After age 25-30, depending on marital status and other things, it becomes more and more helpful to have and to know certain things. Some are practical and some make sense from a life planning standpoint. The following are suggested for anyone over age 30, single or married, male or female, “wealthy” or of more “average” means.
1. A “Last Will and Testament” Prepared by an Attorney
Our time on Earth is numbered. We don’t know what our number is. Makes sense to have a will. A “Living will” also makes sense if you want to be sure your wishes regarding how you die or are “kept alive” are honored. Included may also be a “Memorandum.”
2. Adequate Household and Liability Insurance
This includes household contents, autos (it costs VERY little to jump from the standard $5,000 per person medical coverage to $25,000!) as well as business and liability insurance. Make sure any fine art/antique items are appraised and insured on a separate “floater” policy.
3. A Personal Financial Plan For NOW and For The FUTURE
Done by yourself, by using one of many computer and other “kits” sold, or by using a financial planner, it makes good sense to know where you are now, and where you need and want to be in 20-30 years financially.
4. Your Own Personal Physician
M.D. or D.O., as we get past age 30, chances are greater that we will have some problem that might become chronic or acute where having a physician who knows us and our past medical problems or history comes in very handy and could save our life. Taking your chances on E.R. doctors when you get ill or have an emergency is a lot riskier than if you have a regular physician who they can call. Additionally, women over age 30 need to get a baseline mammogram and exams for breast cancer “screening.” After about age 35 or 40, men need both prostate and cardiac baseline tests. So having a personal doctor just makes common sense. It’s self-care, and the responsible thing to do, married or single.
5. A Business/Career Plan for the Present and for the Future
You *know* where you are hopefully business or career-wise NOW. Maybe you are happy and satisfied with that and maybe you are not. Regardless, it is helpful to set goals if you want to keep up with the cost of living, and plan ahead for retirement. If you want to work your way up in your job or business and make more money or have a different position or career, then you definitely need to address these issues by yourself, or with a career coach or other qualified expert.
6. Knowledge of Your Parents’ or Closest Relatives’ Medical History and Current Medical Condition
This is important because if you have parents and one or both fall ill or are injured, you may be the one an attorney, the doctors, or the hospital calls upon to provide some needed information. If you have no parents, but a close next of kin relative, knowing their situation will help for the same reasons. You can help them greatly by knowing the basics and having it written down should you need it.
7. A Waterproof/Secure File Cabinet
These can be disguised as furniture these days! They are necessary to keep tax and bank statements, copies of legal papers, and other things in for future access by you or any authorized people. Fire-resistant and “fireproof” cabinets are available now at very reasonable prices through the discount office supply stores. You can also use them to store treasured family mementos, unframed photos, etc.
8. A Personal Computer and Printer
It sounds like *everyone* above age 5 has one these days, but some people over age 30 still do not. The prices now are so low that with time pay plans and sales, everyone can have one. You need to have some helpful software such as personal/business financial software, email access, a word processor(throw away the old typewriter!!) and some educational software to replace the myriad books and reference guides you have that may be outdated, and take up a lot of room and gather dust.
9. A Personal/Business Attorney
For the same reasons it helps to have a personal physician by age 30, having your own attorney who can keep a file for you of your will, home mortgage (they charge $400-700. for a copy if you ever lose yours!) etc. is really very prudent. He or she can also be there for you if you need legal advice around a car accident, a business or career problem, or any number of other things that seem to happen more often after age 30.
10. A Safe Deposit Box
Also known as the “metal tax deduction.” They come in all sizes and shapes, and getting one through your personal or business bank is usually the most economical and makes the most sense. Prices for rental for a year are from $15-25. for the smallest size box (long, but not real wide or high) to $100’s for boxes large enough to put oil paintings or other large valuables in. And on each year’s taxes you can deduct the fee. This is one necessity that actually gives you your money BACK, and is very useful. Put the keys in a VERY safe place, as they charge between $10-30 per key to make a duplicate.
If you don’t yet know or have the aforementioned items or bits of information, it’s not too late to acquire them now! Become a bit more responsible by accumulating and checking off each of the things on this list. You’ll feel more accomplished knowing you’ve taken care of this list and the items and information are at your disposal whenever you need them.
Author: Dennis R. Tesdell