As soon as the fireworks went up, a thought may have brought some younger people down. “I have, like, a month until I start adulting.”
Whether it’s college, trade school, military, or walking directly into the workforce, the 73.4 million some-odd young people in America need to begin that pursuit of adulthood. The one from which there is no return. Essentially, it’s time to cut the cord from the parents and work toward financial independence.
Get that first “real job” that gives you a paycheck you’re not embarrassed to put in the bank. That’s the money for essential bills like rent, utilities, debt payments, and perhaps dating. As a company that helps hard-working people get out of debt, we know a little about starting that journey.
Here is some of the same advice we give our clients, and it’s worked for them too.
1. Understand Credit
There is so much more to understanding credit than simply having some plastic cards in your wallet. Do you know your credit score? More importantly, do you know how to maintain it? When you want to buy a home or a new car, your credit score is the skeleton key to open the lock of prosperity for you as you go adulting.
2. Live Beneath Your Means
Many young adults want to stretch that dollar into fine saltwater taffy. It feels good to have money of your own, so flex and drop some coins in various places. The problem is that you should do the opposite, which doesn’t sound fun at all. Ask yourself what can you afford or what are you willing to not have, like do you need all those channels and apps? Do you need to eat out every night? Whatever the cost, you can make some cuts.
3. Think Long Term
Living on your own isn’t easy. Creating financial independence is even more difficult. If this is something you want, it will take dedication, patience, and time. During that time, learn what you are willing to do to stay free from economic burdens. What you do today with your credit and debt is how you will live tomorrow and possibly for the rest of your life.
4. Pay Yourself First
Why don’t you save? “I don’t have enough” is usually the answer. In reality, you do but you aren’t accustomed to saving it, only spending it. At first, your self-payment may only be 5%, but after a while, you’ll see that you can do it. Be good to yourself through saving first, then spending. You’ll be amazed how many fewer financial emergencies you have and how much more peace you’ll experience once you have created a sense of financial independence.
5. Start With Why
Simon Sinek is a celebrated author of the book “Start With Why.” He wrote the book to help people find inspiration at work and build work culture from the inside out. What does that have to do with saving? Much, if you consider what inspires you to save money in the first place. Do you want to change jobs or careers? Do you want to buy a new car, so you don’t have to keep repairing the old one? Find your why and begin saving.
There are multiple other ways to begin your journey of financial independence. Many prices are going up and staying there. Meanwhile, many of us aren’t making more. Something must give, but if you control your finances, make sure you’re not giving up your desire to save. Your financial independence depends on it.