Claire @ October Rain


4 Things You Must Do Before Giving Up A Fixed Income

It might sound odd, but you won’t always have a permanent income to fall back on. There will be a time when that constant cash injection ends and is replaced with a government payment or even funds from your own life savings. You need to make sure that you are prepared for this point in your life by taking the right steps now. There are a few options to consider here that can make sure you are prepared for the trials of the future.

Buy Property

While you don’t have to start buying property once you turn twenty, you should make sure you own at least one home by the time you reach forty. Why would you do this? Well, it’s simple a matter of making sure that you have a cushion of capital that you can fall back on. When you have a home, you can use it as security for a loan or maybe even borrow from it to go on a globe-trotting adventure. You can also think about upscaling or downsizing. As you head towards the end of middle age, downsizing can be a smart decision. You’ll get extra money for your savings, and you will be able to move to a place that will almost certainly have lower bills and monthly costs. However, it’s more difficult to do this if you don’t have a property to sell.

Find The Highest Interest Rate

You should be looking for a way that your money can work for you. Here, we are talking about the option of finding a savings account with a high-interest rate. You’ll be able to gain a fortune on your existing savings if you do this by taking virtually no action at all. There are various savings accounts on the market, so make sure that you compare the market here and find the right choice. Obviously, this move can be risky particularly when you consider that in a recession, interest rates drop. We haven’t had a recession in a while so one could be on the horizon. But ultimately, you won’t lose more than you save, unless you choose a locked in the account which isn’t a smart move. You want to make sure you have as much freedom as possible to move your money around.

Plan For Retirement

Do make sure that you have a plan in place for your retirement. There are various retirement solutions that you can consider, and you should look at various possibilities including pension funds and investment options. It’s all about making sure you have more than one source of income flowing into your accounts before and after your retire.

Get Your Family Sorted

Finally, if you have a family and kids, you need to make sure that they are sorted and moved out before you give up your fixed income. Kids are expensive, and this doesn’t really change until they have moved out of the house completely and are standing on their own two feet. This should be the case before you start to consider an early retirement.


Having the Best Time in Lancaster, PA

Lancaster County in Pennsylvania is a brilliant place for a vacation, whether you want to visit for a couple of weeks or just a weekend. Whether you want a family break, a vacation with friends or a romantic place to go just for the two of you, Lancaster has it all.

Long’s Park

This 80-acre area was gifted to Lancaster in 1900 and Long’s Park has been in existence ever since. Among the many festivals, its hosts are a barbeque competition, a fine arts exhibition, and a season-long music festival. It also has tennis courts, playground, petting zoo, and a spring-fed lake. Vacation packages often mention Long’s Park as it is a place for all ages and interest to enjoy. Give it a try.

Central Market

Why not pay a visit to the oldest farmers market in America?  It is held two days a week in a 120-year-old building that is worth seeing in its own right. Each Tuesday and Friday you will find local foods that do not exist anywhere else in the US.  You should try ‘chowchow’ which is pickled vegetables marinated in mustard or the famous ‘bread and butter pickles’. The most popular local food is called scrapple. This is a breakfast meat made from pork scraps and cornmeal.  You will also find things such as headcheese and Pennsylvania Dutch sausage.

Landis Valley Museum

Opened in 1925, this is a living history village and farm that’s perfect for a relaxed vacation.  Visitors are able to experience village and farm life in 18th and 19th century Lancaster and it holds special events where you can learn some of the skills of the time. It also has facilities for hire for weddings and other special events, if you want your occasion to be held in another time.

Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

For almost 30 years, the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre has been providing fine cuisine alongside first-class entertainment for about 370 patrons each night. The food ranges from  top class meals to a La Carte depending on which night you attend. Productions range from favorite classics to contemporary hits with performers from all over the country. A live orchestra accompanies the shows, and nationally known designers, choreographers, and directors together achieve some amazing entertainment.

The United States Hot Air Balloon Team

This premier East Coast company has been providing thrilling rides in hot air balloons for 30 years. Their pilots are all trained and FAA approved.  Your visit begins on the ground where you help to assemble the balloon. Your time in the air will be about an hour, and you will get to see Lancaster County from high above. Landings are followed by some light snacks and champagne.

