You’re a grown-ass adult. It’s time to suck it up, get a job, and stop taking money from Mom and Dad.

According to a 2016 Fidelity study, 47% of millennials have received some sort of monetary support from their parents. This support was “most likely to take the form of help with a cell phone bill, utilities or groceries.”

The cost to raise children today is much more expensive than ever before in history. In fact, between 2000 and 2010, the cost to raise a child increased 40% or $60,000. The most recent estimate from the USDA is that the cost to raise a child from birth to the age of 18, not including college, is $233,610.

If you’re taking money from Mom and Dad, you’re part of the problem. They’ve spent enough just to raise you, and now you’re asking for moar?

Every generation since the 1980s lives with their parents longer or boomerang back to the nest more frequently than the generation before them. Boomerang kids are now at its highest level since World War II.

When is enough enough?

Here are eight signs when it’s time to kindly thank Mom and Dad for their investment and walk away.

You have a job.

If you have a job, start cutting back on your parental monetary fund. Even if you only cut back a little at a time because you’re starting your career, the goal should be to become fiscally independent as soon as reasonably possible.

If you find your fiscal dependency is scheduled to last in perpetuity, you’re not doing it right.

You don’t have a job, but should.

If you don’t have a job but should, it’s time to grow up and get a job. Over time, complaints about the economy, who’s president, who’s not president, fairness or unfairness of life are excuses.

As entrepreneur and author Ryan Blair said, “If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.” Over time, you own your lack of employment or your underemployment.

Stop taking money from Mom and Dad and get make your own money. Everyone will be much happier in the long run.

You hear your parents fighting about money.

As much as the cost of having and raising children have grown, so too has the cost of adulting.

Adult expenses, such as healthcare, medicine, and taxes have grown and wages have not. This means it’s harder and harder for Mom and Dad to get by from paycheck to paycheck.

By 35%, money is the leading cause of stress in relationships. Don’t add to Mom and Dad’s financial stress by being a financial leech. If you hear or sense financial friction between Mom and Dad, it’s time for you to become economically independent.

Your parents drop hints that it’s time you pay your own way.

It’s often hard for parents to push their kids fully and completely out of the proverbial nest. Therefore, they’ll drop sly or even passive-aggressive hints that it’s time you pay your on way.

If you hear comments such as “It would be nice if someone paid for me once in a while” or “It’s nice you have all that money (even when you don’t pay for a thing),” it may be time you paid for your own things.

Stop taking money from Mom and Dad when even they have exhausted their patience. You’re not that special.

Your parents are approaching retirement.

It’s more expensive to retire in America than ever. This trend has continued for decades over many presidential administrations.

Older Americans are finding it harder to hold onto jobs, if they can even retain incomes that keep up with the rate of inflation. As housing, healthcare, and prescription drugs costs increase, Social Security becomes less and less helpful.

Many parents have sacrificed retirement nest eggs to put children through college. As you may be struggling with student loan debt, Mom and Dad may be struggling with retirement insecurity.

As your parents approach retirement, within maybe decades, it’s time to stop stealing from their future.

Put on your big-person pants, stop taking money from Mom and Dad, and become a contributing member of society.

When your parents are in retirement.

If your parents are in retirement and you’re still taking their money, stop.

When you have nicer things than your parents.

If any or all aspects of your life (think: car, vacations, home, phone) are nicer than your parent’s, then it’s time to stop relying on parental funding.

Sure, mom may not need or want the new iPhone and dad may hate the idea of taking on a new car payment. That doesn’t mean they want to forsake a fat retirement account for your “phat” lifestyle.

If you’re living like The Kardashians and they’re living like Rosanne and Dan Conner, it’s time to cut the purse strings.

When you can cover your own essentials.

There will always be parents who can’t stop giving money to their children and grandchildren. It’s cute when grandparents give money to grandchildren. It’s not cute when parents give money to adult children.

While there may be many reasons for their drive to do so, there’s one reason to make them stop. You don’t need their money.

These are just a few of the reason to stop making Mom and Dad take care of you. At some point, it’s not their responsibility to take care of you. You need to stop taking money from Mom and Dad.

