By Brooke Niemeyer, Policygenius
Millennials get a bad rap (full disclosure: I am one). In fact, we get dragged for a lot. We’re apparently ruining the housing market, living at home longer, getting married later — or not at all — and we’re known for collecting participation trophies.
Agree with all that or not, there's no denying we’re a nostalgic bunch, which is why you're seeing things like Fuller House on Netflix. Maybe we long for simplier times because we entered the job market during the Great Recession when things were really challenging (and no one handed us an award for that). Who knows. Whatever the reason, it's time to take some easy steps toward being an adultier adult. We've got a dozen easy things you can do right here.
1. First, know there’s no right path
I did move out of my parents house — and relocate to the other side of the country (sorry, Mom) — but it’s fine if you didn't yet or you're back home again. If you aren’t quite where your friends are in life, or where your parents were at this point, that’s OK. You do you.
2. But don’t put off your goals
“Want to write a book? Do it now. Want to climb up the corporate ladder? Apply for that promotion now. Want to get married and have kids? Then stop acting like Casanova,” Tessa Clare Endencia, the managing director at Asset Creative House in Portland, Oregon, said. “The sooner you get your act together, the sooner you can enjoy fun benefits.”
3. Use your words
Don’t be afraid to speak up, whether it’s at work, in a relationship or negotiating your lease. You have a voice — use it.
4. Call Mom on the reg
This one is really easy — and it’s just nice.
5. Make a budget
It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to exist. Know your income, expenses and how much of your paycheck goes to savings. Make sure to factor in the fun stuff, too — like vacations, brunches and that caffeine boost that makes Mondays a little easier. Need some wiggle room for these things? Perhaps it’s time to ...
6. Embrace the free stuff
Want to read the new book in your favorite series? Borrow it from the library instead of downloading it on your e-reader. Tired of paying to check your bag every time you fly? A travel rewards credit card may help you axe those fees.
7. Strike a balance
A Bentley University survey found that 77% of millennials feel flexible work hours make them more productive. It’s great if your company offers flexible hours, work from home opportunities or unlimited vacation. You should definitely enjoy these perks — just don’t overdo it. Even your millennial peers are bound to notice when you don’t actually accomplish anything when you’re “working” remotely.
8. Understand the benefits
The same Bentley University survey found that millennials tend to value health care benefits more than frequent pay raises and promotions, despite the fact that most Americans don't feel health care is a right. Whenever you’re considering a new job, make sure you understand what benefits the company offers and factor that into your decision before you accept.
9. Get life insurance
I know, I know. Getting life insurance sounds dull. But a great thing about the digital age is now this doesn’t have to involve sitting down with an insurance agent in your living room or at a stuffy office. Simply hop online and compare your options (which is really easy to do on Policygenius). Besides, the younger you are, the better the rate you can lock in, so why wait?
10. Look at your credit reports ...
You can get a free copy of yours every 12 months by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com — and this guide can help you understand how to read your credit reports.
11. ... & monitor your credit scores
These scores come into play during a lot of major life events, from getting a new credit card to securing a mortgage. Some employers even look at a version of your credit report as part of the application process. With all the emphasis on this three-digit number, it’s important to know yours (and how to get it in tip-top shape).
12. Don’t worry so much about the charge
Let’s face it — millennials love their phones. In fact, a 2016 Bank of America study found that nearly four in ten millennials interact with their phones more than the people in their life.
We become so dependent on these devices that if they start to fade, we suffer from low battery anxiety (yeah, it’s a thing) prompting some extreme behavior. Don’t be that person. Connect with your friends, engage in what’s happening around you and think about charging your phone when you get home.
This post originally appeared on Policygenius.