Preliminary list of stuff to do by your 30th birthday


Here's a post I've been wanting to do for a year or two. My 30th birthday is in a handful of days, and so I wanted to write down everything that I think has been really beneficial to me in getting habits and routines down in my 20s. In the next few weeks, I'll be soliciting feedback from some of my mentors, and will post an updated list on my birthday that integrates their feedback and improvements.

Religion / Values

  • Draft a personal / family values statement and post it somewhere in your house. This will help you organize and prioritize everything else.

Assuming you're a Christian:

  • Develop a meaningful, personal, daily relationship with Jesus.
  • Understand the gospel well enough that you could share it with Mormon missionaries and Jehovah's Witnesses if they came and visited your house. If you don't know the gospel well enough, invite some Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses to your home, and then ask your pastor questions that arise from your discussion with the Mormons/Jehovah's Witnesses. Repeat until you know the gospel.

Routines

Adapt these routines for your specific situation

Morning Routine

  • Hydrate
  • Make the bed
  • Cold shower
  • Devotions
  • Hygiene
  • If married, and you leave for work before your spouse wakes up, buy a cheap notebook to share together. Before you leave the house, leave a note in the notebook, and leave it by the bathroom sink. When she wakes up, she can read the note, and write a response during her morning routine. This is a way to stay connected when you can't be together at the same time.

Evening Routine

  • Cleaning up kitchen, picking up clothes off the floor
  • Checking your analog and digital inboxes
  • Make a written plan for the next day
  • Checking in with a loved one / accountability partner
  • Read while spouse gets ready for bed if they take longer to get to bed than you do

Daily Exercise

Figure it out. There's a million things you can do here. You can't possibly have real excuses for all of them. If nothing else, find a way to go on a 30 minute walk everyday with an audiobook for starters.

Weekly Routines

  • Plan time for yourself to think about the week. Clip your fingernails during this time. If you don't clip your fingernails, your annoyingly long fingernails are a reminder that you still have to do this.
  • Write out a list of goals for the week. I work best when I set 3 goals... I usually finish one, but at least think or start working on the other 2 as well.
  • Plan family time
  • Take out trash (may need to do this multiple times, best bundled with morning/evening routine)

Monthly Routines

  • Reconcile bank statements
  • Review calendars with spouse, making sure you're not missing any important family or friend birthdays
  • Write a budget for the next month

Quarterly Routines

  • Check credit report to make sure nothing fishy is going on (alternate between TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax)
  • Change oil in car

Annual Routines

  • Review this checklist
  • File taxes
  • Review legacy drawer
  • Get your annual physical
  • Get your teeth cleaned
  • Cancel subscriptions you don't use

Accounts / Subscriptions

  • A password manager (my family uses 1Password)
  • Budgeting software (I use YNAB, but Everydollar is good too)
  • Note-taking software (I use Bear, but I used to use Evernote)
  • A todo list (I use OmniFocus, but Things and Todoist are fine as well). These tools work best if you know David Allan's Getting Things Done methodology.
  • Services for accessing files across devices
    • Candidates for the uninitiated include: Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud, Box
    • If you want to save cost, set up your own nextcloud server on a Raspberry Pi and store your backups there. A Raspberry Pi's electricity will cost about $5 per year, depending on where you live.
  • Delete subscriptions that you can live without
  • Consider paying for an area in a storage facility. Periodically take stuff from this storage facility and goodwill it. If it's been sitting in the storage facility for over a year, you probably don't need it.

Assemble a Support Team

  • A spiritual mentor (Invite people you respect at church into your home to build this relationship)
  • A career mentor (That guy in college or at church that's crushing it, and has time to tell you what to do better)
  • An auto mechanic (I found mine on Yelp)
  • A primary care doctor (I found mine on Yelp)
  • A dentist (I found mine on Yelp)
  • A financial advisor (I found mine on Dave Ramsey's website Smartvestor page)
  • A tax accountant (I found mine on Dave Ramsey's website tax page)
  • Other guy friends if you're a guy, other girl friends if your a girl.

