As 2019 ends, take time to reflect on your accomplishments, lessons you learned, and the knowledge and skills you acquired. Self-reflection helps build emotional self-awareness that enables you to ask yourself relevant questions and to gain a better understanding about your reactions, strengths, weaknesses, and motivational factors. An annual review is a great way to remember your favorite moments, take stock of the minor and major events of the year, and to plan for the coming year.
Areas for reflection on and questions to consider include:
- What were the most important goals you proposed and accomplished this year?
- Did you deal with career challenges and plan for warranted changes?
- Did you improve your competencies in knowledge and skills?
- What is your most pressing unfinished project and what are your plans to complete it?
- Do you have any other goals that you didn’t meet in 2019?
- What were your lifestyle, fitness, and diet accomplishments?
- Which healthy habits did you adopt and which unhealthy habits did you abandon?
- Did you review your health insurance plan to determine if you are adequately covered and are spending an appropriate amount of money on the level of coverage you need?
- What health challenges did you face and did you heed warning signs about health set-backs or need for medical check-ups?
- What were the most significant changes in your personal and professional relationships?
- Did you make time for your family, friends, and colleagues?
- Did any of your existing or new relationships deserve more attention?
- Did you successfully mentor someone who relied on you for guidance?
- Did you willingly seek assistance from current and new people in your life?
- Did you keep track of and act on acquired debt as well as retirement, savings, and emergency fund options?
- Did you participate in realizing business-related financial successes (or failures)?
- What risks did you take and how did they pay off?
- Did you try to understand your emotional needs and motivations?
- Did you communicate with others by expressing your feelings and by listening to and appreciating other people’s points of view?
- What do you wish you had done differently and how could you have done better?
- What new things did you discover about yourself that you tried to improve?
- Did you enjoy spending time on hobbies, vacations, and fun activities with family and friends?
- Did you try any new activities that you will add to your repertoire?
- Did you face new technological challenges at work or home?
- Did you evaluate your Wi-Fi needs and upgrade your home or office environment based on your assessment?
- Did you subscribe to or renew an insureyouknow subscription to allow you to store your meaningful and vital records in one secure easy-to-use location?
If you maintain a printed or virtual calendar/planner or diary/journal, save email messages, or participate in social media, you can refer to these daily, weekly, or monthly records to review your 2019 accomplishments. When spending time on self-reflection, jot down activities in a notes app on your phone or tablet, in a document on your computer, or by using pen and paper. By holding yourself accountable for personal and professional choices in 2019 and determining a successful course to take in 2020, self-reflection allows you to:
Recognize accomplishments and congratulate yourself.
Reflect on lessons learned, as well as knowledge and skills acquired.
Acknowledge mistakes to use as a self-improvement tool.
Analyze how you to do better in 2020.
Figure out what gives you joy and you are truly passionate about.
Insureyouknow has a tool available to track accomplishments and lessons learned upon completion of your annual self-reflection or any time throughout the year. You can digitally file data to refer to as you continue your self-reflection journey that will allow you to remember 2019 in order to prepare for 2020.
The whole reason you got life insurance was to protect your loved ones. But if you’re not careful, your life insurance money may not end up in the hands of the individual you intended.
Naming your beneficiaries sounds like a simple enough process, and in general it is. The problems arise when you don’t provide enough information about your beneficiaries or your life circumstances change (and trust us, circumstances always change).
Here are four reasons you should check—and double-check—your beneficiaries today.
- Your beneficiary has a common name. According to Ancestry.com, there are 38,313 James Smiths and 32,092 Maria Garcias in the United States. If it’s not immediately clear which James Smith or Maria Garcia you selected as your beneficiary, things can get complicated very quickly. Even if it seems clear to you, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Include Social Security numbers and addresses for your beneficiaries so there is no question about who will receive the proceeds of your life insurance policy.
- You get divorced and/or remarry. After a painful divorce, you’ve met and married the love of your life. Congratulations! Unfortunately, your life insurance company wasn’t invited to the wedding. After major life changes like a marriage or divorce, you’ll want to update your beneficiaries. Otherwise, your ex may get a sudden windfall while your beloved spouse ends up with nothing.
- You have another child. You thought you were done having children. Surprise! In between diaper changes and much-needed naps, be sure to add your new baby to your policy as soon as possible. Note that minors may not receive a life insurance payout. Until your child is an adult, you’ll need to name a custodian, guardian or trust as the beneficiary. Even if your child legally is an adult, you may want to consider establishing a trust to manage the proceeds until your child hits 25 or 30.
- Your primary beneficiary dies before you do. There are two types of beneficiaries: primary and contingent. The primary beneficiary is the individual who will receive the proceeds of your policy, while the contingent beneficiary is in place in case your primary beneficiary dies. If your primary beneficiary does indeed die before you, it’s a good idea to update your beneficiaries and make sure you still have both a primary and a contingent beneficiary.
There are a few other things to keep in mind when it comes to naming your beneficiaries. First, remember that your life insurance policy is a contract, and as such, the life insurance company is obligated to give the proceeds of your policy to whomever you named as your beneficiary no matter what another document says. In other words, your life insurance policy supersedes your will. Make things easier on everyone and be sure your wishes are reflected correctly in both documents.
Second, you can name multiple primary beneficiaries. To keep things simple, it’s a good idea to assign percentages to each beneficiary rather than a set dollar amount.
Finally, as with all estate planning, communication is key. According to Consumer Reports, 1 out of every 600 people is the beneficiary of an unclaimed forgotten or misplaced life insurance policy. Make sure your loved ones know you have a life insurance policy. Tell them you have uploaded it to InsureYouKnow.org, and let them know how to access it. The last thing you want is for all your careful planning and preparation to go to waste.