Officially an adult…still take bathroom selfies tho
My mother once said to me, “You always kind of feel like you’re 22 years old.” And she was right, in some ways. For example, I don’t know that you ever truly adjust to the fact that you are now capable of injuring yourself by bending over too fast. Or putting on a jacket. Or sleeping. (I have hurt myself doing all of these things.)
But she’s not completely right; in some ways I feel precisely the age that I am. My 22-year-old self specialized in the fields of watching Elimidate marathons and entitlement, and while I still dabble in both of those (rather enjoyable) endeavors, the knowledge that I have acquired in the 16 years since falls into the realm of “enormous.” I wasn’t totally irresponsible as a twentysomething – I’d had a job since I was 12, so I was decently familiar with the idea of money management and taxes and such – but I couldn’t have told you what a HELOC was on pain of death.
And now? I HELOC the bejesus out of my houses.
So, without any further ado, here are the things that I do that make my life function (relatively) smoothly. I recommend them all.
Take Out Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs): HELOCs allow homeowners to convert equity in their house (basically, any appreciation and/or principal that you’ve paid down) into cash. Say your house has appreciated by $100,000 since you purchased it: You can take that $100,000 as cash, and roll the loan payments into your mortgage. And if you have a 30-year mortgage, that’ll only increase your monthly payments a small amount. This is how you renovate your house, kids. (I also have a friend who used a HELOC to pay for her breast implants. You do you.)
Pay Estimated Taxes: One of the worst parts of being a freelancer is getting slammed with a massive bill come tax time. I personally much prefer getting, you know, a refund – so I’m hyper-diligent about paying my quarterly estimated taxes. How I make it even easier on myself: I opened an account just to hold these estimated taxes, so every time I get a check I immediately put 1/3 of it into that account. Every quarter, I pay taxes out of that account, and virtually always discover that I have money left over in the account at the end of the year in addition to a nice refund.
Subscribe To Lifelock: Remember when my car was broken into last year, and the thief made off with not just my very expensive camera, but also all of my and my children’s identifying information? That was fun. On the plus side, it inspired me to immediately sign all three of us up for Lifelock identity theft protection, which alerts you to virtually any change associated with your social security number or credit. Every time I open a new credit line, check my FICO score, or do a host of other things, Lifelock checks in to make sure it was really me making the changes. It’s not cheap – about $400 a year for each of us – but it’s SUPER worth it. Because you know what experience you never, ever want to have? This one.
Have AAA: I love AAA so hard. They have rescued me from roadsides so very many times. But AAA also comes with a host of side-benefits you may not know about: Discounts on everything from hotel rooms to cell phone service, and – best of all – DMV facilitation. For example: I had to get the title for my new car and register it, and kept putting off the whole process because I couldn’t bear the thought of spending an entire day interacting with people at the DMV…but it turned out I could just go to my local AAA and they would do it for me. I was in and out in fifteen minutes. I even had a legitimately enjoyable conversation with the lady behind the counter! What.
Hire A Financial Planner: I have a lot of magical thinking surrounding finances, wherein the balance in my bank account is capable of directing my purchasing decisions with zero foresight or strategy involved. Like the fact that I got a chunk of equity out of our old house? That absolutely needs to not factor into whether I can buy, say, a dress. But does it? Oh, it does. And the fact that I know this about myself is what motivated me to finally get my money out of my bank accounts, and into a place where I cannot touch it. The flaw in this plan: I have no operational knowledge with respect to investing. …Which is why I hired a financial planner. Read more about how and why I did this here.
Renter’s Insurance: If you don’t have renter’s insurance, I would like you to immediately click away from this page and go get some. Homeowners are required to have insurance – and I used mine several times, when storms destroyed fencing and black sewage water overflowed into basements (yummy) and such – but even if you’re renting, you must have insurance. It’s not expensive – I pay just a couple hundred dollars a year with Assurant, and I hear the insurance you can get through AAA is even cheaper – and it doesn’t only cover the stuff physically located in your house…it covers your stuff wherever it goes. As examples, I used my renter’s insurance to recoup the value of my camera when it was stolen. And when, during my last move, my movers got into an accident with my piano in the back of the van, thereby utterly destroying the most expensive thing I owned? Renter’s insurance, baby. Get it.
If you do adult-y things that I didn’t mention above, please comment below for the benefit of me and all others involved. Happy Thursday!