Planning for the Future: Retirement Planning

While I am far from retirement I have started planning for it from an early age. The one thing my dad always talked about as soon as I was old enough to get a job was to start saving early so I would have enough put away when I was ready to retire. Yes, at age 16 I was already well aware of retirement planning.

And I did what I’m sure other teens did not do. I listened to my dad. And at the age of 17, when I was eligible per my company’s regulations, I opened up a 401K. At first I simply put in a certain percentage, not quite sure what matching was and how it would benefit me.

Then my dad taught me the benefit of being aware of how company matching could do for my savings and I increased the percentage I was putting away each week. Lucky for me my husband also felt the same way about early retirement planning and had already started his 401K as well.

But I’m sure many aren’t lucky enough to have a dad like mine who pushed me to save at such an early age. So I’ve come across some great tips while researching ways to continue my retirement planning now that I’m a work-at-home mom.

Retirement Planning at an Early Age

1. Set up an automatic retirement savings plan –

Whether you contribute to a 401K through your work or set up a savings account on your own, start putting away a percentage of each paycheck starting now. The sooner you start saving – and investing – the sooner you’ll be able to retire.

2. Take advantage of employer contributions –

As I mentioned before, the company I worked with would match our 401K contributions up to a certain percentage. If your company offers this then you should definitely be taking advantage of this. Who can say no to free money? Usually there is a cap on what they’ll match to so make sure you know all of your company’s guidelines and regulations.

3. Leave your money where it is –

While it may be tempting to cash out on your 401K for that new car or a down payment on a house, you aren’t doing yourself any favors! Consider sitting down with a financial planner to plan out how to save for large purchases or investments without touching your savings. You’ll be thankful in the long run.

4. Sit down with a professional –

Still lost with all of this talk of savings? Consider sitting down with a professional and going over your finances. From there you can determine just how much you can be putting aside for retirement and how long you’ll continue to do so. There are so many great resources and apps out there for us to use. Take advantage of the knowledge at your fingertips!

Have you started planning for retirement?

With our financial planning laid out and a plan for retirement always in the works I feel a lot better about our future. I definitely don’t want to be working past 65 if I don’t have to. And if my husband and I are still lucky to have our health by then we want to be able to use that time to enjoy ourselves.

Planning to retire a little sooner than I am? Consider reading this article on 7 Tips for People Planning to Retire in 2013 to find out if you’re ready to retire sooner!

Disclaimer: Information for this post is sourced from Genworth Financial in partnership with the SheHeard Influencer Network. All opinions are my own.

5 Easy Ways to Get Kids Cleaning


I’ve always looked forward to the day that I could put my kids to work. I remember my mom doing it and at times felt as if I were a slave. Laundry, dishes, bathrooms, and more. I hope I pulled my fair share of the weight in the chores department but there was always something to do!

So now that my son is nearing an age where he is more than capable of helping out I’ve started to find that making a game out of cleaning is the best way to go about getting him involved! Here’s what we’ve been doing:

1. Stuffed Animal Hoops –

This is basically a game of basketball but you use shopping carts and strollers instead of hoops. You try and throw as many toys into the shopping cart as possible and than race them down to the playroom to dump out.

2. Food Hockey –

My kids are messy eaters. Crumbs fly everywhere! And when our dog isn’t inside to clean up what’s left on the floor, my kids are expected to sweep up the rest. But we make a fun game out of it!

One kid holds the dust pan while the other sweeps the crumbs in the direction of the pan and tries to make as many crumbs go in as possible. Usually I have to start out by making a small pile

3. Messy Suds –

Bathrooms aren’t the most fun room to clean (what room is??). So we make a fun game for the kids and let them sit in the tub with some soapy water and wash everything around them with washcloths. Not only is the tub clean, the kids come out sparkly as well!

Afterwards I simply spray a bit of water/vinegar/tea tree oil solution on top of the clean walls and tub and wipe once more. But all of the heavy scrubbing is left to the kids.

4. Floor Skating –

When we mop we have fun! While I go around mopping the floor with either our steam mop or our regular mop, I have the kids behind me with towels under their feet to skate across the floor. And while we do get a bit wet and slip a LOT we have a great amount of fun while cleaning.

5. Color coordinating –

When sorting clothes to take to the washer and dryer, my kids help by picking out the colors, whites, and reds.  Sometimes when I’m feeling especially evil I will have them sort the colors even more.

Then they help out by bringing the clothes out to the garage and putting them in the correct bin to be washed. They also love transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer and my daughter gets a kick out of slamming the dryer door shut when it’s ready to be started.

What do you do to get your kids involved?

Prayers and Good Thoughts Needed… and some Chocolate Pie

When I’m happy I eat. When I’m sad I eat. When I’m upset I eat. When I’m mad I eat. See a pattern here? For the most part I’ve been able to curb this addiction but lately I am thinking about food all the time. My grandma is in the hospital. Has been since last Thursday.

Congestive heart failure, renal failure and pneumonia.

Not a fun trio. For the most part she seems herself although she’s hating the whole hospital thing. And if she can get her oxygen levels up and breathe on her own again she might just be able to work on everything else going on.

But for now she waits. And waits.

So we wait with her. I find other family members willing to watch the kids while I visit. The visits aren’t all that exciting and for the most part I just sit with my aunt, uncles and mom while reading a book. I haven’t read this much in a long time. But every once in a while I’m able to visit with her alone. And we chat. Small things, big things. It’s nice.

I haven’t really thought that it’s impacted me much but I think it is. The other day I went into the pantry, went into the fridge and checked out the freezer. Nothing sounded good. Nothing looked good. Ugh.

So I figured I’d check out a few of my recipe books and I grabbed one of my favorites, Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours. And I happened to open it on a recipe for chocolate pie. With a chocolate shortbread crust. I already had some pie crust in the freezer so I grabbed that and let it thaw. Now I should have stopped right there. If I had time to thaw crust I had time to realize that this was just a bad plan all over.

I am losing weight, on the right track, just got over a 6-week weight loss challenge.Why sabotage these efforts? Because I could. 

So I made Dorie’s chocolate tart filling.

Added some diced macerated strawberries and waited for the mix to chill in the fridge. As it was chilling I baked up the pie crust and let it cool. Once it was cool I grabbed the chocolate/strawberry filling, poured it into the crust, and smoothed it all down. If I had any whipping cream in the house I probably would have whipped that up and layered it on as well. But lucky for me I didn’t. And I was out of chocolate.

Half of the pie was gone the next day. Oy…

So I ask for your prayers. No, not so that I stop eating. Only I can work on that. Prayers for my grandma. Prayers that she finds peace, gets better, makes it to her 60th high school reunion later this year. She says she’s ready but I know she wants to do just a bit more. Let her visit with her sister at least.

I thank you in advance for any positive thoughts or prayers you have to offer. I truly appreciate it!

Oh, and the pie was amazing.

I’ll have to make it again. And maybe isntead of strawberries I’ll throw in a swirl of peanut butter. Yum!

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