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September 28, 2021

For all of us: What’s one boring, responsible thing we should do in our 40s?

If not for two friends in my life, I wouldn’t know about getting a doctor to stick his hand up my rear, or invest in my retirement, or go in for dermatology appointments. I wondered what else I didn’t know about, and figured many of us didn’t know, too. So, recently, I asked my community…

For all of us: what’s one boring, responsible thing we should do in our 40s? IE, dermatology appointment, cancer tests, investment/401K change? I find myself wildly ignorant about being a grownup.

Here’s what folks said, with a few of my replies.

Make a will, and skin cancer checks!

I second the will part – my mom died without a will and it is currently tearing my life apart!

Work on being debt free
Waylon: underrated comment here.

I think it boils down to taking care of your future self, perhaps at the expense of your present self. The answers naturally follow. living in the moment can make one think that that’s the only moment that’s important, devolving into hedonism. It takes special awareness to bridge that divide.
Waylon Lewis: Agree! The present moment includes caring about the future!

Be more aware of your body and what it’s telling you.
Waylon: it’s telling me that I keep putting on weight when I don’t travel, oddly. I’m active and healthy but traveling somehow is a reset for my body.

This is gonna sound harsh…but start planning for your death..it may be years away…but starting now to figure out all the details and set up a will, trust, etc and lay out what you want to happen when you’re no longer here is a good practice and saves the folks you leave behind a lot of suffering. Revisit this plan every few years and update it to reflect changed circumstances.
Waylon: agree heartily. I need to have a bullet-proof (no pun…intended) will. I have a sketch one.

Should be doing all above examples well before 40!

Health is wealth. I would start there. I’ve also been seeing a few comments that are trying to provide financial advice…I’m a financial advisor and I feel the need to stress that you should have someone look at your financial goals and desires before giving any sort of advice. Advice should be personal. That being said, you should interview several financial professionals to make sure you work with someone who is aligned with your values.
Waylon: would you advocate for working with an in-person, local advisor?
Honestly, in our current environment, you can easily meet with anyone anywhere. We are based out of MN and have clients all over the US. Almost everything can be done virtually these days. That only allows you more flexibility to find someone that best fits your needs.
Feel free to DM me if you have any other questions.

If you haven’t yet get in the habit of having a yearly general basic physical … for years in my 20’s I never went to the doctor – anytime I’d go my health was boring and they only said good stuff … so, I stopped going, then when I was pregnant I went during, after, never missed a check up … the standard – we are starting a family and taking care of this matters … yet once my six week post check up was complete, again for 5 years I didn’t have a basic physical because I assumed I didn’t need to – my health seemed as it always was … this summer I went for a physical just because I had this sense that I needed just a check up, basic blood work you know … and I’m so thankful I did … they were able to find something that could have stayed small for years before becoming alarming … now I’m every June just going to go in for a physical- it’s the one service that’s free/included in our insurance, it’s 1 hour of my year … and completely worth it … It’s so easy to take health for granted and make assumptions … it also helps that the doctor I had the physical with I loved – I think if I had it from a different one I may have felt different… so taking the time to find a general doctor that you respect and trust is an investment that is worth it

None of those. Ugh! Do what you want and be happy! Life can be hard enough as it is; no need to add more pressure and demands on your time and energy. Of course we need all that stuff. I just feel that it gets overwhelming at times with this neverending treadmill of to-do’s and responsibilities. Never felt that in my 20s and 30s… hence my response.
Waylon: I don’t really see happiness and checking for cancer/basic financial planning as opposed. But I dig the sentiment.

Buy a 2nd home in a town that’s still cheap to buy in and is about to see a huge appreciation jump. Rent it out long term until you’re satisfied with the equity. Reinvest the equity into something else.
Waylon: sounds smart, and awful for communities.

Mole check (dermatologist), financial check with a financial planner (get via word of mouth for trustworthiness). Colonoscopy, or at least full physical. Any aches or pains, weird growths, oddities? Get ’em checked. This is the time when you need to start acknowledging your limitations–which you can not do if you don’t know they’re there. Coming back from injury/illness will only get harder. Also, you own a house–I would give it a full checkup too, so you can plan for its inevitable expenses. Also a good time to re-evaluate the relationships in your life and make appropriate adjustments.

