You make promises to yourself. Sometimes you keep them; sometimes you don’t. At the beginning of every year, millions of people make resolutions they already know they won’t stick with.
Sometimes we try to trick ourselves that we’ll lose those last 10 pounds or we’ll volunteer our time more; and sometimes we just know we won’t do it as we make the promise. Well now that those resolutions are likely swept under the rug, why not think about the future? Why not plan ahead? And why not, instead, make promises to yourself to take a few steps now to ensure you have the future that you are dreaming about.
Keep these promises to yourself
Below are several promises to yourself you should make and keep this year. Start the habit today of being better to yourself.
Promise #1 – Write down your dreams, wishes and plans for retirement.
We have it all in our heads, usually, the day dreams of playing golf every afternoon, sunning on the beach or even spending time with or taking care of our kids and grandkids in the years to come. Whatever your dreams include, put them on paper. Look at them. Hang them up even and let them inspire you as you plan for that reality.
Perhaps they are not so far-fetched. These are your goals, and all they take are so really good planning. If you’re already retired, still do this exercise as it will continue to help you keep focused on your future.
Promise #2 – Review your financial status.
All of your dreams and plans will require financial planning – and early and often! You can start by reviewing your income and then checking balances of all of your accounts, retirement plans / pensions, stocks, etc. Once your assessment is complete, make an appointment to talk to a financial planner. A certified financial planner can advise you on how to save and grow your money. Make an appointment with a financial planner to discuss your current status and future plans. If you already are retired, continually review your financial status and make sure any investments are meeting your needs and expectations.
Promise #3 – Speak with your family.
It’s important to share your plans with your family especially in case of an emergency and they need to step in on your behalf. Understanding your wishes and plans will help them make the best decisions for you if needed. They also can let you know who will step in to help, if needed, and even help you make your plans. Planning together lets everyone know they are important and leaves fewer surprises later on. If you already are retired and have done this, make a promise to review your plans with your family again so everyone gets a refresher.
Promise #4 – Call an attorney.
An attorney can help you with anything from wills to care arrangements to powers of attorneys. It’s important to speak with an attorney about these matters early so you can build a plan that you want. Even if you feel you are years away from retiring, it’s important to get many of these things in order now if you haven’t already. Emergencies can happen anytime and having such things as power of attorney (both health and financial) set up can ease the burden and stress on the entire family. Knowing your estate plans and care arrangements have been made in advance to your wishes will help ease your mind. If you are retired and still haven’t thought about these things, make the call to an attorney as soon as you can. These things should not wait!
Promise #5 – Assess your home.
Perhaps you plan on aging in place or perhaps you hope to buy a new house, condo or rent an apartment in your after work years. Begin looking around at your environment and start making a list of changes that could make your life a little easier later (or even now). Walk room to room and write down changes you would like to make so you can plan ahead. It can be simple things such as removing rugs, adding grab bars and lever handles, rolling up those cords that are laying across the bedroom floor and making sure there’s adequate lighting in each room. It can include larger remodeling projects such as creating a no step entrance to the home, installing a roll in shower and installing pull down cabinets. All of these things can work together to create an easier environment for you later regardless of your abilities. Visit our “Your Home” section for articles on preparing your home to age in place. If you already are retired and you haven’t done these things, start doing the easier stuff now! Check around your house for things that make life easier and read our “Your Home” section for great ideas on how to prepare your home for now and possible future needs and to make it safer.
Make this year count! Get some research done, get those plans in place and keep those promises to yourself to keep building your best life.