Adulting is so hard. In the process of becoming an adult we are bound to have some responsibility blind spots. When I talk to friends, family, acquaintances, and clients I’ve noticed some trends on a few of these “adult responsibilities”. Here are the five things that we have likely NOT done as we have transitioned to a full-fledged adult. The action part of this is obvious: do the ones we haven’t done.
- Get a Will
Nearly everyone should have a will. Wills are powerful legal instruments that can save our family and heirs a ton of hassle. For example, wills can distribute property, name an executor, name guardians for children, forgive debts and more. Having a will means that we, rather than our state’s laws, decide who gets our property and resources when we die. If we have kids, we are in serious need of a will to stipulate who gets our kids should we and our significant other die or become incapacitated. Lastly, if we have a will, we should review it every three to five years or so and make adjustments as needed.
2. Go to the Doctor and a Physical Therapist
Most people sleep on this. First, let’s tackle going to the doctor because this one is pretty easy. Annual physicals can actually significantly increase our lifespans. Getting basic blood tests, skin checks, and check-ups can spot issues before they become life-threatening. Most people wait until there is a problem, but honestly as we age it gets more and more important to go yearly to identify problems ahead of time. Secondly, have a physical therapist do a complete strength evaluation on you. A physical therapist can quickly spot body weaknesses that can be causing lower back pain, joint pain, and mobility issues. By adding easy stretch and workout routines that they recommend, we can quickly and significantly increase the quality of our life.
(As a side note, men are the worst at this! It’s time to swallow the pride, boys, turn our head and cough, and get our weaknesses exposed. These are all necessary tasks of being a “real man”.)
3. Plan for Retirement
Most people spend more time planning their next vacation (mine will be in Hawaii, by the way) than they do planning for their retirement. Many people are doing little to nothing in regard to planning for retirement. Most are under-saving, and those who are saving are just blindly putting 10-15% into the market via their employer’s 401(k) plan. Here is a quick checklist of things we should probably be doing and the timeframe for doing them:
- Establish a MONTHLY Budget
- Track our net worth QUARTERLY
- Read or reread a personal finance book EVERY YEAR
- Utilize a wealth management professional to do an analysis EVERY OTHER YEAR
4. Build Intentional & Deep Relationships
I chose the words “intentional” and “deep” purposefully. I believe they are two very descriptive words, both of which are missing in most people’s lives when it comes to forming authentic relationships. By “intentional”, I mean that we have to be deliberate with whom and how we form relationships. If we are trying to become a better , we need to be purposeful and spend time with people who are going to build us up towards “that thing”. For example, if you want to be a better runner, you need to intentionally hang out with the kind of runners you want to be. Secondly, we need to form “deep” relationships. The norm today for an adult is to stay superficial: don’t be vulnerable, don’t talk about our fears and dreams, build a wall and only expose minute details about ourselves. If you can intentionally build deep and authentic relationships, it is shown you will live a much happier and fulfilling life.
5. Develop a Personal Growth Habit
As the saying goes, “If you ain’t growing, then you’re dying.” As humans we get satisfied and we tend to coast. It is so easy once our basic needs are covered to get comfortable and to stop pushing ourselves to grow. If we can make it a habit to not let ourselves coast, we will continue to have a learning orientation and grow as people. The easiest way to do this is to identify negative time sucks and replace them with value-add activities. Here are some examples:
- Replace “radio time” in the car with listening to personal development books or podcasts.
- Instead of scrolling through our social media feed first thing in the morning, exchange that time for time in quiet meditation (or prayer).
- Stop binge-watching Netflix/Amazon and instead watch the top 5-10 TED Talks on Youtube.
- Sign up for a class on a subject of personal interest (psychology, computer science, personal finance, etc). A local community college is a great place to start.