This Checklist Will Help You Take Stock Of Your Life

It's important to check in with yourself every now and then. Our needs, dreams, wants and financial goals change all the time, and we need to call a "time out" every now and then to see if our actions align with what we want out of life. That's especially true for folks who are 50 and beyond. Our priorities shift as we enter into this new stage in life, and a lot of the things we were doing before no longer apply or are as important past that milestone birthday. So to help you take stock in what you're doing in life, we made a helpful list of things to do once you're over 50. 

1. Bucket List

Once you hit 50 years old, it's time to take stock if you're living a life that you're excited about. Denzel Washington famously does this. Every so often he likes to check in with himself to make sure he's still doing what makes him happy in life. 

2. Take A Big Trip

Are you the type of person who is excellent at saving, but at the expense of denying yourself joy? While it's important to save, it's also important to actually experience life. So make a small nest egg for a big trip that you have always wanted to take but constantly put off.

3. Take A Solo Trip

Everyone should take a solo trip at least once in their life, and for two good reasons. First: we won't always have partners or buddies to fall back on when we want to do things, so it's good to get outside of your comfort zone and embrace experiences solo. And second: going on a trip alone can help you find yourself. You will see exactly what you're capable of, and you will have time to sit with your own thoughts and learn something new about yourself.

4. Pick Up That Hobby

Everyone has that one hobby they have been meaning to start but never did. And then next thing we know it has been years of saying, "one day" and we're nowhere near closer to beginning! Make "one day" today by finally investing in that hobby. Do you love furniture flipping? Buy that sander and power drill. Have you always wanted to learn how to paint? Get those canvases and paints and begin playing. No one is stopping you but you, so give yourself permission to grow!

5. Never Stop Learning

Life becomes exciting when we're learning new things, so commit yourself to never stop learning. Put learning opportunities on your bucket list which will help you grow as a person and fill your free time with some fun. Ideas can include taking a watercolor class, joining a photography group, signing up for yoga, or enrolling in online business classes. 

6. Fly First Class

If you're an avid traveler, chances are you usually fly second class in order to save on the bottom dollar. But let yourself live the good life once in a while and make it a point to splurge on first class now and again. You can make it a goal and promise to upgrade to first class once a year to hold yourself accountable. Some of us struggle with pampering, but we all deserve to feel like we're worth the luxury now and again.

7. Write A Book (Or Create Something)

You have amassed knowledge and wisdom throughout your 50-plus years, so sit down and write a book to pass on those insights! This can be a professional endeavor where you hope to publish the book one day, or it can be a personal project, where you write the book for your family.

8. Reconnect With Family

We all get absorbed in our everyday lives, and as a result we get swept away in work, our children, and side projects. This means it can sometimes be easy to lose touch with family. But take the time to rebuild those lost bonds. Relationships are important, and studies have proven that people who have close ties with family and friends tend to live longer and healthier lives. Take the time to bring those bonds back, whether that's starting with a phone call or scheduling a quick coffee catchup.

9. Learn About Your Family Tree

Many of us know our family trees up to our great grandparents, but the names and histories of the people before them have become hazy. It can be interesting to know where you came from, so put learning about your family tree on your bucket list.

10. Do 'One Big Thing' A Year

Some people have a hard time splurging on themselves, but everyone deserves one big splurge a year. And by "big," we don't necessarily mean it has to involve "big money." It can also be something affordable that you have denied yourself time and time again for one reason or other. 

11. Work

Now that we have your bucket list in order, lets take a dive into what kind of housekeeping you should do with your career once you're 50+. While traditionally people are at the top of their careers once they're 50, others are embarking on new professions, and some are trading in their 9 to 5s to start new businesses. There's no right way to have a successful career, and we all are on different journeys. But ahead are some things to do in your work life now that you're over 50.

12. Become A Mentor

Many corporate jobs have a "dog eat dog" mentality, but break that toxic system by becoming either an official or unofficial mentor to budding young professionals in your company. Make connections with young women breaking into your field, and see if they would be interested in learning from your expertise. You can shine a light on how to climb up in your career, how to handle tricky situations, and how to stand out in their rank. That kind of help is invaluable, and you will feel great knowing you're helping someone excel.

