The Top 5 Things You Should Have Done by Now

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Life is full of procrastination, there’s no putting that fact off. And frankly, a lot of the time it’s OK to avoid certain tasks; it’s OK to leave a few things unchecked on that endless “to do” list that hangs over each and every one of us. But you know what? There are some things that outrank “clean garage shelf” on the scale of importance. If you have not at least begun to address the issues we’ll raise here, it’s time to get in gear, buddy: You should have done all this stuff by now!

5 Read a Goddamn Book!

Nearly a third of all Americans self-report reading less than a single frickin’ book per year. And that’s self-reporting, so you know thousands of respondents lie on the various surveys they take. It’s not that hard and there are lots of books to choose from, just go read one. And then read another. And then another. There, now that brain is almost starting to work.

4 Prepare a Will

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You can get a simple will prepared in about 10 minutes that will direct to whom and how your financial assets and earthly belongings should be dispersed in the event of your death. Doing so could save your family and other beneficiaries weeks (if not years) of frustrating bureaucracy as they struggle to settle your estate, which could cost thousands in legal fees. Do the folks who aren’t dead a favor and prepare for the fact that someday you will be gone.

3 Prepare an Emergency Kit and Make an Emergency Plan

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In California, it could be an earthquake or a fire. In Oklahoma, it might be a tornado. In Florida, maybe a hurricane. Whatever it is, disaster will strike fast. That’s kind of the nature of a disaster. And one might leave you stranded for days without access to food, water, medical supplies, clothing and more. Take an hour now and put together a kit that could keep you and your family safe for at least a few days when it all hits the fan. Don’t forget about pet food, either.

2 Get a Physical

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Most American adults who have high blood pressure, high levels of bad cholesterol or imbalanced blood sugars don’t even know about it. And that’s to say nothing of the many less common but much more serious conditions that can fester away undetected for years before causing grievous harm. Even ostensibly healthy adults younger than 40 should get physical exams every two years, and after you turn 40, you may want to get annual checkups. We’re talking about an hour of your year, people.

1 Save Money

While there is no “experts agree” or “according to Hoyle” specific amount of cash that you should be saving each month, all competent financial experts agree that you simply must save money whenever possible. The consensus seems to be that you should save around 15 percent of your income. Ideally, you should have at least six months of cash in reserve to cover your daily living expenses should you lose your source of income. Beyond that, you need to start planning yesterday for retirement, education costs and unforeseen expenses, such as medical bills. Even if all you can sock away right now is $50 a month, get socking, and make yourself stick to it!

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