What would reduce the most stress in your life?
Is there some change that would take a load off of your mind? Are you doing something to make the change happen?
Simplify your life - think about what you really need and what you don't need! That will help reduce a lot of stress and give you more time to relax!
As a freelance, with only a small pension to look forward to, my biggest source of stress is knowing I can never stop working and worrying if I will be able to keep going at the same level as now. I'm in my late 50s, so this is a very real problem!
I originally came to HP to try and set up some passive income to help this situation, but have been very disappointed with the results. I am now setting up a couple of sites. With luck they might bring in some money, and at least I will feel I more in control with my own web sites.
In February, I invested quite a lot of my savings in roof solar panels. The UK government will pay me for all the electricity I generate over the next 25 years and the payments will be indexed-linked. Even in the rainy, short days of February-April, I've been paid a sum which is equivalent to a 10% annual return on my investment, far better than if the money festered in the bank. What is more, I've already been told the next set of payments will be paid at a rate 4% higher than the previous one because of the inflation calculations. Over summer, the sum will increase considerably with longer days and (I hope!) more sunshine. In addition, my electricity bill has gone down by about 30%. Over each year as a whole, between the two aspects of income and savings from the panels, my gas and electricity bills are more or less covered by the panels and there will probably be some money left over.
My next step is to build up savings again to pay off my mortgage within the next year or so. If I succeed, I will not have to worry about losing my home, whatever happens.
At that point, I will be covered for home, heating and lighting, which leaves car loan, local council taxes, phone/internet, water rates, petrol and food as essential costs to be met from active income.
Since going freelance, I have also kept a minimum of two years income as savings in one form or other. This is over and above the other savings I've mentioned, which paid for the solar panels. This money is set aside for major emergencies/inability to work and I do not touch it for any other reason.
I still worry about pensions and poverty in old age, but, ironically, less so than I did ten years ago, when I was in full-time employment and married! Again, I think it is a matter of feeling I am in control of things, because I am certainly not going to sack myself (!) and I do not have to worry about somebody else's financial irresponsibility affecting my life.
Stop using credit cards, downsize as much as you can. Do you really need a car payment, or a car at all? Get a bicycle if you don't have one, keeps you healthy and saves money. Walk around in a natural setting, stay close to the ducks and squirrels. Staying healthy is paramount, so exercise and eat your veggies.
Having, and know you are going to have enough money to pay all the bills every month. Preferably with multiple streams of income, you know you can build back up if necessary.
Paying off all credit cards, and never picking one up again. Paying off all debt.
I think you should live your life slowly, because if you live it too fast, you cannot enjoy the little things. Overconsumption causes unhappiness and stress, I believe, so I try to keep my consumption to a minimum. It has worked well so far.
Well, something has already reduced stress in my life....when I got fired from my last job. When I was off work with a knee injury and receiving State Disability, my employer held my job a few weeks and asked me if I could come right back to work.
I was unable to because I could hardly walk on my right leg, so they fired me.
Since that time, 11 months ago, the stress of driving one hour to work and the same going home, is gone....as well as the stress I had at work, because I worked in a particularly hectic department for a well known bank. I worked in the office, not in a bank. I think the commute to work and back and the job itself contribute to a tremendous amount of stress....at least that was the case in my situation. It may not be the same for others.
I think I might be doing the right thing now. I have found a lovely retirement place for my mom and aunt where they will be comfortable and cared for. Means less shopping, worrying and running around for me. All I have to do now is visit them.
For people to be less judgemental would be great. A steady reasonable income would be a weight off my mind too, as I am a freelance artist money comes and goes but working a regular job is not an option for me. I am working on more sources of income and also trying to find more outlets for my work so it gets seen more.
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