Do both them and yourself a favor and make this decision independently. And do it sooner rather than later. You’ll both be happier for it.

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My finances weren’t a shitshow when I hit 30, but they certainly weren’t as good as they could have been.

We all have regrets.

After I made it through my 20s, I had my own share of regrets — including financial regrets.

While my finances weren’t a complete shitshow at the end of my 20s, they still weren’t where I wanted them.

If I could go back to my 20s, there are a few smart money things I’d do differently:

Start a retirement account much earlier.

Even though I had the option to save for retirement early in my 20s, I didn’t.

In fact, I didn’t start saving for retirement until I was in my mid-20s. I missed out on more than five years’ worth of tax-advantaged compound interest as a result.

I’d have about $30,000 more in my retirement account today if I’d started earlier.

Over time, that compounds even further, meaning I’ve left hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table. All because of that decision not to start a retirement account earlier (and take advantage of a match offered to me at one point).

The smart money is always on investing early and often, and getting it in a retirement account with tax advantages.

Figure out my priorities.

I spent a lot of time in my 20s not really knowing what I wanted. I didn’t even try to figure out what I wanted.

Instead, I followed a prescribed path: get married, finish college, have a baby, buy a house. It didn’t even occur to me to think about whether any of these things made sense for me or meshed with what I wanted in life.

In fact, if I hadn’t bought a house in my late 20s, I’d been in a better financial position today. I’d have been able to invest more, and I wouldn’t have had to pay $10,000 to unload the house when my ex and I made fast decision to move across the country.

There’s nothing wrong with buying a house, but you should know why you’re doing it, and make sure it fits with your lifestyle goals.

One of the smart money moves I made when I got into my 30s was to sit down and decide on my priorities — and revisit them regularly.

Spend consciously.

If I’d understood my priorities, I would have changed the way I spent money. The key to making better financial decisions for your own life is understanding your priorities and spending consciously.

I spent a lot of time and money on things I didn’t really think about. One day, I looked at my cluttered house and realized that I could have gone to Europe — twice — if I hadn’t bought a bunch of random shit without thinking about it.

Impulse purchases are a huge part of the way most of us make spending decisions, and I did a lot of pointless spending in my 20s.

Today, I think about my purchases. I ask myself if an expenditure will help me reach one of my goals, or if it is completely necessary. By thinking about purchases, I reduce the financial waste in my life and I ensure that I have more money to put toward the things I really value.

Track spending.

On top of spending more thoughtfully, I also wish I had tracked my spending. I had no idea where my money was coming from, and where it was going.

Without knowledge of what I was doing with my money, I didn’t fully realize how much I was spending. I didn’t see patterns in the way I managed my finances. As a result, I wasted a ton of money (and time).

If you haven’t started tracking your spending, it’s a smart money move you can make today.

Borrow less.

I treated debt as though it was my money instead of someone else’s money. I borrowed even when I didn’t have to. With a full-tuition scholarship and a cushy on-campus job, there was no reason for me to get student loans. But I took them and spent, spent, spent.

I maxed out credit cards in the name of shopping and road trips. Even after I married, my ex and didn’t have a problem borrowing more than we should have.

It’s hard to find a smart money move that beats having as little debt as possible. When you’re in debt, you pay interest instead of earn it, and that, again, means you miss out on benefits of putting your money to work for you.

Learn about investing.

Even after I finally opened a Roth IRA, I still didn’t take the time to learn about investing. That was a huge mistake.

If I could do it again, I would read up on investing, learn about index funds, and do more with investments. It would have meant a lot more money in my pocket today and in the future.

Now, I use investments to help me meet a number of goals, from my emergency fund to my travel fund.

Do yourself a favor and learn about investing right now. Just understanding the basics can go a long way toward helping you build wealth for tomorrow.

Work more (or at least work smarter).

I took off work whenever I could during my 20s. Mostly, I took work off to have fun. Which meant that not only was I not earning money, but I was spending it, too. (Yikes. Spending money I didn’t even have.)

