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7 Things You Need to Know
Before You’re Truly Independent
Are you ready to fly the coop and be able to tell people you’re independent without getting a raised brow or side-eye in response? We hear you!
A few years ago you might have thought that having your own car or pet meant that you were finally learning how to adult, but if you’re starting to realize that there might be more to it and want to get on the right track, we can help.
Image Source: Pixabay
Here are seven things you need to know before you can profess your independence and prove you’re ready for the real world:
1. Pay for Car Insurance
Insurance might seem like one of those things that only “old” people worry about. However, car insurance is a necessity — especially for students, as they are statistically the most likely to be involved in an auto accident.
If you’re still on your parents’ policy, it’s time to find your own carrier. We know that when you’re just starting out in your career and have other things you need to pay for, it’s essential to get the cheapest rate possible. Here are a few tricks you can try:
- Shop Around: Don’t believe the commercials that one place is always the most affordable. Be sure you call a few places to get the best rates and terms of your agreement.
- Consider Local: Sometimes looking at local carriers can bring big savings. Call a local office to see if they can beat the national competition.
- Pay On Time: If you routinely pay on time, you might be eligible for discounts. Doing so will also boost your credit score.
2. Learn to Budget
When you were in your teens or even early 20s, it might have been okay not to have a budget and just wing it.
However, if you’re ready to change the way others think about you, it’s time to create a financial plan. Find a simple budget worksheet and start plugging in your income and expenses. Having a budget can help you save for specific items, the future, and even plan a few fun things you enjoy, like traveling or pricey hobbies.
See our page on Budgeting for more information
3. Start Thinking About Retirement
It’s easy to think that retirement is something you can plan for in the future.
Most financial consultants will tell you that it’s never too early to start looking into investment-based retirement plans and setting goals for what you want to do in your later years of life. Just be aware that there is no one-size-fits-all retirement plan. Consider meeting with a representative from your employer-sponsored retirement fund or find an accountant or lawyer who can help you with this critical planning.
4. Find a Doctor
When you were a kid, your mom probably took you to the doctor at least once a year for a check-up.
Many young adults don’t have a routine practitioner they see annually and tend to only run to the clinic when they have an urgent need. While this practice is okay for your budget, it might not be the best thing you can do for your health. So, if you’re trying to get in the groove of being an independent adult, it might be time to start going to regular doctor visits.
At an annual check-up, your provider can answer any questions you might have and provide guidance on lifestyle habits like exercise, drug, alcohol use, and your diet. They can also help you troubleshoot any mental health issues you struggle with, including depression, anxiety, or stress. You also need to make sure you’re taking care of any sexual or reproductive health needs, like birth control, STD screenings, and annual gynecological visits for women.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Everyone needs help from time to time, regardless of age. However, if you’re still calling your parents each time you have a headache or hangnail, it’s time to learn some basic first-aid skills. You should invest in a few household items like a thermometer, heating pad, and basic medications that you might need for pain, a cold, or allergies.
You should also make sure to invest in your mental health too. It’s estimated that young adults experience exhaustion twice as much as they did 20 years ago. Be sure you get a full eight hours of sleep each night to avoid being another millennial that’s always exhausted. You can also create some healthy practices, like meditation, exercise, or yoga to decrease stress levels.
If you’re dealing with a lot of stress at the office or there are parts of life that always seem to get you down, be sure to reach out to a friend, family member, or even consider talking to a counselor for support. Being an adult means asking for help when you need it.
6. Pay Rent or Mortgage on Your Own
Your mom and dad might have covered the rent when you were just starting out, but it’s probably time to start covering this cost alone.
Talk to your parents about removing them from the lease and stopping any direct payments they make. Use your budget to make sure you have a few months’ rent saved up just in case finances get tight unexpectedly.
If living in an apartment is getting a little cramped, it might be time to consider buying a starter home. You might dream of owning a big lavish house, but taking small steps and finding a starter house can help in the long run. It will give some stability in your living arrangements and open the door to tax deductions that you haven’t been able to tap into yet.
7. Time to Buckle Up
Everyone is ready to move out of their parents’ home they minute they reach 18.
However, when life hits you, you realize that being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The good news is that it’s never too late to start increasing your independence. So, don’t just sit there and wait for that magic time when you have this adult-thing figured out. Start making small changes today that will impact on your future for years to come.
About the Author
Magnolia Potter is from the Pacific Northwest and writes from time to time. She prefers to cover a variety of topics and not just settle on one. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her outdoors or curled up with a good book. Chat with her on Twitter @MuggleMagnolia.