Thought everyone left immaturity in grade school like you? No, some people are bullies even as “adults.” Overcome it.

You would think that by the time you’re a mature, successful adult, dealing with bullies is no longer a concern. Unfortunately, some people peak in high school and never really evolve beyond that mentality.

Adult bullying is an inevitability we all face at some point. You’re no longer worried about being pantsed in the cafeteria or facing ridicule for being the new kid in school. Now the bullying is much more subversive — you’re caught in the middle of petty power plays, fighting to earn credit for your own hard work, and perhaps even the subject of nasty rumors meant to defame your otherwise excellent reputation.

Anyone who’s ever dealt with a bully — whether in adolescence or adulthood — knows that simply taking the high road rarely results in justice. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to stoop to a bully’s level to defeat them.

Here’s how to deal with an adult bully and keep your dignity intact.

Remain neutral. I’ve known a lot of bullies in my day. Fortunately, I’ve been able to avoid becoming their victims by playing the role of Switzerland.

Often, adult bullying begins with fake friendship. They lure you in with deep, personal conversations, make you feel comfortable, then use the information you share — presumably in confidence — against you when the opportune moment arises. One Wednesday you’re all wearing pink, the next, you’re tricking each other into getting fat off high-calorie nutrition bars.

The secret is to be a great listener, but never actually engage in bullying rhetoric. Let the bully tell you everything that’s got them peeved, but keep your own mouth shut. Smile. Nod. Walk away. Repeat.

Keep your cool. Bullies are fueled by the superiority they feel when putting others down. But if you don’t give them the satisfaction of that feeling, their powers fizzle pretty quickly.

Refrain from reacting emotionally when a bully makes a joke at your expense or belittles you in front of your peers. When in doubt, ignore them; it’s not only effective, but pretty damn funny when you pretend like the biggest asshole in the room doesn’t exist. Don’t believe me? Just try it.

And if you’re fortunate enough to be blessed with a sharp sense of humor, even better. Feel free to send a few quips their way. If you have others laughing back at them, they’ll be quick to move on in pursuit of a weaker target.

Don’t tattle. As much as your company probably tries to convince you otherwise, your HR department does not exist to protect you — it’s there to protect the company.

If you’re dealing with bullying in the workplace, any information you share with HR regarding personal issues with another employee will likely be relayed right back to the guilty party. And trust me, the last thing you need is a group meeting to “talk things out,” which will undoubtedly add fuel to the fire.

A very big HOWEVER: If the harassment is extreme enough to impact your performance or mental health, you should definitely not let it go. Rather, document your interactions and conversations (be sure to save all those salty emails) and build a case against your bully. Come prepared to present your claim of a hostile work environment — your HR representative will hopefully be quick to solve the problem (i.e. fire their ass).

Never compromise your values. I’m a firm believer that all shitty people are eventually forced to face their own shittiness. Never pretend to be less intelligent, committed, or compassionate in order to placate a bully.

At the end of the day, your reputation is everything. Don’t jeopardize yours because it seems easier than dealing with an adversary. It may take some time, but people will eventually see a bully for who they really are.

Like what you’ve read?

Join other #adults who receive free weekly updates.


For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!

How does your credit score relate to your credit report? Here’s what you need to know.

There are various stages of adulting.

Putting on real pants every day and having something green in the fridge is generally considered Level 1. At some point, you graduate to Advanced Adulting and start thinking about things like getting a credit card and maybe even buying a house. That’s when the concept of credit becomes part of your life.

That’s when the concept of credit becomes part of your life.

Your credit profile – a history of your behavior borrowing and repaying money – will impact you in pretty much every way. From getting loans and credit cards to finding a place to live, the health of your credit is really important.

In all honesty, the credit system is rigged. You are expected to go into debt in order to prove you’re financially responsible. Who made up these rules, anyway? But whether you like it or not, understanding how your credit is tracked and measured – primarily via your credit reports and scores – will help you play the game right and save as much money as possible.

Without finding yourself drowning in debt.

Let’s start with your credit report.

A credit report is the documentation of your history as a borrower, prepared by a credit bureau and supplied to lenders. It tracks all your personal and financial data, such as where you’ve lived and worked, your Social Security number, your financial accounts, payment history, credit inquiries, accounts sent to collections, bankruptcies, and more.

Generally, the bad stuff on your credit report will stay on it for about seven years. Bankruptcy will remain for about 10. After that, it falls off your report. You can’t control what shows up on your credit report as long as it’s accurate, but you can request that any errors be fixed.