13. Become The Expert

If you have been working in your industry for some time now, then it's time to become known as the expert in your field. This will help you stand out from your peers, and can help propel you even further in your profession. Make connections with people outside of your industry and see if you can be invited to speak at their panels and events. You can also post on HARO, which journalists use to find sources for their articles. Some professionals even hire publicists to help get them these opportunities, so it's something to consider and look into!

14. Start A Business

Whether you are looking for extra streams of income or are looking to trade in your desk job for an enterprise, you should consider starting a business. This can be a small side hustle that allows you to utilize your hobbies for profit. Some things can include opening an Etsy shop to sell your handmade wares, starting a to-order bakery on Facebook, or flipping old furniture on Facebook Marketplace. You can think even bigger if you have more capital and flip houses or resell antiques. 

15. Volunteer

It's important to give back to your community, so make volunteering a regular part of your work life. You can volunteer by working for local non-profits, or you can focus on organizations that specifically help aspiring working women. You can volunteer for mentorship programs in high schools and colleges, or you can volunteer with organizations like Dress for Success, which helps low income or struggling women acquire free interview and work outfits to help launch them into the workforce.

16. Money

Money is another category you need to check in with and reassess once you hit 50. Retirement is looming closer and closer, and it's time to see if you have enough saved to retire comfortably...or if some changes need to be made. 

17. Consider Downsizing

Most people feel a need to downsize as they get older. For people who had children, their spacious homes feel excessive once their kids move out. Others want something a little less expensive as they get closer to retirement, and some don't feel the need for so much "stuff" around them — whether that's furniture of tchotchkes or rooms that are barely used. So take stock and see if you want to downsize, and how.

18. Increase Savings

Now is the time to increase your savings to make sure you're on track for retirement. Meet with a financial adviser to see if your savings are in line with your future goals, and see how you need to change your spending habits and budget in order to be on track.

19. Nail Down Your Will

Make sure your family is taken care of by nailing down your will. You want to make sure your legacy is divided in the way that you see fit, but you also want to make sure your family isn't saddled with the stress of dividing assets that you left in limbo.

20. Pay Off Your Debts

You don't want to walk into retirement saddled with debts that would chip away at your set income, so make sure you concentrate on paying off any lingering debts in your 50s and 60s.

21. Find Passive Streams Of Income

The more savings you have the better, so try and see if you can create passive streams of income. This can include buying property to rent out, creating a small side business, or selling an e-book or course online. Research passive streams of income online, and see which options work best for your lifestyle and expertise.

22. Get Financially Literate

If you relied on your partner to take care of the family finances for most of your life, then it's time to get financially literate. You can learn the ins and outs of investing and saving through books, audiobooks, e-courses, or hired professionals like financial advisers. While it's perfectly fine to lean on your partner to manage the finances (if that's their strong suit and not yours), it's also important that you understand how to run your own finances.

23. Family & Friends

While saving money and getting ahead in your career is important, treasuring and enjoying your family and group of friends is equally essential. Ahead are some ideas on what you should get sorted in your personal life once you turn 50.

24. Launch Annual Traditions

Strengthen your relationships by establishing annual traditions you all can look forward to from year to year. This can include holiday traditions, annual trips together, or monthly potlucks.

25. Patch Up Grudges

Life is too short for grudges, and you don't want to regret all those years passed resenting the person. Extend an olive branch and see if you can patch up your differences and come back together. This can include a close family member or a former best friend. 

26. Pass Something Down

You have lived a full and rich life that has extended past five decades. Become closer with your family by passing down the knowledge and interest you have grown throughout those years. That can include passing down your recipes, teaching your kids or grandkids your hobbies, or passing down family traditions that have been embraced for generations.

27. Try Online Dating

If you're currently single, be brave and put yourself out there by joining online dating. If you're nervous to take this step, enlist the help of your close friends to help make you a profile and sift through potential matches. It can be nerve-wracking opening up your heart to someone new, but everyone deserves to feel loved.

28. Make Friends A Priority

Studies have shown time and time again that having supportive friendships in older age is more important for well-being than having strong family connections. So make your friendships a priority. Make sure you have weekly phone calls, monthly dinners, and pockets of quality time together to keep your relationship strong.

29. Renew Your Wedding Vows

If you have a spouse or partner, now would be a beautiful time to renew your vows to each other. You can make it a private romantic affair that is akin to eloping (who would say no to a second honeymoon?) or you can make it a family event and invite your entire family to the celebration. Either way, you will feel close to your partner and will have the chance to declare your love for them.