Time’s have sure changed. When I was a kid, boredom was a short-lived condition. No sooner did the words come out of my mouth, “Mom, I’m bor…” Bam! I was cleaning something. After a few bouts with my bathroom, boredom wasn’t much of an issue. I got creative. Today, it seems our solution for boredom is the smartphone or the video game controller. Hmm. Nothing bad can happen there – just non social-skilled zombies with carpel tunnel. Get off your phone. Go outside. Pick up a ball and play with it. And that goes for all you kids out there, too.
So in an effort to be part of the solution, I’ve put a list together of a few practical alternatives to boredom:
1) Check your retirement accounts to make sure the primary beneficiary listed is actually the person you want it to be. You’d be surprised how many times life changes, significantly for some, but their primary beneficiary paperwork does not. Pop Quiz: Who’s currently listed as your beneficiary and will receive what could be your single largest asset after you die? Don’t know? Go find out. Go ahead. It’s that important. I’ll wait…
2) Check your life insurance policies while you’re at it. Same story here. If the name on record is not the name it should be, you need to make it right. As in right now. The pain of you dying is likely hard enough, so let’s not introduce a mess for those you’ve left behind. As I’ve said before, you can’t change it when you’re dead. With life insurance policies and retirement accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s, the beneficiary designation is the last will and testament for the account - regardless of what your will says. Yes, I’ll wait…
3) Put your phone down. Give it a rest. Go outside and shudder at the sight and warmth of that great fireball in the sky! And while you’re out there, go for a walk, hold hands with your spouse and reintroduce yourself to your kids.
4) Find a place in your community where your family can serve together. As the holidays approach, opportunities will abound to help those who might well do anything to have a little boredom in their lives. Create a legacy of service for your family and fill your hearts with the joy of serving others. Studies have shown that you learn more when you listen, and you have more when you give. In a moment of transparency, I could do both. Could you?
5) Play the animal game. Every now and again, the six of us will sit in the den and take turns imitating an animal. (I can’t help but smile as I type these words.) It’s the real deal – guaranteed to make you laugh. Helpful advice: You’d better be able to guess what animal your ultra-competitive 7-year old is or there’ll be trouble. Also popular is the Family Dance Off. Since I’m the DJ for this event, I’m mercifully exempt from the dancing. I play a song from iTunes and the person who’s “up” has to dance to it. Sometimes they get to choose their own song, sometimes they don’t. But they have to dance…or it’s off to the bathroom you go with bucket and soap in hand. Some call that "forced participation". I call it - forced participation. And it’s money in the bank. Fun guaranteed.
6) Check your 401(k) / IRA allocations. Are you taking the appropriate amount of risk to support your family’s financial plan? Honestly, this isn’t typically a cure for boredom; it’s more of a source, really. Nevertheless, it’s a good thing to do on occasion. You don’t have to actually change your allocation – just know how you’re invested and why you’re invested that way. If you don’t know the answers to those types of questions, call me. That’s what we do.
As I said from the start, times have changed.
And they’re going to change again. Sunday morning, in fact.
This is the weekend most of the country sets our clocks back an hour. And for some, that means it will start getting dark…oh… just after lunch or so? But fear not, for boredom has his talons in you no longer! Instead, you now have the power to release the hidden animal within or to dance your way into the hearts of your family. Fire up the iTunes, Charles Henry, and put on your dancin’ shoes! Daddy’s coming home!
It may not be pretty but it beats anything you can do on a phone – other than talk to someone, but who does that anymore….uh…. boring.