The Ingredients for a Happy Retirement

Old age should be a comfortable time in everyone’s life. There are some issues to address of course. If there is no longer significant income each month after retirement the only way to meet obligations is to create funds during your working life. Likewise provision must be made for health problems that are increasingly likely to arise as you get older.

While some people may not have significant surplus funds during their working life there is no reason why proper provisions should not be made for retirement. It just needs some good advice and a little self discipline. Budgeting is something that every business does to predict its immediate future. It is just s relevant for adults, especially those that are raising a family.

Early Career

It is important to realize that regular money set aside from setting out on a career for the decades that follow can make a significant difference to the quality of retirement in the future. That time will come. If you are able to develop a habit of saving in your 20s and stick to it you will be well ahead of most people. The sooner you can start a 401(k) retirement plan the better; if your employer contributes each month all the better. It may not be a huge sum initially particularly if there are realistic loans website for college to repay; an early start is important. More money can be set aside as your career progresses and you are earning more.

Set a Target

By the time you have been working for 10 years, perhaps in your early 30s you might like to try to allocate 20% of your net income towards saving for your pension, creating an emergency fund and ensure your insurances are in place. Certainly 20% is high but it is a good target to try to reach.

Inevitably you will take on debts along the way. Investing in real estate, especially while rates are low makes perfect sense. You can expect the increase in value of your property will more than compensate for the costs involved through the term of the mortgage and future mortgages.

The Challenges of Middle Age and Beyond

By middle age you certainly need to have things in place because you are likely to be at a point where you will be starting to earn the most you will during your working life. There are advisers who will happily look at where you are with your finances and perhaps suggest that you look at different alternatives of investment as well.

Time begins to run out once you pass 50 years of age. Fewer people are looking for early retirement these days and there are plenty of people who want to work past retirement age even though the reasons are other than financial.

It is important to consider your lifestyle as you get older. Is it sustainable or is it unnecessarily extravagant? If the children have moved out it can certainly make sense to live in a smaller house. The running costs will be reduced and it may mean you have some equity that you can invest.

If you have taken sensible financial decisions throughout your life you will be able to look forward to a comfortable retirement.  If you are uncertain about whether a particular course of action is sensible then seek help from experts who understand the financial sector in depth. There will be plenty of calls on your finance throughout your working life and there will be times you cannot see the best way to proceed. It is important not to fall into the common traps of building up expensive credit card and store debt especially as a means of artificially living beyond your means. As you relax in retirement you will be happy that you did.

The final 2013 $3k Challenge Update


The year is now over and with it comes the close of the 2013 $3K Challenge. And I have some great news. For the first time ever, I have completed the challenge! As of today, I have earned $3067.32 for 2013. Actually, I passed the $3000 mark on November 6 when I received final payment for the sale of this blog.

Since the sale of the site is much more than how far I exceeded my goal, this may have been a bit of a cheat. But my goal was to earn three grand and I did. So I am unrepentant. I never said that the income had to be sustainable!

The purpose of the $3k Challenge

Long time readers of this blog may recall when I announced the first $3K Challenge two years ago. My original purpose was to earn enough money to pay off my last remaining credit card. I am pleased to announce that 2014 will be the first year since 2000 when I start the year free of any and all credit card debt!

Granted, taxes and other expenses ate up nearly half of my earnings this year, but the profit from last year’s challenge, plus an additional year’s worth of minimum payments let me reach this goal regardless.

So what does 2014 bring?

Well, having that credit card payment gone takes a lot of pressure off my budget. With it gone, my monthly debt payments are reduced by nearly 25%. That provides a lot of wiggle room when I am in my winter survival budget.

But when the money flows freely again (I’m getting a promotion this spring!), I will use this payment for a debt snowball. By combining my existing minimum payment with the money I used to need to pay the credit card bill, I can come close to paying off a loan I took out 2 years ago to pay medical bills. With online earnings of just $400, I can start 2015 with just student loans.

My 2013 $3k Challenge Earnings Final Update


  • Advertising:  $85
  • Freelancing:      $0
  • SEAM      Publishing: $775


I’ve been pretty cautious to accept private advertising efforts due to Google’s algorithm changes. I accepted none on this site in the 4th quarter before I sold it. On my other site, I did accept two. It turns out that the food niche is a lot less profitable for private advertising than the personal finance niche. 🙁 Another $5 in CPM earnings.

The other downside to selling this site is the fact that the majority of my AdSense earnings came from here. I went from an average of $15 per month to an average of $3.50 per month.


Zero. Goose-egg. I don’t have a lot of freelance writing gigs; just my participation on Penny Thots. But somehow I managed to go an entire 3 months (August, September, and October) without contributing a single post. But with this site gone, I will be participating there much more. For more of my personal finance opinions, please visit that site.

SEAM Publishing

SEAM Publishing made fair inroads at earning a grand this quarter. It has certainly been the most successful and profitable of my ventures in 2013. However, this number is a bit of a trick. In 2013, I made the business decision to use SEAM Publishing the banner for all of my online efforts. It rather makes sense for a publishing house to be the owner of a blog, right? So when I sold this site, the profit was attributed to SEAM’s bottom line.