Other Things To Do In Lancaster County

Only a very small sample of things to do in Lancaster are mentioned above, there are many more There is no end of restaurants, nightclubs, bars, museums, theatres, cinemas and just about everything else you can think of. A vacation in Lancaster will certainly not be one where you have time to get bored.

Pay It Forward: Ways To Do Good & Help Others

Life is all about having a happy and fulfilled time. It’s about building meaningful connections, making lifelong friendships and being happy and positive. Something that a lot of people believe in is the concept of ‘paying it forward’ – doing something nice for someone else and building up good karma as a result.

Paying it forward is something that a lot of people like to do to help secure their future. There’s a belief that by doing nice things for others, life will pay you back with nice things in return. Even if this isn’t a concept that you believe in, there’s never anything wrong with doing something nice for someone else.

There are so many ways that you can pay it forward, some of which are simple and quick, others of which are slightly more complicated. Like the idea of paying it forward and doing good to help others? Then you might want to have a read of these ideas below for ways that you can pay it forward.

Be kind

One of the simplest ways that you can pay it forward is to be kind to anyone and everyone. Kindness shouldn’t be reserved for special occasions, it is something that we should get into the habit of doing on a regular basis. Being kind is so simple and so easy, and yet far too few people are kind to others.

Being kind isn’t about big gestures, it’s about doing small things that make other people feel good. Whether that’s offering someone your seat on the train, letting a passerby know that they dropped some money, or helping a young parent who is struggling with a child having a tantrum in public, it doesn’t matter.

Kindness is so easy to give, and so we should be paying it forward by being kind whenever we can. Kindness doesn’t cost a penny, so there’s no reason not to be kind, is there?

Help other people

At one point or another, we all need help and when that happens it’s nice to have someone on hand who is willing to help you. Of course, that isn’t always the case, which is why wherever possible you should try and be the person offering help. Think about how you would feel if you were in the situation warranting help and what you would want people to do to help you.

Helping someone out can be as simple as giving them the 10p that they’re short at the gas station or as complex as offering to help them solve a serious problem. It could be a stranger who you help or a friend or family member, it’s not about who you help, it’s about taking that step and choosing to help other people.

When it comes to helping others, there are so many things that you can do. Say a friend is struggling to feed her family, you could help her out financially. Or, say a relative needs help with conceiving, you could look at the ConceiveAbilities surrogacy program and consider being a surrogate. Or, if a colleague is in need of help with their work, you could offer to help them.

Make people happy

An important part of paying it forward is taking the time to make people happy. Happiness is the key to a long and happy life, which is why it’s so important that not only are you happy but that you also take steps to help make other people happy too.

Making other people happy feels totally amazing, it’s also a wonderful way to pay it forward. The great thing about making people happy is that it is so easy to do, sometimes it’s as simple as paying someone a compliment, other times all it takes is doing something nice like buying a homeless person a coffee and a piece of cake.

There are so many ways that you can make people happy, it’s just a case of knowing the best ways to do that. It all depends on the person and the environment, in regards to how you can make them happy. Say, for instance, you have a retirement home nearby and you want to make the residents living there happy, you could opt to bake them cupcakes, or spend time reading to them, or organizing a singalong session each week.

If you believe in doing good and paying it forward, the tips and ideas above should help you to find simple ways to do more for other people.

Natural Mood Boosters

Whether you are feeling a bit blue over a breakup, a general dissatisfaction with life has crept in or you simply don’t find much to be happy about from day to day, there are lots of very simple. Very natural things that you can do to boost your mood. If you do them occasionally, they will give you an occasional lift in the moment, but if you do them regularly, their effects will be cumulative, and you will find yourself feeling happier more often. Some of them may even help you if you’re struggling with depression, although they are no substitute for proper medical intervention.

What are these wonderful, natural mood boosters? Let me tell you…

Exercise of Course

Okay, so I know that exercise is often the very last thing that you want to do when you’re feeling blue, and it can get annoying when everyone seems to recommend it as a panacea for everything, but you know what? It really does work. When you exercise, your body’s levels of dopamine and oxytocin increase and since they are the very hormones resp[onsible for feelings of happiness and love, this can have a pretty powerful effect. Even if you just take the dog for a brisk walk or dance to your favorite songs for 15 minutes, you should feel a lift in your mood. Exercise every day and you’ll definitely feel much happier much more of the time.