Leverage the power of compounding interest.
Max out your retirement fund contribution limits.
Invest at least 20% of your gross income, annually, into sustainability fund families with longterm strategy in mind.
Give and support causes, individuals, and organizations as much as you can.
And live an authentic life, playing to your strengths and be your Best Self every day, & you’ll hardly “work” the days, weeks, and years ahead.
Also, Dance as much as you can!
Waylon: this is pretty close to poster worthy

Some of us grew up much too young. Get all of your cancer screenings…skin, prostate, etc. And you can get Shingles in your 40s so get that shot (now it’s a 2-part vaccine). Once you have Shingles (its a skin/nerve condition), and it’s in your system, it will return with greater severity…and its painful.

Dermo? Do you have concerns? Cancer tests? Do you have “concerning issues”? Investments, are you lucky enough to have them? Use your sense of being and don’t get sucked into the system, especially now. Take care of yourself, trust your body knowledge and don’t allow yourself to be concerned if there’s no reason for concern..,
Waylon: I have zero investments, other than (and this is a strong exception) my retirement fund/401K style.

I got married and bought a house and gonna invest Money learning how to mulch and edge the grass! It’s kind of fun!!!
Waylon: and get rid of grass, or plant better grass! More gardens, more native, more fruiting and flowering!
Then you better learn how to weed!
Waylon: Better to redefine “weed.”
Urban Foraging: Your healthy free dinner is below your feet.

For our planet’s future… March in the women’s march this Saturday! When women are supported they lift societies up with them.
For our children.
We need to have a planet, and justice, for true happiness.

Hug your friends.
Waylon: hug your enemies
They have to be willing to talk to you first. We need to talk about polarization and its impacts on people, families, communities and policy making.
Waylon: fair. Aggression creates aggression, not justice or equality. | elephant journal

It’s a good time to get real and be honest with yourself about the pace of changes and where to focus your shifts. Some changes take longer to achieve and compassion for self is required when self-parenting.

Shanon Hoffman, of Elephant:
Hire a financial and investment planner that you trust. Put money in HSA. Be smart and ‘invest in’ how you handle your money and it will pay off in spades later on. And yes, get all your screenings, you are in the big leagues now.

Get a doctor to stick their finger up yer butt. But…for real
Waylon: been there

Kathy Bolte, of Elephant:
Meet with a lawyer to open a trust. Be careful in choosing a financial advisor. Many are in it to sell you their product and will ill-advise you. Start working toward financial freedom by paying off all your debts. And I agree with all the health advice everyone has listed. There was one person in the thread who said to ignore all this and just live your life to be happy (grossly paraphrasing here). I believe being responsible with all this stuff relieves a big burden of insecurity (financial & health) and allows you to live in a place of more freedom and happiness. If I let all this stuff go, I’d be in a place of worry all the time. Get your ducks in order, it will help your spirit be free.
Waylon: agree! Responded similarly.

Adulting is difficult, but it does have many benefits also! Blood work and screenings, financial and health care decisions are a must! Find a great financial advisor and doctor/ neuropath, acupuncturist & massage therapist.

Stop drinking “so much” alcohol.
Waylon: that happened long ago, speaking personally…I sadly struggle to drink even one glass of anything anywhere ever, to the consternation of my friends!

A colonoscopy. They say you don’t need one when you’re that young, but I had polyps removed during one a few years ago.
Waylon: this is the kind of hard to see (wink wink) info I’m looking for.
There’s actually some really great screening techniques now that do not involve a full colonoscopy procedure. Ask your doctor about the “poop in a box” option. Which is incredibly well designed…although the plastic waste it involves will kinda hurt your heart a tad. Side Note: The plastic frame thingy can be repurposed to make a plant stand.
I had polyps removed during a colonoscopy in my early 40s.
I think it’s 45 now.
DO NOT WAIT TIL 50!!!!
Yes! I also suggest pushing your dr or insurance company for a colonoscopy instead. All evidence shows real screening should happen earlier. My guess is 40 will eventually be the new requirement.
I’ve already done it!
Those aren’t very reliable
My husband just had (as in today) multiple removed. He’s 44.

Take up paragliding, I’m loving it!!!!

Write your will.

Dentist

Advance directives!
Waylon: what’s that, in case of death/dying kinda thing?

Hydrotherapy

Opthamologist.

What would you recommend, that we may not be thinking of? 

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