Start Now.

I’ve got 6 must-complete items for you.

You have 6 weeks to complete them.

You can make it easy on yourself and do one a week. 

You can make it hard, and wait until week 6.

Your call. 

My recommendation:

Start Now.

Week #1:  Schedule your doctor's appointments.

People are counting on you.   Schedule your annual exam, dentist appointment, mammogram, colonoscopy, etc.  The dermatologist as well.

I mean it.  Put my blog aside and make the calls now.

Great, welcome back.

Extra credit for week #1:  Call an old friend.  Don’t worry about the time that’s already passed since your last conversation. You can make up for that in an instant by reaching out.  You don’t need a reason other than to say, “I just wanted to know how you’re doing.”

Rekindling a relationship is one of the most powerful, heartwarming things you can do for yourself and the other person – because chances are, they’ve probably been thinking about you too.

Week #2:  Get (or update) a healthcare power of attorney

It’s a straightforward document that designates someone to make decisions about your medical treatment if you are unable to do so.  It also covers end-of-life decisions.

Do it for yourself, and do it for your loved ones.  Call your attorney.

And while you have her on the line, ask her to complete health care powers of attorney for your children over age 18. 

Trust me on how important this is.  My daughter recently tore her ACL and I tried to talk to the doctor.  He would not give me – her own mother – any information unless I sent the healthcare power of attorney!

Once you have health care powers of attorney complete, provide a copy to your “agent.”

Extra credit for week #2:  Spend time with your parents.  If they are not around, spend time with someone else’s parents.  Someone is out there whose face you can brighten! 

Week 3:  Get your estate plan/will done (or updated)

Call your attorney again.  Don’t freak out over fees.  Make the call.  It’s worth it to get this right.

Your estate plan provides instructions on how your assets should be distributed upon your death.  It also can make arrangements to appoint guardians for minor children. 

If you have an estate plan, when was the last time you updated it? Are you sure that it accurately describes your wishes?

Once your estate plan is completed, take that extra step and make sure that all your investment accounts are titled correctly and all your retirement accounts have proper beneficiaries.

Extra credit for week #3:  Call that distant relative.  They may be shocked!  You may be shocked!  Catch up.  It’s been a while.  Following them on Facebook doesn’t count.

Week 4:  Consider life and disability insurance

Determine how much life insurance you need by calling your insurance or financial advisor.  Get it in place.  You’ll sleep better at night. 

And disability insurance is often overlooked - yet it can be life-changing.

Extra credit for week #4:  Give a kid some extra attention.  It may be your kid, it may be a kid that sometimes gets left out.  Just some extra attention.

Week 5:  Start budgeting, and start a savings plan

Understand your expenses.  Creating a budget that includes a savings component should not be stressful.  In fact, it’s the opposite.  Knowing those numbers – and sticking to them – gives you control, and ultimately peace of mind.  You can make spending decisions within a context; not merely hope that you can afford to do something.

Please don’t wait.  Don’t wait until you get that raise.  Don’t wait for your kids to finish college.  Start now.

Extra credit for week #5:  Say hi to your neighbor.  It’s crazy that we can go weeks and months driving in and out of the garage, and never do more than exchange a wave.  So go over there and say hi.  Not while they may need help doing yardwork.  I’m not that crazy.

Week 6:  Plan for your retirement

I’m not just talking about financial projections or sources of income and spending during retirement.  But yes, you should have a financial plan….

What I mean is asking … What do I want my retirement to look like? How am I going to spend my time?

Visualizing your retirement is a fantastic exercise as you plan for these precious years.

Extra credit for week #6:  Reach out to someone special and say what’s on your mind.  I’ll leave the details up to you.

Except for this.

Start Now.