Congratulations, you are an adult! You’ve made it this far by sheer perseverance, patience, and hard work. You finished college, got a good job, and made the down payment on a beautiful condominium unit. It’s the American Dream and you’re living it. Well, almost. While in the middle of achieving your goals, you realized how many sacrifices your parents had to make to get you to this point. Also, adulting isn’t exactly a walk in the park.
But now that you’re living on your own, you have to take care of a couple of things first. Whether it’s a retirement plan or flood insurance for your home, adulting is going to hit you like a cold splash of water in the morning. And although it’s challenging, it’s going to be a ride you won’t be able to get off from.
Who knew that bills can cost this much? When you tell your little brothers how much you’re earning, they’ll go wide-eyed. They’ll say you’re rich because you have boatloads of cash. But you know that isn’t true. Once the bills are paid, you’re left with $200 to spend over the next two weeks.
What are these bills exactly? If you’re renting, you’ll pay the rent plus the water, electricity, telephone line, internet line, cable, phone bill, and many other things. You’ll pay for the gas, too, because you have to cook now that you don’t have money for expensive food takeouts. And don’t forget, if you own a home, you have to pay the mortgage, taxes, and many other things.
Living in this world is only free until you’re earning your first dollar. Once you do, you’ll have to register as a taxpayer and pay your taxes (monthly, quarterly, and annually). It’s all very confusing to deal with taxes, but that’s why you have an accountant and a lawyer. Speaking of which, you also have to pay an accountant to fix and file your taxes. That’s about $100 per filing.
Then, there are the inevitable insurance policies. You need health, life, car, house, and business insurance. All these policies ensure that you and your family are protected in case of a serious crisis. Remember that these are probably the most important things to spend your money on. Make sure that you are insured. If you believe in the afterlife, you don’t want to see your family struggle when you pass away and they’re left to deal with your mountain of debt.
Whether you’re renting or own a home, you have to take care of where you live. You need to learn how to fix things around the house such as a leaky faucet and a clogged pipe. For more serious problems such as a hole in the roof or water damage, you need to call in the professionals. That’s why you need insurance and emergency money for these kinds of things.
It is in your late 20s when you’ll start to feel pain in your lower back. It’s a numbing pain that you don’t usually notice until you’re sitting in front of your computer for eight hours. Take care of your health. Now more than ever, when you have so many responsibilities, your health matters.
Exercise. Eat a balanced diet. See the doctor regularly. Get tested when needed. Take medicines as they are prescribed. Gone are the days of drinking until four in the morning and getting back on your feet at 8AM. Those days are behind you now.
Whether you’re in your dream job or not, you have to respect your job. You have to show up for it. Your work is what keeps all of these adulting tasks all together. So even though this is not exactly what you envisioned for yourself before, give it the respect it deserves because it pays the bills. You’re able to keep up with life today because a good job pays you what your position demands.
It is easier to think about managing money than it is to do it. Somehow, you have to find a way to save for the future. Even if it’s just $10 a month, that’s still better than nothing. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, then take a hard look at how you’re spending because clearly, there’s something wrong with it. Cut back on leisurely expenses and focus on what’s necessary: the bills and your savings.
Remember that you’ll have to stop working at some point. What are your plans upon retirement? Where are you going to get the money you need? Doesn’t it relax you to know you’ve got money stashed somewhere?
These may be overwhelming, but adulting has its own phase. There’s no right or wrong formula. You’ll slowly realize that you’re doing all these things without realizing it. In time, you’ll get a grip of the cycle of working, paying the bills, saving, and taking care of the house, relationships, and yourself.