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, play dates, 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.
1. Life insurance
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 …
2. Estate planning
If you haven’t written a will yet, make it your goal to get that done in 2020, 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.
Not sure where to start? Online services like Trust & Will make writing and maintaining a will is as easy as managing your Facebook profile. (Better yet, no wacky political posts from Aunt Sue.) An individual or joint will with unlimited updates is available at no cost with Haven Life Plus, a rider included with every Haven Term policy.
3. Get organized
Quick question: Where’s your hard copy of your mortgage or lease? What about your kid’s birth certificate? If something happened to you and your loved ones needed to log into your 401(k), where would they look?
If, like many of us, you didn’t know the answers to those questions (or took your time remembering), you might want to spend some time getting organized.
One great way to take care of these important files is LifeSite, an online document storage service that offers both an intuitive, easy-to-use interface, and military-grade protection.
Tracking down your most important documents (including logins for all financial accounts), and putting them in one safe and secure place, is a great way to determine your overall financial health — think of it as a medical checkup for your most important files. And hey, now seems like a good time to mention that a LifeSite Plus subscription for you and up to five family members is available at no cost with the Haven Life Plus rider.
4. Practice a little self-care
Even if you’re not a New Year’s resolution person, you probably have some health goals, even if they’re ill-defined. (“I will lose five pounds… at some point.”)
Research suggests the best way to achieve those goals is to break them down into micro-goals or to use SMART goals — that is, goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. For example, instead of resolving to lose five pounds by spring, make a plan to walk for 30 minutes every day. Track and monitor that goal, and forgive yourself if you’re not perfect. Tomorrow, after all, is a new day.
This is also a great time to track and evaluate your diet. Not for weight loss, but for how it makes you feel. Do certain foods leave you feeling tired or fatigued? Do you get cravings at the same time every day? What are your triggers, and what are your behaviors when you respond? If you need to binge watch Netflix® and down comfort food after putting the kids to bed, no worries — but maybe swap out that unhealthy snack for something less harmful.
And if it seems daunting — you’re a parent, which means you’re not exactly swimming in time — consider a 21st-century life hack: A virtual trainer, living in your phone. The fitness app Aaptiv offers audio-based, on-demand workouts that fit into your schedule. Only have 10 minutes? There are several workouts exactly that length. Just need to relax, or stretch out a bit? The app includes meditation and yoga. Oh, and it will reduce your stress to know a yearly subscription comes at no cost with the Haven Life Plus rider.
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. And if someone gets the sniffles (or pink eye, or norovirus), seeing a doctor is easy with MinuteClinic®, a nationwide network located inside select Target and CVS locations, where you can get a wide array of health services — including flu shots — without an appointment. Haven Life policyholders get 15% off any single CVS MinuteClinic service as part of Haven Plus.
5. Consider these easy-to-use tech tools
We’ve already mentioned apps and online tools that will help you stay fit, relax, safely store and organize your most important documents and information, see a doctor, and write and maintain your will. But there are still more tech tools that any parent will appreciate. Here are a few of our favorites.
If you travel for work, or regularly visit relatives who live in another time zone, this app will help you fight jet lag with minimal interruption to your sleep schedule. The app gets to know your sleep patterns better than you do, then helps you shift them before, during, and after any planned travel. Handy for your family vacations on the coast. (Any coast.) A subscription is roughly $25 a year, or you can get it for no cost with the Haven Life Plus rider. We’ll let you decide which one is better.
It’s a challenge any parent knows. Either you devote considerable time and energy to being your child’s part-time archivist, or you heartlessly throw out your kid’s precious artwork en masse and don’t look back. Turns out, there’s another way. This app helps you preserve and sort your child’s crayon masterpieces digitally, with an intuitive tagging system so that, say, your kiddo’s still lifes are filed separately from the portraits. Best of all, your conscience remains clear without turning your house into your kid’s personal MoMA.
Need a last-minute babysitter for date night? No problem. Think of this as AirBNB for sitters — you can find, book and even pay through the app, and the rating and recommendation system ensures you’re hiring someone you can trust.
But even if you’re booking your sitter the analog way, Venmo™ (or another mobile payment service) is essential — you’ll never find yourself trying to find the nearest ATM while your sitter is on the clock again.
Because sometimes, you just want to eat at a restaurant in peace.
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.
Netflix is a registered trademark of Netflix, Inc.
MinuteClinic is a registered trademark of CVS Health Corporation.
Timeshifter is a registered trademark of Timeshifter Inc.
Artkive is a trademark of The Kive Company.
Bambino is a trademark of Bambino, Inc.
Venmo is a trademark of PayPal, Inc.
Sesame Street is a trademark of Sesame Workshop.
Haven Life Plus is the marketing name for the Plus Rider, a rider to the Haven Term insurance policy that is available to Haven Term policyholders (except in NY, FL, SD, WA and ND). The Plus Rider is included as part of your policy, and offers access to “Plus Benefits”, which are additional products, services and benefits. Although the Plus Rider is not available in California, California residents may still be able to opt in to certain benefits and services available under this rider. Participation in the services and benefits provided are optional.
The Plus rider provides access to additional services and benefits either at a discount or at no charge for certain products and services (“Plus Benefits”). Not all Plus Benefits are available in every state. Plus Benefits are provided by third party vendors (“Partners”). Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of Plus Benefit services or benefits. By activating a Plus Benefit, you are entering into a customer agreement with the Partner. Please review all Partner terms and conditions carefully. Plus Benefits are non-transferable, have no cash value, and are subject to change at any time.
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