Adulting Basics

{By Taylor Turner}
Life gets real – fast. High School: over. College: graduated.

Then the reality of life settles in. Initially you feel the weight and responsibility of being an adult; and soon thereafter your parents get really smart very fast – and I mean really smart almost overnight. Trust me on this. They seriously become the smartest people on the planet and your biggest resources and fans for quite practically everything (thanks, mom and dad).

Then the ‘adulting’ symptoms begin to appear. From cutting the lights out when you leave the room because the bill hits your bank account at the end of each month (its now a chronic habit of mine) to realizing that your bank account is not a bottomless pit of Benjamins.

As I get older, it is becomes even more clear that life is full of rewards and responsibilities. Money has a component of both. Money: one of the most powerful tools in the world, for good and bad. Everyone understands that you must use a hammer to put a nail in a board – not a screwdriver. When we know how to use a hammer we reap the rewards of getting that nail in the board. It’s the same with your finances: you can’t spend more than you earn – except our buddies in Washington, D.C. have “legally” monopolized that in the Department of Stupid. In short, we only reap the financial benefits of money when we take responsibility and use the right tools.

The first thing to do is write your financial goals down – on paper.

Trust me it helps. Take five to ten minutes and think about your goals for this year: want to save for a trip to the Bahamas for the weekend or a road trip to a state near you that you have never visited, start saving for the car you have always wanted, or it could be as simple as saving money for a rainy day. It can be any goal but make sure to write it down. It will help.

Your goals are written down – now for the easier part. Although this part takes consistency, it is easier because most people never make the time to figure out their goals in the first place. The next part is keeping track of your goals. Thankfully there is a multitude of free software tools available exactly for this. Since I am just a tad bit nerdy, I use excel; and although I love it, it is definitely not something that everyone will find helpful. Here are a couple programs that I have found over the past year which are user friendly: YNAB, HomeBudget, EveryDollar, or Mint.

Life is what you make it: you have to take it by the horns and get ‘er done.

By setting goals for yourself, you will already be far ahead of the pack (most people never think about this) and by following through with your goals you will be setting up yourself and you grandchildren to reap the rewards of you some time to lay out your goals. As one well-known gentleman says, “live like no one else right now so that later on you can live like no one else.”

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