It’s nearly the end of January in a brand new year. The kids are about to head back to school and most of us have been back at work for a few weeks. For many of us, the year really starts now. And that makes this a good time to tackle five important life admin tasks that most of us never get around to doing, but really should. Trust me when I tell you that sorting all of these over the course of February will give you a virtuous glow that should last all the way through March at the very least!
1. Write or update your Will
As someone who lost their partner three years ago, I feel qualified to state that one of the greatest gifts you can give your loved ones at an incredibly tough time is the presence of a Will. Having a Will doesn’t just ensure that your express wishes can be followed with regard to the distribution of assets, it shortens the timelines for how quickly your loved ones can access those assets. This is something that will make their lives much more bearable while they are dealing with the grief of losing you.
If you don’t have a Will already, taking the time and making the small investment required to prepare one should be a high item on your life admin list for this next month.
If you do have a Will, it’s worth revisiting it to ensure it still reflects your wishes.
2. Review your insurances
As with all insurance, while you hope you never have to make a claim, when you need to, you’ll be so glad you have the cover.
Insurance is such an important and specialised area, in 2021 we established a joint venture partnership dedicated entirely to it called HPH Life.
The four major types of personal insurance to protect you and your family in the face of major work injuries, serious illness and death are:
- Life insurance
- Income protection insurance
- Critical illness (trauma) insurance
- Total and permanent disability insurance
Cover can also be established for business owners to help with:
- Key person business risk
- Buy/Sell insurance for business partners
- Business expenses caused by disruptive events
And then there are also the other forms of general insurance like:
- Home insurance
- Health insurance
- Car insurance
- Landlord protection insurance
- Pet insurance
- Travel insurance
That’s a lot of different types of insurance!
If you don’t have the insurance cover that you hope you will never need, it’s worth speaking with a professional to assess what level of protection would make you more comfortable. If you do have your cover already in place, it’s worth reviewing to ensure your insurances still provide the levels of cover you need.
3. Consolidating super
There are occasions where it makes sense to have more than one super account. But for people who’ve had multiple employers over the years, the main reason for having super in more than one location is simply that they’ve never taken the time to bring it all into one place.
Consolidating super (or making an informed decision to retain super in more than one location) is something we do as a matter of course for our ongoing advice clients.
If you’re not one of those people, it’s definitely worth making time to identify the number of different locations you have super, and seek advice about whether you should consolidate them, and where.
4. Computer and phone backups
If your laptop or phone was lost or stolen today, it’s not just the physical item that you would be mourning the loss of. The sheer amount of data and, most importantly, memories stored on those items will devastate you.
Backing up these items is such a simple exercise these days. It should almost be the very first thing on your list of things to do when you finish reading this post. If you don’t know how to do it, there are plenty of well-priced IT services out there that can set up backups for you in less than 30 minutes.
5. Create a ‘GO’ bag
I got asked this question in a conversation game the other day: “If your house was on fire and you could only grab one thing on the way out, what would you grab?” My answer was ‘my ‘GO’ bag, my laptop and phone’. The only problem with that cute answer was, I don’t actually have a ‘GO’ bag. Yet.
What is a ‘GO’ bag? It’s a bag that contains the things you couldn’t stand to lose if you lost your house to something like a fire:
- Sentimental items
- Important documents
- Things that would make life easier if you were forced to start again from scratch.
Some of these items (like passports and other important documents) should be stored in a safe place, (two members of the HPH team have a security safe from Safe Central in their home for this purpose), ready to grab in the instant you’re told ‘get out’. Some items might be things you use every day or have on display (like photos or jewellery) so it’s not practical that they’d be stored somewhere ready to grab and go. For those items, it’s good to have a quick reference list handy.
The key is to sit down and make a list of the things that are crucially important to you if faced with the prospect of losing everything, and have a plan for being able to locate and grab those things quickly should you ever need to.