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The thought of turning 18 can be daunting. There’s no doubt about it: becoming an adult is hard. No matter your age (even if you’re in your 50s!), you may feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities associated with adulting. We put together a guide to help you manage your independence with confidence.

 

Money

Start a savings account

If you haven’t already, set up a savings account. Put aside a little bit of your earnings every time you are paid. If you already have a general savings account, think about creating another one specifically for retirement. You may even want to consider using apps such as Acorns to invest smartly and grow the money you already have. 

 

Create a budget

When you aren’t keeping track of your spending, it’s easy to go overboard. Write down everything you buy in a month, and create your budget based on that information. Split your budget into three categories: necessities, wants, and financial goals. Then, decide how much money goes towards housing costs and food (necessities), dining out and entertainment (wants), and savings or debt payoff (financial goals). Get started on your budget with these tools

 

Establish credit

If you’re ready for more financial responsibility, open a credit card. Establishing credit is crucial for the future when you want to buy a home. Though it’s important to establish credit, there’s a fine balance to uphold. You want to use your credit card for small purchases that you can easily pay back at the end of the month. DO NOT go overboard and rack up tons of debt. Be strict with your credit card use; try only using it for things like groceries or recurring subscriptions. Don’t live beyond your means. 

 

Career 

Find a mentor

A mentor (or an adultier adult) can play an important role in your personal and professional growth. Be sure to socialize at your job and networking events. You may want to connect with someone that simply has more experience and can offer guidance as you advance your career. Or maybe you want to find someone who is further along a specific career path that you hope to follow yourself. Don’t be afraid to forge that relationship! Most people are happy to give advice and pass along their wisdom. Read this article to learn more about finding a mentor.

 

Advocate for yourself

Speak up for yourself if you feel like you can handle more responsibility at work or if you feel you deserve a promotion. Many people work hard and stay silent in hopes that someone else will recognize their accomplishments. You will need to be your own cheerleader! Talking about your achievements can be uncomfortable at first. but advocating for yourself will ensure that you reach your career goals. Here is an article about imposter syndrome that you might find helpful!

 

Keep a growth mindset

Keep striving to improve yourself. What more can you learn? What other roles interest you? Meet with your manager and inquire about exploring different avenues outside your role. Branching out will allow you to build different skills and overcome new challenges. 

 

Civic Duties

Do your taxes

Do you have a job? If you do, the U.S. federal and state governments collect taxes on your income. The collection of income taxes happens throughout the year by withholding a portion of a person’s paycheck. Be sure to file for your tax return with both the federal government and your state.

There are a handful of states that don’t tax income including Texas, Alaska, Nevada, Florida, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming. There are services such as TurboTax and H&R Block that can help you file your tax return!

 

Register to vote

You may think that your vote doesn’t count, but it DOES. Even if the candidate you support doesn’t win, the number of votes they receive sends a message. When you don’t vote, you are allowing other people decide what issues are important. Register to vote, and you’ll have the power to be the change you want to see in the world!

 

Give back to your community 

Volunteering is a great way to make a difference within your community. This is your home, and you want to make it the best it can be! Some good places to start: animal shelters, national parks, food pantries, local libraries, art museums, political campaigns, retirement homes, hospitals, and so on. Consider your strengths, your values, and passions; there is something out there for everyone.

 

Health

Understand insurance

In short, insurance protects you from unexpected financial risks. For example, if you break a bone, health insurance protects you from paying thousands of dollars in medical bills. There are all different kinds of insurance: health, life, home, renters, pet, disaster, travel, and so on. T

here is insurance for every kind of problem, but they’re not all relevant to every individual. For example, you don’t need auto insurance if you don’t have a car. To decide on the types of insurance for you, assess your individual needs. If you have trouble making a decision, there are professional insurance brokers that can set up a plan that works for you.

 

Make doctor’s appointments

Do your best to keep up with doctor’s appointments and checkups. Go to the dentist for your teeth cleaning, get your moles checked at the dermatologist, or update your glasses prescription with your eye doctor. You’ve got this!

 

Listen to your body

Adulting includes taking care of your basic needs. This means eating the foods that make you feel good and making sure you’re catching enough sleep. Check in with yourself regularly. Practicing mindfulness will reduce stress and keep you in tune with your body’s needs.  

 

Find joyful movement

We all know about the benefits of exercise. It decreases stress, lowers blood pressure, and keeps your mind sharp. But how many times have you gone for a run and hated every single step of the way? Life is too short to choose movement that doesn’t bring you joy.

The more time you dedicate to exercising in ways you dislike, the less time you’ll spend discovering activities you DO like. If this sounds like you, experiment with other activities such as dancing, ultimate frisbee, flag football, long walks, and more.

 

Friends

Make the first move

Whether you’re at the dog park or in line at a coffee shop, don’t be afraid to start up a conversation with someone. Open your mind to all the possibilities; with a little courage, you can make friends with anyone anywhere! 

 

Join a club 

Yes, there are even clubs for adults! Depending on your interests, look into organizations, clubs, and classes to participate in. Sign up for a painting class, join a kickball league, or volunteer for an event you care about. In doing so, you will meet new people that have similar interests as you. 

 

Keep in contact

You may notice that you and your friends are on different paths, living in different cities, and consumed with your separate schedules. It’s okay if you have friends in different phases of their lives; you can still maintain that friendship! Make an effort to reach out when you can. Even if it’s just a 5 minute phone call, a meme shared on Instagram, or a quick text message; they will appreciate the gesture. 

 

Self-Care

Practice gratitude

According to positive psychology, gratitude is associated with higher levels of happiness. Keep a journal, write thank you notes to the people close to you, or just think about all the things in your life that you appreciate. By acknowledging all that you have, you will quiet the urge to reach for something new to fulfill you. 

 

Don’t compare yourself to others

When you’re already feeling uncertain and vulnerable, it’s easy to compare yourself to everyone around you. It’s a trap; don’t fall into it. The truth is, everyone’s journey is different. Strive to be the best version of yourself, and you will be on your way to great things, too. Success is not a limited resource; just because a friend or colleague experiences success, doesn’t mean that you won’t. 

 

Make time for your passions

You may be planning to turn your passion into a career one day. Or maybe you just want to use your passion as a release from the stresses of your everyday life. No matter your intentions, everyone can benefit from setting aside time to focus on the hobbies that bring them joy. Need we say more?

 

We know what you’re thinking: that’s a lot to take in. The good news? You don’t need to have all these aspects of your life balanced at any given time. Choose an area of your life to focus on. Follow your energy. As humans, our motivations ebb and flow. If you are slaying your career, lean into it. If another day you are motivated to prioritize self-care, do that. You’re doing enough just by doing your best.