Spend Some Time on The Meditation Cushion

More and more studies are coming to the conclusion that meditation can reduce stress and anxiety levels. Boost happiness and even have a positive effect against depression. It doesn’t matter whether you sit and chant Sanskrit mantras for 10 minutes or focus on your breath for an hour, once you’re done, your mind will feel calmer and your body will feel more relaxed, resulting in a happier you. If you want to get the most benefits, it is recommended that you try mindfulness meditation, however as this has the most evidence backing up its usefulness for regulating emotions right now.

Have Fun with Friends and Family

How much time do you spend with friends and family?? Of you barely see them because you’re too busy working or whatever, it might be time to clear up your schedule a little so that you can see the people who matter most to you more. Why? It should be obvious that being around people you love, and who love you is a great way to give you a happiness boost. It has to be face-to-face contact where you can see each other’s expressions, hug and laugh together though – a quick conversation on Facebook or Whatsapp simply isn’t going to cut it. Live, laugh, love and all that.

Get Your Nature On

Nature has such a soothing effect on body and mind. Numerous studies have shown that spending time in nature, whether that is on the beach or up a mountain, will lower stress levels, boost your happiness levels and give you a greater sense of vitality.

Time to get happy!

7 Alternatives To A Loan

Whilst loans can be a convenient way of paying for out-of-pocket expenses, they carry extra costs in the long run. If you can’t afford something and don’t want to take out a loan, here are 7 alternative funding options to consider.

Sell your clutter

Many of us have unwanted possessions in our home that we can sell for cash. You may be able to take these items to a second-hand store and get some money for them straight away, however you’ll likely get less money that using other selling methods. Online sites such as Gumtree are often one of the best ways of selling clutter, providing you don’t need the money in a hurry – you can find local buyers who can pick the item up rather than having to deliver the item, and you can set your own price. Other ways of selling your clutter could involve taking items to auctions, hosting a yard sell, pawning these items or recycling them for cash. Explore all your options to find the most profitable one for each item (for example, antiques may be better sold at an auction, whilst old broken electronics may make more money being sold for parts).

Borrow from your pension       

It’s possible to borrow money from your pension pot. This could leave you with less money to retire on, although you could always make efforts to pay this money back into your own savings account (you won’t have to pay any interest because you’re technically borrowing from yourself). In certain cases, there may be restrictions preventing your from accessing your retirement fund early – you can read more into borrowing from your pension here.

Get an equity release

If you own a property and have owned it for a while, it’s likely that this property has increased in value over the years. It’s possible to access this added value without selling your property by opting for something called an equity release via companies such as Sun Life. This is technically a loan, but you only pay it back when your property is sold or when you die, making it more practical than a regular loan that has to be paid back straight away. An equity release isn’t a good option if you plan to sell your property soon and upsize. Many people use it as an extra retirement fund, usually when they don’t plan to ever move.

Seek legal compensation

In the case of an emergency cost, consider whether the emergency was directly caused by someone else. Car accident repairs or medical treatment costs could be covered by legal compensation if you believe that somebody else directly caused the damage, saving you the unnecessary costs of taking out a loan. There are many lawyers out there such as Slack Davis Sanger Law Firm that can help you potentially win compensation for accidents as wide ranging as medical malpractice to aircraft accidents. This money is not something that you’re likely to get access instantly, but it could still be worth waiting for in certain cases.

Get funding from investors

If you’re trying to fund a business or some kind of community project, you could always consider seeking out investors rather than taking out a loan. You don’t have to pay back the money that an investor gives you, however many investors will generally want something in it for them such as future shares in profits. Investors will also generally only give you money if they believe in your cause – you may want to spend some time writing up a persuasive pitch as well as getting a financial advisor to help you with figures.

Borrow from a friend/family member

By borrowing from a friend or family member, you could prevent yourself from having to pay interest and arrange a more flexible means of paying the money back. Of course, you do need to be careful of borrowing from friends and family as it can put a strain on your relationship. Make sure that you have the willpower to pay them back.

