Today on the blog, I’m sharing some “adulting” tips for us millennials. I celebrated my 26th birthday last week (eek.. only 4 years till 30!). I began thinking about all the goals I had set for myself. Some I have achieved, some I am still working on, and some things I have achieved that I never thought of as goals. I thought I’d share some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. I’ve seriously considered this post for while because I’ve wondered if I have fully become an adult and should render advice. I still love Disney movies and eating Fruity Pebbles for breakfast. However, I think adulthood is a process. Life is always changing and it is exciting and scary at the same time. I would say in the past 3-4 years (post-college), I’ve learned so much in the way of being an adult. So here is my list:
(1) Make time for family: For me, this has always been a top priority. In adulthood, you begin to appreciate your parents and the scarifies they made for you through the years. Get to the know the people who make you…YOU! Jobs, boyfriend/girlfriends, and friends come and go, but your family remains. Sadly, one day you won’t be able to pick up the phone and call your favorite aunt or your dad, so make time for them now. You never know when they will be gone. Call them, eat dinner with them, or send them a gift.
(2) Travel: Evan and I set this goal when we got married. We wanted to travel as much as we could while we were young and could enjoy the quality time together. That may be a trip to Hawaii or a trip to the beach, it doesn’t matter as long as you experience the journey. It always does my soul good to step away and venture to a new place. The memories we have made on trips have been better than any material gift. My tip is to plan in advance. Figure out the costs, things you might want to do, and where to stay. Ask those who have been to the place you want to go. You can save money by cutting a habit like drinking sodas or eating out. With the internet, it is so easy to find inexpensive ways to encounter the place you are going.
(3) Invest in Quality Items: This is so essential! Save your money and buy quality items that you can use in the future. For example, buy a nice quality suit. You will have a job interview one day, right!? PSA: Banana Republic has some of my favorite suits. Also, invest in nice shoes and a good purse. Nothing will make you look more put together than a nice pair of shoes and a nice bag. Invest in Kate Spade, Tory Burch, or a Louis Vuitton. They seriously last forever and give you such a presentable look and trust me, people always notice what you wear! There is only one first impression. The cost is may be high, but plan for it. I can’t tell you how many times I have spent money on the cheap items to cut corners and only had to go back and buy quality, spending more money in the process when quality was the more valuable option.
(4) Start a Retirement Account: I know it sounds crazy, right? I’m only 26. Evan works in the financial industry and he always promotes investing in your future. Social Security, regardless of political beliefs, is a long-shot for us. It is on you to have enough to one day retire. If you are lucky enough to find a job that offers a 401(k) with a match, TAKE ADVANTAGE! It is free money and the tax-deferred growth is fantastic. Don’t believe me? A quick Google search will confirm this. 401(k) plans are also very low cost from an investment perspective and are low maintenance. They have different funds available depending on risk tolerance and many providers offer services to help you get started. Check out where you stand on your retirement goals with Personal Capital’s Retirement Planner!
(5) Check your Credit Report: If you ever want to buy a car or house… you better know your score. I sound like one of those television commercials now but seriously. I recently had to do this and had no idea where to begin. I had to phone a friend. There are so many sights that will let you check your score for free. However, be careful and don’t check it often because it can cause your score to go down (which is not good!). A credit card is not required, so don’t fall for that!
(6) Learn to Eat Alone: So many people can’t do this. I always found that strange. In college, sometimes I would go eat by myself (at Salsarita’s, of course). I honestly loved it. I’m sure people were like what is she doing all alone but it was nice to just being happy in my own company. I found through the years that a lot of people can’t do this. They simply don’t know how to be alone. I think it’s a huge sign of adulthood when you can learn to be content in your own presence and own thoughts. Try it! Eat dinner by yourself. You might enjoy it.
(7) Get a Pet: However, make sure you can handle the responsibility! It is a lot of work (they are like kids) but they can bring so much joy and compassion in your life. Bella and Bo taught me a lot about being responsible and being a parent. I worry when they are sick and work hard to meet there needs. Even on a lousy day, it’s so awesome to come home to something who loves you more than life itself. They can make any day a better day. As I write this, Bo is sitting in my lap, snuggling me. Pets are also a great excuse to get outside after a long day. They need exercise and so do you. No offense, we all do!
(8) Create Meaningful Relationships: Dating can be hard. My best advice is to date people with the idea of “marriage” in mind. Not that you might marry that person but if that person was your spouse, is that the kind of person you want to raise your kids, the person you want to see on a bad day, or the person who is with you when you are sick? Dating to date never made much sense to me. Maybe I’m a romantic at heart, but I think especially when you hit your mid-20s you have to be intentional when dating someone. Life is way too short to spend it with someone you don’t really love.
(9) Guard your Reputation: When someone is hiring you for a job, they are creeping on your Facebook, Instagram, and all the in-between. Make sure you are showing the best you. Everything you post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is always there. No matter how many times you delete it or change it. It can be found and could cost you your dream job. Think about how others may perceive you. Would you hire you? Social media has changed the way we hire. Your resume is great but who are you really? If you would cringe if your grandmother saw the picture, think twice about posting it. Also, given it is a political year, keep those thoughts to yourself. Employers look at that and may think rethink that potential offer.
(10) Work on your Resume: If you don’t know how to write one, ask someone you consider successful. Career centers at most schools will help too! They use placement numbers to their advantage so they have a vested interest in your success. Also, major companies have many resources available. It can be confusing.. one page or two? What font? Should I add this? Don’t be afraid to get advice. When looking for your dream job, the way your resume looks can tell a lot about you. Make sure your spelling is correct and have someone proofread. One trick is to read it out aloud, you will catch the mistakes! Then, when you get the interview, keep it self-centered. Employers don’t want to hear about what a group of you did, they want to know about the person sitting across the table and your accomplishments.
Have a wonderful week and good luck!