According to MetLife, just 3 in 4 married couples with young children have life insurance. That means 1 in 4 do not. Given the high cost of raising children (the Agriculture Department estimates $234,900 per child before age 18), that leaves families in a vulnerable position if one or both parents were to die. While there's some hassle involved, the cost of taking out life insurance is relatively low (a half-million dollar policy on a healthy 35-year-old might be one dollar a day, says MetLife), so consider signing up if you haven't already.
When Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012, thousands of people on the East Coast had to quickly leave their homes. If your paperwork is in order, it will be easy to know what to grab if you suddenly have to do the same thing. Essential papers to carry with you include identification, insurance information, and family documents, such as birth and marriage certificates and wills.
Just in case you ever have to file an insurance claim, take photos of your most valuable possessions, including furniture, jewelry, and televisions. Creating a paper trail of those goods, any damage they sustained, and subsequent claim filings can make it easier to follow up with the insurance company and collect reimbursements.
In the spirit of always being ready, consider coming up with a plan for an alternative place for your family to stay in an evacuation scenario. When the power goes out, it's harder to find the closest available hotel, or to talk to friends about staying with them. It's also a good idea to get an emergency kit together, so if you have to hunker down in your basement for a few days without power or running water, you know you could survive. The kit should include batteries, flashlights, water, changes of clothes, cash, non-perishable food, and a first-aid kit.
No matter how prepared you are, emergencies can end up costing a lot of money. Consider funding an emergency savings account that could cover you in the event of weather disasters, car breakdowns, and other unexpected calamities. Financial advisers generally recommend putting away three to six months' worth of expenses.
Older Americans are increasingly working into their 70s, for financial as well as psychological reasons. In other words, many of them enjoy their work. A Charles Schwab survey found that one in three 60-something middle-income workers don't want to retire. To prepare for a long career beyond age 65, career experts recommend making sure you're doing work you love. That might mean launching a second career, unrelated to your primary one.
48. Change your habits.
In his book The Power of Habit, New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg explains how we can change our habits by focusing on the cue and reward. If you want to start exercising every day, for example, "cue" it up by putting on your running shoes before breakfast, and then reward yourself afterward with a piece of chocolate. Eventually, the new habit will become a natural part of your day.