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Being an adult

Hey guys, I could use some advice on being an adult. I’m older now and i applied for a job at retail. What should I do in the meantime to take care of my new responaibilities?

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In my admittedly limited experience, one really important thing is to plan a few days ahead. Not with a lot of detail, but enough that I know where I need to be when and what time isn’t committed to anything in particular

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My question would be: what part of “being an adult” are you struggling with? There are a lot of different things and many different ways of handling each of them. Specific questions will get you better advice.

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Right. Well first things first, working a good job. Building a nest egg. Finances

Yeah, finances can be tough, and our schools (since you’re in the US as well) are pretty bad at teaching a good foundation.

I think your first priority, really, is to get in a good habit around budgeting, since that will let you figure out how to make whatever money you’re making at your new job work for your current situation.

A good place to start with that could be https://www.youneedabudget.com/the-four-rules/. I swear by the app, as well, but the most important thing first is the process behind it. You can execute the budget in just a Google spreadsheet, if you don’t want to shell out for the app (which you shouldn’t, if you don’t know whether you can actually afford it)

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Seconding zero-based budgeting systems like You Need A Budget, I do a homebrew version in Excel. The basic principles are pretty solid: they’re a more elaborate version of the envelope system, which has been around for ages.

Also useful is developing the willpower to, well, not spend money, especially on impulse buys. For things like computer games, or anything more expensive, I usually sit on the decision for at least a week, to make sure I really want whatever it is, before buying. This stops you from buying things that you think you really want, but will forget about within two hours.

For savings / nest eggs, what to save in first is country-specific, so I can’t strongly recommend anything from here in the UK. If there’s a savings type where the employer or the government matches your contribution up to a certain amount (e.g. UK state pensions), without tax, that’s a good place to start, because it’s free money, even before any interest.

I found that I got paralysed trying to find the place with the best interest rate. Just put the money somewhere that’s good enough to start with, so you can get the compound interest going. You can always move the money elsewhere later.

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Yeah, signing up to have a 401k contributions automatically removed from your paycheck is a great way to make saving for retirement not feel painful (and any match from your employer is worth getting). Really, any kind of saving you can do without having to make a concious decision about is going to be good, whether it’s a 401k deduction, or an automatic transfer to your savings (or even a direct-deposit of your paycheck to savings, and then an automatic transfer to your check for your monthly expenses).

Separately, a good goal to shoot for in the short term is to save ~3 months of your monthly budget as a safety cushion in case something bad happens, either losing your job or just an unexpected large expense.

Alright. That’s pretty good. I think I can take care of a few things eventually. I just need to get to work

One thing I have found to be a tricky distinction I have learned to make, as an adult, is learning to tell the difference between “bad” and “I don’t like it.” Probably the main catalyst for this realization was when my now-wife took me to see the band HIM many years ago, and I spent the whole show thinking: this is very well done, even if it’s not really my thing.

The other thing I’ve gradually grown better at is the realization that, in order to get good at something, you have to be bad at it first for a while, and no matter what, there has to be a first day you practice a thing. Over the last few years I’ve gotten okay at a couple new hobbies (calligraphy and shinobue flute), and because the taiko drumming group I’m in is starting a new routine played very low to the ground, in a sort of deep lunge position, I’ve started “greasing the groove” by just practicing a lunge or squat position whenever I wash the dishes, instead of just bending over like I used to.

So yeah, little bits of practice add up, I guess is the lesson here? We notice trees only after they’ve grown tall over the course of many years, but they had to be small trees first.

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Oh also conversely it helps to remember that we are all just children grown tall, and that, in a real way, most of us kind of don’t know what we’re doing most of the time

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