Age is just a number. You know you’ve actually become an adult when you start behaving like one. How can you know for sure that you’re really, truly a grown-up, at last in the financial sense? Let us count the ways…
Your parents have cut you off. Your financial life probably started with a weekly allowance from your folks, and that practice might continue until after graduate school. But at some point, you get taken off the family payroll. (Whether it’s your idea or not is another matter.) As Dr. Seuss says in Oh, The Places You’ll Go, “You’ve got brains in your head, you’ve got feet in your shoes.” This officially means you’re on your own.
You have a payday! And boy, does payday feel good. A budget can’t be far off…or some unwanted debt will be.
You write your first huge check. The big payment will probably go toward your first car, your first apartment lease or a down payment on a house. Writing out a four or five-digit check is scary stuff. But since you saved up, researched the purchase and closed the deal, you feel like an accomplished, money-savvy adult.
You save for retirement. College kids can’t think past spring break, but the truly grown-up plan to stop working as soon as they start, earning them the status of not only smart but wise.
You pick up the bill for the table. Nothing is more satisfying than saying “I’ve got this,” and sliding the check to your side of the table.
You pay off your credit cards – every month. If you use credit cards for your wants (or needs, for that matter), you are diligent about paying off the balance when it’s due.
You’re a homeowner. The bigger the down payment you have, the more proud you should be.
You paid off your student loans. Enough said.
What’s mine is yours. You enter into the most important partnership of your life – marriage.
You’ve got the next generation to take care of. Life is all fun and games until a child is blinking back at you, and you have to fulfill their every need…for at least 18 years.