2013 $3K Challenge Sponsors

Financial support for the 2013 $3k Challenge was provided by Sophisticated Spender, My Personal Finance Journey, Frugal Toad, One Cent At A Time, KNS Financial, and The Financial Monk.

Okay, $3K Challengers! How did you do for your first quarter? Enter your numbers in the comments below by Jan 10.

2013 $3K Challenge – 3rd Quarter Update

Well, the year is just flying by. The end of the 3rd quarter is almost upon us. Things slowed down considerably this quarter. I guess everybody has gone on vacation in the warm weather. It doesn’t help that this is also the busy time for me and I can’t put as much time into my blogging efforts either.

So those two combined for a rather abysmal earnings report, at least compared to the last couple. But from the “glass half full” perspective, I’ve made more in the last 3 months than I did in my first two years of blogging.

$3k Challenge Income

  • Advertising: $113.18
  • Freelancing: 7.97
  • SEAM Publishing: $167


Well, the first digit is my AdSense payout. The other $13 came from my participation in Foodie BlogRoll ads.


Freelancing income this quarter came from my profit share in Penny Thots. As a reminder, Penny Thots is looking for more authors. The pay is pretty low currently because it is based on total site income, but as we get quality authors to come on, and as time goes by, it should develop pretty well. Also, please note that my share was so low because during the entire quarter, I only managed to write 2 posts. As things start to slow down at work, I should get better.

SEAM Publishing

This has become my shining star of income. However, the site itself is an utter failure. In fact, it’s not even up at the moment, because I somehow lost all of my database backups for the past year. But since traffic had been so low before that, I really haven’t bothered. All of this income is from my participation on Fiverr, with which I continue to have a love-hate relationship.

2013 $3K Challenge Sponsors

Financial support for the 2013 $3k Challenge was provided by Sophisticated Spender, My Personal Finance Journey, Frugal Toad, One Cent At A Time, KNS Financial, and The Financial Monk.

Okay, $3K Challengers! How did you do for your first quarter? Enter your numbers in the comments below by Sept 7.

2013 $3K Challenge: Mid Year Update

2013 $3k ChallengeThe year is half over already! Where has the time gone? While my day job had a slow start this year when winter finally decided to start in April, things are picking up pace on that front. Meanwhile, my online income has been increasing. While my first quarter update showed me just behind being on pace, I am now fully on pace to have $3k of online income by the end of the year.

Even better, I have ~$200 in pending payouts. This is money that I’ve already earned, and already reached the payment threshold and the payments have already been sent. They just haven’t arrive yet. How is it that I can deposit a check on my phone and have it in my account in 5 minutes, but it takes 3 days for Paypal to transfer funds?

$3k Challenge Income

If you follow the math from the first paragraph, and recall from the last update that last quarter exceeded all of last year’s income, then it is fairly obvious that I have a new record for quarterly income from my online endeavors.

Here is the breakdown:

  • Advertising: $645
  • Freelancing: $27
  • SEAM Publishing: $129

All of my income came from those three sources this quarter. But next quarter will have a brand new heading of ebooks as I’ve finally reached the payment threshold on Amazon.


Remember that first AdSense payout I talked about last time? Well, I reached the payment threshold last month and Google has sent the payment, but as of the time of this writing, it has not yet arrived. Oh well, that much extra to report next month!

Foodie Blogroll advertising is continuing to pay out a few dollars per month and Viraliti is beginning to pick up steam. I also had my first Sponsored Tweet is a while last month.


Yeah, that’s right. $27. From my participation in the multi-author blogging project Penny Thots.

SEAM Publishing

SEAM Publishing did very well. A previous publishing client produced another book and it’s already making me some money. If you are a teacher and could use some help on your resume, check out Confessions of a Teacher Recruiter (aff) on Amazon.

What has really been coming into it’s own is my Fiverr income. Last month I made $60 and this month over $100. Now that I’m a Level 1 seller, it is easier to sell larger gigs which should increase the pace of my earnings there.


  • hosting fees: $70
  • domain fees: $10
  • fees: $14
  • ingredients for food blog: $6
  • taxes: $428

When my subscription for HostGator was up for renewal, I switched to Nuts & Bolts Media. It’s better service, a cheaper price, and faster hosting, all from a fellow Yakezie member, Andrea. When it’s time to renew your hosting account, I highly recommend you make the switch. Sign up with my affiliate link for Nuts & Bolts Media Hosting, and I’ll have more income to report next time!

So total expenses are $528, with taxes obviously taking the lion’s share of that. That puts actual revenue at $273

Year-to-date, I’ve had $1542 income, minus $714 taxes and other expenses for a profit of $824.

2013 $3K Challenge Sponsors

Financial support for the 2013 $3k Challenge was provided by Sophisticated Spender, My Personal Finance Journey, Frugal Toad, One Cent At A Time, KNS Financial, and The Financial Monk.

Okay, $3K Challengers! How did you do for your first quarter? Enter your numbers in the comments below by April 10.

*I’m still in need of a JS programmer for a project involving my wife’s WildTree website. If that is you, contact me! I’m also looking for someone with experience building a directly page, one that ties into social media API’s to rank the sites included in the directory.