• Alex Thomas

20 Topics/Lessons to Learn Before Adulthood. 

Growing up most of our families didn't talk much about finances. Money seemed to be considered a private matter and when we went off to college we had to learn the hard way when adulthood began. These are some of the topics and lessons we should try to learn and understand before entering adulthood.


Credit- I didn't learn that much about credit until I was about to start college. I rushed into establishing credit. I wasn't sure what it was or how to handle it. I didn't speak to a financial professional about it either. One thing that I wished I learned before adulthood was credit usage and the best way to approach it. I wish I learned about it during middle school or even in high school so by the time I was eligible to start building credit, I would have been better prepared. One thing I would suggest to families is that they should begin having discussions with their kids about credit and help them learn about it from an appropriate early age. If they learn about credit before they are eligible to build credit, they will be better prepared to make good credit/financial decisions. 



Interest Rates-  I did some research on interest rates and discovered that your credit score can affect the interest rate we are given. I wish I learned about interest rates before I became an adult and began inquiring about loans. Knowing what I know now about interest rates, I would have made sure that my credit score was high enough to secure an interest rate low enough to make my loan repayments a little less stressful. This information would have helped me not make some of the financial mistakes I made in my early adult life as my credit score is paying for those mistakes now. Those early mistakes affected me later in life when I began searching for a newer car and getting a house.



Mortgage- When it comes to a mortgage, one of the things that you need to understand is that the lending company gets all up in your financial business. Now this may not apply to everyone, especially if you have enough money to buy a house in full, but at some point you will be interested in buying a home, because, why not? Having a home can be an asset depending on how it's used. One thing I learned about mortgages is that there are different loan length options that you can choose from, such as, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, and even 30 years. This just determines the amount of time you have to repay the loan amount you received to pay for the house. With these different repayment time length options come various interests rates and payment amounts. Generally the less time you take to pay off the mortgage, the more you pay each month in order to pay off that loan quicker. One of the things I had to learn the hard way was if you do have mortgage payments, it comes with a lot of responsibility. Some of us may want to get a home just to be able to say, ‘I have my own home,” however having a home is a huge responsibility and if it's not handled correctly it can lead to huge issues as far as your credit and life. For more details about mortgages, I recommend that you visit Lendingtree.com to read about mortgages and the different options that you have available to you. Keep in mind that there are different first time home buyer programs out there, so speak to your mortgage broker and realtor to find out which option works best for you. 

4. Learn to give and be comfortable not getting anything back- learning to give while being comfortable not getting anything back is a very interesting. Growing up, we were so used to receiving things and not giving things. Or, currently, we're so used to doing things and being told that we did a great job or get a pat on the shoulder. One of the things I have learned since becoming an adult is that you are going to have certain times or do things in life where you have to be comfortable not getting recognition or anything in return, and that's OK. It is OK for you to not get recognized for some of your actions because if you did it for the right reasons and with a willing heart, it shouldn’t matter if you get recognized.




5. How to travel for less than $1000- Travelling with less than $1000 can be a challenge if not planned correctly. There are different times in the year that are considered peak travelling seasons and I've learned to travel during the non peak seasons to be able to get the most out of my money. Peak seasons include May June and July for summer vacations and also November December for the holiday seasons. Being careful to avoid those peak season times, saves me a lot of money because not a lot of people are traveling, so airlines and hotels lower their costs because the demand is low. I wish I had learned this little gem a lot earlier in my adult life.




6. How to shop for clothes and save money- Shopping for clothes and saving money was new to me coming into adulthood. 1) I don’t really like spending money like that and 2). Men's clothing is expensive, so finding deals is always a challenge. So unless you've been shopping since you were a teenager or even a young adult this one could be strange territory for you. As I said, for myself, I’m not really used to shopping that much so this was a huge learning curve for me when I started to actually need to buy clothes and actually spend  my own money. What I've learned is that doing research, looking to see which stores have the best deals, knowing when to actually go to the physical store vs. buying online, taking advantage of purchasing a lot of clothes during the bargain times of the year, and not purchasing the newest version of an item when it is first launched because chances are the newer thing, at some point during the year will be marked down for a lower price, are essential things to know when shopping and trying to save money. 


