It’s a great big world out there, and you’re ready to venture out to make your mark. You’re young and have big ideas. And while exciting adventures await you, there are a few responsibilities that maybe aren’t so fun and inspiring you might want to consider. It’s time to become an adult, and with adulthood comes certain must-do tasks to add to your list. Here are three key categories and steps you want to take when adulting for the first time and starting out on your own.
Career Path Decisions
Before you can begin to change the world, you must first secure your finances. Many successful adults will tell you finding a job and pursuing a career can be the most important step you take right now.
College & Trade Schools
You don’t have to know what you want to be when you grow up right now. But if you do have an idea of what field or industry inspires you, you can take the next step now, to further your education in that direction. Traditional universities can be expensive if grants or student loans aren’t available. So, don’t be afraid to sign up with your local community college or take a step toward a specific trade school. Always be bettering yourself in any direction. And you can keep your retail, fast-food, or service job as you work toward your ultimate career goals.
Job Search Strategies
When you’re ready to find your dream job with your ideal company, you’ll want to have a plan. Get creative with your resume, so it outlines not only your education but also any first-hand experience you might have that could be relevant to the job. Get comfortable with all the online job boards, and don’t be afraid to apply to companies without open positions right now. Spend eight hours each day if you have to, to secure those first-round interviews. And don’t be too proud to take a job you deem entry-level if it helps get your foot in the door with a company.
Certifications & Training
If you are lucky enough to already be working for your dream company or in a role that you love, don’t stop learning. Settling for the position you have can pigeon-hole your financial situation and hold you back from growing or earning more. Look for training or certification steps that will help build on the career path you’ve chosen. Older adults will often say they wish they would have pursued niche certifications or explored additional training when they were younger. Take their advice and follow through on available higher-learning opportunities now.
Once you have a paycheck and general direction for your career, you’re ready to get out of your parents’ basement. It’s time to find a place to live. And here are a few tips to help you take this next step.
Living within Your Means
As much as you’d love that adorable condo, with a pool and added storage facility, you really need to make sure you can first afford it. The budget gurus suggest that your rent should never exceed 30% of your income each month. When you start out on your own, you may have to start small. And that could mean forgoing extra bedrooms, private parking garages, and first-floor laundry. Consider the humble beginnings as part of your adulthood journey. It’s essential to recognize that overindulging yourself too soon could result in a flailing bank account and having to move back in with your mom and dad.
Don’t Be Afraid to Find a Roommate
Some of the best friends you’ll make over your lifetime are those with whom you once shared a living space. As you start out on your own, don’t be afraid to consider adding a roommate to your living arrangement equation. Whether it’s a friend you’ve known for years or someone who’s responded to your “roommate wanted” ad, having another person to help cover the bills can be a game-changer. Of course, you don’t want a roommate who doesn’t have a job or is unreliable in any way. So be careful as you consider your options. But in the end, having a roommate can help ensure you continue to put aside money in savings and hopefully get to a point where you can buy your own place.
Be Mindful of Commutes
Where you choose to live can be another critical decision you make right now. If residing outside the city means cheaper rent, it might be a better fit for you. However, if your job has you driving downtown every day, it could end up costing you double in gas and parking. Be mindful of where you go to school and work when identifying a place to live. Doing so can help you choose an area with public transportation or short commutes.
Taking Care of Health Business
While you’re busy taking care of your living arrangements, changing the oil in your ten-year-old car, and attending classes at night, there’s one more thing to add to your to-do list. When you’re starting out on your own, it’s easy to get caught up in your drive to get to the next level. But if you don’t sit down and carve out a healthy lifestyle plan, you could end up burning out fast.
Finding Healthcare Providers
You’re young and may feel that you are in overall good health. But a pivotal step to adulting means taking the necessary steps to protect and maintain that good health with routine doctor visits. If you plan to stick with the healthcare professionals, you saw under your parents’ roof, that’s a great start. But you’ll be taking over those appointments and follow-up duties. If you’re opting to find a new provider, maybe because you’re moving to a new area, you’ll want to dedicate the time to transfer health records, make those initial visit appointments, and establish a family medical history with those new providers.
Developing a Healthy Lifestyle
You might have older adults in your life who remember starting out and living on ramen noodles and peanut butter sandwiches. Starting out on your own means having a tight budget. But don’t cut your health short if you can help it. Planning your meals and a healthy eating lifestyle can actually be quite affordable. The alternative can be costly with quick, fast-food, and unhealthy eating habits.
Buying Your Own Health Insurance
Your new job might already offer a health insurance plan, in which case, you could be set. But if you don’t have a health insurance provider, now is the time to take that step. Exploring the Marketplace for affordable plans can be confusing, especially if you’re new to the terms and coverage options. But browsing with W3ll can help you understand participating providers, deductibles, and monthly premiums. We can help you calculate any available subsidies, too, that make those monthly payments super-affordable. And you’ll have peace of mind, knowing you’re covered should you get hurt, sick, or require medical attention. Not having insurance and experiencing one of these situations could be devastating to your adulting plans.
The world may be your oyster right now, but without proper planning, you could trip up right out of the gate. When you’re ready to start out on your own, get organized, and consider these key decisions. And when you’re ready to browse for health insurance options, do it now during Open Enrollment, and tap into the free guidance from W3ll.