While I didn’t need to get rid of all my fun, the fact of the matter is that I had a serious case of FOMO. I did everything any one of my friends suggested. I was the only person that went to each event. I could have worked a couple more shifts a week and still maintained a social life.

At the very least, I could have learned to work smarter. Sometimes it’s not so much about the amount of work you d as it is about the way you do it.

A few things I did right in my 20s.

Even though I could have made more smart money moves during my 20s, that wasn’t a completely lost decade.

I did manage to do some things right, including:

  • Started a debt pay down plan. Thankfully, I realized that I needed to change things up before I hit 30.
  • Bought proper insurance coverage. My ex and I bought life insurance when we married so we would be covered (and our son would be cared for).
  • Started a businessI think it was a smart money move to start a business while in my 20s. I’ve been able to build my desired lifestyle as a result.
  • Paid attention to my creditWhile I didn’t need all the debt, I did do a good job on my credit. I made payments on time, and I had a diversity of accounts by the time I reached 30. As a result, I’ve been able to do pretty much anything I need to.

If you’re in your 20s, don’t be stupid with your money like I was. Take some time to think about your finances, and get off to a good start.

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It’s possible to pursue a passion and earn a living, whether the two endeavors are linked or not.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Stay tuned to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Is it possible to earn money AND do what you love? Even if you’re able to figure out what your passion is, do you really believe that if you pursue your passion the money will follow? Sometimes, it’s possible, but not always the same way motivational speakers lead to you believe. Pursuing your passion is important, and possible, but earning a living may be related to your passion and it may not be.

Our guest for this episode is Stefanie O’Connell. She is the author of The Broke and Beautiful Life, and is a millennial money expert. Join her free seven-day cash confidence challenge.

Listen to just the audio by using the player below.

Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteven Flato
Music bybensound.com

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Entrepreneurship is the new Big Thing. But is it really your ticket to financial freedom and living the good life?

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It seems like everywhere you look, someone is touting the value of entrepreneurship as the key to long-term financial independence.

Thanks to technology and the popularity of a number of books and websites, it’s possible that you think that you’re ready to be the next Zuckerberg.

But is that a realistic expectation? Are you really cut out to be an entrepreneur?

And is entrepreneurship all that it’s cracked up to be?

Concepts

  • How much money do small businesses actually make?
  • Is entrepreneurship right for everyone?
  • What traits make a good entrepreneur?
  • What is entrepreneurship, anyway?
  • The reality of trying to squeeze a side hustle into your life.
  • Who is a good candidate for starting a business?
  • Brief intro to the Meyers-Briggs test, and what it says about the ideal entrepreneur.
  • How to get started if you are serious about starting a business.
  • Tips for creating your business, a little bit at a time.

Listen for our “do-nows” for specific actions you can take to get started with a new business today. We’ll also answer a listener question about how to budget when you have the irregular income of an entrepreneur.

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Resources

BloombergSmall businesses don’t make that much money
EntrepreneurTraits of entrepreneurs
Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Financial stability is a requirement for successful adulting. Here’s how you achieve stability and recognize it when you are stable.

If financial independence is the dream, financial stability is the first adult step along the path towards that vision.

On the final day of the year, fifteen years ago, I returned home from a weekend away to find my belongings on the lawn in front of the house I was renting. (I used the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to fact-check myself using my old, anonymous personal blog, my first time reading those entries in over a decade.)

My roommate thought I was moving out at the end of December, and when I wasn’t around, she moved two people into the room I had been occupying for several months. I had been planning to move out at the end of January, and the roommate knew this. But my name wasn’t on the lease, so perhaps she thought she could do whatever she wanted.

A later entry brought back the memory of a related event: I visited that apartment again ten days later to pick up a few remaining items, and the new occupants were moving out because that roommate committed some kind of check fraud. But I digress…

Being forced out of my living space with no notice on New Year’s Eve was the end of a particularly bad year. I lost a job, lost my car, and lost my girlfriend. I had moved to northern New Jersey for a job I no longer had. I was in my mid-twenties, but I wasn’t financially an adult. I survived by spending on credit cards, avoiding student loan bills, and accepting help from parents.