7. How to grocery shop- This one is pretty self-explanatory. Especially being a college student or a young adult living on your own. You need to learn how to grocery shop. Again researching which store has the best deals on individual items and bulk items is essential. Also, be careful not to buy too much of something and end up not using it because you're basically throwing away money.


8. Not all friendships last- This one was a huge life lesson for me. Have you ever thought about someone that you could have been close friends with and that the relationship would just always be the way that it is now. Truth is, if you're meant to be friends you will always be friends, but sometimes that is not the case. I learned that life is a train ride and people can get off because they have their own path and their own way of life that they want to live. They leave your life and sometimes it's hard, but we have to accept that sometimes we grow apart from others. That doesn't mean that you're not going to talk to that person anymore, but it could just mean that there's some friendships that were different when you were younger.  There's different experiences in life that may have separated you both. I’ve learned to accept the friendships that come and be comfortable with releasing the friendships that go.



9. How to deal with loss- All of us have had friends that we went to elementary, middle, or high school with that may have passed away during the last couple of years and some of us haven't learned how to really cope with loss. What are the steps or processes that we can take to be able to heal during our times of grief. What can we do to heal? For some people, especially when they have lost someone very close to them, it's very difficult to function. It's difficult to see things the same way before experiencing loss, but one thing I wish I learned before adulthood was to seek support either through the help of parents or friends, or even from a professional. 



10. How to truly forgive- If you are in a relationship/friendship and you felt like you were wronged or hurt, one of the most difficult things to do, interestingly enough, is forgivness. Some people have a very difficult time forgiving others because they really trusted the person that hurt them and they didn't think that they deserved what was done to them. We may also believe that that person was incapable of actually causing us harm. Not forgiving can definitely create trust issues, but I think one of the most beautiful things in life is being able to look at something, see the lesson in it, and be able to move on positively. Now will that relationship be the same?, probably not but it's about you learning to accept what happened and being OK with moving on and not thinking about it. One thing that I've also learned is that time does heal wounds. You may not forget what that person did to you but being able to put your mind, effort, and focus into something else overtime does help. Even just being able to focus on yourself can definitely help with the healing process.



11. How to be happy and have fun alone- For some of us this is really not an issue, but for others, this can be a difficult topic, especially after experiencing such horrifying events such as COVID-19 where we've been locked in our houses with social interaction restrictions. We're so used to being able to go out and feel in touch with society. We could hug, converse, and just be around other people. Having that ability to socialize taken away can definitely raise a lot of concerns for some of us. I actually think having those restrictions showed a lot of us that we haven't been able to really focus and work on ourselves and I think that sometimes we need to take a break from society and other people to spend time with ourselves and continue to learn what makes us, us.



12. How to handle failing- This was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn, especially in 2018-2019. I was so worried about failing a lot during that time. Have you ever considered your age and thought “I'm almost 25 or I'm almost 30 years old and I haven't been able to accomplish a lot of things that I wanted to do” and you feel like such a failure? One of the things that I've learned is that some of our journeys may seem like we are heading in the wrong direction. We must  find it within ourselves to accept that not everything we do in life is going to be successful. We need to look at failures as more of a lesson. Whenever you do something and it doesn't work out, ask yourself what went wrong and try and fix it. If you can actually see what you did wrong, that is an absolutely beautiful lesson to learn and you can take that lesson and make something positive out of it. We need to truly realize that failure happens but through learning why we failed we can succeed even more.


