Got any spare time? No? You’re a parent. We didn’t think so.
Since we know you’re so busy with kids, dinners, work, home, traffic, playdates, and who knows what else, we decided to create a checklist of the tasks we think are most important for you to tackle as we begin a new year.
Let’s get straight to it:
Death. Taxes. Spaghetti sauce all over your son’s brand new shirt. All inevitable. That’s why you need to prepare (for the first two, anyway).
First and foremost, consider life insurance, either term or permanent. If you decide that term life insurance is a good fit for you, know that applying for coverage is simple and affordable, and it’s easier than ever to apply for coverage online. There’s really no time like the present.
Think about it. The holidays are over, but you can still provide a loving gift to the people who matter to you the most. What better gift to your family than a safety net that will help your family financially if something were to happen to you?
If you’ve done your parental duty and taken care of this already, great! Now’s a good time to check in and make sure your policy details are up to date, and that the policy is easily located in case you need it. There are lots of reasons to update your coverage over time — maybe you’ll quit smoking this year, maybe you’ll welcome a baby. It’s a good time to make sure all your affairs are in order. Speaking of…
If you haven’t written a will yet, make it your goal to get that done in 2019, both to ensure your end-of-life plans are executed according to your wishes and to potentially help your beneficiaries avoid a tax hit in the event something happens to you (translation: in case you die before you plan to).
If you do have a will, check in and make sure everything is up to date, and that your important paperwork is somewhere accessible to you and anyone else who might need it.
Pre-tax financial audit
This is the time of year to schedule an appointment with your tax advisor. You have a window of time right now when you can contribute to, say, a traditional or Roth IRA if you qualify, which can be a great way to set aside savings for your retirement.
Other ways to take care of your financial well being include:
- Continue to pay down debt
- Set up automatic payments so you never miss a payment on a bill
- Revisit your retirement savings plan, your risk tolerance, and your investment options
- Consider a 529 savings account or other college funding vehicle for your child’s education (529s can now be applied to elementary and secondary private school tuition)
Make resolutions you’ll want to keep
Look, we all know the reasons to get (or stay) healthy: You’ll live longer, live better, and you might even save money on your life insurance policy.
If you’re looking for specific things you can do right away as we begin 2019, consider these:
- Quit smoking
- Walk at least 30 minutes a day
- Reduce your alcohol intake
- Make meals at home
Start with small incremental goals and work your way up. Each of these will have an outsized impact on your health and happiness.
This is also a good time of year to make sure you’ve scheduled annual wellness visits for yourself and your spouse and kids, and to make sure, if relevant, that your child’s wellness forms are up to date at preschool or daycare.
Check in on your casa
Houses and apartments, like the people who live in them, age. Some more gracefully than others. This is a good time of year to check in on things like air filters and smoke alarms. Consider setting seasonal calendar reminders in a shared calendar that you and your spouse have access to.
Holiday shopping for 2019
Sorry. Too soon?
Louis Wilson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a wide array of publications, both online and in print. He often writes about travel, sports, popular culture, men’s fashion and grooming, and more. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he has developed an unbridled passion for breakfast tacos, with his wife and two children. This article is sponsored by Haven Life Insurance Agency. Opinions are his own.
Haven Life Insurance Agency (Haven Life) does not provide tax, legal or investment advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or investment advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and investment advisors before engaging in any transaction. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel.