When you were little what did you consider to be a ‘grown-up’?
To a four-year-old, to be ten, double digits, is the reach the height of maturity. A year six student is pretty grown-up to a kindergartener. To a year seven student, their geography teacher is clearly a grown-up even if they’re only 23 years old, fresh out of university and still living with their parents. Grown-ups have cars, jobs, wear high heels, have briefcases and furrowed brows. They can cross the road without holding anyone’s hand. They drink coffee and watch boring news on TV instead of cartoons.
To a little kid, once you’re a ‘grown-up’ you’ve got everything figured out, however, grown-ups rarely feel like they’ve got everything under control. Adults – particularly young adults – often feel fraudulent, like they’re playing dress-up like, there are so many markers of adulthood they haven’t checked off yet.
For the record, there’s no one correct way to be an adult but there are a few universal things that we’ve all got on our to-do lists that need to be dealt with so, set a bit of time aside to check these five things off your ‘being a grown-up’ to-do list.
Make sure your credit card is right for you
We know what you’re thinking, ‘right for me, if I can tap it and buy things then that makes it right for me!’ but actually, your specific bank and credit card type can have a major impact on your finances. Why do you have the credit card you currently have? Perhaps you researched it meticulously and made what you’re absolutely certain is the right choice for you. If so, then great! However, most of us got our credit cards based on recommendations from friends or family members or even because it was the default option recommended by the bank. There are various types of credit cards on the market: low-rate cards, balance transfer cards, low annual fee cards, cards linked to rewards or frequent flyer programs. You’ll need to do some research to determine which card matches your current needs. You can read more about different types of credit cards here.
Start an emergency fund
If 2020 has taught us one thing it’s that we should expect the unexpected. Many of us have been thrown for a loop by the coronavirus and the way it’s changed how or even if we are able to work. Many young people were caught unawares and being unable to pay their rent were forced to move back in with their parents (which is no big deal and honestly your parents cooking was better anyway!) but they could have been saved by an emergency fund. An emergency fund is a backup fund, separate for your savings that can cover any unexpected and urgent expenses. To learn more about how to save for an emergency fund, check out this MoneySmart resource.
Buy a proper dining table
This piece of advice will be short and sweet. Eating dinner sitting on the floor is cute once, twice tops but at the end of the day, the distinction between a coffee table and a dining table is important! Go to a cheap flat-pack furniture store, your local market place, take advantage of council pick up. It doesn’t have to be an expensive table but just get a table and a couple of folding chairs so that you can have people over for dinner like the grown-up that you are!
Learn something about wine
People are going to keep asking you about wine the older you get. It is one of life’s inevitabilities, people will start caring more and more about wine the older that you get and eventually, you’re going to have to expand your wine vocabulary beyond ‘red’, ‘white’ and ‘another glass, please.’ There are plenty of ways to expand your wine vocabulary and the best thing about this is that you can do this by drinking! Get yourself some wine that comes with tasting notes or go to a wine tasting and experiment until you find which varietals you like.
Read voraciously! In a society so obsessed with immortality, our neglect of the written word is downright shameful. To quote Umberto Eco, “The person who doesn’t read lives only one life. The reader lives 5,000. Reading is immortality backwards.” So read a book that wasn’t assigned to you in school. Open your eyes to diverse perspectives. Read a classic, read something written by someone whose lived experience is different from your own. Check out this list of 100 classic books you should read in your lifetime.