That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on all your credit reports (yes, you have multiple). The best way to monitor your credit reports for errors or fraud is to visit the ONLY website approved to provide credit reports at absolutely no cost. Annualcreditreport.com allows you to access your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and Transunion – once per year for free.

Like I mentioned, it’s a good idea to review these reports regularly. The process is not going to be enjoyable (it’s a report, after all) and you’re going to try really hard to put it off.

Please, just do it. Spotting an error or fraudulent account could make all the difference in whether you’re approved for that next card or get a good rate on a mortgage.

Ok, so then what is a credit score?

Credit reports contain a ton of information. You have to spend time reading through what’s there in order to get a sense of the overall health of your credit.

But if you’re a lender dealing with thousands of applications every day, you don’t have time for that. So the credit score was invented in order to give a quick snapshot of a borrower’s creditworthiness.

You actually have dozens of credit scores, all calculated according to different models. However, they all pretty much take into account the same things, even if the algorithms are slightly different.

FICO is the most common credit score lenders look at. The possibilities range from 300 to 850. Here’s how it’s calculated:

  • Payment history (whether you pay your bills on time): 35%
  • Credit utilization (the amount of debt you owe in comparison to available credit): 30%
  • Length of credit history (how long you’ve been using credit): 15%
  • Credit mix (how diversified your credit accounts are): 10%
  • New credit (how often you’re applying for new accounts): 10%

Your credit scores float up and down depending on your credit activity, which is normal. Over time, however, you want to have scores as high as possible.

It’s important to note that, while you can check your credit reports every year for free, your reports do not include your scores. There are paid services you can use to see your credit scores from the major bureaus, as well as receive credit monitoring and fraud protection services.

You can also use sites like Credit KarmaCredit Sesame, and Quizzle to see your scores for free. However, you’ll generally get your “D-list” credit scores here and not your more “official” FICO score. My credit score sometimes shows a difference of nearly 100 points, depending on what source I use.

Use these sites to gauge your overall credit health, but take them with a grain of salt. No two scores will ever be the same, anyway.

The world of credit is definitely confusing, but you don’t have to stress about it too much. As long as you borrow responsibly, always pay your bills, and keep an eye out for errors and fraud, you should be just fine.

Like what you’ve read?

Join other #adults who receive free weekly updates.


For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!

You’ve got time in your 20s to figure all of this out. Make some mistakes, but find some answers by 30.

Turning 30 is often treated as one of life’s great tragedies — the end of youth and a step closer to death. Morbid, I know.

Well I’m going to be 30 next month. Before you begin offering your condolences, though, let me assure you that I’m perfectly okay with it. In fact, this milestone has made me reflect a lot on how far I’ve come in the last 10 years.

I might not have all the answers, but I’ve learned a lot of important lessons that have helped me to embrace this new older, allegedly wiser me. Whether you’re still living up your 20s or are nearing the big 3-0, consider these important realizations you’ll undoubtedly have along the way.

1. Family is really important.

Families come in many sizes with varying levels of dysfunction. And family doesn’t always mean your biological relatives. They’re the people who annoy the hell out of you but you love unconditionally. And the older you get, the more real-life shit you’ll encounter that makes you appreciate the fact they’re in your life.

2. Your body has flaws and it’s not that big of a deal.

For most of my 20s, I agonized over every little perceived defect I could find about myself — so much so that I never really appreciated how awesome I actually was.

Now, I might not be 100 percent happy with my body (who really is) but I am much more accepting of it. And I can say with certainty that life is way more fun when you stop caring so much about whether you have a flat stomach or flawless skin.

3. Happiness can’t depend on someone else.

Whether it’s the approval of a parent or the love of a partner, you’ll find that chasing validation from others will never make you happy, no matter how hard you try. You can’t change the people in your life. Instead, find your passion and learn to derive happiness from what you can control: your own actions and accomplishments.

4. You can’t party like a 20-year-old.

When I was in my early 20s, I didn’t get hangovers. Now a hard night out leaves me feeling near-death for at least 48 hours. Sometimes a quiet night in with Netflix and a beer is much more appealing than going bar crawling or clubbing. And that doesn’t make you any less cool (that’s what I tell myself, anyway).

5. There are no more excuses for poor money management.

Debt is bad. Saving money is good. You spent your 20s learning these two basic principles of personal finance — likely through trial and error — so there’s really no excuse for neglecting your 401(k) or relying on your credit cards anymore. Get it together.

6. You’ve figured out what you want to be when you grow up.

Important Lessons You Must Learn By 30

In your 20s, you had jobs. In your 30s, you have a career. Years of boring, unfulfilling, or otherwise soul-sucking work helped to teach you what it is, in fact, you want to do with your life. You know what you’re good at, what gives you a sense of purpose, and you’re ready to pursue your professional goals head-on.

7. It really doesn’t matter what others think of you.

Maybe you lead an unconventional lifestyle, or have made choices your friends and family disagree with. Maybe you go grocery shopping in worn out yoga pants and no makeup.

You will always be judged by others for what you do, what you look like — for who you are. That will never change. The most liberating realization you will have right around age 30, however, is that it doesn’t fucking matter.

8. You need to make your health a priority.

Okay, so you’re more accepting of your body and care less about what other people think, but let’s not go overboard. You want to make it to your 40th birthday.

Every year of your life past the age of 25 makes it exponentially more difficult to maintain your health. I can look at a piece of pizza and gain five pounds and it takes me a couple more minutes to run a mile these days. I make it a goal to eat clean and exercise regularly — for the most part — because I know it will only get harder from here.

9. Sex gets way better.

I’ll just leave it at that. I might be a few days shy of 30, but I’m still worried my mom might be reading this.

10. Toxic relationships aren’t worth your time or energy.

The older you become, the fewer fucks you will have left to give. In fact, you probably gave out way too many in your 20s and now have to be super conservative with the rest. If a relationship costs you your emotional health, peace of mind, or values, you can’t afford to keep it.

Your 30s should be some of your best years. You’re too old to keep making the same stupid mistakes, but too young to be completely jaded. Find joy in the fact that you’ll someday get over your naïve 20-something phase and finally be — almost — comfortable in your own skin. I know I do.

Like what you’ve read?

Join other #adults who receive free weekly updates.


For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!

What is your passion in life? Can you even answer that question? Here’s why it’s important to find your passion now.

As a fresh college grad with a terrible diet and pack-a-day Marlboro habit, I knew it was time to get in shape. And after months of forcing myself into the gym every day, something finally changed.

I ran an entire quarter of a mile on the treadmill without stopping. Looking back now, it was such a small accomplishment, but one that filled me with confidence and the desire push myself harder.

From there, I worked my way up to a mile, then two, which then evolved into a full marathon — and then five more. At some point, running became my passion and it changed my life in several positive ways.

What’s yours? If you struggle to answer the question, it might be time to do a little soul searching and discover what you’re passionate about. Here’s why.

Your passion gives you a sense of purpose.

Maybe you’re someone’s husband or wife. Perhaps you have kids, or you’re hyper-focused on your career and kicking ass at it. All of these things are fantastic.

However, the older you get, the more you’ll notice your peers defining themselves by their relationships or what they do, not who they are. That’s an easy way to lose yourself entirely.

Having a passion affirms your values. Maybe it’s volunteering, painting, writing — hell, even playing video games. Your passion in life is a reminder of what’s most important to you outside of these other obligations. It allows you to find enjoyment in something that’s all yours, out of the control of others, and instills a deeper sense of meaning to your life beyond simply existing.

It drives you to accomplish goals.

Plenty of people live day-to-day simply going through the motions. And that’s fine, but it’s also incredibly boring.

Setting goals — and even more importantly, accomplishing them — makes life so much more enjoyable. Having a passion gives you something to strive for, whether it’s setting a new personal record in a 10k or achieving level 80 in World of Warcraft.

Not only will you feel good about yourself for reaching your goals, but you’ll be much more interesting at parties and have something to #humblebrag about on Facebook. And isn’t that, really, the ultimate goal in life?

You’ll inspire others and be more successful.

Passion is contagious. When you’re hungry, driven, and full of positive energy, it tends to rub off on others – which a great thing for everyone involved.

Richard Branson, one of the most accomplished and well-known entrepreneurs, gives a lot of credit to passion for his success. In a recent article for the Daily Monitor, he wrote, “When you believe in something, the force of your convictions will spark other people’s interest and motivate them to help you achieve your goals. This is essential to success.”

There are few accomplishments better than being a source of inspiration to the people around you. Except maybe becoming a wildly loved, self-made billionaire. Take it from Sir Branson, you need passion in your life.

Remember, it’s about you.

As a runner, I’ve won first place in my division and also been one of the last people to cross the finish line. I’ve logged 60 mile weeks and gone months without lacing up. Some days I feel like I could keep running forever, and others, my legs might as well be made of lead.

But I keep going, no matter my speed, age, size, or ability. Because having a passion is not about being the best; it’s about striving to a better version of yourself.