With the necessity of moving in with family as 2001 became 2002, I vowed to turn things around for myself.

I wasn’t necessarily aware of the idea of financial independence, but thankfully, that is how I can describe my situation today. In early 2002, I just wanted financial stability. And I had to figure out how to get there.

How I became financially stable.

After college, I chose a career somewhere between education and nonprofit. The organization I was working for was meant to be a stop-gap while looking for a teaching position, but I did enjoy it, and I didn’t put enough effort into moving forward. It cost me more to work as a nonprofit employee than I was earning — and I wasn’t even spending a significant amount of money.

1. I found a new job.

Instead of looking for my ideal career, my priority was earning money and getting back on my feet, taking control of my situation. Nothing is permanent. I could work on my loftier life goals while at least working somewhere during the day that would allow me the flexibility to plan for the future.

Without a car, I was limited to jobs that were accessible by walking or by traveling on the train. I turned to a technical temp agency. That’s how I earned money over breaks during college, and I knew I had many skills that would serve me well in corporate settings. I found something right away — an executive administrative assistant at a major financial firm.

This had no relation to my degree, but it was a job. And it paid 50 percent more than what I was earning at the nonprofit organization. Theoretically, I could even stay involved with the activity I was passionate about on weekends while working a “regular” job.

2. I designed a budget.

My dad helped me brainstorm a basic budget on the back of an envelope. That’s how I remember the situation. This budget had to take into account paying off a cash advance from my credit card, consumer spending on my credit card, and my student loans. I intended to move out and be less of a burden on family as soon as possible, so I budgeted for rent, as well. And savings for the future.

Partly because I wanted to stick to my budget and partly because I needed some self-reflection time to recover from bad choices, I also saved money in the first few months of my new job by staying in a fortress of solitude.

The budget was essential for setting myself up for financial stability.

3. I tracked every penny.

Track Every Penny for Financial Stability

I used free software to meticulously track my spending, making sure I was staying within my budget and paying my bills on time.

You can only have a clear picture of where you’re going financially if you know where you are. It is incredibly easy today to get a full snapshot of your finances at any time thanks to technology. Apps communicate directly and securely with banks, so you all you need to do is check your phone to see where you stand. The app adds your bank balances and subtracts your debt, and the result is your financial net worth.

And beyond your net worth, you need to know how that changes over time, so you track your income and expenses, too. Today, I use Personal Capital and Quicken.

4. I started saving for the future.

It wasn’t enough to have a bank account whose balance was increasing every month. My new job offered a retirement plan with a matching contribution. Always say yes to a matching contribution. It’s free money.

How do you know when you’re financially stable?

To be considered financially stable — a true sign of adulting — you must meet these criteria.

  • You must be spending less than you’re earning. It doesn’t matter which side of the equation you try to improve, but it helps to focus on both your expenses and your income. You can only cut your expenses back so far — but income potential is unlimited. When you spend less than you earn, you have a surplus. The surplus allows you to have some control.
    • Living paycheck-to-paycheck — spending every penny you earn — means you have no surplus and you are not moving towards flexibility or control.
  • You don’t have to be debt-free, but you must be paying down your debt and not accumulating any more. If you’re able to make your minimum payments on your debt and then some, you’re in good shape.
  • You’re not relying on loans or gifts from family. This is the cornerstone of stability. You can make it on your own, just with your income and your expenses. It’s true that you may be in financial trouble if your income disappears, especially if you’re only beginning to establish savings, but for now, you are making it on your own.
  • You are building your future through savings and investment. Your nest egg might not be too big just yet, but it’s growing. You’re putting aside extra money to create an emergency fund and you have a systematic transfer to an investment account, preferably a low-cost index mutual fund.
  • Your friends support your goals. Don’t waste time around people who give you a hard time for being responsible. Often, when one starts acting more grown-up, the friends still wading through adolescence grow bitter. Or maybe you’re the last one to cross the threshold into actual adulthood.
    • People reach this point at different times in their lives. I wasn’t financially adulting until I was in my late twenties. Some start when they’re 40. And I’ve seen some sixteen-year-olds who are taking control of their future I never would have considered.
  • You’re moving forward steadily in your career. How you progress is often up to you, even when are faced with resistance was you’re trying to gain more responsibility, authority, and compensation at your job. You do know that often you have to accept more responsibilities before being granted more authority and increases in compensation. This type of success proceeds at different speeds, but you should always be aware of where you stand, and you make decisions that move you forward.
  • You have health insurance and you take care of yourself. Your health and well-being affect your ability to have a life of any sort in the future, so you watch your health and have an appropriate health insurance plan. You see a doctor once every one or two years, at least, if you’re otherwise healthy, and you see a dentist and dental hygienist every six months. If you need work, you get it done.
  • You pay your credit card balance in full every month. Credit cards can be great tools for people who are financially stable. They allow you to time-shift your spending, just like the DVR time-shifts The Walking Dead. They allow you to collect cash back and points that can be used for travel. But only if you avoid interest charges, late payments, and pay your balance in full every month.
    • This could be considered an “advanced technique,” and many people start messing with credit cards before they are prepared to handle the responsibilities. So watch out.

