding life insurance is something I think about a decent amount, I actually haven’t done anything to start this process.

 

When does a person need life insurance?

Okay, not everyone needs life insurance. However, most do.

If you are single, have no debt, and no one depends on you, then you probably don’t need life insurance.

But, just because you are single doesn’t mean you don’t need it. If you have debt and have co-signers on your debt, then you should absolutely have life insurance. This is because if something were to happen to you, you don’t want your co-signer (it could be your parents, siblings, etc.) to have to be stuck paying your debt because you didn’t think of a plan.

I recently read a true story about a young adult who did not have life insurance. They passed away suddenly and left their student loan debt behind to their parents, who were her co-signers. They were left with monthly payments on her student loans of nearly $2,000 a month…

Also, if someone depends on you, such as a spouse, elderly parents, or children, then you definitely want life insurance as well. You want your loved ones to be taken care of if something were to happen to you, correct?

Do You Have Life Insurance? 3

What do I need to do to find the right life insurance for me and my family?

The other day, I heard about a company called Quotacy. They have a great looking website, so I won’t lie, that helped draw me in.

The website is really easy to use. All you do is click on over to “Get Started” on their website. Then, they ask for a little bit of information (such as your zip code, gender, etc.) and then you press “View Your Quote.”

They have easy to use sliders where you can adjust the duration of your coverage and the policy value so that you can try to find a monthly premium that works best for you.

After that, they ask some routine medical questions and then policies from various companies pop up on your screen. This is so that you can find different life insurance policies and how much your monthly premium varies from company to company so that you can find your best price.

Quotacy will take a second look at your online submission, and shop the market one more time to ensure you’re getting the best price. If they find a better one based on your unique lifestyle or health characteristics, they will communicate this with you, and let you decide which company to apply for. The insurance company you select will then review your application, and make the final approval before it goes into affect and Quotacy will keep you informed every step of the way.

Do You Have Life Insurance? 2

Some of the great things about this website include:

  • Quotacy doesn’t require you to log in or register in order to see estimated pricing.
  • Everything is VERY easy to understand.
  • It’s very quick to use and you can get an estimated quote in one minute.
  • They have an awesome blog that can help you understand life insurance better.

 

Do you have life insurance? Why or why not?

 

Do You Really Need That MASSIVE House?

Do You Really Need That MASSIVE House?A few weeks ago I published the article Would You Move To A Completely New Place? In it I mentioned that we have put the home-buying process on hold, and we plan on staying in our current house for at least a few more years.

We have put it on hold because we don’t know where we want to live. However, that doesn’t mean that we stopped looking at houses.

I am definitely a crazy person and I probably look at houses on Realtor.com and Zillow at least once a week.

It’s a habit and an obsession…

To backtrack: We bought our current house when we were 20. We weren’t making a lot of money back then, but the market was great for buyers and we needed a place to live, so we decided to buy (we, of course, thought about other things as well). We like our home and it will do for the next few years, but I also don’t see it as our forever home.

I’ve always wanted a bigger kitchen, a bigger bedroom, and some land. Our house (by my standards and Midwest standards) is small. Our house is currently 1,200 square feet. We do have a finished basement though that adds another 1,200 square feet to our home.

I grew up in apartments because my dad hated houses (he hated the maintenance, lawn mowing, HOA’s, and so on), so I guess I’ve always wanted a big house since I didn’t have that when I was a kid.

Anyway, I have been catching myself searching for homes that are 2,500 square feet and above. I don’t know why.

Does anyone really need a house that big? Do I need a house that big?

According to MSN, the average home in the U.S. in 1950 was approximately 983 square feet, and in 2004 it was 2,349 square feet. That is a HUGE increase!

I don’t think there is anything wrong with whatever decision you make regarding how big your house is, as long as you can afford it. Some people are fine with a 400 square foot home, whereas others like 3,000 square foot homes.

 

But, if you really want to save money, below are reasons for why you should rethink that massive home:

Bigger homes usually have a higher price tag.

Of course, this all depends on the location, but in general a bigger house will cost more than a smaller house on the exact same lot. The different in price can easily be a few hundred thousand dollars.

You will find yourself paying for a larger mortgage, and you will also have to pay higher property taxes. Don’t forget about higher home insurance as well!

 

Bigger homes will cost a whole lot more to cool down and heat up.

Many newer homes have vaulted ceilings, which can easily increase the heating and cooling costs. Even if you don’t have vaulted ceilings, a bigger house will lead to higher utility expenses because there are more rooms to heat up and cool down.

 

Bigger homes will need more maintenance.

If you have a bigger home, that means the possibility of something breaking is a little bit higher than if you had a smaller homer. You might have a larger lawn to mow, more to paint, more to repair, and so on.

 

Bigger homes may lead to hoarding.

If you have a McMansion, then you may find yourself with a lot of extra rooms that you feel you need to fill up with things.

You may find yourself buying furniture and other items for a room that you only step into a few times a year. Furniture is not cheap – you may spend thousands to furnish a room in which you will just close the door and forget about.

I know someone who has FOUR living rooms in their home. One is the actual “living room,” the other is a “sitting room,” one is a “play room” and I don’t know what the fourth is. Oh, and then they have a basement living room as well, so I guess that is FIVE. It just seems like a lot of wasted space to me…

I also know a few people who have a dining room, a formal dining room, a breakfast room, and a lunch room. WHAT THE HECK? And they usually only use one room to eat in, whereas the others are maybe used once a year. Can you imagine having to buy four separate dining tables?

 

What is your ideal square footage in a home?

Do you want a McMansion or are you more of a minimalist person?