Skills / Courses

Financial

(See Dave Ramsey for more information on these subcategories)

Accounts

  • Joint checking account between you and your spouse (monthly expenses)
  • Joint savings account between you and your spouse (emergency fund)
  • Roth IRA
  • If children, ESA and 529s (you can let family know that they can gift money into these accounts)

Insurance

(Aside from the car insurance and health insurance required by law)

  • Term life insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Renters insurance
  • ID Theft insurance

Giving

  • Pray about tithing and giving offering to your local church
  • Find other organizations that you want to support regularly
  • Check if employer will match contributions

Legacy Drawer

  • Set up a legacy drawer that if something happens to you, your family has everything they need in one place
  • Write a will, or a living trust if necessary. Share your will with the people who will receive stuff from you, so that there are no fights if you kick the bucket.
  • List out all of your financial accounts (anything with money in it): Account names, amount, and account numbers.
  • Funeral instructions
  • Insurance policies: Who the policy is for, contact information, and policy number
  • Important documents (deeds, birth certificates, social security cards, and titles)
  • Legacy letters (include letters to your loved ones)
  • Monthly budget (a copy of your monthly written budget so that your spouse or loved ones know how to operate your household if you get into a bad accident and die or are incapacitated)
  • Last 7 years of tax returns (helpful if audited by the IRS)
  • Passports
  • College savings funds (529s and ESAs)
  • Money market and mutual fund statements

Personal Branding

  • Pay for a professional-looking headshot
  • Use a professional-looking email address. Gmail offers these for free. If you want privacy, you can get a free email address at protonmail.com as well. Forward all email from your non-professional-looking emails to your professional email address so you only have to check one spot.
  • Personal website (Domain costs $12/year on Amazon, and if you're clever you can host a static site on S3 for pennies per year).
  • Blog (If compiled to a static site, can be hosted on Amazon for pennies per year)
  • Podcast (Can be hosted on Amazon S3 for pennies per year)
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tiktok
  • Annual Christmas letter

Efficiency

  • Come up with a packing list, and use it each time you travel somewhere so that you don't forget anything
  • Put all bills on autopay, and schedule them in your budget software
  • Learn to cook bulk meals that you can eat quickly during the week when you would otherwise be tempted to eat out
    • A casserole or soup made on Sunday is a great way to prepare for the week
    • Hummus is excellent for this. It's a complete protein, highly nutritious, inexpensive to make, and goes with a lot ther food
    • Nuts are nutritious, highly filling, and easy to keep at your desk
    • Eating fruit does not create lots of dishes to wash, and its very healthy
  • Learn to take cold showers
  • Learn to go to bed by 9 pm and wake up at or before 5 am (a disproportionate amount of CEOs wake up early, and many of the Bible heroes woke up before the sun rose to meditate with God)
  • Uninstall games and social media from your phone. Block access to time-wasting websites on your phone. Leave your phone out of arms reach while working or eating with family.

Hardware

Everyday Carry

  • Phone
  • Wallet (get an AirTag or Tile tracker; use cash as much as possible. You spend less when you use cash instead of a debit/credit card)
  • Keys (get an AirTag or Tile tracker)
  • Watch
  • Pocket knife

Cleaning

For the consumables, consider buying in bulk and one to two of each in a closet, and the rest in your garage. You can restock your closet from your garage, and then buy more of the bulk a few times per year, maybe when you get your tax returns or end-of-year bonus.

  • Vacuum
  • Broom + dust pan
  • Wipes
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Shower cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Paper towel
  • Toilet paper

Office

  • A pen you enjoy writing with (my favorite: LAMY Safari)
  • A charging place for your electronics, away from your bed.
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Stapler
  • Letter opener
  • Box cutter (if you don't have an everyday-carry pocket knife or don't like using your scissors)
  • Checkbook

Place where you do your devotions

  • A Bible / devotional book
  • A pen you enjoy writing with
  • A notebook where you can write your prayers down so that you don't fall asleep.

Garage

  • Screwdrivers (philips and flat head)
  • A power drill (I like Ryobi, because the battery can be shared between multiple tools)
  • A hammer

Travel

This will depend from person to person. I like to travel in one bag. There's an entire Reddit community devoted to this.

Kitchen

  • Instant Pot (learning to use an instant pot will save you so much time and money in the long run)
  • Blender (makes eating fruits and veggies more fun, can be used to make very affordable hummus)
  • Bulk beans, rice, nuts, oats
  • Stock with fresh fruit and vegetables from the farmers market each week
  • Knife set

Bathroom

  • Shaving kit
  • Floss
  • Electronic toothbrush
  • Listerine
  • Perfume (If you're a guy, I know it doesn't seem manly to you, but your significant other thinks this is incredible)