When I was a child I couldn’t wait to turn 18. Turning 18 meant voting, no longer having to obey my parents every word, and the fresh beginnings of adulthood. However, when I turned 18 I realized I was nowhere near ready for life on my own, and I definitely wasn’t an adult. Now, as I approach 24 I’m screaming, begging God to turn back the hands of time and make me a 12-year-old girl again playing in makeup and singing B5 to the top of my lungs with my childhood friends.
Adults neglected to mention that growing up meant a lot more than wearing high heels, getting married and starting a family in a big, fancy house, and making decisions on your own. Being an adult is more like jumping feet first into a 5 foot pool not having a clue how to swim, but then realizing that you’re actually 5 feet 6 inches tall.
Truth is adults didn’t tell us all about growing up, because that’s the beauty of becoming an adult. You have to figure some things out on your own and find a solution that works best for you. Life is all about trial and error. Even though it sucks sometimes, finding your own way definitely builds character.
So if you’re like me and you’re still trying to figure things out, but you need a little guidance along the way… here are 5 Things No One Told Us About Adulting.
Credit is just a fancy way of saying “stay in debt”.
When I first heard about credit cards I was excited. You mean to tell me people give me money and I don’t have to pay it back immediately? That’s better than a shopping spree after payday, right? WRONG! When you talk about credit cards you have to mention its evil stepsister — APR. Not sure what that is? Learn more here.
What’s scarier than credit cards? Credit scores. In my opinion credit scores are just a fancy way to say, “hey, get in debt, stay in debt, but manage it properly.” What kind of shit is that??? However, building your credit score is a great way to learn proper financial management skills. (Something a lot of millenials lack.) One site that really helps me keep track of my credit score and debts is NerdWallet. They provide you with a monthly credit score, ways to stay on top of your debt, and a you can compare credit cards to help you decide which one works best for you.
Financial decisions you make in your 20’s drastically affect your 30’s.
I’m not 30 yet, but I know enough 30 year olds to know that the aforementioned statement is true, and I’m definitely taking their advice. Without clear knowledge about credit cards, credit scores, savings accounts, and investing it is easy to make mistakes. Now is the time to be putting away money for a rainy day.
My mother actually gave me the best financial advice at a young age (she’s a financial analyst); save 20% of everything you touch. This is also known as the 80/20 rule: Save 20% and live off 80% of each paycheck. However, I apply this rule to every single piece of money that touches my hands (or bank account if you want to get technical).
The second best financial advice I’ve received came from my coworker about 2 weeks ago. It was simply this: always have 3 months worth of bills in your savings account. Do not touch this money. It is strictly for a rainy day.
I use a few tools to help ensure that I stay in front of my finances. For investments I use CoinBase, Acorns, and Stash. As I mentioned before I use NerdWallet to keep track of my debt and credit score reports. These are simply what work for me, find an app that best suits your needs.
It is always OK to ask for more money.
The first time I asked for more money I was scared out of my mind. I had been hinting around at it for weeks; subtly dropping hints that I wanted more hours and making little jokes here and there. One day my supervisor mentioned to his boss that he could use me around the office a little more. It was my time to strike! I went for the kill, asking for full-time hours. Unfortunately, I was not promoted to full-time, but we did reach a compromise that I was more than happy with. I learned a value lesson: never be afraid to ask for what you deserve! If you don’t place a value on yourself people will assume you have none.
Sleep becomes a luxury.
The older you get the less sleep you receive. Oh what I wouldn’t give to be a child again in Kindergarten taking full advantage of nap time. Sleep is only for the rich, and hell it probably ain’t for them either. Sleep is one of those things that you can only enjoy if you’ve had a productive day, week, or month. Does that even exist? Get used to late nights, early mornings, endless cups of coffee, and hella caffeine.
Adults don’t have all the answers.
The oldest trick in the book is adults tricking us into thinking they know it all. As a kid I thought my parents have all the answers. As I’m coming into my adulthood I’m figuring out that they too are still figuring things out, even in their old age. Life is a journey— a learning experience that only stops when we die. We are constantly growing, learning, and evolving into a better version of ourselves. It’s OK if you don’t have it all figured out now. You’ve got the rest of your life to get it together. Trust your instincts, have fun, and don’t take life too seriously.
Peace, love, & good vibes…