It’s an exciting new chapter for you and also for your family. For many, this is when you’ll “officially” be seen as an adult. With that comes often comes the expectation of taking responsibility for your debts, housing, and overall budget — along with finding a job in your chosen field.
To help you manage this transition, here are 10 tips to lifehack adulting.
- Make sure your academic credentials are easy to access. Scan your graduation certificate and have an electronic version available for potential employers.
- Take a professional photo. A good smartphone can do the job and a simple headshot is effective when setting up user profiles on virtual recruitment sites. Also set up a LinkedIn account if you don’t have one, using that professional photo. Set your status as “open for recruitment.”
- Update your resumé. If you haven’t already done it, now’s the time to make a smart, concise CV. There are many online resources to help get you started.
- Set realistic goals. Write down your goals for one to three years detailing where you’d like to be financially and what assets you’d like to own. These can be as small as updating your tech devices to owning a car and renting an apartment. It’s important to be realistic and research current entry-level salaries in your profession or field when making this list.
- Determine your financial personality. Are you a spender or saver? Keep it real with yourself so you can be very aware of your financial strengths and weaknesses.
- Make a plan to repay your debt. Draft a list of who you need to repay every month and how much can you realistically save after you’ve paid out all your expenses. This list should include your student loan, average monthly credit card spending and anyone you’ve committed to financially. (If you don’t own a credit card, perhaps now’s the time to start considering one to help manage your monthly cash flow? Here are a few reasons why a personal credit card might be right for you. Being timely with repaying debt is one of the building blocks for a good financial reputation and credit rating.
- Develop a Budget. Once you land a job and there’s money coming in you will need to build a budget to help manage your cash flow, save for your future goals and live within your means. This article can help you with budgeting basics.
- Share expenses. Compare costs and benefits across service providers. Is it possible to split the cost of any items or services with a friend or sibling who is at a similar stage in life as you? Sharing the cost of rent, WiFi, and groceries can go a long way. You don’t have to do it all on your own.
- Pay yourself first and stay on track. Save first, spend after. This way you aren’t broke every month. Set up a savings account that will become your savings account. When your salary hits, having a standing order in place to immediately transfer a specific amount every month. When your salary hits, having a standing order in place to immediately transfer a specific amount every month can pay off down the road. In one year’s time, you might have enough money saved to fund that vacation you’ve been dreaming of.
- Revisit your budget. Sometimes you might have more money available or you might have an unexpected expense like needing a new laptop. Making updates to your financial plan is something that will happen throughout your life and that’s okay. What’s important is getting back on track after you’ve adjusted.
Adulting isn’t an overnight transformation. It’s a work in progress that you can conquer one step at a time. The payout can be a feeling of accomplishment and excitement you may only understand when you’re drinking a cup of coffee in your favourite mug, in your own kitchen. The planning and the work will be totally worth it.
Asma Ali is a freelance writer based in the Caribbean who constantly tries to update and improve the way she adults.
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.