Like what you’ve read?

Join other #adults who receive free weekly updates.


For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!

If you’re struggling financially, is there ever a good way to ask your parents for help?

The idea of borrowing money from friends or family has always made me feel… gross. In all honesty, I’d rather be broke than deal with the icky feeling of owing someone money.

There’s something about introducing a financial transaction into a personal relationship that almost always ends up in some sort of discomfort — especially when parents are involved. One day, you’re the independent, successful adult you struggled so hard to become; the next, you’re once again that awkward sixteen-year-old begging for gas money.

But sometimes asking your parents for financial help is unavoidable. In fact, about half of college students expect their parents to support them financially for up to two years after graduation.

Plus, they’ve had years to grow their wealth while you’re still getting used to the idea of paying someone for running water.

So whether you’re struggling to find post-college employment and need to move back in for a while, or you’re a few thousand dollars shy of owning your first home, here’s how to navigate the tricky conversation of asking for financial help from Mom and Dad.

Decide if you need a gift or a loan.

Before you even broach the subject, determine exactly what it is you’re asking for. Depending on your mom or dad’s personality, you might be more likely to receive a loan than a handout. If so, figure out exactly how much you need to borrow, how long it will take to repay the loan, and whether or not you will also pay interest.

On the other hand, you might know very well there’s no way you will be able to pay the money back. Instead of making promises you can’t keep, be prepared to state your case as to what, exactly, you need and why your parents should be willing to make the investment. Which brings us to the next step.

Have a solid case to present.

You might technically be an adult, but in your parents’ eyes, you will always be their child. However, this is not a situation in which you want to be viewed as immature or childish. You need to appear prepared, confident, and accountable.

Have an action plan ready to present — write it down, review it several times, and believe in it. Talk to your parents calmly and explain your situation clearly. Be prepared to negotiate. And above all else, don’t get emotional or attempt to manipulate their emotions. It. Will. Backfire.

Don’t compromise your parents’ finances.

How to Ask Your Parents for Money

Some parents are willing to sacrifice everything to help out their kids, no questions asked. Others prefer to send their children through the School of Hard Knocks, even if they have to repeat a few grades.

If your parents are more like the former, be especially sensitive to how your request for financial assistance will impact their well-being. Will Mom have to dip into her 401(k) to cover your student loan debt? Is Dad planning to work a few more years so you can get back on your feet?

Ask yourself if you’re really okay with being the person who jeopardizes your parents’ golden years after they’ve worked so hard — for decades — to reach them. Yeah, didn’t think so.

Should you even do it?

Turning to the Bank of Mom and Dad can be tempting when you’re seriously short on cash. But there’s a host of potential landmines when you ask for money from the people who used to change your diapers.

Consider whether you’re looking to your parents for financial support because it seems easy or because that’s really your only option.

There’s nothing wrong with getting help from Mom and Dad if they’re willing. But it’s almost always best to suck it up and figure it out on your own if you can. After all, they’ve already made the biggest investment in you anyone ever will. They raised you.

Like what you’ve read?

Join other #adults who receive free weekly updates.


For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!

Always coming up short when you’re out. Never paying their fair share. What do you do when you’re always covering?

We’ve all had that friend. You know the one.

When the dinner bill comes, they severely underestimate their share (let alone account for tax and tip). You spot them $10 here and $20 there, yet they always “forget” to pay you back.

But you let it slide every time. After all, what’s a few bucks among good friends?

That used to be your attitude, anyway. Lately, your desire for a person’s company has a perfect negative correlation to how much of their crap you are required to put up with. You are, in fact, too old for this shit.

So here’s how to deal with that friend who makes you feel more like a bank than their buddy — without killing the relationship.

Be honest.

The great thing about friends (real friends — not the people you pretend to like out of various social obligations) is that you can tell them the truth and they’ll still be your friend. You’re not doing anyone any favors by pretending your pal’s poor money etiquette doesn’t bother you.

So the next time they leave you hanging with the bill, be up front and tell them how much they owe right then and there. Add that you’re pretty strapped for cash as well and can’t afford to cover them. Consistently push back rather than ignore the behavior and eventually, they’ll get it.

And if this honesty does cause a rift in your relationship, it’s probably time to reevaluate whether you two shared a real friendship at all.

Find cheap/free things to do.

A novel idea, right? As much as you’re annoyed by your pal’s perpetual brokeness, they likely feel pressured to keep up with the group financially, too. That’s a tough spot to be in, and as a friend, you should find ways to spend quality time together that don’t force your buddy into yet another awkward situation.

