Today, I’m SUPER excited to introduce a guest post from Michael @ Super Millennial! Since graduating college dead broke, he has become a homeowner, published author, and quit his six figure job to be an online entrepreneur by 29. Check out Super Millennial to learn how to live life on your terms!
Why is adulting so hard?
Many people are thrown out into the real world right out of college with very little guidance. For many people, the period right after college graduation can probably be summed up as a “figure it out” as you go mentality.
There are benefits to the trial and error approach as you navigate the transition to adulthood, but there are also some drawbacks. One of the biggest ones is you have to learn things the hard way by failing…often multiple times. This can be a costly and frustrating learning process. Thankfully, personal finance doesn’t have to be something that you have to tackle on your own- there are a plethora of resources out there!
College is great, but for most students, it doesn’t prepare you for understanding how to handle personal finances. The longer you wait to learn about saving, paying down debt, and investing, the less you will be rewarded. Instead, let me help you speed up the process with these tips to be a pro at “adulting.”
A lot of this advice is from my book, Advice for My Younger Self, which is now available on Amazon. Think of it as a bridge from college to the real world.
This post and the book are broken down into four main areas of life; finances, health, professional, and personal life.
Our education system is broken. You end up with a ton of debt and in most cases, you don’t even learn about useful topics like money management, investing, or personal finance basics. Instead, you get to take general ed classes like mythology, philosophy, and a foreign language.
Why couldn’t go those pointless general ed classes be replaced with courses like money management, paying off student loans, investing, or ways to save money? If only it was that easy…
Here are my top financial pieces of advice for “adulting.”
1) Establish an Emergency Fund
Establishing an emergency fund should be your #1 priority in your financial life. According to a June 2017 CNBC article over 57 million Americans have zero saved up for emergencies. An emergency fund will be there to save you in case you lose your job, your car breaks down or have an unexpected medical expense.
2) Open a Roth IRA
A Roth IRA is an account you will set up with a brokerage (I recommend Vanguard) and contribute towards your retirement. While most people are familiar with a 401K a Roth IRA is slightly different as you contribute with post-tax money. This means you won’t be taxed again when you retire.
3) Earn a High Credit Score
Worry about your credit score more than your GPA!
In many cases, your credit score will have a much bigger impact in your future than your degree. This three digit number will impact your ability to get a loan for a house, car, and opening credit cards. Some employers now use it for your pre-employment screening as well.
Use a free site like Credit Karma to monitor your credit and find ways to increase your score.
4) Create A Budget
With apps like Mint and Personal Capital, it has never been easier to track how you spend your money. Use these free apps to learn how you spend your money and find areas where you can cut back like cable bills, unused gym membership, or too many nights at the bar.
5) Automate Your Money
If you automate your money you won’t have to worry about your willpower getting in the way. As soon as your paycheck hits your bank account organize your accounts to automatically pay your bills, save, and contribute towards your retirement.
By starting a good fitness routine in your twenties you’ll establish a lifelong habit of eating right and making exercise a priority in your life. When studying the habits of successful people the overwhelming majority wake up early and exercise to start their day.
6) Exercise Often
One of the best ways to maintain your health over time is to consistently exercise. Whether it’s running, working out, yoga, or biking. Find an exercise you like doing and create a habit of doing it consistently in your twenties.
Your twenties are the time to start your professional career, create a network, and learn as much as you can.
7) Find Your Passion
It’s taken me years to truly find my passions in life and it took a ton of hard work looking for it.
Make sure you don’t spend your 20’s sitting at a job you hate or don’t love just for the money.
Make an effort to find out what you are passionate about so you can do what you love.
You’re more than likely going to job hop and meet a ton of people in your twenties. Make sure to keep a positive image when people think about working with you. When you leave a company don’t burn bridges. Stay in contact with co-workers, and build your network online.
9) Start a Side Hustle
Side hustles help you earn more money, spend time on something you are passionate about and build momentum.
Get started with a website, blog, publish an ebook or starting a podcast. You’ll love having a new creative outlet and have more money to reach your financial goals.
10) Don’t Stop Learning
Just because college is over doesn’t mean you get to stop learning. Instead of pointless textbooks like college find new ways to learn new skills.
Here are my favorite ways to keep learning:
- Take an online course. Whatever you want to learn about there is an online course for it.
- Read 1-2 books per month. Feed your brain new information by reading one or two new books a month.
- Attend a seminar. Seminars are a great way to fully immerse yourself and learn something new quickly. They are also great ways to network and meet new people with similar interests.
- Enroll in a class. Some ideas could include swimming, fitness, cooking, dance, or new computer skills.
It’s amazing how much you will change from age 20 to age 29. I barely recognize my 20-year-old self as I just hit my 30th birthday. Here are my tops tips to having a great work-life balance while still having a ton of fun in your twenties.
11) Travel Often
Traveling will never be easier than it will be in your twenties. If you can afford it and if it makes fiscal sense, try to make it one of your priorities. Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive! Camping and road trips are two inexpensive ways to broaden your horizons and make great memories.
12) Have Goals
As Tony Robbins said, “People aren’t lazy they simply have impotent goals.” I didn’t spend nearly enough time in my twenties setting goals.
Set goals in all aspects of your life to always have a target. From how much you want to earn, what weight or body fat you want to be, and what you want to achieve by certain ages. By writing down all these goals you will be much more likely to achieve them.
13) Prioritize sleep and wake up earlier
One of the best habits to start in your twenties is getting up earlier than your friends and coworkers.
When you get up earlier there seem to be unlimited benefits:
- Best time to exercise by running or going to the gym.
- Time to work on any side hustles before the business of the day takes over.
- More time to get ready, eat a good breakfast and not be flustered to work
14) Give Back
When you’re in your twenties it’s easy to not think about giving back since you might not have much money. But I’ve found that giving back helps others as much as it helps you.
If you’re doing good financially donate a small percentage to a local or national charity. If you don’t have much money yet volunteer your time in your community.
Advice For My 20 Year Old Self
Hopefully, this was helpful for all you twenty somethings and will make “adulting” easier. I’ve loved writing on these topics so much I published a book, Advice for My Younger Self, available on Amazon. If you like this post buy my book to expand on all these ideas and provide even more helpful tips to succeed in life.
You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish in one decade. Spend your time wisely, hang out with people that make your life better, and enjoy every moment.
About The Author:
Michael L. is the creator of Super Millennial where he helps millennials find their passion, earn more money and live life on their terms. He writes extensively about millennial issues and is the author of “Advice for My Younger Self: Successful Habits of Health and Wealth.” You can also check him out on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.