Financial independence is the next step after financial stability, but it could take a lifetime to achieve. Imagine if you no longer had to rely on your job. Imagine if you could live the life that you wanted to live, go where in the world that you wanted to go, and do anything that you wanted to do — without any concern about what the financial consequences would be.

That is financial independence. And you can’t get there without financial stability first.

Are you financially stable? If so, when did you finally achieve it?

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Wait a minute. I can afford this now. This is what it’s like when you’re adulting.

A few weeks ago, I finally experienced what it’s like to be the “rich” friend. A group of girlfriends and I, people I’ve just met recently, were talking about going skiing. The trip can cost almost $100, including gas, meals and lift tickets. That’s a hefty amount for me, but something I can afford.

One of the girls in the group said she couldn’t afford to go. The rest of us said we understood, and that’s when it hit me.

“Wait, I’m that friend that can afford things now.”

Things were different a couple years ago. I was trying to pay off my students loans and was putting any extra money toward my debt. I said no to parties, dinners, and cross-country trips. I said no to hobbies, concerts, and movies.

I remember feeling jealous and judgmental of my friends who could travel and not think about how they weren’t putting money in their retirement funds. Or people who gave to charity while deferring their loans. I gave $25 at weddings, lamenting even that amount.

While I was in college, most of my friends and I were on the same level. We spent money with abandon, even though we all claimed to be broke.

I keep thinking back to one of the first episodes of “Friends,” where Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe have to bring up that they can’t afford to go out to eat or buy concert tickets. I’ve never had that difficult conversation with a friend, but I have been the one to suggest hanging out at my place instead of going to the movies.

Starting to Afford Things

Now my husband and I don’t mind picking up the check when friends come in town — we’ve even treated his parents to dinner occasionally. If you want to feel like an adult, try buying dinner for your in-laws. That will make you feel like an adult faster than you can say “health insurance premium.”

I like this feeling. For the first time, my life has options. I just bought tickets to see one of my favorite writers, Elizabeth Gilbert, speak. When purchasing the tickets, I splurged on the VIP package, which includes a cocktail reception with Gilbert. A year ago, I would’ve bought the cheapest ticket and considered myself lucky.

The good news is that there are always alternatives to pricey forms of entertainment. You can watch a movie at someone’s house instead of going out. You can bake together instead of grabbing dinner. The same way that my friends compromised for me when I was unwilling to spend money, I need to do for other people.

It may mean that they won’t be able to come to ski trips or big concerts, but they’ll be available for drinking wine at home and rewatching a “Harry Potter” movie.

I’ve seen my parents manage friendships while earning differently than other people. It’s not about being ditching the friend who can’t afford to go to the restaurant you want to go to, it’s about being a friend and finding ways to bridge that gap.

The best experiences are the ones when you have the right people.

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Without the right financial values, you’ll be lost with money and you’ll set a poor example. Fix that right now.