Fortunately, another great thing about friends is that all you really need is each other’s company to have an awesome time.

Check your local weekly for low-cost and free events such as concerts, art exhibits, and movie screenings. Have a picnic at the beach. Go for a hike. Get dressed up, pretend you’re rich, and hop from one open house to the next while eating all their snacks along the way.

Consider it a gift.

That Annoying Broke Friend

When your friend does ask for money, and you feel comfortable parting with the cash, treat it as a gift. Loaning money turns a personal relationship into one of business, which opens the door for guilt and resentment on both sides, especially if the borrower isn’t able to pay up.

It’s your choice whether or not you want to support your friend financially — and it’s perfectly fine if you do. Keep in mind, however, that you can’t expect things to change if you continue to enable the situation.

Friendship is something that only becomes more precious as you grow older; it can be tempting to over-compromise in order to avoid conflict. But true friendship is also built on honesty and desire to make each other happy, so don’t be afraid to share your feelings in a caring but straightforward manner.

And if your own financial goals are jeopardized in order to keep the peace between you and a broke friend, that friendship probably isn’t worth it in the first place.

Like what you’ve read?

Join other #adults who receive free weekly updates.


For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!

Ghosting is the ultimate passive-aggressive avoidance behavior. Here’s what to do when it happens to you.

Things have been going great: you’re texting daily, flirting over social media, maybe even Netflix and chilling every now and then.

At least, you were. Recently, the texts have slowed to infrequent, one word responses. Your DMs don’t seem to be going through. You caught up on Making a Murderer alone last weekend.

To the objective observer, it’s clear what is going on. He (or she) is just not that that into you and wishes you would take the hint. In other words, you’ve been ghosted.

But attraction turns even the most logical individual into an optimistic idiot. Maybe he’s just really, really busy. Perhaps she had a family emergency. You’ll hear back when everything gets straightened out -– but let’s send another text just in case the previous 15 somehow weren’t received.

While attempts to rationalize the situation after weeks of radio silence might be foolish, those feelings of hurt and betrayal are not. The act of ghosting is a growing phenomenon that can be confusing and painful for the person left wondering what happened.

But with growing reliance on digital means of communication, ghosting is becoming a popular strategy for ending a relationship while avoiding conflict. Here’s what to do if it happens to you.

1. Stop trying.

Sure, it’s possible there are exceptional circumstances preventing the person in question from getting back to you. And the more time that passes, the stronger your desire becomes to find out what’s wrong.

Just stop. If they really wanted to talk to you, they would find a way. A sudden, prolonged halt in communication is a strong sign they not only want to break things off, but don’t respect your feelings enough to tell you.

And real talk: they’ve probably moved on to someone else (who they will likely end up treating the exact same way).

In the long-run, you’ll come away with your dignity intact if you stop trying to make contact after one or two follow ups. They’re not worth your energy, so stop giving it to them.

And if it turns out they were trapped in an abandoned mineshaft for two weeks with no cell service, I’m sure you’ll get a call as soon as possible.

2. Understand it’s them, not you.

So You've Been Ghosted

“It is a form of avoidance,” said Lisa Bahar, a marriage and family therapist based in Newport Beach, CA. Bahar explained that ghosting is a behavior meant to communicate that the person doesn’t want any more contact for now – without actually having to communicate.

In other words, the act of ghosting is one of immaturity. A person who ghosts is overwhelmed by either a crippling fear of confrontation, or a shameful lack of empathy for others.

It’s important to understand that being ghosted is nothing personal; people who ghost simply lack those basic social skills that dictate we show consideration for others.

3. Focus on yourself.

So screw them. You are no less attractive, intelligent, or interesting because someone didn’t have the balls to speak to you directly and honestly. That’s their problem and it’s not your responsibility to fix it.

Bahar recommended processing your feelings with a therapist or trusted confidant, while giving the ghoster space.

“Avoid asking for explanations,” she said, and instead find healthy outlets for releasing your frustration and anger.

Then move on with your life. After all, what’s greater payback than not giving a shit?

Adult relationships are hard. They require candor, compromise, and the acceptance that sometimes it’s just not going to work out. But the hardest things in life also tend to be the most rewarding in the end.

Ghosting happens, but that doesn’t make it okay. Don’t give in to the temptation to go dark on someone just because you’re afraid to talk to them. Treating others with compassion — even if the actual passion is gone — is the easiest way to receive the same in return.

Like what you’ve read?

Join other #adults who receive free weekly updates.


For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!