13. When there’s a pandemic buy toilet paper! This one was quite  interesting. So this is what happened. During the early stages of the pandemic I went to Costco to buy some groceries and to buy some things in bulk, toilet paper (TP) being one of them. As I walked into the store I noticed that there were some people who had a lot of toilet paper in their cart and they were speed walking towards the front of the store. So I, not knowing what was going on, decided to buy a pack of TP as well because even though I didn't know the reason everyone was buying TP, I was not going to be the only one without it. I mean these things were flying off the shelf to the point where I thought a hurricane was coming and I completely missed the memo. All jokes aside, one thing I realized is that there are just some things that people cannot live without, and TP is one of them, for obvious reasons. Another thing I learned is that people tend to operate off of fear and not knowing what to expect. So I find it best to prepare for the unexpected. For example, I live in a state that experiences inclement weather often, so I try to stock up on certain essential items well in advance before the bad weather season. That way I beat the crowds frantically trying to buy up all the TP when the unexpected happens.





14. Your needs are important! We've all been so used to taking care of others that we rarely ever have time to assess ourselves and our own needs and make sure that they are being met. This happens a lot in relationships where our needs aren't being met when we meet a certain person, however later on we start asking them to meet our needs that they were never meeting to begin with and we get really upset about it. So I think this can be applied to life as well as relationships. Communication is very important regarding this. Your needs are important so express them from the beginning of the relationship to hopefully avoid frustration later on. 



15. It's okay to say no- Always saying yes can become stressful over time. It is acceptable to say no sometimes. it's OK for you to say no to family and friends. it's OK to say no to your employer sometimes...well, do that at your own will. Most of the time people ask you to do certain things because they don't want to do it but who's to say that you really want to do it either. It's OK for you to say no and not feel like you ever have to give someone a reason why. 



16. Life is not easy, you have to put in work- I see this a lot when it comes to social media where we see others being successful and instead of us wanting to actually put in the work to be able to achieve the things that they may have achieved, a lot of us like to use shortcuts and try to jump ahead and not work as hard. Life is not easy and it's not a quick walk. Life is a marathon and at times it can seem like its the survival of the fittest. Sometimes, I like to say, “in life you have to run through deserts and sometimes you have to run in the rain and through storms” and based on your experience and you learning the value of hard work, you'll be able to handle the different trials life can bring.


17. Spend time with Family and loved ones- I think one of the things I learned during the Coronavirus Pandemic is that I did not spend a lot of time with my family or any of my friends. I was so focused and caught up in what I was doing, I never really took the time off to spend time with them. Spend time with your family aside from the holidays, because none of us know how long we have on this Earth. We need to use every opportunity we can to actually spend time with our family and loved ones and enjoy their company. I think that is very meaningful .



18. You don’t need to spend money to have a good time- I really wish that I had learned this lesson while I was a teenager. I was so used to having a good time by  going out to the movies, club, or social gatherings. I would buy a bunch of drinks and buy this and that. You don't need to do that to have a good time. You can actually have a great time by just going for a walk in the park or to the beach or going for a jog around the block, or doing something fun on campus where you don't have to spend a lot of money. It is possible.



19. How to cook cultural dishes- Now this one, for me, I would say I wish I learned how to cook specific dishes from my culture, but I have learned to cook most dishes. My grandmother is still hiding her special ingredients, but I will get her to say it one day lol. If you're from a Caribbean island or from a certain country, it's common to learn the different dishes that come from your island or country. Learning how to cook cultural dishes is a way to pass down great family traditions and to learn the history behind the secret recipes : ).




20. Don’t follow the world, create your own path. There are so many people that are just following what everybody else is doing. Everyone is trying to get rich quickly, everybody's trying to be a financial guru, everybody's trying to just rush to start a business and to be able to live a lavish life. We need to recognize that we have to put in the work. This may touch on some of the earlier topics but there are no shortcuts in life. Everyone is given a gift in life, you just have to find your gift and maximize it. Many people store their gift away because they don't think it can be impactful or we allow others to tell us what to do with our gift. Follow your own path and dream and stop chasing after other people's dreams. Find your passion for your gift and maximize it to its fullest potential.


Thank you for reading my post “20 topics/lessons to learn before adulthood”. I hope that this post will help us to start talking about important life factors and find the resources needed to inform not just ourselves but our family as well. What are some other topics that could be added to this list? Did you learn about most of the topics listed before adulthood? Please feel free to comment below. If you enjoyed this post please feel free to share and if you are new to Millennial Oaks please subscribe!





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