What’s on your bucket list to complete before you kick the bucket?
There seems to be a cottage industry of books on the subject of bucket lists from “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” to “1,001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” to “1,001 Golf Holes You Must Play Before You Die” to “1,001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die.” There is even a book titled “1,001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.” I think I’m about 998 short of making that goal.
Here are five financial actions that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Get a Will
By some estimates, more than half of adults do not have a will. Whether you choose to do it yourself or have it done by a lawyer, it will probably take less time than it takes to prepare your taxes and you’ll have just as much fun. Remember, nothing is certain in life except death and taxes.
Get Life Insurance
According to the Life Insurance and Market Research Association, fewer than half of all adults have an individual life insurance policy. For some people with health problems, the cost of life insurance may be too great, but there are millions of Americans in perfect health that could buy $500,000 of term life insurance for a monthly cost less than a pizza delivered to your door. The sooner you get life insurance, the less it will cost. The longer you wait, the more it will cost, and you will risk becoming ineligible if you have health problems in the future.
Get a Safe Deposit Box
Someday your loved ones are going to need to find your important papers, and you won’t be there. Make it easy for them by using a safe deposit box at your local bank to store your passwords, insurance policies, last will, funeral instructions, investment account information, legal documents, tax papers, and flash drive or CDs with important photos. You can even add some legacy letters with some final thoughts for your family members. They will really appreciate it.
Set Up a Retirement Fund
Nonpartisan projections predict that Social Security is underfunded, so it would be a smart move to start your own Individual Retirement Account or contribute to your employer-sponsored 401(k) account as soon as you can. The longer you wait to start saving for retirement, the less time you give your investment to grow. A small amount invested for many years can be much greater than a large amount invested for just a few years.
Strengthen Your Passwords
Various sources have reported people reuse the same password 50, 60, even 75 percent of the time. Most people need a password for dozens, if not hundreds, of websites, so it is normal that people will reuse the same password over and over again. However, you don’t want to use the same password for accounts that have access to your money such as your bank or brokerage. Your email also needs a unique password or a hacker could access more of your passwords stored in your email inbox. Making each password unique and still being able to remember them is easier than you think. An online search can show you many creative suggestions on how you can create a different password for each of your websites that will be easy to remember — but hard for a hacker to crack.
Once you have checked these actions off of your bucket list, enjoy visiting the Taj Mahal, listening to William Shatner’s Greatest Hits, playing a round of golf at Pebble Beach and eating chocolate covered bacon.