Save up

When it comes to non-emergency expenses, you could always take the old-fashioned option of saving up. This is a much slower process that takes a lot of willpower, but it’s undoubtedly the most rewarding way of raising funds. You could even consider putting the money in a high interest account where it will naturally increase in value. There are some things you can’t save up for (few people can save up for a house without using some kind of loan in conjunction), however treats such as a holiday or a new car could be things that you can save up for.

Ten Relationship Tips You Wish You Were Told Sooner

When we become teenagers, we start looking for candidates who can complete our lives. This can probably be the first mistake many people make when starting their dating life. Instead of looking for someone to be your other half, you will have wok work on becoming whole, so you don’t need others and can start a relationship that is based on trust and not dependency. Chances are that your parents tried to explain some of these relationship tips before, but you were simply not ready to listen. It is, however, not too late today. Read them below.

You Can’t Rush Love

For many young people, having a relationship is  a confirmation that they are wanted and valuable. If you are in a competition with your friends who can get married or find someone special first, you are doing everything wrong. In fact, you will certainly need to be more picky than you are when you are a teenager. You are likely to change your mission and your values, and eventually distance yourself from old friends and relationships. Take your time and you will hurt less.  

People Change

Unfortunately, people change. You might promise someone that you will always love them when you are 17, but you simply can’t keep the promise. You might change because of school, education, or having to step up to a new role. If your current partner is not able to move on with you, it might be time to stop trying to convince them that your way is the best. Likewise, people change and will become less appealing. They take on habits that drive you mad, or develop a superior feel around you.

Some People Never Change

While most people change until they die, some of them will never be able to. If they are too set in their ways and don’t like to compromise, they will expect you to adjust. There’s nothing you can do to get them to see your view, and conflicts will appear. If you feel like your partner has become used to doing things the same way and you have embarked on a journey of self development, you might not feel comfortable around them any more.

You Can’t Have a Good Relationship without Being Your Own Friend

People often look at relationships as a solution to their problems and mental health issues. Unfortunately, you will need to learn to befriend yourself before you can develop a healthy relationship with others. If you are not happy with your life, you are more than likely to express your dissatisfaction in front of your partner. If you don’t respect yourself enough, you can’t expect others to do so, either.

First Impressions Matter

You might think that you will have to be yourself and expect others to accept you as you are. While honesty is important, if you would like to impress a potential partner and are going on a date, you have about three seconds to convince them that you are the right person for them. This is why you will have to adopt a good personal hygiene and grooming routine, so you can always be ready to be judged.

You Should Only Change for Your Own Good

If someone wants to change you in a relationship, you have to ask yourself whether or not this change will benefit you or them. Chances are that if they are trying too hard to change you, they are looking to see someone else in your place. You need to be on board with the change, and make sure that it serves your personal development. If you have a partner who is looking to help you get a better job, this might be fine, but if they want you to change your personal style or your values, you should run.

You Can Be Different

You need to accept your personality and your appearance before you can act confident among potential partners. You can be different, and still attractive. After all, there’s got to be something that makes you stand out from the rest of men, and capture the attention of people around you. However, this doesn’t mean that you can be argumentative, confrontational, or offensive.

Insecurity Damages Relationships

If you are not secure in a relationship or not sure what you would like to get out of your life, you will experience conflict often. Likewise, if your partner is not happy with their place in life and is always jealous, you can’t do anything to convince them. There’s something wrong with their own self esteem and image, not your attitude and personality.

Rejection Is Not Always Bad

As you get older, you will notice that you have had some lucky escapes. You will attend the high school or college reunion and meet people you used to like or even went out with, seeing who they become. You might see women you respected letting themselves go and tying up a man with kids. You simply wish you could tell the guy what vasectomy procedure is and remind them that they are not slaves, but equal partners in a relationship.

Burning Bridges Is Never Smart

No matter how many of your relationships break up, you should not hold the grudge. Instead, part as friends and decide whether or not to stay in touch. This doesn’t mean that you need to have a list of exes you can go back to if your current relationship is not working. Simply accept your differences and move on without being angry with each other. If you carry the hurt to your next relationship, you are more than likely to fail building trust and a meaningful connection.

Relationships don’t come with a user guide, nor do people. It is likely that you will make loads of mistakes before you find the person who is supposed to be on your side. Be sure to accept yourself and become your own friend before going out there looking for a partner.