As an enthusiastic, young adult entering the professional world, it can feel a little overwhelming trying to navigate the new responsibilities and expectations that come with this time of transition. Although this is to be expected, there are ways to prepare yourself early on and reduce some unnecessary stress and decision fatigue in the future.
By following along and implementing some of these practices, you will find yourself better equipped to handle new situations while continuing to progress financially, professionally, and socially in a way that is attainable for you.
Develop a budgeting routine
If you’ve been a go with the flow type of person for most of your life and feel stranger to regular routine, you’re not alone—but as a young professional it might be time to consider introducing some structure into your life. Financial management is something that many people in this stage of life struggle with, which has the capacity to impact pretty much all aspects of your life.
Without money to spend, your decisions and options can become very limited and stressful. This is why no matter how much money you earn you should strongly consider implementing a budgeting routine. Learning the basics of personal financial management early on in your career and life will benefit you long term and ensure that you are never living beyond your means, all while instilling a positive money mindset.
It might be helpful to download a budgeting app where you can track your purchases and bank account balance to re-enforce your habits and teach you how to spend only what you have allocated for that month. Planning and budgeting should not feel overly complicated, but rather a consistent and intentional practice to help improve your life.
Make a plan to pay off debt
Most young adults acquire some amount of debt due to the expenses of education and professional programs. With that, you are typically required to start paying on these loans or outstanding bills right after completing school or a program—whether you have a full-time job lined up with a good paying salary or not. It’s recommended that you make a plan to pay for your education well in advance so when the time comes you won’t be left wondering where you are going to pull this money from.
Holding onto debt can be a stressful way to live, and if you’re serious about having a family or getting married in the years to come you won’t want this lingering over your head and limiting you from future desires.
Protect yourself and your family
Although the near future might be on your mind, chances are you probably aren’t thinking too hard about retirement or the years beyond that as your career has yet to even peak.
Contrary to what you might assume, now is actually a beneficial time to start the processes of securing your own financial future and assets, as well as your future or current family. The reason being, it’s easier to attain affordable life insurance coverage when you’re young and healthy as you’re generally less at risk for certain diseases and health complications.
Choosing a life insurance policy is one small piece of a very big financial picture you’re about to create and without it, you could be putting yourself and loved ones at a disservice.
If you are interested to learn more about the best policy and time to purchase based on your specific situation, you can chat online or in-person with a trusted insurance representative who can help guide you in this decision.
Finance large purchases
A common mistake that many young professionals, unfortunately, get themselves trapped into is overspending on larger purchases since it’s their first time finally making some real money.
It’s easy to overlook how truly expensive life can be and while it might seem rational to buy that home or car that costs more than half your salary—you will come to realize that you can’t quite make your payments when you factor in your other bills. This goes back to the principle of living within your means while working to gradually build the life you dream of, not expecting to have everything the second you receive your first paycheck.
Make sure that when you move out of your parent’s home, buy a new car, or make any large purchase decision, you have the finances to back it up. Consider all the ways that you can save money during a move as well so you don’t go broke in the process only to not have money for furniture.
Invest in your priorities
Something few people talk about but is very critical to your future happiness is investing in things that bring you joy. Yes—preparing, planning and saying no to things we cannot afford is good practice and ensures that we can make it through life without getting ourselves into serious financial trouble. But with that being said, if you want to be happy and experience satisfaction in your life you must outline your interests and passions and determine how you will be able to invest in those priorities.
Setting time aside for your passions early on in your career sets a standard for a healthy work-life balance and can help reduce the risk of burnout.
Start an emergency fund
Nobody wants to plan for an unexpected situation, an illness, a disaster or an issue that ends up negatively impacting you across the board financially, physically, socially or emotionally. But the reality is, life happens and sometimes we are faced with an outstanding circumstance we never thought possible.
In order to avoid falling apart at the seams, it’s suggested that you set aside a small portion of your income as part of an emergency fund. Hopefully, you don’t have to touch this and can continue to add to it, creating more financial security for yourself and your loved ones.
Knowing that you can afford a difficult circumstance can help reduce your stress as a young adult and help you feel confident that you are setting yourself up for success despite life’s unexpected events. Even so, if you are forced to tap into this emergency fund, the rest of your normal payments and bills do not have to suffer and you can stay ahead of any unanticipated incident.
Life can feel busy and hectic, sometimes—like a whirlwind of emotions and changing situations. It can be a challenge some days to complete the bare minimum of tasks we need to accomplish, let alone create detailed future plans as a young professional just entering the workforce.
Although you’re just getting the hang of this whole adulting thing, by implementing a few of these recommendations now, you will be setting yourself up for a better life and securing a future that you can be sure to be proud of.