Let’s face it – not everything we wanted to know about being an adult was taught in school. The habits we had as students do not necessarily apply for success in the adult world. For new adults, especially those who are fresh out of university and are getting their taste of the ‘Real World’, there are still some habits that are hard to let go of. Transitioning into a full fledged, responsible adult is difficult, especially when we find ourselves to be not quite it just yet.
But it’s not an excuse to not be wise, and balancing life is something that the people in our life, be it our family or bosses or friends, will appreciate. We’re not expected to know everything immediately as we transition into adulthood. Yet we can start growing towards that as we go along and develop new habits that are more apt for success in the stage that we are in.
So, as transitioning adults, what are the things that we need to manage and grow new habits for?
Young adults need to manage their finances on their own.
As soon as you get out of university, the ideal thing is that you get a good job and start earning your own money. But you can’t erase the fact that sometimes you can’t get good money immediately! Don’t fret. Earning a good salary isn’t automatic to success, but you should make a habit to learn to manage your cash flow immediately.
First, sit down and figure out how much money you’re getting per period. Then, how much do you spend? How much goes into your savings, and into emergency funds? Does the company automatically deduct things like health care, insurance, social security, or other benefits? And how much debt are you paying and how much goes into things that you don’t really need?
Figure these things out, and study how your money is spent. If you’re overspending, think about how you can cut costs on certain things. Budget your money so that you don’t have to buy unnecessary things. Keep a financial tracker with you – there are several applications now that helps you do that. Be good at paying your debt – if it’s too big, find out how you can make this manageable. Some banks let their clients work out a better payment schedule so that the debt doesn’t get bigger just because of the interest.
Establish an emergency fund of 3-6 months’ worth of your living expenses – you’ll never know when you’d need it. And do take advantage of any financial benefits like health cards, social security, etc. If your company offers investment and savings plans, or know someone who does, get in touch with them. Discuss possibilities of saving for the long-term with the money you have.
It’s never too early to start wise habits about handling your money. And while you can gaze enviously all you want at that vacation your friend just had – once you’ve saved up and stabilized your savings and income, you’re much more successful at handling your life than having a thousand vacations.
Young adults need to manage time, wisely.
You might be one of those who loves working and think your first job is awesome. That’s great. Or perhaps you’re one of those who feel that parties and meet-ups never die during college and even post-university. It’s tempting to either do daily overtime to catch up with immense workload or book weekend in and out to play hard after work. But, those things tend to tire your body out enough to make you sluggish. It’s both admirable to be dedicated at your job or to enjoy every second of your life. Just the same, you need to check if you might be working too much or playing too hard.
You need to habitually set aside time for the most important things and people that regenerate you – be it family, or a close couple of friends. You could have days where you just want to enjoy a movie or do some exercising. Life is all about balance. There has to be enough variety to make you enjoy the perks of adult life. Starting the balancing act right where you start building your own family will be a lot tougher.
Start early on these habits – your loved ones will appreciate the balance you’ve created. Successfully handling your relationships well is part of adult life, too. You’ll realize that you will appreciate that in the future!
Young adults need to manage their marketable talents.
You’re not just born with a single talent, and as you work, you learn that there are other things that you can do. They may not be necessarily confined to the career path you’ve taken. Perhaps you’re in sales, but aside from being a good conversationalist, you also have an eye for design. Or perhaps you’re a strategist but you like to teach others how to think strategically.
If you find that you have certain skills that your company may have not hired you for, talk to your boss to discuss how you can help the company even more. Or perhaps you want to put these skills out in the market – consider taking side jobs, but make sure that they don’t interfere with your current job. You can also consider doing volunteer work that can grow that skill. There are so many ways to use up your talents so that others can benefit from your skill. Your skills can even help you gain so much from using them, too.
Remember, your skills aren’t there just for you alone – the talents you have can be a great help to wherever you are placed. If you also get paid for it, it can be a significant addition to your cash flow. Make a habit of growing it so that it will become your asset. Don’t limit yourself and learn to use what you’ve been given in a good way. You never know where it leads you to success as you grow it!
Don’t stress about having to figure things out all at the same time – as a new adult, you’ll start to learn new things as you go through new experiences everyday. As you learn more about responsibility, you’ll be grateful that you have better habits at managing what is in your hands. You don’t have to panic when you’re being given more responsibilities, because you’re had better habits in place. So, stand confidently as you move forward!