Adulting, it’s good that we started using adulting instead of “being an adult” or “adulthood.” It seriously feels like working; it is a difficult job. The most common social markers that dub you an adult are things like getting a job, getting married, having kids, owning a house, etc. However, some people move slowly up the ladder, making time for everything they want to accomplish first.
We miss childish things because we are still a child at heart. Societal norms expect us to behave a certain way after we’re done with school, and we’re grown-ups from the moment we graduate. So, we move forward, but there are some things that our parents didn’t tell us about adulthood.
Here are 10 things that would definitely be a part of the list of things parents didn’t tell us about adulthood.
- Budgeting – it’s an important thing
You never thought about bills all those years, and now it feels different to handle your accounts. Being an adult means paying credit card bills, utilities, food, your expenses, etc. That’s why planning a budget is the first step in effectively managing your money; so, it’s essential to start with that. Tracking and keeping an eye on your expenses lets you see how you can afford both the things you need and your little indulgences.
- A savings account, it’s for the rainy days
Suppose you lose your job, you’re in-between things, or don’t have enough money to pay for unexpected obligations. These are the times when that savings account will come in handy. Here’s what you do; you add a small amount from your paycheck to your savings account every month. You need to have at least three to six months’ worth of salaries saved in it by the time you’re done. You also have to promise not to touch the saved money until you need it.
- Start making a retirement fund, make your future secure
While reading this point, you’ll think, “I’m too young to start saving for a retirement fund.” The sooner you start, the more secure your future will be. Planning a retirement fund is a commitment, so think carefully about where and how to invest your money. Several organizations have retirement funds investment programs like 401(k), Roth 401(k), Roth IRA, and many more. If the company you work for provides you with one, don’t forget to look into it. Talk to your superiors about it.
- Investing is good too
Sometimes savings may not be enough in today’s world. Passive funds in your savings account or safety deposit boxes may also be ineffective. That’s because idle cash in your bank account isn’t earning you any money, and it can’t beat inflation. The act of investing promotes financial stability and helps you expand your money while fighting inflation. Investing can also help you achieve financial goals like buying a home, saving for retirement, and creating an emergency fund.
- Use cash while shopping
Using a credit card is easier than paying with cash, but most impulsive spending happens while using a credit card. When you use cash instead, you have budgeted shopping. You can use this method while shopping for groceries or when you’re indulging yourself with some expensive clothes and shoes. However, a credit card can help you build a good credit record, which can help you take out loans at suitable terms and conditions in the future. But be careful not to spend much with credit cards and repay the outstanding balance at every billing cycle.
- Look for low-interest rate credit cards
When applying for a credit card, always read the terms and conditions properly. Make sure to check the interest rates. It’s preferable to have low-interest rates. A low-interest credit card might help you save money and pay off your amount faster if you carry a balance. Try not to roll over a balance from one billing cycle to another. By doing so, you won’t have to pay any interest.
- Try not to accumulate a lot of debt
There is no doubt, one way or the other; you will accumulate some debt. The important thing is to understand the difference between good and bad debt. Good debts are the debts that help you grow like student loans; it’s for your education. On the other hand, bad debts are the ones you may have lost some control over or taken out for a good reason, but now you’re having trouble paying them back. A typical example of bad debt is credit card debt. So always pay them on time. If you have debt, try making a systematic plan to pay them off.
- Stay away from payday loans
Payday loans are tempting, but if you can’t pay them back on time, it can be a nightmare for you. With high-interest rates and short repayment periods, paying them back can be difficult. If you have taken out a payday loan and are struggling to repay it, then it’s probably best to take some payday loan help. Many non-profit and for-profit organizations provide such services.
- Always keep an eye on your credit score
Having a good credit score is vital. So, make sure you always check up on it to see if you’re not doing anything that might harm it. If there are some negative points in your credit score, you can try to fix them. The best way to keep your score in check is by paying your bills on time.
- Never stop growing
Have you ever thought about why we only feel a drive while we’re working hard on a project or preparing a presentation that might result in a promotion? That’s because after the journey to the top is complete, there comes a void that wants to be filled again by another hardworking journey, at the end of which you reap the rewards. So, it’s never too late to learn something new; if you have hobbies, then cultivate them; be the best at them.
The points mentioned above may help you ease into the new job you’ll be starting soon, and that is, adulting. It’s not an easy task, but it can be fun with some help and some hard work, of course.
Lyle Solomon is a principal attorney for the Oak View Law Group in California, where he specializes in consumer finance. He has also written several articles on financial well-being. Connect with him on LinkedIn or tweet him at @lyle_solomon.