How to successfully adult: a beginner’s guide

March 08, 2016
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Adulthood is fantastic, particularly the variation of adulthood where you have no debts, no serious partner and no inhibitions. It’s the time of your life where you can travel, get drunk and party to your heart’s content, leaving that pesky essay till the wee hours of the morning before it’s due. But all this fun is short lived, and eventually you’ll have to grow up and face facts: you have no savings, that effortless fitness level you attained in your youth is now elusive at best, and your social media feeds are flooded with pictures of you in various states of inebriation. All this time you haven’t actually been an adult, just a really tall child with money, and now you have to grow up all at once. Before you start panicking, here are some advanced procedures to aid your slide into adulthood - for real this time.  

Start a savings account

Houses, weddings and children may seem way off in the future, but that kind of money takes longer to save than the relatively small amount of cash you need for another trip to Thailand. Shop around for savings accounts with good interest rates and start putting money aside for the inevitable future. Seriously, start now.

Clean up your social media profiles

When your CV boasts of your great work ethic, it’s not ideal to be holding a goon bag in your Facebook display picture. Untag yourself from some of the more risqué photos, put your security on private and maybe delete some of those regrettable status updates.

Get informed

Start reading newspapers and listening to news radio - whatever it takes to understand the political world and your part in it. Be smart about the sources you choose for your news though.

Set up a new grown-up email account

Having a legit-sounding email address will make you seem more professional than the one you made on your parents’ computer did when you were 13. Try to use your full name in the email, and set up your inbox to filter out the promotional emails from the ones you really need to see.

Sort out your super

It’s another thing that feels lightyears away, but you really don’t want to skimp on your retirement. The ATO has a SuperSeeker function that searches for all superannuation accounts linked to your tax file number, which you can then compile into one fund. Cash money, bitches.    

Sign up for LinkedIn and pimp your profile

Add a picture, all your experience and a description, and make yourself seem irresistible to networkers and employers. Anything that gets you ahead of your less organised peers is a bonus, cut-throat as it is.

Invest in new friendships

Once you’ve started networking, build relationships with people in your field. You’ll always love your high school friends, but as they all follow different paths, you need to surround yourself with people who will encourage you and motivate you towards common goals. 

Learn to act professionally

Find out how to write a professional email and cover letter, how to structure your CV, and how to act in interviews. Proper email etiquette may just be the deciding factor in your favour.

Get all the insurance

Or what you can afford. Health, comprehensive car, home and contents… look at what you need and what you can afford, and get it. Shop around for this too; insurance is a competitive industry, and if you look hard enough you can certainly find a good deal.

Natalie Stevens

Natalie is a writer, reader and Olympian grade procrastinator studying a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney. 

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