When you’re struggling financially, you might have two different ways of dealing with it. You might freak out because you can’t deal. Or you might just stick your head in the sand and ignore your problems because it hurts too much.

That’s what I did when I was dealing with the worst of my money problems. I had to hit rock bottom before turning my life around. That gave me a chance to figure out what my financial values are.

1. Money is not for the sake of money.

With money, you have to be that annoying kid. The one who asks, “Why?” after every sentence. “I want to be a millionaire.” “Why?” “Because I want to be rich.” “Why?” “So I don’t have to be concerned about having enough money.” “Why?” “So I can do the things I’d like to do.” “Why?” “Because I want to travel the world.”

Finally we get to an answer. There’s no point in having a high balance in the bank or a long-term investing strategy if there isn’t a goal other than gathering that money. If your only goal is to retire with a million dollars, you’re totally missing the point. The purpose of money is to do something with it. What do you want to do?

2. Balance financial independence with helping others.

What would you do if you ended up with one million dollars that you didn’t plan on having? How about one billion? What else is there besides “financial independence” (having enough money to do what you want without worrying about earning more from working)?

Don’t forget to look outside yourself and your family. Help others, especially those who don’t have the same types of opportunities as you. You don’t need to be financially independent to start making a better world. Some of the most charitable people are those who are not wealthy. Find the right balance for you between making yourself rich and contributing to a rich experience for the world.

3. Are your assets on display?

If you feel the world is a competition or that you have something to prove, you probably have less of a problem with showing off your success. Grow up in a community where success is hard to find, and you feel this even more. You celebrate your success publicly, because it not only helps validate you, but it gives hope to others.

But this perpetuates the idea that money and wealth somehow make people superior. And the competition isn’t only about wealth. Look around and you’ll see people trying to prove that they have the skills to save more money than anyone else. Money brings out your competitive nature. Whether it’s about earning money, having a wealthy partner, or saving money, you may feel the need to show off.

Showing off tells people you’re not confident with yourself. People don’t need to know about your success. Keep it quiet and do good with your money without fanfare.

4. Wealth isn’t something to idolize.

Wealth Isn't Something to Idolize: 6 Healthy Financial Values to Fix Your Money Attitude

We see popular people living well and we want to be like them, whether it’s the musical artist who’s an “overnight success,” a Kardashian, or just some couple on House Hunters International.

Have you seen all the books and blogs that supposedly teach people how to be rich by thinking like a rich person? As if changing your “mindset” will give you the same opportunities experienced by people who have lived their entire life surrounded by wealth? Yes, you do have to have a positive life philosophy if you want to be able to handle the wealth you build, but you won’t gain anything by just thinking like a rich person. Financially successful people are not better or smarter than the rest of us.

Strive to be a person of strong character, not a person of a huge bank balance.

5. Money isn’t related to human decency.

On that note, we often confuse wealth with living as a good human being, just as often or if not more than we characterize wealthy people as “evil.” These are both wrong! If you are a bad person before becoming wealthy, you will remain a bad person when you become wealthy.

Just like wealth doesn’t lead to decency or indecency, the lack of wealth doesn’t correlate either. Poor people aren’t necessarily lazy. They aren’t necessarily hard workers, either. Everyone has a life full of their own circumstances that often don’t correspond with any stereotype or generalization. Separate someone’s character from their wealth, and don’t make assumptions.

6. Financial success isn’t a reward for hard work.

You do your chores, you collect your allowance. This is supposed to be a life lesson for kids about how the real world works. Except it’s not!

Yes, you do get paid when you show up for your job, but how hard you work often is not related to how much you get paid. I worked for an arts organization after college, and I worked hard. There were times of the year I worked 80 hours a week and the job consumed my life. Didn’t make much money, though.

There are wealthy people who never worked a hard day in their life. Many have, though, so having a great work ethic is still the best approach to build wealth. The problem is that it’s far from a guarantee. Sometimes working hard just doesn’t pay off. A vast amount — the majority — of people throughout the world work hard their entire lives but will never be wealthy.

Financial success requires grit, but also much more.

What are your financial values?

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