There's not a handbook that teaches you how to be an adult.
Somehow you're just supposed to know that maxing out your credit card makes it harder for you to buy a house. You're also supposed to intuitively understand that talking about the last episode of "The Bachelor" isn't an appropriate interjection when you're discussing qualitative metrics at a professional conference.
When you're transitioning into the world of adulting, there are skills you'll need (both hard and soft) if you're going to survive. While our list is, by no means exhaustive, keeping these ten things in mind will help you make the switch more easily.
1. Buy some life insurance. Seriously.
Life happens. If you think life insurance is for people in their mid-60s, think again. If you don't have a life insurance policy, it's a good idea to get one now, while you can. That is if your parents don't already have one for you. Having a policy ensures that your family has some extra cash to cover your expenses, should anything terrible happen to you.
If you've got some severe medical issues, you might want to look into getting a policy that doesn't require a medical exam. Here's a list of plans that don't require one.
2. You’re in charge of your money
Adulting means having a lot more financial freedom, but with more freedom comes more responsibility. Your bills and finances increase once you become an adult. Suddenly you've got a mortgage, insurance bills, taxes, kids, and a savings account to build up. Not to mention you might have some student loans or other debts you need to pay off.
With all these extra financial responsibilities, you need to know how to manage your finances. Creating and sticking to a budget, building up your savings, and not living beyond your means are a few ways you become more responsible with your money. You'll have to learn to pass up T-Swift concert tickets and pay some bills instead.
3. You can’t have ramen for dinner every night
Your famous "ramen noodle surprise" won't impress anyone once you're an adult. It'll taste of freshman year and despair. Learning how to cook a few meals by yourself is a pretty big part of being an adult. There's a ton of benefits for doing so, too. Your food will be tastier (if you follow recipes), you'll eat healthier, and you'll save a ton of money by not eating out every night.
Plus, there's nothing hotter than dating someone who knows how to grill up some filet mignon and pair it with the perfect wine.
4. Pretend you’re already old
We all like to think that getting old isn't something that'll happen to us. Reality check: we all get old someday. The trick to making it easier is pretending you're already old, which means saving for retirement like right now. Even if you put aside a few bucks every paycheck, you're on your way to a more comfortable retirement.
Think about it. Do you really want to spend your last few years of life living with your kids because you can't afford to live on your own? Or relying solely on government welfare checks to pay for your food? Probs not.
5. Maintaining your home is your responsibility
Remember the days when you lived in an apartment, and could call maintenance when something went wrong? Those days are over when you become an adult. Once you have a house, it's your responsibility to make sure it's liveable. When your A/C goes out, or your hot water isn't working, it's your job to fix it.
You should also know how to keep your house clean, too. If you don't know how to wash dishes by hand, vacuum, or unclog a drain, start learning now.
6. Don’t underestimate the importance of small talk
Even if you're introverted, you need to know how to carry on a conversation with someone. Especially in the job field. You need to know how to talk to people and expand your network. If your opening line involves slurred references to Battlestar Galactica or "Grey's Anatomy," you're doing something wrong.
Good conversation skills always come in handy. Whether you're at a bar chatting up a hottie or networking at a professional conference, you need to know how to talk to people.
7. You need to know how to manage your time
Time management is an art. If you haven't figured out how to do it, you probably should. As an adult, you're going to be juggling a ton of different personal and professional priorities. Work deadlines, family obligations, and your personal life are all things you have to learn how to manage.
If you don't want to be constantly frazzled, you need solid time management skills. Making just a few tweaks to your day or week makes the things in your life fall into an orderly fashion.
8. You need more than one skill on your resume
One of the things that stands out among employers are people who have a large skill set and fill different job roles if needed. Having those transferable skills help you stand out among employers. Skills like strong communication skills, leadership, teamwork, and multitasking are items you need to have on your resume. Or, at least prepare yourself to talk about them in job interviews.
The great thing about transferable skills is once you develop them, they stick around for life. For instance, if you worked in retail throughout college, you'll learn customer service skills (not to mention sales experience). Even if you spent some time doing clerical work for a business, don't discount it. You have organizational, email, and professional communications skills. And while you may never have to write another essay or term paper, employers will delight in your writing skills.
9. Your credit card isn’t like cash
Too many people use their credit card irresponsibly. They rack up a ton of debt and don't reap the benefits of having a credit card. Credit cards are not supposed to allow you to live beyond your means. They're supposed to help you build up credit so you can buy a home or a car—not help you buy another night of bottle service or a pair of Gucci's.
People who use their credit cards wisely are generally a lot happier. They're less stressed out about their money and feel more in control of their finances. Pay your balance off monthly. Trust me here.
10. You finally get to think for yourself
As an adult, it's important that you know how to think for yourself. You need to know how to question the current way of doing things—whether that's at work or in the real world. Learn how to analyze your thinking and present evidence for your thoughts. Don't just accept your personal reasoning as proof.
Developing critical thinking skills allows you to be a more successful adult. You'll learn how to control your emotions and act fairly towards others. In the real world, nobody wants to work with selfish teenagers. They're looking for smart, dependable, and kind coworkers.