If you’ve ever said, “#adulting” or “Adulting today!” then congratulations, you have taken the next step in your post-secondary career. As a brand new graduate and adult, your future is vast and filled with promise, but to really unlock that promise, there are some skills you’ll need to add to your bag of tricks. After all, the secret to successful adulting is making it look effortless.
So now that you’re about to step into the great unknown, here are few things that can make being an adult easier.
Learn to Cook Something
There’s takeout, UberEats and the midnight run to the 24-hour corner store. Not that you have to give up your Sunday ritual of Chinese food and Netflix, but learning how to make two to three meals can save you money and help you lead a healthier lifestyle. Plus it may impress your friends when you start throwing dinner parties. If you’re nervous around the stove, your local culinary college has beginner cooking classes where you can learn how to navigate the kitchen.
Create a Core Wardrobe
Do you have clothes for a job interview, a nice dinner, drinks with coworkers and a casual evening with friends? If not, it’s time to pull together a wardrobe that can support all areas of your life. Having the right pieces in your wardrobe can also reduce the ‘what to wear’ stress. Creating the ideal-for-you closet doesn’t need a lot of money. A capsule wardrobe — made of a handful of functional pieces that all work together — is all you really need.
Ace an Interview
Besides having a good answer for the five most common interview questions, prepare for interviews by doing research on the company and the people you’re meeting. While you highlight your relevant experience and show how you can help the company grow, also ask thoughtful questions about the company. That’s because while the company is trying to decide if you’re the right fit for them, you should also be deciding if the company is the right fit for you. And because more companies are using video as part of the interview process, it’s a good idea to know your good side, find the best lighting and have a great elevator pitch ready. Practice in front of a camera.
Use Negotiating Skills
Remember the days when you bargained with your parents for extra time outside, more snacks, or one more cartoon? Negotiating skills are key when it’s time to discuss salaries, buy a new car, or get an extra week of vacation. When it comes to your salary, not negotiating can cost you, so learn a few skills to get what you’re worth.
File Your Taxes
Gone are the days when your parents could claim you as a dependent. Now it’s time to file your own taxes. Things to keep track of for taxes include your tuition and textbook costs (because they are expensive!) if you graduated in the same year. Other things you should keep track of include your rent, public transit and interest from your government student loan. If you’re a freelancer or own your own business it’s a little more complicated. Regardless of your situation, knowing who to call is vitally important. An accountant, especially one who specializes in your income situation, can help you max out your deductions. Reach out to friends and family to get a few recommendations, interview them, and choose the one who best suits your needs.
Take Advantage of Work Benefits
Taking advantage of work benefits like group health insurance, retirement benefits and even tuition reimbursement as part of your financial plan. Creating a financial plan can give you a roadmap of where you’ll be in five, ten or fifteen years (that may sound like forever, but it’s really not). While your retirement won’t be for another 40-50 years, thanks to investing and compound interest, the earlier you start, the more you may have when it’s time to relax. Even $25 a month can be a good start.
Know Who to Call in a Crisis
We’re all guilty of this, the furnace dies on the coldest day of the year or the toilet leaks on a public holiday and we scramble to find a furnace repair person or a plumber. It’s inconvenient and can be expensive. Save yourself the stress later by finding repair and maintenance experts before you need them. If you rent, have the number of the super and the emergency number stored on your phone.
Adulting comes with a lot of responsibility and sometimes, it’s not fun. Still, being an adult gives you the opportunity to shape your future. It also means you can spend the entire day in your sweats eating pizza and watching YouTube videos and no one can tell you a thing.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.