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Adulting is hard. There's really no other way to say it. Taking care of yourself and getting through each day can be a challenge in itself. When you throw spouses and kids into the mix, the responsibilities can feel overwhelming.
A recent study found that millennials believe regularly completing mundane household tasks and achieving financial independence is what qualifies someone as an adult. Other factors of adulthood—according to the survey—were having a steady job, paying bills on your own and on time, filing taxes, preparing your own meals, creating a budget, living on your own, showing up to work on time, and saving for retirement. The usual suspects if you will.
Getting an education is a great foundation for living a happy and productive life. But what tools do you need and what actions must you take to be a successful, independent adult?
Here is the Oola adulting checklist, because let’s face it, we need all the help we can get.
Emotional immaturity plagues us from an early age. As a child, you would throw yourself on the floor when you didn't get your way. In high school, you likely talked behind others' backs or started a fight instead of rationally confronting problematic people and situations. In college, maybe you drank too much to mask dealing with complex issues.
As an adult, dealing with issues in a mature way means having a healthy blend of empathy, clear communication, and zero hesitation around apologizing. Life is hard enough without unnecessary drama. Freeing oneself of people and situations rife with conflict is one of the keys to adulting.
A steady job is the number one sign of "adulting" according to 78 percent of the millennials surveyed. But many feel bogged down by circumstances and the current economic climate. The truth is, though, there's plenty of opportunities available all over the country. But they might not be in the industry or location you want to be in.
If you are looking for steady work, there are things you can do to put yourself in the best position to get hired. Set up accounts on sites like Indeed and LinkedIn, create a resume, and start applying to as many jobs as possible. You have to start somewhere. And any income is better than none at all.
Even if it's a job that you don't see yourself in for the long term, every job can teach you some kind of skill that you can use moving forward.
Don’t be a person who looks up one day and realize years have gone by without having achieved consistent personal growth. When evaluating your current adulting situation, it’s important to listen to your feelings. Identify what's working and what's not. Prioritize your happiness and make adjustments when needed instead of accepting the status quo.
You are your best guru. Only you know what’s needed to achieve inner peace. Curate your life with the right habits and people who make you better and always keep learning—the phrase "stuck in one's ways" is not a good thing. Always have an open mind to see how the world is changing around you and allow yourself to evolve with it.
Life insurance might not seem like a top priority when you're young. But if you have anyone that depends on you and your income, it's a must for adulting. To get inexpensive term life insurance with up to $1 million in coverage, try a company called Bestow.
You can easily sign up online, and it's fast, affordable, and risk-free. What sets Bestow apart from its competitors is that you will never need a medical assessment. You can get a free quote, and they will let you know quickly if you are approved.
Bestow offers both 10 and 20-year products for up to $1 million in coverage. And, from what we've heard, people are paying rates as low as $16 per month.
This is a biggie. There aren't many things in this world that can influence your life more than money and how you handle it. Creating good financial habits is the key to adulting success, and it doesn't depend on how much money you make.
No matter if you're making minimum wage or six-figures, the first step to financial independence is creating a budget. As financial guru Chris Hogan points out in his best-selling book Everyday Millionaire, ordinary people can build extraordinary wealth. The most important factor isn't the amount of your income, it's how you choose to budget it.
Free budget apps like Every Dollar will help you make a plan for your income before each month begins. When you create a budget, you can easily find a few dollars to save and invest. Again, the specific amounts aren't important because time is your best friend when it comes to saving and investing.
Getting into the habit of telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went can literally be the difference between a life of debt and a life of building wealth.
Speaking of saving and investing, this is another key part of the adulting checklist. The earlier you can get into the habit of saving and investing, the more successful adult you will be.
When you are a young adult in your 20s, the first savings goal should be to build an emergency fund of three to six months' expenses. You can do this with an American Express® (member FDIC) High-Yield Savings Account. Putting $20 bucks a week into your savings account results in more than $1,000 in savings per year.
By your 30s, experts recommend a fully-funded emergency fund, plus investing for retirement. Once again, time is on your side when it comes to investing. Take advantage of any employer matches, and start budgeting a small percentage of your monthly income into retirement.
There are also great apps like Acorns that will round up every purchase you make to the next dollar, and deposit that change into an investment account. You can literally start investing and saving for retirement without even noticing it in your monthly budget.
For example, when you buy a cup of coffee in the morning and the bill is $4.20, the Acorns app will round up that purchase to $5.00 and deposit that 80 cents into your investment or savings account.
Being aware of your responsibilities and taking care of them in a timely manner is another big part of adulting. Doing this requires good organization and time management skills, and you also need the necessary tools.
Good time management requires a calendar or a planner so you can make a schedule. Then, you can prioritize tasks, and plan and complete both short-term and long-term projects. We can't teach you how to do daily chores, but having a planner and making a schedule can help you complete those necessary daily adulting tasks, like washing dishes and doing laundry.
For some insight into how to create good daily habits for successful adulting, we recommend the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. Making small changes to your daily routine can help you develop some fantastic habits for everything from your finances to healthy living.
Being a responsible adult doesn't just happen by accident. And it doesn't magically happen when you reach a certain age. Instead, successful adulting takes time and effort. Finding the right job, getting your finances in order, and properly managing your time are the necessary steps you have to take. Good luck and happy adulting!